Tips and Tricks from the Raw Food Nanny

The Clever Cookstr chats with Stacy Stowers, the "Raw Nanny" and author of Eat Raw Not Cooked, to get her tips and tricks for eating well on the road, and for getting kids to love their vegetables.

Kara Rota
5-minute read
Episode #11

Welcome to the Clever Cookstr, your ultimate window into the kitchens of the world's best cooks. Our guest today is Stacy Stowers, a traveling raw food expert and the author of Eat Raw Not Cooked.

CC: Stacy, you’ve traveled around the country living with all kinds of different families and helping them to change their diet. What are some of the biggest issues you see folks struggling with?

SS: Well, we're all really busy! When you add kids and pets and work and home--families are extremely busy today, and that's why we've found it so easy to eat out of boxes and cans, popping things in the microwave and going through drive-throughs. So getting away from that, and into food that does take a little more prep time, can be a challenge.

CC: I think it's really important to acknowledge that. Especially when you're trying to eat raw food, it's going to take more time than takeout--but that time pays off.

SS: Yes, that time does pay off. I created a class I call "Raw Foods 101" for busy people. So whenever I visit a family--I meet a new family every week, and we spend the week together--I include their community and their friends in the process by holding the class and a dinner party for their friends and family. I show people some easy tricks to make things quick, easy, and fast.

But also, when I go into a new family's home, not everyone is excited that I'm there. Some outright rebel! The creations that I make have to be easy, the ingredients have to be found at their local grocery store, and more importantly, it all has to taste good. It can't taste like that typical "healthy food." I give people the equivalent of creamy key lime pie, or a cheesy cracker. Simplicity is important, and definitely taste is, too..

CC: Let's talk a little bit about what raw food is. People envision 'the salad,' but I know that's only a small portion of the myriad things you eat every day. What other food groups do you focus on?

SS: Raw food is food that has not been heated above 115 to 118 degrees. The belief is that that's when the enzymes and nutrients start to be destroyed.

I think the most important foods out there are green leaves--they're very alkalizing! But not everyone wants to sit down to a salad, especially three times a day. That's where creativity comes in. One meal that's a big favorite for everyone is the Happy Shake, which is a salad in the form of a decadent chocolate soft-serve ice cream, that you eat with a spoon. I serve chips and dip, cheesy kale chips, and other dishes that do creative things with those green leaves.

CC: I think one of the things that people struggle with is, how do you get your kids to eat healthy food? How do you get them excited about eating vegetables? How do you address picky eating?

SS: The best thing parents can do is model good eating, rather than becoming overzealous and hovering over a kid's plate. If you back off, kids will be interested. And then get in the kitchen with them, go grocery shopping with them. Not focusing on what foods are being taken away. My position is easier, because I'm the new person who walks in and makes friends with the kids. That makes it fun and new and exciting. I have a recipe I call "banana roadkill," which is what happens when bananas don't look both ways when they're crossing the road!


About the Author

Kara Rota

Kara Rota headed children’s programming at Chicago’s Green City Market and studied food politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Kara has been a featured speaker at numerous venues including Food Book Fair, the Roger Smith Food Conference, and the Brooklyn Food Conference. She has written about food for Irish America Magazine, West Side Rag, Recipe Relay, and Food + Tech Connect, and is the former Director of Editorial & Partnerships at Cookstr.com.