270 of 274 people found the following review helpful
I've been a vegetarian since I was sixteen. In the late eighties, that was rough- even more difficult than being a vegan now. In the last year, I made the transition to vegan, but thanks to the work of innovative cooks like Isa Chandra Moskowitz, that just isn't hard anymore. The next challenge? Going raw- very difficult because apparently you need a Vita-Mix, a dehydrator (I don't think I've ever even seen one of those), a food processor, a grinder, and a bunch of other esoteric equipment I've never even heard of- right?
Ani Phyo earned four stars right off the bat by making almost every one of her recipes doable with a blender or, in many cases, a knife. There are maybe three recipes that absolutely require a dehydrator- and even that can be gotten around. For this reason alone, if you've been thinking about raw but you've been intimidated by all of the required equipment, check this out.
The recipes that I've tried- and I've gone a little crazy in the last few days- have been not only simple but really, really good. So far I have made her Miso Soup, Almond Yogurt, Black Pepper Cheeze, Nori Rolls, Coco Kream Pie (oh wow- so good), a bunch of her shakes and my version of her Sunflower Bread (hmm- how did I do that without a dehydrator?). Almost all of this has been accomplished with a blender, and I don't even own the legendary Vita-Mix. In other words, the majority of households can do this.
Every chapter opens with her thoughts and recommendations on environmentalism. I liked most of her suggestions, but I was a little put off by her statements that hers was not a "bargain body" and that she is thus willing to pay more for her premium produce. I applaud her- I even envy her and others like her- but I am disappointed that she doesn't touch on the readers who can't afford organic produce for the most part and live in areas with lousy public transportation systems and recycling. I shudder any time I read something that makes it seem as if health is only for the wealthy.
However, she didn't lose a star for that because her tone, as strident as it may have been at times, inspired me to find a work around for my dehydrator- and I did. Ever make yogurt using a heating pad? If you have a small enough pan- think one that fits into a toaster oven- and some tin foil- congratulation, you have the guts of a make your own dehydrator. I'm still tweaking mine, but I was very inspired by the results with my Sunflower Bread.
This is a soup to nuts guide to going raw, and it won't require you to reoutfit your kitchen. It may, however, inspire you to rethink your approach to food.
131 of 139 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2007
This truly is a beautiful raw foods book - in more ways than one. It's beautiful to look at, it's colorful, has lots of beautiful pictures of Ani and her friends, and most importantly - contains some amazing raw foods recipes. Every page is filled with Ani's little tidbits, useful information, and her thoughts and beliefs on doing all we can to make this world a better place to live in. I tried 4 of Ani's recipes, and all I can say is that if the rest of the recipes are anything like the ones I tried, then it's money well spent.
So why did I give it only 4 stars ?? Well, for starters, Ani repeats a lot of stuff in her book. Here are some examples : Reasons to shop at farmers markets, to eat organically, not to put something into your body just because the item is cheap or free, etc etc. Ani says these same things in several different chapters. She probably just wanted to get the message across loud & clear.
Don't get me wrong, I still think this book is a GREAT BUY, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in raw foods, or in eating healthfully. I would also recommend it to anyone interested in "treading lightly" on our planet. If you can only read one book, and want to get information on "living green", eating organically, healthfully, learning about raw foods and enjoying your meals, then buy this book!
One more comment: I thought that it was strange that Ani's book was not printed on recycled paper (I looked 3 times to find some information on that in the book, but couldn't find it anywhere). Consdering all the information she's provided on living as responsibly as possible, I was disappointed to think that she didn't insist that the book be printed on recycled paper, or at least to state somewhere that it's printed on recycled paper - if it is.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2010
Allow me to get my biases out of the way: I'm not vegan, or 100% raw. I'm a vegetarian living in the Midwest without air conditioning. My goal with raw foods is to use lots of fresh local produce without needing to turn on my oven in summer! I want to go beyond salad, but don't want to spend all day in my kitchen. I purchased this book because I enjoyed Ani's Raw Food Desserts.
I didn't enjoy this book as much. The recipes I've tried were tasty, but most of them require specialty ingredients that are expensive and/or are not available at my local co-op, or don't come in amounts I can use before they spoil. A single recipe may also require several "base ingredients" that are themselves other time-intensive recipes, which require still more specialty ingredients. I got a little lost in the cross-referencing, and a little miffed when base ingredients that I'd mixed up went bad before I could finish them. I really wish the recipes made better use of more common ingredients that are grown and readily available throughout the United States.
This book could have been more accurately titled, "Lifestyle by Ani." It's full of great pictures...of Ani. What space remains is split between recipes and scattered bits of Ani's lifestyle manifesto. This confused me: I purchased a book on preparing raw foods, after all...Is she preaching to the converted, or actually *trying* to lose me by going off-topic? She could have condensed and confined this to the intro. Better yet, put it in a foreword, and have it penned by a more authoritative scientific/health expert.
If, in fact, this book was geared toward the "raw food curious" and beginners, which might excuse the manifesto, the author would have been wise to stick to simpler recipes with simpler ingredients and spend the photo space showing us how it's done.
138 of 159 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2007
i really wanted to like this book. it's got a cute concept, the author seems great, and there seemed to be a good number of recipes within. however, after trying several of them, i have to give the book a big thumbs down. i made one of the breakfast "scrambles", and it was a rather unpleasant texture as it was simply pulverized seeds, with seasonings. i also made a recipe she raved as being so yummy, one of her favorites, a faux mashed potato. what was it ? pureed broccoli with a few seasonings. maybe you have to be in a certain mindframe to get something out of the food offered in this book. the final recipe i tried was the baja nacho cheese. this is by far the worst raw food item i have made thus far. it was pulverized brazil nuts, water and a few spices. how in the world is that even comparable to cheese ? i understand it's raw, but i have tried other raw cheeses, and they were much, much better. this one was gritty and flavorless.
i own four other raw cookbooks, and this one is my least favorite, and i will probably never use it. i really believe that vegetarian/vegan/raw food can still be delicious, gourmet, enticing, etc to the palate. i've made many raw recipes, and they rival the most high end fare you can find. when i have people over for dinner, i want them to be amazed and delighted that they are eating healthy food that's also delicious. i'm afraid with ani's selections, they would either laugh or be spitting it out in their napkins.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2008
I have been borrowing raw books from the library in attempt to come across a uncook book that didn't leave me feeling like preparing raw food is just too hard. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook, and make the vast majority of my meals from scratch (rather than adding pre-prepared jar/canned/frozen ingredients), but so many of the raw books out there require you to soak for 12 hours, germinate for 4, marinade for 2, then dehydrate for 12-20 hours (I've actually got some burgers dehydrating at the moment that I started making 2 days ago). Ani's recipes taste fantastic and aren't heavy with coconut/avocado/olive/nut oils like many raw meals.
What make's Ani's book great is that most of her recipes can be made within 30mins-1 hour, only a handful require a dehydrator, and every recipe I've tried so far works. This is the first of all the books I have borrowed that I have actually bought.
44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2008
I bought this book hoping that it would provide some new and interesting recipes. I have been preparing healthy raw meals for over 2 years. I have a few problems with Any's book: (1) All her recipes use lots of oil and nuts, and many of them a lot of sugar, and therefore they are ultra-high in calories, (2) Most of her recipes are from other cookbooks (not much of originality), (3) I find it very unappealing to see Any's photos on every other page instead of pictures of deliciously cooked food. Honestly, the book from Jennifer Cornbleet is much better for simple, delicious and light raw meals.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2008
I have been studying food and nutrition for several years and have been trying to transform to a raw diet for the past year. Not an easy thing to do. I have approximately 3 dozen books on this subject, many of them very good. I truly believe had I purchased this book first, the transformation would not have been nearly as hard. I have had this book for about a week and from the very first recipe I tried, I was hooked! I have always enjoyed preparing food but preparing meals for a family of five day in and day out has truly become tedious. The recipes in this book taste absolutely amazing, are simple to prepare, suprisingly economical and absolutely gorgeous to look at. I truly look forward to coming home and preparing meals again! Produce no longer goes to waste in my fridge as it has in the past and the three teens in my home and my meat-eating husband absolutely love the food. I can tell because they go back for seconds and thirds and look for left-overs for lunch and snacks!! But most important is how we all feel. We are a family of surfers and anybody who surfs knows how much energy it takes to put in an eight hour session. We have always eaten healthy as a general rule, but lots of times just choked down a "healthy" meal because it was good for us, but didn't necessarily like what we are eating. This book has truly changed all of that. We all have so much energy and just feel truly happy. No more brain-fog, no more feeling like we need a nap in the middle of the day and those eight hour surf sessions are much easier to do, especially since we are in the middle of winter and it is COLD!! I don't believe this would have been possible without the help of this book.
The book itself is beautiful to look at and truly inspiring. I have been able, finally, to combine the knowledge I have learned from other teachings, take the inspiration from Ani's book and apply it to everyday meal preperations in a simple, clean and delicious manner. What is so different about this book compared to others is the recipes are truly delicious, the ingredients are easy to find (for the most part), preparation is simple and quick and the ingredients list is short. One other book I recommend using in conjuction with this book is The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why by Jonny Bowden. Combining the knowledge in this book along with Ani's recipes will help you to create absolutely fabulous meals that taste great and are the healthiest combinations I believe to be available. Thank you, Ani, for a truly beautiful and inspiring book and for helping to finally change my life. You can bet your last dollar I will be the first in line to buy your next book!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2011
I've dabbled in raw food since 2004, and was excited to checkout this cookbook. However, after reading through the first couple of chapters, I was turned off by Ani's overly officious tone and blatant self-promotion. Like other reviewers, I feel that more space could have been used to include pictures of the foods, with far, FAR fewer pictures of Ani eating, Ani jogging, Ani posing, Ani sunning, Ani smiling, Ani at the beach, and Ani drinking water out of her steel water bottle (thanks, but we are already aware that re-usable steel bottles are better than disposable plastic water bottles).
I found her constant advocacy to be heavy-handed, bordering on political, and totally unecessary in a cookbook. While living in California (and as a California native myself) and the west coast affords the oppportunity to eat fresh and local year round, ride a bicycle to the local farmer's market and go walking on the beach 365 days a year, unfortunately, most of America does not have that luxury. In fact, if the inhabitants of the upper midwest and northeast were to eat raw and local year-round, they would spend most of the winter eating nothing but hard winter squash and root vegetables from November through March. That said, here are the pros and cons, in my opinion:
Pros: Very few of Ani's recipes require multiple steps involving a dehydrator and blender. That is a nice change from most raw cookbooks I have, which require a lot of advance planning, particularly if the dehydrator is used.
Cons: Well,pretty much all the stuff from my first paragraph above, and then some: first, too many pictures of Ani; second, too much ideological rhetoric; and finally, like some other reviewers, I'd like to see interesting raw recipes using more common fruits and vegetables.
While I won't return this cookbook, I doubt that I will purchase any more raw cookbooks by Ani Phyo, and I don't recommend purchasing this book.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2009
Okay, firstly I want to say that I really wanted to love this book and the recipes in it. Before I purchased the book, I previewed it here on Amazon, as well as read over the reviews. Some of the reviewers mentioned some of the things that I had noticed as I previewed the book online, and that is, that photos of Ani are all over the book and very few photos of the actual dishes exists. But, I saw that many people gave this book high ratings and I loved the recipes that Ani shared in her Youtube videos, so I went ahead and bought the book.
When I received the book, it took me weeks to match recipes and ingredients in order to shop economically. As someone else mentioned in their review, Ani has a tendency to request both expensive and exotic ingredients for recipes. I didn't want to rush out and buy all the equipment and ingredients, until I tasted her recipes and I am glad that I waited. Though some of her recipes are creative and taste okay, for me it was not worth the time and money that I put into it.
I have been a vegan for a number of years and eat a mostly raw diet which consist of raw vegetables and fruits, usually in the form of simple salads, wraps and sandwiches. I also eat cold soba noodles, brown rice and beans which I mainly buy as macrobiotic meals from Natural Food Markets. I didn't know that there was a raw food movement, I just intuitively ate that way. I say this, because the diet that I've been following has been healthy and less costly and chaotic, than Ani's 100% raw diet recipes. But, I had no idea, until I bought the book. I thought the book would make my life easier and I would save money, but I was wrong. Between having to plan out the meals well in advance, to soaking nuts overnight, to dealing with the short fridge life of food and fresh herbs, this book and lifestyle is just not for me.
Also, many of Ani's recipes for which I bought the book for are far from the taste and texture of authentic ethnic foods, especially the Asian dishes. As well, many of her substitutions I don't agree with, for example she doesn't think beans are good for you, so she has a recipe for humus without beans. She doesn't think grains are good for you, so you have all these substitutes for rice. I just think that the whole lifestyle and consciousness that she is exuding, is contrived and unrealistic. It makes one a bit paranoid when looking for ingredients and following instructions. It is as if everything has to be pure in order for it to be raw. If you eat bread, it has to be prepared in a dehydrator for 12 or more hours, which is absurd for a few slices of bread, but it makes one think if I use regular whole grain bread with this raw burger, then I am defeating the purpose of eating raw. Also, the burger wouldn't be 100% raw if instead of slaving over my food processor to make kethcup, I used instead the organic catchup I buy from the natural market or God forbid Heinz, that would last forever in the fridge. A lot of unnecessary mind crap and ego tripping. The energy one puts into trying to be so raw and pure, has a negative effect in my opinion and reverses any good that might be gain from eating so critically.
And lastly, if you want an uncookbook that combines recipes and activism, then you're in luck. Ani goes on and on as to why she doesn't use deodorant (TMI), to why she doesn't drink bottled water and how she has made her dog a vegan. I'm not kidding, between the recipes are mini sermons, so be prepared. I appreciate and respect some of the things she is saying, but there is a time and place for that and I don't think an uncookbook is the place for it. But,in the end, I gave her three stars, because the recipes are creative, if you are into her substitutions and don't mind searching for and paying for some of the ingredients. I am also a vegan who is allergic to cheese/dairy and miss eating cheese, well Ani has some great recipes for Vegan Cheeze made with nuts and that alone is worth three stars for me. :)
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2011
When I went from vegetarian to raw vegan a few months ago, I considered buying Ani's Raw because of the reviews, but I went with the Rainbow Green Raw Cuisine instead. I did pick up this book later, though, because I had a gift certificate, and felt it might be worth the risk. It wasn't.
First of all, you're immediately whomped with so many pictures of Ani, it's totally beyond silly! Props to your self-esteem, girlfriend, but c'mon. There are about fifteen pictures of Ani in here for every picture of food.
I'm still a relative raw food newbie, but I quickly found at least one error, in that she recommends all nuts and seeds be soaked for at least eight hours. This is totally incorrect. Smaller seeds like sesame and sunflower need only be soaked for two to four hours. If nuts or seeds are soaked too long, they quickly go rancid. I haven't looked at the whole book yet, so I hope I don't run into too much of this kind of advice.
Ani recommends for some of the recipes in her book that we use her Special Monkey brand of granola bars. I don't want to have to go find and buy a product to create a recipe!! Graceless product placement.
Lastly, I doubt many people will appreciate her 101-level lecturing on social and environmental issues. Most people reaching for a raw cookbook are likely already living an ethically conscious lifestyle (and if not, they're aware of how to) and don't need flowcharts on how long disposables take to decompose. There is a lot of this type of filler in this book.
Ani must know some people, because she's inexplicably got several books out. There's no information in here that can't be found on the internet, but if you're looking for a quality cookbook with some humility, I recommend Rainbow Green.