I don’t exactly remember how but around 4 years ago I discovered the concept of eating only raw foods. After a nine months period of restrictive dieting and working out the raw vegan diet sounded like something worth looking into – you can eat large volumes with little calorific values, it clears your skin and makes your bowel movement easier and more frequent.
I went on and did some research, watched all the documentaries and YouTube videos, read all the blog posts about healing from various diseases and began my 3-week raw food challenge. It wasn’t too hard, I lost 4 kg, my skin cleared up and I was feeling great. I drank no coffee or alcohol during that time and I never felt better.
Then reality hit, went for a pizza, had a bunch of beers and went back to my old ways ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Then reality and old age hit again and I’ve been back on the raw track for almost a month now! So let me tell you a little bit about it.
What is a Raw Food Diet?
Well, it is not another “fad diet” as we normally think of one. It is more a lifestyle that promotes eating more real foods in their natural state.It is about eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked foods so you get all the nutrients and living enzymes in their purest form.
Apparently, raw foodism has been around since the 1800s, and both studies and anecdotal evidence show the benefits of a raw food diet include:
- lowering inflammation
- improving digestion by providing more dietary fiber
- preventing cancer
- preventing or treating constipation
- inceasing energy levels
- improving heart health
- helping with optimal liver function
- clearing up skin
- lowering the amount of carcinogens in diet
- helping you maintain a healthy body weight
Who Can Benefit from a Raw Food Diet?
While you might think otherwise, cooked foods are usually harder to digest than raw foods. Cooking nutrient-dense foods tends to destabilize some of their enzymes and destroy certain antioxidants and vitamins. Raw foods also help alkalize the body, reduce acidity, and have less of a chance of fermenting in the gut and causing inflammation/autoimmune reactions.
This applies to all of us, but some people who can especially benefit from eating more raw foods include those with:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- kidney disease
- gallstones or gallbladder disease
- hormonal imbalance
- Parkinson’s disease
- autoimmune disorders
- food allergies
- trouble with weight gain/obesity
How to Eat More Raw Foods
1. With every meal plan to full up at least half a pate with fresh veggies or fruit – it will fill you up and has very little calories.
2. Smoothies & fresh cold pressed juices are the best way to incorporate a large number of nutrients in not so large volume. This is especially good if you’re having a hard time getting all your leafy greens in. Believe me, you probably wouldn’t be able to eat all the fresh stuff that goes into one portion of juice.
3. Convert your snacks to fruit, nuts and raw energy bars – they’re delicious, filling and will keep your energy levels high for longer.
4. Swap the evening coffee for a juice or coconut water – switching out one cup of coffee for a cold-pressed juice or coconut water will give you more energy than you might think.
5. KIMCHI!! And other fermented foods are excellent for gut health and keeping all your digestive juices flowing. Kefir, kombutcha, sauerkraut. Go, get it!
So why is eating more raw foods so great?
Here are a few of my favorites:
1. General improved health and well being. More energy and mental clarity!
2. Incorporating more raw foods into your diet, somewhat automatically eliminates the foods that are unhealthy. Chemicals, harmful fats, refined starches, refined sugar are just a few.
3. You can actually prevent and reverse disease by incorporating more raw foods into your diet.
4. Weight loss is a naturally occurring benefit when eliminating processed foods and replace them with more raw food.
5. It is better for the environment. Animal products contribute a very large percentage to our greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention the land and water usage and pollution.
6. Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are more available from food in it’s uncooked state.
7. Some types of enzymes that are available in plants are responsible for converting phytochemicals in to extremely beneficial elements for your body. These enzymes are released when the plant is chopped, mashed, pureed or chewed. Cooking destroys these beneficial enzymes.
8. Cooking, especially at high temperatures forms substances that are harmful to your health (acrylamide, advanced glycoxidation, heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).
I would love to hear your reasons for incorporating more raw foods in your diet!