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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2005
alissa has done an amazing job!! i own all the major raw food books available. but Alissa has topped them all! this is not just a recipe book - although the dishes are delicious. but it is truly a guide to how to evolve into a living foods healthy life. too many other authors are fanatical or extremists concerning raw foods. Alissa has a direct, simple, and practical approach that makes it ok to start wherever you are at. and she delivers all the necessary tools and info to do so. the recipes are fantastic! my wife and use Alissa'a recipes on a daily basis to make great and satisfying meals. i wish i could give this MORE than 5 stars! by the way, i also HIGHLY recommend Alissa'a DVD. it has a variety of dishes that she shows you how to prepare. and it is easy to follow. definitely get it with her book and you'll be well on your way!
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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2006
This was one of the first books I got when I started going raw about a month ago (by the way, I have lost close to 15 lbs since going raw, and I haven't even had time to do much exercising yet). The other book had gourmet recipes, but what I love about this book is that it has a lot of basic information. There is a sprouting guide and lots of info on how to eat raw. There are also a lot of basic recipes - cheeses, breads, crackers, even whipped cream - that can help you transition. I have only tried a few recipes in the book, but so far, they have been great (I love the chocolate turtles). The only negative I have found so far is that the recipes don't give the number of servings, and since it is always best to eat it right away, it would be nice to know if it needs to be split before making it.
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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2006
Alissa Cohen's book is hands down my favorite raw book...both for the informative and uplifting approach to the raw way of life and the fantastic recipes. Her upfront and do-able explanation of how to live a healthy and vibrant life on raw, emzyme-rich foods is a godsend to people both exploring their options and gathering info on raw foodism and those living the raw lifestyle. Her program is all about abundance.

I have ordered a number of things from Alissa including the book, DVD and spiral slicer among other things and have been wonderfully satisfied with the service provided and the positive goodness of she and her staff. Alissa's whole approach to life and the raw food community is one of completely positve light, energy and support. I would highly recommend her book/dvd AND her approach to raw foodism for a healthy, glowing life.

Lou James (GlimR)
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2006
Alissa Cohen's book is well-written, organized and used in our home. This is the first raw food book that I have purchased and it is worth every penny! Those raw vegan cookbooks that I checked out at the library over the past few months were not inspiring and the recipes "assumed" that the reader had experience with raw vegan cooking/lifestyle like sprouting which is totally a new technique for me. This book makes the raw vegan lifestyle more acceptable, reachable and possible using easy-to-follow recipes that taste good and are created using natural, organic ingredients.

The first item I made from this book was the Walnut Fudge which all 5 of my children, husband, and myself found delicious. Don't tell my 5 year-old son that it contained walnuts as he "thinks" he doesn't like them! My 11 year-old daughter is learning how to prepare these fun, healthy and yummy recipes with me. The book has sturdy pages that are nearly waterproof so spills while preparing the foods can be wiped off easily. Carrot Pecan Burgers, Spinach Dip, Enchiladas, Stuffed Portobella Mushroom Caps and Almond Milk are some of my family's favorites. I like how Alissa suggests that the leftover almond paste/meal from the almond milk can be used to create the scrumptious raw cinnamon rolls.

I am disappointed that a few people have given this book a bad review. I am sure that they are jealous of Alissa's growing popularity and success. She is knowledgeable, healthy-looking, glowing, gorgeous and comes across in her DVD as a person with a calm, positive disposition. Last week, I loaned my DVD to a friend who viewed part of it and the next day asked me to order the book, DVD, and spiral slicer for her from Alissa's website (since this friend doesn't have Interent access). Last weekend, I watched the DVD again and picked up more food preparation tips that I had missed the first time. This is a wonderful DVD/book set! I wish Alissa continued success in promoting a raw food lifestyle. I hope she tours the West Coast sometime promoting her book...specifically the Seattle area!
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2006
Alissa's book literally changed my life. At 40 years old, I was obese and depressed. I believed I would never be healthy and lose weight again in my life because of so many failed "diet" attempts.

Alissa put the raw food lifestyle in to easy to understand terms that made it possible to turn my life around. I've lost 85 lbs in 8 months and have energy for the first time in my adult life, all thanks to following Alissa's advice.
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131 of 148 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2006
This is in reply to M. Korogodsky "Michael" stating that this book is "useless", and rating it 1 star:

[I quote]

"This is a very primitive book. Most of the recipes do not follow proper food combining and laden with carbohydrates, sugar and starch. Not good for diabetics or somebody who wants to reduce weight. Waste of money."

Below I [quote], Alissa Cohen:

"Why don't I have to count calories or fat grams? How can I eat avocados, nuts and other high fat foods on this diet and still lose weight?

There is a huge difference between cooked fats and raw fats. The studies that have been done linking fats to high cancer rates, heart attacks, kidney failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, angina, cardiovascular disease, and all of the other diseases that clog up the blood and the arteries have been done with cooked fats. Obesity is linked to a high cooked fat diet.

Raw plant fats on the other hand, have exactly the opposite effect. Raw fats, such as avocadoes, olives, coconuts, nuts and seeds are imperative in a healthy diet. These fats contain antioxidants. They contain oils that help the joints, nerves, and bones. These raw plant fats do not cause the body to gain excess weight because they still contain the enzyme lipase; this is the enzyme that is needed to digest fat. Cooking fats destroy lipase, along with other important enzymes and minerals.

The fat digesting enzyme, lipase, breaks up the raw plant foods as they are eaten and help to digest the oils in these foods. Because this food is getting assimilated and digested properly, It is not clogging up the blood and arteries, and causing all kinds of chronic and degenerative diseases, and it is not getting stored as excess weight in the body. You will not get fat by eating avocadoes, sprouted nuts and seeds and other plant fats. When I first started this diet I was eating 2-3 avocadoes a day and losing weight. I didn't have much weight to lose, but the few extra pounds just melted off because I was eating fats in their whole natural form with all of their enzymes intact."

[End of quote]

ALSO:

[quoting Steve Pavlina]

"It is a myth that you need to combine different plant foods to form complete proteins. The idea was that most plant foods only contained some of the essential amino acids, so you'd have to combine "incomplete" foods like beans and rice to form meals that contained complete proteins. This idea was put forth in the 1971 book Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé. It was a million-copy bestseller. Unfortunately, many people still aren't aware that this theory was later found to be completely false, as Lappé herself recanted her original theory in later works that were far less popular. The truth is that most plant foods do contain all the essential amino acids, but furthermore, your body will store amino acids in a pool between meals -- it doesn't even need to get all the essentials in a single meal. So the theory of combining plant foods to form complete proteins isn't even remotely correct. Of course, lifelong vegans already knew Lappé's theory was wrong, as they weren't suffering from protein deficiencies regardless of how they combined their meals.

...Plant foods are generally abundant in protein. For example, lettuce gets 34% of its calories from protein, and broccoli gets 45% of its calories from protein. Spinach is 49%. Cauliflower is 40%. Celery is 21%. Beans range from 23% to 54% depending on the variety. Grains are 8% to 31%. Nuts and seeds are 8% to 21%. Fruits are the lowest at around 5-8% on average.

If you wanted to suffer from protein deficiency, you'd either have to seriously restrict total calories (i.e. starve yourself), or you'd have to eat a really messed up, unbalanced diet like nothing but low-protein junk foods and certain fruits. But in those cases, protein deficiency probably won't be your biggest risk.

Personally I've never met anyone suffering from protein deficiency in the USA, vegan or otherwise. The much greater risk (in the USA at least) is overconsumption of protein."

[End of quote]

*~* ALISSA COHEN really explains the importance of Enzymes, (that are only found in raw food). And also having good Acid Alkaline Balance, that is found in raw food diet -- in having Optimum Health.

Dr.Humbart Santillo, MD:

"A human being is not maintained by food intake alone, but rather by what is digested. Every food must be broken down by enzymes to simpler building blocks. Enzymes may be divided into 2 groups, exogenous (found in raw food) and endogenous (produced within our bodies) The more one gets of the exogenous enzymes, the less will have to be borrowed from other metabolic processes and supplied by the pancreas. The enzymes contained in raw food actually aid in the digestion of that same food when it is chewed. One can live many years on a cooked food diet, but eventually this will cause cellular enzyme exhaustion which lays the foundation for a weak immune system and ultimately disease."

Dr Edward Howell:

"Humans eating an enzyme less diet use up a tremendous amount of their enzyme potential in lavish secretions of the pancreas and other digestive organs. The result is a shortened lifespan (65 years or less as compared with 100 or more), illness, and lower resistance to stress of all types, psychological and environmental. By eating foods with their enzymes in tact and by supplementing cooked foods with enzyme capsules we can stop abnormal and pathological aging processes."

Alissa Cohen:

"When we are born we are given a limited amount of enzyme energy that has to last us a lifetime. Think of this as your enzyme bank account. If we do not make regular deposits to this account from eating exogenous enzymes that are found in raw foods, and we continue to eat cooked foods that use up our enzyme supply, we become more susceptible to:

'aging, disease and premature death.'

The enzymes that are destroyed in cooking food is detrimental in so many ways. Not only does it effect our immune system but also our brain function, and our energy levels."

Dr. Ted Morter:

"When your body is too acid for too long, it plays the game of life with a lineup of backup systems. These backups are either substitute minerals, or ammonia. When your body is too acid - when your normal ph is too low - the systems and organs of your body work overtime just to stay even. But systems and organs aren't designed to function flat-out in red-alert mode all the time. They need rest just as you do. If the red-alert goes on for months or even years, systems and organs become exhausted. An exhausted body can't compete with disease. Eventually, disease wins the game."

Alissa says:

"An over acid body is found in most people with acute or chronic diseases. Some common symptoms of an overly acid body are: arthritis, depression, headaches, lethargy, gastritis, dulled mentality, canker sores, fatigue, muscle stiffness, stomach aches, chest pain, constipation, irritability, sinus problems, acid reflex, restless sleep, and so much more. But an overly acid body can lead to many more serious health problems. For example, cancer cells are able to live better then normal cells in an acid environment.

So how do we get our bodies at the right ph balance and create an internal environment that is slightly alkaline? We can do this by eliminating acid producing foods, and eating a diet that is high in raw fruits and vegetables. I say raw because when you cook food it makes it more acidic. When you eat a diet that is made up of raw fruits, vegetables, sprouted nuts, seeds and grains you will begin to shift that acid state, to a more alkaline state."
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63 of 71 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 18, 2007
I ordered this book after watching the Tyra Banks Show, featuring Alissa Cohen. I couldn't wait for the book to arrive, so I could get started. I've been living on a vegetarian/near vegan diet for a while, so the switch to a raw food diet seemed the next logical step. When the book arrived, I pretty much read it within two days. The first half of the book is a great introduction to raw foods, and how to make the switch, and is written in a very enthusiastic and motivational language. However, some of the "scientific facts" presented in the book are just plain wrong. For example, the book states that enzymes get "used up" so the body needs to "replenish this source through food". That's not true. Nevertheless, I overlooked these little things and moved on to the recipes section of the book. After all, it makes sense to incorporate more fresh and unprocessed food in your diet, no matter how wrong some of the information was.
The first thing I made from the recipes are the flax seed crackers (p. 344), a basic in the raw food diet, since bread and other baked items are a big no no. The crackers were easy to make, but they taste disgusting. I had some friends come over the next day, and I had them try the crackers, and they said the same thing. The crackers taste very fishy and smell awful. Then, I made the granola (p. 444) to replace my morning cereal, but it turned out to be very bland and not crispy. Even after extending the dehydration time by several hours, I still couldn't get the stuff to get crispy. For my sweet tooth, I made the fudge balls (p. 491). The dough became so thick, I almost fried the motor on my (brand new) Cuisinart food processor. Also, the dough was very sticky and liquid, and I wasn't able to form any balls. In the end, I dropped spoon fulls on a sheet and put it in the dehydrator overnight, which helped. Despite the mess, the fudge balls actually taste very good, and even my husband liked them (he normally doesn't like anything sweet). I also prepared two different dips, the spinach dip (p. 305) and the mock salmon pate (p. 380), both of which sounded very good, but taste very bland. I had some really ripe strawberries and bananas, so I made a fruit leather (p. 524), which doesn't look very appealing and shriveled up so much that there was barely anything left of my fruit. What a waste. However, I did find one recipe that I will make over and over, because it was really really good. The berry bars (p. 489) are just delicious.
After my experience, I decided to go back to my previous vegetarian diet, with the resolution to make the switch to a 100% vegan diet soon. For this, I ordered some great books, such as "Cooking the Whole Foods Way" by Christina Pirello from the "Christina Cooks" show, "Vegan Vittles: Down-Home Cooking for Everyone" by Jo Stepaniak, and "La Dolce Vegan!" by Sarah Kramer, the coolest vegan on this planet, to upgrade my collection of vegan cookbooks. Another good book I already own is "How it all vegan" also by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard.
Nevertheless, I will continue to try recipes from Alissa Cohen's book on occasion, just to mix things up, and I will continue to incorporate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet. For all of you that are successfully living a 100% raw lifestyle, I admire you. It just wasn't for me.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2006
Scientific method? Where has it gotten us? Diseases such as diabetes and heart disease and cancer have risen to epidemic proportions in our nation.

On the other hand, the first day you try the raw, living food lifestyle, you feel the difference. And you feel better and better each day that you remain on it. The way to rightly judge a method of healthy living is to see whether or not it works. Your lab is your own body.

When Alissa Cohen discovered this amazing path to health her heart prompted her to share it with the rest of us. And what sense it makes! Imagine taking fresh food provided by nature and improving upon it by cooking it, in essence destroying the very elements the food contains that we need to survive and thrive, and adding all kinds of man made things to the product, and then packaging it and storing it on shelves. That doesn't make sense to me. No, rather than pulling boxes and bags off the shelf that are who-knows-how-old and contain who-knows-what, essentially dead junk with nothing living in it, which will clog up my cells with waste and poisons, it makes sense to me to obtain food that is closest to the way nature prepared it for me, full of minerals (the materials) and living enzymes (the crew) to build me a healthy body.

Melissa's book is full of before and after stories, with photos, full of colorful recipe pictures, and her writing is friendly and fun to read. Her recipes are mouthwateringly scrumptious and most of them are very easy. She has packed so much into her book.

And as far as health goes, from my own personal experience, I can vouch for the effectiveness of her method. Following her advice, aches and pains almost immediately disappeared, allergies disappeared, my eyesight improved, my skin began to glow, pounds started melting off, and best of all, my depression disappeared and I felt joy upon awakening each morning. It was easier for me to deal with everyday irritations and minor catastrophes, staying calm and focused. My husband has commented again and again about my postive change in attitude. And the energy! I told everyone that I felt like I had a brand new body and mind. In other words, I started getting younger and having fun doing it, with no bad side effects. That is not fluff! ;)

My husband has since read Alissa's book and eats mostly raw now. He's lost all excess weight and has amazing energy without his daily cappuccino. An exciting bonus: hair has grown back where he once was balding.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2006
I just recieved this book one week ago and I have read it cover to cover already. This is the best book you could purchase if you want a great introduction to the raw food lifestyle. The book is well written with wonderful illustrations and the recipes are fabulous. I never knew raw eating could be this delicious!

I was a little hesitant to purchase this book because of the price, but it was worth every penny. At 543 pages, it is packed with information and recipes. I wish I had purchased it before buying some of the other raw food cookbooks I own that I won't be using much anymore. And as an added bonus, when you are done reading this massive book, you can bench press it!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2006
I have read several raw food books, and each has it's own strengths and weaknesses. The greatest strength of this book is all of the recipes. I am working towards 100% raw - sometimes for weeks I am 90% and above, and then I go off the wagon, but I'm getting there. While simple juices, fruits and salads are very important to the raw diet, sometimes more elaborate recipes are necessary for transitioning, to calm cravings, or to feed family or friends. I often have this book open on my kitchen counter following the recipes. I have only made a few from this book I didn't like, but most are very good. There are a lot of recipes that duplicate cooked food, but that can be helpful when starting this diet. I tried the enchiladas the other night, and was pleased with them. Some of my favorites are the flax crackers, spincach curry dip, carrot pecan burgers, and fudge balls. Also, the personal transformations stories with pictures were helpful, as well as Alissa's story about how she became raw. Overall, worth the money!
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