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Fresh: The Ultimate Live-Food Cookbook Paperback – April 22, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Raw food makes us healthy, reverses aging, and improves our appearance, and now you are holding in your hands the proof of raw food's value in rearing exemplary youth. On every page of this book, the authors will surprise and delight you with fresh insights and deep understanding into the child-parent relationship. Their intelligence is vivid, their wisdom is astute, and their love for others is stupendous. Whether you are a parent or child, you will gain insight from this book.”
—Tonya Zavasta, author of Your Right to Be Beautiful and Quantum Eating

“Sergei and Valya share much wisdom and wit with sound nutritional guidance. They have been well taught and have a unique ability to share with others their perspective on the path to ultimate health.”
—Brigitte Mars, author of Rawsome!, Beauty by Nature, The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, and Addiction Free—Naturally

“Valya's and Sergei's new book inspires and encourages people to explore, persevere, and also to be courageous and imaginative with their new way of eating. They offer helpful and practical guidance and recipes that provide a foundation for success and enjoyment on a raw vegan diet.”
—Vance M. Logan, MD

“Not only do Sergei and Valya prepare the most delicious raw foods, which is talent enough, but the clarity, wisdom, and insights they share about food and health are breathtaking. This book is a must-read for any aspiring health seeker-no question. What they teach now is unbelievably cutting-edge, and everyone should know it.”
—Karen Knowler, the Raw Food Coach

“The Boutenkos are so far ahead of their time in nutritional wisdom, but draw from the oldest and most simple, instinctive knowledge… The first quarter of [Fresh] is full of insight and information. The rest is comprised of recipes that are accessible and loosely written as to encourage experimentation.”
Eco Mama’s Guide to Living Green

“Most of the recipes are quite simple and made with ingredients that are readily available… Fresh: The Ultimate Live-Food Cookbook is a really good place to start if you are interested in exploring the world of raw food.”
Mindful Momma

“The compassion, presence and creativity one finds in Fresh will touch the lives of anyone who reads it, just as Sergei and Valya's love, clarity and maturity continue to impress and inspire in person.”
VegFamily Magazine

Fresh has many savory dishes, fermented foods, travel and survival foods, drinks, and desserts, plus an inventory of all the uncommon fruits you’ve wanted to eat, but didn’t know how to handle… You’ll find the special section that introduces foraging for wild edibles… and suggestions for ways to get kids involved in a raw kitchen.”
Vegan Raw Ranch

About the Author

Sergei Boutenko and Vayla Boutenko are second-generation members of the Raw Family, among the foremost authorities on raw foods. With their father Igor and mother Victoria, the award-winning author of Green for Life, they have inspired raw food communities to form worldwide. They live in Ashland, OR.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books; 14059th edition (April 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556437080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556437083
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have at least four other raw food cookbooks. The recipes in them always have a thousand ingredients and take forever to produce. I wind up not using them because of the exotic ingredients or the time it takes to make the food. Soaking, cutting, blending, juicing, dehydrating, all in one recipe usually!

This book uses simple, available ingredients and a minimum of time to prepare. I can usually prepare a dish from what's already in my house, which if you've used any other book, is usually impossible. Yes you might need to blend something and then dehydrate it, but you probably didn't have to soak it and juice it and hang it somewhere first.

The other thing I really like about the book is that if you use their recipes for salad dressings, for example, you are not just adding flavor, but you are also adding nutritional content. It's all very well thought-out. It's a lovely little book that I recommend to anyone who is interested in making simple, elegant raw food dishes that taste great.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after trying 2 raw food cookbooks. They were very time consuming and needed expensive ingredients. This book is a breath of fresh air. The recipes are easy & tasty. I like that the ingredients are not expensive. These are recipes I can use daily.
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Format: Paperback
The precocious Boutenko duo is all grown up! Having co-authored Eating Without Heating: Favorite Recipes from Teens Who Love Raw Food during their teenage years, Sergei and Valya of the famous "Raw Family" now present wisdom from fifteen years of raw foodism.

Fresh includes "over 250 recipes from the Raw Family test-kitchen," both favorites from earlier Boutenko books, as well as new recipes using raw cacao, goji berries and wild edibles. They offer full color photographs of common "wild foods" like nettles, sheep sorrel, chickweed and purslane often belittled as "weeds" and show how such no-cost foods can supercharge salads and smoothies without breaking the bank. Readers who recall stories of the Boutenkos foraging for wild lettuce and berries on their Pacific Coast Trail hiking journey can now harvest some of nature's best superfoods at home. The book lists the twenty-three most toxic plants (excluding mushrooms) and encourages readers to be safe and learn how to identify them. Despite this warning, Fresh focuses on the abundance of nutritionally dense and beneficial plants available sometimes, quite literally, in our own backyard!

All recipes exclude meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, but some do contain honey. Vegans can easily substitute raw agave nectar or dates for the honey, though. In fact, Sergei writes an entire section on the importance of improvisation and customization. For those with gluten allergies, this book offers an almost gluten-free experience. A few recipes call for sprouted barley or rolled oats, but the vast majority are completely gluten-free, vegan and tasty!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm not really the audience for this book. I picked it up on a lark because, honestly, I was curious and I'm always on the lookout for quick recipes that don't require cooking. Additionally, I love smoothies and the description indicated that there was a big section full of these types of drinks.

Fresh is interesting, especially in the beginning where the authors discuss the lifestyle and their own experiences with it. I'm a tad cynical that eating this way will automatically solve all of your health woes like the authors seem to hint at, but I can definitely see the benefit of eating fresh, non-processed foods.

Here's the thing. If you are going to follow this lifestyle and get the most from this book you need three things:

1) A dehydrator
2) Access to exotic fruits and items
3) Determination

My biggest problem with the book is that all of the recipes seemed to be less a recipe and more of a guide. The actual instructions are usually no more than a sentence or three that involves "Blend ingredients. Serve" or "Dehydrate ingredients. Serve." Sometimes, they're more complicated: "Blend ingredients. Dehydrate ingredients. Serve." I'm being a tad facetious but mostly not.

In the middle of the book there's a few pictures of items. One in particular looked divine: a chocolate dessert. It provided the page number and I was shocked when the instructions were simply to blend and serve. Wait a minute, I thought to myself, the picture is of little bit-sized candies with a little strip of chocolate on them...there has to be more to the instructions than that. But there wasn't. Blend and serve. Right.
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Format: Paperback
It is a bold move to include words like "ultimate" in the title of a non-fiction book of any kind. On first look, I was disappointed by the seeming simplicity of the recipes, but after 6 months of ownership, this is the raw foods un-cookbook that I come back to on a daily basis for quick, tasty eats and "weekday" meals. I believe that is definitely one of the "ultimate" in accessible raw food recipes for a few reasons, the first being that the ingredients may be obtained at any well-stocked market. That is great when you are on a budget! Second, the recipes are quick and are only time-consuming if "dehydrate" is part of directions. Third, raw foods is about playing with ingredients and taste! We all have different taste buds and I have grown to really like the fact that the authors purposefully stay away from exact amounts in the recipes. It leaves one free to play with different combos while having nice guidelines to guide the overall flavor of the dishes. Because of this collection of recipes, I am now able to combine my own raw foods dishes based on the flavor teachings of the authors. All of the recipes that I have tried (and re-tried!) have been delicious and satisfying. I am especially fond of the russian carrot salad, gorilla burgers, chocolate pudding, and a variety of bar cookies.
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