Raw Food 101
If you had told me a decade ago that my diet today would revolve around raw vegan foods, I would have told you that you were nuts! I too once loved rich dairy cheeses and fried foods. I also wanted to lose weight, clear up my skin and experience boundless amounts of energy. So here I am today, a raw food enthusiast, thriving on raw natural foods. The raw diet is focused on whole foods – fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables and other foods in their natural state. This is a vegan diet, using no animal products. Raw fooders still have plenty of milk, cheese and other goodness, but we creatively use whole plant-based recipes to make our comfort foods. The raw food diet is not restrictive. It’s simply eating foods that fuel and nourish your body.
Before, a “raw food diet” seemed extreme and unappealing to me, because I didn’t understand what it was about. Once I learned that raw food was fruits, vegetables and healthful fats prepared in an attractive way, I got more interested. I started eating this way because I was worried about my health. I was carrying more weight than I wanted, and I was tired of nutrition advice that felt counter-intuitive or just didn’t produce the results I was looking for. In my search for optimum health, raw foods have provided what I needed in a delicious and varied way. It has been an incredible journey and provided a pathway for eating that I can easily stay with for the rest of my life. I encourage everyone to give it a try and see what changes occur!
Here are some of the reasons why I am enthusiastic about Raw Foods:
A Focus on Nutrient Dense, Unprocessed Foods
The three main raw food groups are fresh fruits, vegetables (particularly green leafy vegetables) and natural fats such as avocados, nuts, and seeds. These foods come fresh from the earth. I grow them and buy them unprocessed, free from irradiation, pesticides and other additives. That means the foods I eat are packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients needed for optimum health.
Most nutrients are like humans – sensitive to heat. When you heat most foods they lose nutrition. I eat them raw and get the benefits of vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants and enzymes. A raw food diet provides more than enough calcium, protein, fiber and other essential nutrients. For more detailed nutritional information on the raw food diet, sign up for our newsletter to receive our Raw Food 101 tutorial.
When I eat cooked food, I am more likely to make unhealthy choices. When eating out I have no idea what I am putting in my mouth – the quality of the food, what it is cooked in, the amount of salt, msg, oil, refined sugar, etc. Cooking at home isn’t much better, whether it’s eating canned tomatoes loaded with salt or pre-cooked polenta loaded with preservatives. Why put all that unhealthy stuff in my body? Raw foods don’t have any of these unhealthful additives.
Because the food I eat is no nutritious, I have more energy. I don’t feel sluggish or tired nearly as much, so I am able to accomplish much in my day, every day. I strongly believe and experience that eating raw is the answer to optimum vitality.
Raw foods are absolutely delicious! It’s easy to make simple dishes with gourmet flavors when you’re using fresh raw ingredients. These foods are naturally sweet and bursting with flavor. Whether you are craving blueberry cheesecake, chips or crackers, there are amazingly delicious raw versions. If you’re new in the kitchen, don’t worry, our classes are great for beginners seeking to expand culinary skill.
Freedom from Addiction
Cooked foods can be addictive. Processed sugar, salt, hydrogenated fats and refined grains all have addictive qualities, causing us to crave them constantly. Eating cooked foods, there are times when I feel like an insatiable beast. With raw foods, I have many less cravings, and when I do crave something, it’s easy to satisfy. This helps me to stay at my ideal weight effortlessly. I am a person who tends to eat until full. Eating cooked food until I am full can make me feel awful –my digestive system refuses to function and I take in way too many calories. With raw foods, I eat more in moderation and digest my food more quickly.
A Mindful, Moral Diet
When I became raw I started really looking at what I ate and how I ate it – where it came from, how it tasted, how it made me feel. I realized I could make better choices and eat better tasting food. Eating raw, local foods whenever possible gives me the smallest possible ecological “foot print”. I am encouraging local and small businesses, and I’m doing the least amount of harm to others and to our planet. That’s simply good karma.
There are so many amazing raw-ists out there in the world. These are happy, optimistic people with so much love to share. Just start looking around the web and you will find hundreds of people happy to share recipes and swap stories. Their enthusiasm is simply infectious and it can be a very nice change to the daily messages we hear around us.