Eating raw foods is natural. Our bodies thrive on all that is fresh and vital. A raw food diet (or increasing the amount of raw food that you eat) is bound to bring a feeling of increased wellbeing.
Raw food diets are based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, preferably organic, such as a variety of fresh fruits and vegies, nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit, fresh juices and purified water.
Why Raw Foods?
Basically a vegetarian diet, the raw food diet promotes eating and drinking ‘living’ foods. Living foods and juices contain the maximum amount of fibre found in raw produce, fibre that can be lost in processing. Such foods are easily metabolised and tend to be lower in calories than the average diet.
Heating food above 116°F destroys enzymes in food that aid in digestion and in absorption of food, diminishing its nutritional value.
Benefits of a Raw Food Diet
A diet of at least 75% raw food offers numerous health benefits, such as increased energy, improved skin appearance, better digestion, weight loss and reduced risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
A raw food diet contains little or no saturated fats, is low in sodium, high in potassium, magnesium, folate and fibre.
Raw food diets are also excellent detox diets. Different combinations of raw, living foods and juices can be used for colon cleansing, liver cleansing, kidney cleansing and skin cleansing.
The Basics of a Raw Food Diet
Any fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, beans, nuts, legumes, young coconut milk – even seaweed – can be menu items of a raw food diet. Your choice of foods may depend on your reasons for dieting, for example:
– sprouted brown rice slows glucose absorption and improves the metabolism
– cabbage supports healthy cellular function; radish leaves act as an anti-oxidant, as does Shitake mushroom
-carrots are a great source of vitamin A as well as encouraging healthy vision and a healthy cardio-vascular system
You can use a sprouter such as the Easy Green automatic sprouter to sprout seeds, grains, beans – even wheatgrass. Sprouts could be called a ‘super food’ – organic sprouts contain enormous levels of proteins, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll pigments and enzymes, and are the ideal natural supplement.
Sprouts can be used in salads and soups, or can be juiced. Fresh juices are a great ready energy supply and a good quality juicer, such as the Kempo Greenpower juicer, produces living juices that are full of essential nutrients.
A great juicing recipe to complement a raw food diet is carrot juice with potato, fennel and apple. Simply juice 4 medium carrots, 2 apples, 1 small potato and 1 small stalk of fennel.
Fennel has been shown to reduce and control inflammation of arthritis, it evens mood fluctuation and depressive states and has the rare nutrient called manganese, plus zinc and vitamin B complex.
The nutritional value of grains and seeds is impressive. They contain most of the vitamins – particularly A, B, and E. They’re also fantastic natural sources of unsaturated fatty acids and lecithin, and an excellent source of proteins.
You can even use soy milk makers to make non-dairy drinks from different beans, rice, nuts, seeds and grains to have with breakfast. If you want something a little more substantial than soy milk you can make your tofu (or, of course, visit a good health food shop).
Essentially, the idea of a raw food diet is to eat unprocessed foods for at least 75% of the time. If the idea of raw food isn’t very appetising to you, you can warm the food a little as long as the food isn’t heated above 116°F.