This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni’s The Healthiest Year of Your Life, which can be found at http://thehealthiestyearofyour life. com. In this excerpt, Nomi Shannon shares on kitchen equipment and recipes for preparing raw foods.The Healthiest Year of Your Life with Nomi Shannon, raw gourmet, author and raw food educator. Nomi: People get really tired, really fast of salads. I do, but you can take the same things that you put into a salad and throw it in the blender and do it up, it’s amazing what the addition of a tomato or slice of mango or something can do to a concoction like that and you can make yourself some really delicious things really fast.Kevin: What kind of blender do you use?Nomi: There are only two great blenders, in my humble opinion, Kevin. One is the K-tech which is the one I do recommend for several reasons. The other is the Vita-mix. They’re both fabulous blenders. I prefer the K-tech. The main reason is it’s a whole horsepower stronger but there’s a few others.
The difference between one of these blenders and a Hamilton Beach or whatever is the difference between a Pinto and a Rolls Royce. They’ re both cars but need I say more? In my book, for example, I assumed everybody would have a regular blender. They’re not inexpensive. I would say to make this dish,grate the carrot, grate the parsnip, then put it in the blender. Well, one of these blenders, you throw the darn thing in whole. I throw two frozen, rock hard bananas, whole and 45 seconds later I’m eating whatever it is.
You can do with one of these blenders things you could never do any other way. I will take a couple of apples and cut them up and throw them in the blender with some cinnamon, I have to baby the blender a little because there’s no liquid in there, and I can turn it into applesauce in a minute or two, because people think applesauce? Raw applesauce? No, it’s completely easy and possible if you have the right equipment.Kevin: It’s great for kids, too. I think the price comparison, you can tell me if I’m wrong or not, is if you break two or three $100 blenders, you can eventually, you kind of go for the bigger one.Nomi: Well, I personally have taken two, probably $30 to $50 blenders, smoking,outside to finish their smoking process in the air where I tried to make a pate or something in it. They couldn’t handle it. I do understand Kevin that there are plenty of people interested in this kind of food that are never going to be able to spend $400 on a blender. I appreciate that and that’s why in my DVDs I use a regular blender. One or two hints about that, if you have an old Oster blender or you can get your hands on one and that would be like at garage sales, 40 or 50 year old blenders grab it, because they have the most amazing motor. Now, they don’t compare with the Vita-mix or the K-tech. But they’re still nice and strong. My first few years I was raw I had an old Oster.Kevin: I think that people sometimes just think that the only thing you can make in a blender is a frozen drink or a yoghurt smoothie and you mentioned applesauce and then you just talked about pates. How versatile is a blender for making things?Nomi: There’s a big crossover in equipment. When I make a pate I use a food processor because a blender needs a lot of liquid. The pate I like best, it’s in my book, called the Sunflower Pate, and it’s 3 cups of sprouted sunflower seeds and lemon juice, because that’s a good preservative and some tahini and then some onion and scallion and different spices. I use it in the food processor. The secret to blending is it needs liquid. Food processing is for things that are drier. The food processor could never work with as much liquid as a blender would. It would leak all over the place.Kevin: What about Salidako. Can you explain what that is, for people who don’t know?Nomi: It’s an odd name, it’s also called a spiral slicer and some people call it a spiralizer. Another name is garnishing machine. I finally just said, listen, I’m confusing everyone because every time the company changed the name, I changed the name. And it’s called the Salidako. It’s now made in China. It’s just a simple plastic gizmo, but what it does is really amazing. Here’s what is does that’s wonderful. It will take a vegetable, and the most commonly used vegetable is a zucchini. You put a three-inch piece of zucchini in this little thing and you turn the handle and what you get is pasta-shaped zucchini. It has this fascinating way of shredding it and you get long, long strands. I’ve had three and four feet long strands, where I’ve had to cut them in the bowl, of angel hair sized pasta made out of zucchini or carrot or beet or sweet potato or parsnip. It won’t work with anything soft. Just turn like a tomato to mush, most cucumbers to mush. It has to be a good firm vegetable and this has revolutionized sort of the palate of raw people. You just never have to eat a salad. You can sit your kids down and they can eat this spaghetti and it’s tossed in a pesto sauce, which I’m sure as you know is garlic and olive oil and lots and lots of basil and pine nuts, just no cheese and it doesn’t taste any different, and then top it off with a raw marinara and suddenly it smells like and it looks like and it tastes like Italian spaghetti. The only difference is, it’s not hot. This has, literally this little gadget has revolutionized, because you’ve got to have ways of doing food fast that’s tasty.
There’s another one I’ve just learned about from Germany and it’s called a Spiralo. If you do like a parsnip, beet, carrot, and turn it into this little skinny pasta — I’ve done this at shows and little kids have walked by and I’ve got it on the table next to the machine to show what it does, and these little three year olds will grab it and eat it. The mother or the grandmother will go, “I can’t believe it, he won’t eat any vegetables!” Something about cutting that vegetable into facets, let’s say, really brings out the sweetness like no grating or slicing ever could.Kevin: Not only does it bring out the sweetness, I think, but it’s just so much easier to eat. You look at a carrot and you’re like, oh, a carrot. I got to chew this thing forever and when it’s in that small kind of form, you can eat it and you just keep eating it and eating it and eating it.Nomi: When I started with raw food, I actually had a Champion juicer at the time, but it was in storage. When I started with 100% actually all I had was an everyday blender, a good sharp knife and a grater and I didn’t have any other equipment for at least for the first 6 months. So I do like to say to people when people say, “I don’t have the money to go out and buy all that stuff.” And you really don’t have to, but on the other hand, I have to say, that having some of these gadgets, the Salidako I mean is $24.95, really the ability to change these foods, their shapes, their size, pureeing or taking and turning into this little strand what suddenly is delicate and tender instead of chomping down on some hard. I would never eat a parsnip the way you might take a carrot and chew on it the way you would a carrot. I just wouldn’t, but it’s so delicious when you turn it into the pasta. It’s insane. It’s like a whole other thing.Kevin: You talked about some of the quick things you can do, like the applesauce. What are some other real quick ideas that someone can do to maybe make a meal like in 5 minutes and go?Nomi: Let’s not forget that almost any raw fresh raw fruit and vegetable can be eaten as it is. If you start out with a bowl on your counter filled with apples, oranges, bananas, whatever you can find seasonally, grapes papaya, mango whatever and then in your fridge you have different kinds of greens, like broccoli, cauliflower and all that there’s nothing wrong with going and sitting down and eating three apples and two bananas and a mango. I mean literally. I very often eat a red pepper like you would an apple. I found some that are so delicious and I just literally just wash the thing off and bite it and even if I get some of the seeds they’re not hot or anything like they can be. We’re so removed from going into the back yard and plucking fruit from the tree or a walnut from the tree that we literally forget, especially the younger generation, that food doesn’t really come in a box.
I’ve got a gadget called the Toss ‘n Chop. It’s such a clever gadget. You just throw everything that you want for your salad into the bowl and your dressing ingredients, everything, goes in a bowl but no cutting, no cutting board, no knife, no chopping, nothing. Then you just go at it with this thing, sort of a cross between a scissors and a tossing implement.
The other thing is, and I’m sure you already know this, is there’s just a huge craze going on with something called green smoothies, which I actually did mention in my book, suggesting you could put your sprouts and things, sneak them in smoothies. Would you like my green smoothie recipe which is my current passion and crave?Kevin: Sure.Nomi: Okay. I put a cup of either orange of tangerine juice in the blender and that’s taking about four tangerines at the moment. Personally I put about 8 cups of greens in, I wouldn’t start with that many because it might taste bitter to you at first. So, if there are any supplements that I’m taking, and I’m usually taking some supplements, put that in. Then if I can get my hands on papaya and I put that in. Yesterday I put a little bit of mango in instead, or a handful of blueberries and then I top it off with two frozen bananas. I like it, because I like my smoothies to be thick and cold. It gives me about 24 oz of smoothie. It’s fabulous. I have it at least once a day, every day. I vary out. You don’t want to eat the same thing every day, no matter how good you think it is for you, because you need variety.