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Is A Raw Food Bar Really Raw?

Posted Mar 31 2011 4:29pm
Raw Food Bar

There are plenty of companies offering some type of raw food bar that you can buy. You can either order on the internet or find them at your local health food store.

However, you might wonder whether they are really raw. How could raw foods last so long and be a commercial proposition?

In many cases, if you look at the fine print on a raw food bar or on the company websites, you will see that in fact very few, if any, of these vegan snack bars are truly raw. Most of them use some of the following ingredients:

Californian almonds which are pasteurized by law

Cocoa (chocolate powder) from roasted cacao beans, not raw

Pasteurized lemon juice or other pasteurized fruit juices

Cashew nuts which are heated to high temperatures to extract from the shell

It is possible to find cashew nuts that have been shelled in other ways, without using heat, but it is a more expensive process. Many manufacturers therefore choose regular cashews even when they are making what they consider to be a raw food bar.

Pasteurization is a process that heats food to high temperatures, close to boiling point, to kill bacteria and preserve the food. Food that has been pasteurized is not raw.

Some even contain roasted peanuts or regular peanut butter made from roasted ingredients. In fact, if you read the label, you will often find that a raw food bar only contains 50% to 60% raw ingredients. That is not what most people following a raw food diet would want to eat.

However, you can quite easily make a nut-based raw food bar yourself. Take 4 cups of raw nuts* and 8 fresh medjool dates, plus one teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Chop or grind 1 cup of the nuts in a food processor, add half the pitted dates and process again, then another 1 cup nuts, then the rest of the dates. Keep processing after every time you add something. Add another 1 cup of nuts, then lemon juice, and finally the last cup of nuts.

When the mixture is done, you can add dehydrated fruits whole if you want. To have a chocolate flavor, mix in raw cacao powder plus a little agave nectar or other raw sweetener. Then form into bar shapes and refrigerate.

Raw nuts include: most filberts/hazelnuts, cashews from specialist raw food suppliers, most walnuts, brazil nuts in shells, most almonds from outside the USA

In most countries, there is no law that says that a product marked ‘raw’ must be 100% raw, live food, never treated at temperatures above 118 degrees F. The word ‘raw’ is often used to mean something that still needs some cooking, like a bread mix, or nuts that have not been roasted for taste, etc. The ingredients of a bread mix would not really be raw.

Therefore, unfortunately virtually anything could be labeled a ‘raw food bar’. It probably has some raw ingredients and does not contain raw sugar, so it may be healthier than a sugary snack. There may also be some that are truly 100% raw – check labels. In most cases, if you want a truly raw food bar you will need to make your own.

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