The first time I heard the raw food diet mentioned, I was perplexed. How could someone eat celery and carrot sticks every day? Even on a plant-based diet you can still eat French fries! And what about refried beans, caramelized onions or pizza!?
What if I told you, you could have all these things and more? That the raw food diet will fuel your body with the most nutrient-dense foods our planet has to offer. And that the flavours are complex and bursting with deliciousness.
1. Why Raw?
When food is cooked, the enzymes and vitamins within the food are damaged. We need the natural enzymes present in raw, living foods to help boost digestion and fight chronic disease. And although there are many benefits to eating cooked food, it does affect these important nutrients. However, as long as the food is not heated above 45 degrees C, the enzymes and nutrients remain intact.
2. Who Would Benefit Most From a Raw Food Diet?
Those who are ready for a lifestyle change or who have chronic health conditions would benefit greatly from a raw food diet. Raw foods by nature are naturally anti-inflammatory and can reduce chronic issues over time. Raw foods can also re-balance existing nutrient deficiencies.
3. Emphasize Whole, Organically Grown, Unprocessed Foods
Experiment with your food. Start with a diverse variety of raw fruits, veggies, sprouted nuts and seeds, fermented foods, seaweed and sprouted pseudo-grains such as quinoa and buckwheat foods as your staples. There are endless possibilities of flavour and you can even replicate your own favourite comfort foods in a ‘raw food’ style.
4. Chew Chew Chew
Incomplete chewing leads to improper digestion and can cause discomfort. Chewing is also the first step of digestion. Our saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that is activated even before we eat. Manually mixing food with saliva begins to break down carbohydrates into simple sugars.
5. Nutrient Density
Many ‘superfoods’ are typically consumed within the raw foods diet, such as kale, blueberries, garlic, fermented foods and sprouts. If you are getting a variety, you will get everything the body needs and more. Brightly coloured foods with the most pigments provide more antioxidants and immune-boosting nutrients. And, raw foods like cacao and blue-green algae contain a chemical called PEA (phenylethylamine), known as ‘the love molecule’ which increases serotonin and dopamine production, contributing to an overall feeling of happiness.
You don’t have to be perfect if you decide to try a raw food diet. If you base 50 per cent of your diet on raw, plant-based foods, it will have a huge impact on your life. After all, it’s not about what we do occasionally, it’s about what we do consistently that will make the biggest impact on our happiness and overall feeling of health and wellbeing.