Gorilla Food: Living and Eating Organic, Vegan, and Raw

Author: Aaron Ash
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Book Publication: 2012

Gorilla Food: Living and Eating Organic, Vegan, and Raw takes you a step beyond organic and vegan to including raw and living foods in your meals. Proponents of this diet, which is sometimes called raw foodism, believe that the natural enzymes in raw or living foods are beneficial and that these foods have higher nutrient value than foods that have been cooked. They also believe that the cooking process destroys nutrients and creates dangerous chemicals. Thus, ovens, cooking elements, microwaves, and barbecues are avoided. The highest temperature the food is subjected to might be from a food dehydrator, which helps to preserve the food, the temperature of which never heats the food higher than approximately 130°F (54°C).

Eating raw food, though, is more than just consuming as lightly upon the Earth’s resources as possible, it’s also learning to work within limitations to create appetizing meals. In an effort to make raw food preparation easy and fun, chef Aaron Ash has written Gorilla Food. Ash is the founder of a popular organic raw vegan restaurant in Vancouver by the same name and was formerly personal chef to Mike D of the Beastie Boys when the author lived in Los Angeles.

In Gorilla Food, Ash shares his passion for raw food, which has become his calling. He writes, “[m]any people claim to feel cleaner and clearer in mind and body from eating living foods. Personally, I feel more connected to Earth and reality… something that I’ve heard termed the ‘Gaia matrix’; I think it’s ‘the Force.’”

Gorilla Food features more than 200 recipes covering everything from breakfast items to breads, crackers, crêpes and nuts, from sauces, goos, sweet creams, cheez [sic], and spreads to drinks. The book also has lots of photographs which tantalize the taste buds as much as the recipes themselves, which feature such titles as morning curry crêpes, tomato herb flax crackers, and cashew alfredo zucchini linguini (made with “new”dles). A number of recipes require pre-soaking some of the ingredients, which can be for long as overnight. These recipes are helpfully flagged as such.

Because switching to a raw diet takes some preparation beyond changing your grocery shopping habits, Gorilla Food features a list of kitchen tools to make the transition smooth, such as a mandoline, juicer, and a food processor with an s-blade, which is used in many of the recipes. The list also includes what to look for when shopping for these tools and some brands that the author prefers.

My criticism of Gorilla Food is that if you want to make ‘Lasagna-nanda,’ for example, you will spend a lot of time flipping through the book because that recipe has seven ingredients, five of which are other recipes in the book itself. In addition, sometimes these secondary recipes don’t always say that you can use this recipe to make something else in the book, so you might have made the item recently, but not kept enough for the second recipe.

At the other extreme, some of the Gorilla Food recipes are simple, such as tahini and almond butter, which feature just one ingredient each. However, the preparation of these foods is not as straight forward as one might expect, so you might appreciate the recipe’s instructions.

Gorilla Food serves as a good way to expand your food horizons while limiting your impact on the Earth.


Victoria Moorshead is an editor and writer, and a former staff member of Vitality Magazine.

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