When I first moved to Los Angeles and heard of eating this way, the very first thing I envisioned was sushi and steak tartare (which I tried once and thought was awful). But usually when someone is talking about raw foods, they aren’t talking about these foods at all.
What they’re talking about is live, nutritionally-dense, organic (when possible) minimally processed plant-based food. Not the “food-like products” that we’ve become accustomed to grabbing on the go.
Live foods that nurture our bodies, strengthen our immune systems and help keep us healthy. Foods that consist of raw vegetables, greens, fruits, seeds and nuts. Sounds pretty boring, right? But it’s not. I promise.
Although some people are purists, meaning they eat 100% raw 24/7, you will reap benefits from ANY additional amount of raw food that you add to your diet.
My twin toddlers and I aren’t purists. We’re what is considered “high-raw,” which means that our diets consist predominately of raw, live foods.
Personally, I strive to feed myself and my sons 90% plant-based foods with 60-70% of those foods being raw. A significant portion of the other 30% is lightly steamed or gently sauteed.
There are several compelling reasons for adding more raw foods to your diet. Here are 7:
1. ASSIMILATE MANY MORE VALUABLE NUTRIENTS
When food is cooked, its biochemical structure is altered from its original state and up to 90 percent of water soluble vitamins (vitamins B and C) and lipid soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) can be lost.
When eating a good portion of your foods raw, you reap the full nutritional benefits of your foods and every cell, tissue and organ of your body benefits.
2. REDUCE RISK OF CHRONIC DISEASE
The typical American diet consisting of mostly commercially processed refined “foods” is very acidic.
And an acidic body is also an inflamed one. Inflammation plays a central role in heart disease-the number one killer of Americans.
Furthermore, when you eat an acidic diet, you provide a fertile breeding ground for chronic diseases such as cancer. Dr. David Servan-Schreiber discusses this in great detail in his book, “Anti-Cancer, A New Way of Life.”
Vegetables, greens, sprouts and some low-sugar fruits all add to the alkalinity of your blood, making it much more difficult for diseases like cancer to breed-therefore protecting you from heart disease and cancer… and many more serious-and potentially fatal-diseases.
Then there are the nutritive components of a diet high in unadulterated plant foods: the invaluable phytonutrients, fatty acids and antioxidants that further reduce your risk of disease by adequately feeding your tissues and boosting your immune system.
3. INCREASE ENERGY LEVELS
The increase in energy is amazing.
I’ve fallen off the wagon several times in the last 5 years that I’ve been practicing a high-raw lifestyle-and there’s a huge difference in the way I feel.
When my diet is low in raw foods, I’m very lethargic. When it’s at its highest, I enjoy a natural energy.
Why is this?
It’s because digestion is a very energy-intensive process, especially when the body is faced with heavily processed foods and large amounts of animal proteins.
When we free up some of this energy by fueling it with easy-to-digest foods, we FEEL it-and our enzymes are free to do other important work, like releasing toxins and healing itself.
4. EASY WEIGHT LOSS
When I first became interested in the raw lifestyle, I lost five very stubborn pounds pretty much overnight. Weight that I’d been trying to lose for months. This weight and a couple more pounds came off easily and stayed off.
The body has no trouble digesting most raw foods. It processes them easily and fully.
According to Natalia Rose, author of “The Raw Food Detox Diet,” this isn’t the case with processed and some cooked foods. Foods that tend to create a type of waste that the body has a difficult time processing.
Some of this waste remains in the body, stored indefinitely, contributing to issues such as weight gain and toxicity.
5. BETTER DIGESTION
Raw plant-based foods contain live enzymes which actually help your foods digest themselves.
Also, unless you’re eating a lot of improperly combined, complex raw dishes (which you can easily do at a buffet-style raw food function), you won’t have to deal with much-if ANY-bloating when eating high-raw.
I never feel bloated when eating high-raw. Never. Even if I’d just had three raw brownies with sweet raspberry sauce. I definitely can’t say that when I’m eating mostly cooked foods.
6. MORE YOUTHFUL APPEARANCE
Raw fruits and vegetables will hydrate and nourish your organs and keep everything more youthful.
A lot of raw foodists report the return of youthful, dewy skin and clearer eyes when they take up the raw lifestyle.
7. YOU JUST FEEL MORE ALIVE
You just feel more alive when eating raw foods.
I’m serious. You do. I think most (if not all) raw foodists and enthusiasts like me would attest to that.
I sometimes get an amazing “high” from some of my raw soups and smoothies. I also feel happier when eating high-raw. There’s a sense of “wellness” that you feel when you nurture your body with nutrients-especially when you eat large amounts at one sitting.
The consumption of Raw Foods is one of the most important keys to good health and longevity. Do yourself and your family a favor and begin adding more raw foods to your diets today!