The basic premise of a raw food diet is that 80% or more of all food that is eaten is uncooked. Raw and living foods are unprocessed, unrefined, cold-pressed, and never heated above 44˚C (115˚F). This means that all the living enzymes in the food remain intact and that your body can easily digest and assimilate every nutrient and deliver them to every cell in your body, giving you abundant energy, vitality and glowing health. Raw foods consist of organic vegetables, fruit, freshly made juices, nuts and seeds, gluten free grains (ie: buckwheat, quinoa, millet), legumes which can all be sprouted for optimum nutrition, sea vegetables (such as kelp, arame, dulse), apple cider vinegar, fermented foods, miso paste, barley or wheat grass, superfoods such as cacao, acai, goji, maca powder, camu camu powder, blue-green algae, spirulina, chlorella and cold pressed, virgin, organic unrefined oils such as coconut, hemp, flaxseed, and pumpkin oil. These ingredients allow you to go on to make the most amazing array of dishes, from dehydrated kale chips, superfood smoothies with almond milk and cacao, simple salads, cultured vegetables, nut cheeses, “pasta” dishes made from vegetables, or a “pizza” made from sprouted buckwheat or activated nuts & veges, home made “granola” to decadent desserts that are all gluten free, diary free, sugar free and taste divine! Food preparation techniques that are used as part of raw food diets include: sprouting seeds, grains and beans, juicing, soaking nuts and dried fruit, blending and dehydrating. Some raw food dishes such as soups are slightly heated in winter until warm but they still retain their full nutritional value. One of the many benefits of a raw food diet is that it’s very alkalising. Your body’s natural state is to be alkaline, around 7.3 on the Ph scale. Your blood needs to be in this constant alkaline state to keep your blood cells alive and for all body systems to function optimally.
Benefits of a Raw Food Diet:
Raw foods that are eaten as part of the diet are very high in vitamins and minerals which are vital to good health. As a bonus, they are easily digested by the body, meaning that the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream more readily and that your body doesn’t use up a lot of energy digesting these foods as it does with meat and other heavy protein foods. As a result you feel lighter, less bloated and more energised. There is also a high water content in fruit and vegetables, which alleviates any problems with constipation that can sometimes accompany a high fibre diet. Since raw foods diets are high in are so many vitamins and minerals, you are less likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as cancer, many of which result from nutritional deficiencies and low antioxidant levels.
You will have clearer skin, brighter eyes and stronger hair and nails. You will be able to concentrate more easily and for longer, and your moods will be more stable. You will also find that you are sleeping better and waking refreshed. A raw food diet can also assist with weight loss as you will be eating less saturated fats, sugars and processed grains. Because there are less saturated and transfats in a raw food diet so you will also be able to reduce your risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
Raw food retains it high nutrient and enzyme content so our digestive systems are not relying on our own enzymes as much. Raw food is easily digestible and gives you more energy than cooked foods. The enzymes in raw food assist with digestion and stimulate our metabolism. Raw and fermented foods also boost our levels of healthy bacteria in the gut which we need for overall immunity and vibrant health.
Any Risks When Going Raw?
A raw food diet encourages you not to consume meat and to replace meat with nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds don’t contain the same amount of amino acids as meat does, meaning that you need to eat more of these to make up the protein that the body needs.
If you are just switching to a raw food diet you may find that you go through minor symptoms of detoxification such as altered bowel movements, headaches, low energy and food cravings. This is due to the toxins that are found in many standard diets, such as additives, preservatives, pesticide residues, and so on being eliminated which will soon pass once your liver and bowels are less toxic.
A raw food diet can cause more flatulence initially due your digestive enzymes trying to break down the fibre and cellulose content in fruits and veggies-this will lessen once your digestion has improved.
Raw food diets may not be suitable for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with anaemia, or people that are at risk of osteoporosis.