I love how much enthusiasm I’m getting in my local area from people who are interested in the health benefits of including more raw foods. (Celebrate because this is in South Dakota!) This leads to the main questions always asked at first. Why Raw?
Because I believe in Living to Thrive, Not just Survive…
I believe a healthful diet is first of all one that works with your body, is predominately plant-based, and revolves around the rules
Eat Real Food. Not too much. And mostly Plants.
That’s a good motto to follow when switching to eating healthier.
If you’re eating real foods, you will be automatically be straying away from processed junk which has too many chemicals (which no one can pronounce), picking fresh choices, and helping your body naturally align with how it should be to thrive when consuming mostly plants.
I am not dogmatic. I care mostly that people learn to love wholesome and nourishing plant foods, and if they must, choose organic and free range animal products to support their health. And the more raw foods they can include, the better….
What does Raw Mean?
Raw (or the ‘raw food lifestyle’) is thought of as a ‘Living Food lifestyle’ where 70-80% of what you eat is living plant foods such as greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouted legumes, sprouted grains, and misc. foods such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and super foods. (like maca, cacao, and seaweeds!)
When a plant is Raw, it has not been heated above 118 degrees (according to Dr. Edward Howell, Enzyme Nutrition), therefore its valuable nutrients and enzymes remain intact. Enzymes are catalysts that seriously help with EVERY function in the human body.
Our body hosts two types of enzymes: metabolic (which run our bodies) and digestive (which participate in digesting our food).They are responsible for the release of nutrients out of the foods we eat. If food is cooked, it does not carry enzymes and the body is forced to use up its own digestive enzymes.
When you cook your food, you are destroying the valuable nutrients, denaturing the protein, and actually changing the structure of the plant. Not to mention, the most plants in their raw state (besides some cruciferous veggies, some squash, and tomatoes) are better absorbed and digested by the body.
If you plant a piece of processed food, it will rot and mold. A nut or seed, however, will grow and bloom into more life.
Living food = life.
Dead food = Degenerative food.
That’s why I choose raw.
“You won’t be surprised that diseases are innumerable—count the cooks.” Seneca (4 BC-AD 65), Epistles
How can I start incorporating more Raw?
A lot of raw recipes call for kitchen tools like dehydrators, blenders, and mandolins, but it’s entirely possible to start eating more raw recipes without all the latest tools.
If you want to get them, though, an affordable way is to look on eBay or check out your local Craigslist for deals on equipment.
Raw plant foods are bountiful. See that apple? Pick it up and eat it. 🙂 Make a HUGE salad with as many veggies as you like and either create a dressing with an inexpensive blender, or squeeze some lemon and flax oil over it. If you want more flavors, add spices, herbs, peppers, nutritional yeast, avocado, etc.
A really good way to start adding more raw foods is to adopt ONE meal a day to be completely raw.
Breakfast is really easy. Make a green smoothie, or if you have a dehydrator make granolas, ‘raw pancakes’…. The options are endless. With smoothies, though, you can’t go wrong.
Or at night, make a HUGE salad as listed above (there are great recipes on the net too) and add whole foods like a sweet potato, peas, beans, or whatever you like to get in the habit of eating more whole foods.
Do I need to be 100% Raw to get the benefits?
Definitely not. Although it doesn’t hurt to be eating a large part of your diet raw, many follow 80% raw, 20% whole foods which allows room for leniency and it works for them.
Beginning out – just add more raw foods in and you’ll notice a difference. Naturally you will strive for more recipes as you wish.
I actually don’t advocate 100% raw – want to know why?
First of all it’s really easy to get dogmatic about being so super strict, plus there are so many variations on the ‘raw lifestyle’ you’ll confuse the crap out of yourself.
Second, eating steamed whole foods and veggies is a lot healthier than trying to digest 4 cups of nuts and seeds every day. In nature you wouldn’t naturally have such opportunity to eat that many. (think of the walnut and how little nut you get from each pod/shell).
Raw food recipes are great, but whole foods with an emphasis on raw is better.