Some Like It Raw

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The Cleanest Diet
Before you embark on a raw-food diet, it helps to know the ground rules: All your food must be organic, and no animal products or processed foods are allowed. It's like veganism without the tofu, fortified soy or cereal products, or faux meats.

Raw staples include fruits and vegetables, sprouted legumes and grains, sea vegetables, and nearly every kind of nut. Coconuts, dates, avocados, and puréed and fermented nut cheeses play prominent roles (especially at restaurants) due to their rich supply of texture- and flavor-enhancing fat and protein.

Because uncooked doesn't necessarily mean cold, many raw recipes are designed to mimic cooked dishes like paté, lasagna, or pad Thai, and are served at just under 118 degrees.

For Melngailis, a typical day of raw eating starts with fresh-cut fruit or a blended fruit smoothie. "It depends on what's in season," she says. "Right now, I'm eating tons of watermelon." Lunch hour calls for "a really big salad" of greens, sunflower sprouts, and avocado, dressed with macadamia oil and lime juice, and topped with a sprinkling of raw rosemary crackers. And for dinner, Melngailis digs into an heirloom tomato lasagna that forgoes cheese in favor of a creamy-tasting blend of soaked pine nuts, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and sea salt. Between meals, she snacks on raw cookies made from coconut, nuts, and dried fruits.