What are raw foods and what they can do for you?
Raw foods are simply whole fresh foods such as greens, veggies, sprouts, mushrooms, fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, and some grains that have not been cooked (or heated above 115F in their preparation). Another raw-goody is raw honey, which tastes amazing and is loaded with enzymes, but if you’re goin’ for 100% vegan then raw agave nectar is a great alternative. The majority of raw foodies are vegan but, some also consume raw animal products like dairy, eggs and meat (I don’t consume these things myself but if you choose to, make sure you do your homework on the safety of eating raw animal products! Not knockin’ it, I just want to make sure people eat healthy and safe! ). I’m considered a raw “bee-gan” because my diet contains no animal products, other than those made by bees.
When I first heard of raw foods, visions of carrot sticks and salad danced in my head, and being a foodie at heart I thought, “No freakin’ way!” but, after having my first taste of raw tacos at Loving Life Café my gourd was blown! With no (or low) heat food preparation methods, such as blending, food processing and dehydrating (amongst some other clever and cool tricks) you can create amazing and tasty dishes that are great stand-ins for (and often times way tastier than) their cooked counterparts! Another awesome thing is that the prep and clean-up is often way easier than with cooked meals (i.e. no greasy pots to scrub or stoves to baby-sit for hours on end!).
Why raw?? Here’s a quick break-down of the benefits of eating your foods closer to their natural unprocessed state!
Raw-foods are whole-foods! Whole foods contain loads of awesome readily available vitamins and minerals along with their counterparts (co-factors) that allow for easy absorption of these healthy goodies! Adding more raw foods into your diet can help correct many conditions that are caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies!
Your body can recognize what it’s eating! Not to slander cooked foods too much (especially because I wasn’t always a raw-foodist!) but, when we cook foods we change its’ structure, denature many of the vitamins, minerals and proteins in it, and lose a lot of the inherent water content of it. All this leads to food that is not pre-coded for the body to deal with, that is rough on the digestion, and we’re missing out on a lot of the good stuff that was there before we toasted it! I’m not preaching or recommending that you just drop your cooked foods cold turkey (there’s a pun there I just know it), but rather consider adding more raw-unprocessed foods into your diet and seeing how it makes you feel!
Get alkalized! When our bodies become acidic due to stress, hard work or acidifying eats, we can have a lot of issues from it, such as soreness, aches and pains, candida, and weight retention (our body actually often stores fat in an effort to buffer us against the acidic foods we consume!) Keeping our bodies closer to the neutral side of the pH scale can help prevent (or even reverse) many of these ailments and promote weight loss! Many raw foods (especially greens, watermelons, and lemons) are alkalizing to our body (compared to cooked foods, which are mostly acid forming).
More useable proteins! The amino acids in raw foods haven’t been denatured by cooking and are super easy for your body to absorb and put to good work! As in the case of meat, up to 50% of its’ original protein content is left denatured and not absorbable after cooking. For those with protein concerns rest assured there is an abundance of them in raw plant foods, especially greens!
Because raw foods are so easy to digest your body will have more energy, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and water that it needs to work to its full potential (which can be pleasantly surprising!). Adding more raw foods to can do a LOT for your life as it’s done for me such as…
*Weight-loss (I’ve shed 90lbs since gettin’ raw!),
*LOTS of extra energy (trust me you’ll find plenty of fun stuff to do with it!),
*Reduction or elimination of annoying aches and pains (including headaches!),
*Less instances of getting sick (because your immune system will be free to do what it does best!),
*Clear skin (including reduction and possibly disappearance of scars)
*Stronger teeth and nails (thanks to more minerals!),
*Working out becomes fun with less tiredness/soreness afterwards (I find that I can do lots of resistance and muscle building exercises without feeling super stiff and achy! This reduced recovery time has made it more enjoyable and easy for me to stick with it and get faster results!)
*Improvements in eyesight (I haven’t needed stronger eyeglasses since I went raw!)
And waaaay too many other awesome benefits to list! There are so many inspirational and touching testimonials by people that have undergone major improvements to their lives by simply adding more raw foods to their plates! Join some of the many online raw-food communities such as Raw Food Rehab and Give it to me Raw to connect with others that are giving this lifestyle a go and feeling the difference!
Many fun and healthy wishes to you! ~ Rory :0)