To most people the term “raw food diet” might seem a little extreme, if not far-fetched. That’s why I want to spend a little bit of time today explaining exactly what Raw Food is all about, and a few reasons why some people include more Raw Food in their diet.
(Oh, and just a little reminder that I’m not advocating a strict 100% raw food diet. I think we can all benefit from more raw food, but it might not be right for everyone right off the bat. Right batman? Right.)
(If you’re reading this via email click here to watch the quick introductory video.)
What Does The Raw Food Diet Consist Of?
The raw food diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. These four main food groups are great because they are essentially the revitalizers and immune system builders of the body. Not to mention that anyone can benefit from more fruits vegetables in their diet.
Reasons Why Raw Food is “Raw”
The raw food diet further qualifies food that is raw by stating that it not be heated above 112 Fahrenheit. The reason being that food heated above 112 Fahrenheit loses some of its digestive enzymes. All foods have enzymes that help us digest and absorb nutrients properly. Without these enzymes, we use our own limited supply of enzymes to digest food.
Raw Food as a Creative Outlet
Okay, you might be thinking that eating a bunch of carrots and raisins is not going to keep your taste buds happy. Fortunately, raw food is full of opportunities for creative food prep.
- Raw food allows you to make wacky green smoothies that are full of essential nutrients that help you maintain your weight while building strong bones and muscles.
- Raw food is a great way to try new fruits and vegetables that you’ve never even heard of before. Fancy trying durian fruit, or venturing out into new green territory with kale, collards, swiss chard, or even dandelion greens?
- With raw food you have a chance to experiment with new food combinations and spices. You can load up your blender with produce, hit the blend button, and cross your fingers. Chances are it will turn out tasting great.
I hope this quick article gave you a little more insight into exactly what the raw food diet consists of.
I just wanted to add that there are also variations of the diet that include raw dairy products, eggs, and even raw meat. I don’t think any one diet has all the answers, and I encourage you to find what works for you.
Photo by D Sharon Pruitt
Is it possible that including more raw foods into your life is actually easier than going vegan? Let’s look at some comparisons to find out.
Raw vs. Vegan Imitation Foods
Although both raw foods and vegan foods provide so-called imitation foods, raw foods tend to be very different from their cooked counterparts. When you’re eating vegan chips, it’s very different from eating celery sticks.
That’s not to say that Raw Food doesn’t have any foods that mimic your favorite cooked foods. The difference is that vegan foods tend to resemble your old time pre-vegan favorites.
The reason it’s so much easier to go raw on some level, is that you’re not trying to trick yourself. You know you’re eating raw food and exactly what it is, and you’re not lying to yourself.
Less Tofu and Soy Products
For a number of years soy based products have been touted as a health food, and many vegetarian and vegan “fake meat” products are made of tofu. Soy can cause all kinds of issues if eaten in large quantities.
Soy causes hormonal imbalances, that can surface as less masculine males, and mood disorders for females. Soy is also an allergen for many people, and can cause all kinds of issues such as thyroid problems and lowered immunity if eaten in large quantities.
Asian countries generally did not eat a lot of soy, they fermented it for 3 years and used it as a light condiment. I am often surprised by how little we know about other cultures that supposedly eat a lot of soy in their diet.
One thing to consider is that although soy is very common in Asian countries today, consumption has changed a lot in recent years as advertising and manufacturing changed.
Raw Food Energy
In terms of energy, Raw Food cannot be beat. Since you are eating fresh raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds your body knows how to digest these basic food groups. So you get the fuel from it immediately.
Raw food also places an emphasis on food combination, which helps people to digest quickly without taxing their system and experiencing a dip in energy.
Raw Food Going Mainstream?
The more people who include raw foods in their diet, the more normal it will become. The same thing happened with vegetarianism. When “regular people” started ordering vegetarian meals, it became acceptable to be vegetarian.
A vegan diet high in Raw Food is also a good alternative, if raw isn’t right for you.
It is easier to include more raw food in your diet than it is to eliminate meat and dairy. That’s because you’re starting with a blank slate, whereas veganism and vegetarianism focus on removing certain foods.
When going raw, you are straightforward with yourself about what you’re really eating, you avoid soy and all of the common problems associated with it, and you increase your energy levels.Read More
There are a lot of common reasons for going raw. To lose weight, solve a digestive problem, or heal your relationship with food. But here’s a list of 9 things that resulted from adding more raw food into my diet, in a question and answer format.
1. How to Try New Fruits and Vegetables? Eat More Raw Food.
One of the interesting things that happened after I started eating more raw food, is that I started to try different things at the supermarket. I tried all kinds of new vegetables and fruits that I had never even heard of before. Some of my new favorites include durian, mangosteen, and persimmons.
I also rediscovered some of my old favorite fruits like strawberries and raspberries. I used to pick raspberries from my grandmother’s raspberry patch when I was a kid, and going raw really rekindled those good memories.
Photo by The Futuristics
2. How to Get Started Gardening? Eat More Raw Food.
I was never much of a gardener, but after going raw I realized that we are much more connected to nature and we think we are. Starting a garden was a revelation for me. I discovered how the earth we walk on every day is responsible for the food we eat. (Yes, even meat!)
Now I just love going through the garden and figuring out all kinds of tricks to get better results. Weeding the garden isn’t as fun as planting or harvesting, but it’s definitely a fun and enjoyable activity for me.
3. Want to Try Alternative Medicine? Eat More Raw Food.
At the same time that I decided to go raw, I also decided to explore the world of alternative medicine. Not so much by choice as by circumstance. With the magic of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I was able to heal a lot of my internal imbalances naturally.
Chinese Medicine also places a lot of importance on the foods we eat as medicine themselves. Just like Hippocrates did, saying “Let Food Be Thy Medicine.”
4. How to Reduce Acne? Eat More Raw Food.
I’ve had acne since I was 10 or 11 years old. My parents and I thought it was just my hormones, and so I went on the birth control pill when I was young.
Back when I was a kid, my vegetarian martial arts instructor, used to tell me that food was causing my acne. Of course I didn’t want to believe it, so I continued to ignore this advice. Now that I’ve been raw, and the longer I stay raw, the clearer my skin looks.
5. How to Take Back Your Kitchen? Eat More Raw Food.
Before going raw I knew very little about cooking or preparing food for myself. I ate at a cafeteria in high school and University. I didn’t know how to feed myself so I resorted to lots of packaged and pre-made “foods”.
Going raw really taught me about nutrition and how to make food for myself, and for others. That’s really made a big difference for me, because I don’t have to look in the fridge and cupboards and wonder what you eat.
Photo by Sporkist
6. How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint? Eat More Raw Food.
Everything we do has an impact, and right now everyone is even more aware of the impact that their food choices are having on the planet. I learned that for 1 person eating a piece of steak, there are 49 people eating out of an empty bowl. If you don’t have steak, all 50 people could have grain in their bowls, including you.
Meat has many more hidden “side effects” than we like to think about when we’re having a nice dinner. All of these hidden steps cause so much environmental waste. It’s not time to waste, instead let’s be very efficient in our environmental choices right now.
7. How to Improve Your Grades? Eat More Raw Food.
I went raw during University, and I truly believe that raw food helped me get better grades. I was able to concentrate better in class, and to prepare meals quickly for myself. Starting my day off on the right foot and focusing really helped me to learn better, and I definitely got better grades after I went raw.
8. How to Make Doing Dishes Less Boring? Eat More Raw Food.
With raw food there are no greasy pans. Yes, if I want to make something complex I might need to use a bunch of different ingredients and appliances. But overall, there’s a lot less greasy pan scrubbing, and a lot more going outside to enjoy the sunshine happening for me.
9. How to Increase Your Self Confidence? Eat More Raw Food.
Now that I’ve educated myself about what’s healthy and what’s not, I feel that I have more control and understanding of what is going into my body. I no longer have to look at so-called experts to figure out what it is to eat.
Whether meat is good or meat is bad, or carbs are good and then carbs are bad. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. I make my own choices, and I listen to my body to find out if I need to make any changes to my diet.
What About You?
What has raw done for you? Anyone can answer, whether you’re just starting out on raw food are not. I want to find out about your experiences, because we’re all in this together.Read More
Photo by Darwin Bell
In keeping with my mission to help people understand raw and living foods better, I’ve decided to start a weekly series here on Raw Food Switch.
This week with Mother’s Day just gone by, I chose to focus on raw foods for mothers. Moms can most definitely benefit from raw foods, whether they go all raw or not. I’m not a mom, so many of these benefits are those reported by friends and other raw vegans.
1. Increased Breast Milk
If you’re a new mother having a hard time providing breast milk for your child, you will be pleased to know that raw food can help. You don’t need to go all raw in order to get the benefits of raw food, and provide enough milk to your children.
Simply drinking 8-16 ounces of green leafy juices every day will help you produce more milk. Here’s a simple recipe that you can use and adapt:
- 5 Leaves of kale, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, bok choy, or other green leafy vegetable
- 2 Stalks celery
- 1 Apple
- Half a lemon
You could also add some carrots, cabbage, or more apples to change the taste!
2. Weight Loss After Giving Birth
Every woman wants to be able to get back to their slim selves after giving birth. Sometimes it’s a lot easier said than done.
If you’ve been eating a high percentage of raw foods before and during your pregnancy, you won’t have much to worry about.
On the other hand if you put on some weight that’s just not coming off, be gentle with yourself and take the transition to raw foods slowly. You don’t want to experience detox while you are breast-feeding.
Just know that incorporating more raw foods, green smoothies, and salads in your diet will get you where you want to be. Oh, and that little thing called exercise too, but you’re smart and you already knew that. ;)
3. Reduced Post-Partum Depression
Be sure to eat enough chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and other nuts & seeds before, during, and after your pregnancy. These foods give you tons of healthful Omega-3 fatty acids, that prevent post-partum depression.
Plus if you continue to feed your brain with these healthy oily nuts and seeds, you will be able to better deal with stress.
Being a mom can be a stressful job, so give your brain the ability to “shut down” the stress response when it needs to with these Omega-3 foods!Read More