Perhaps you have read a few articles about raw foods, organic foods and super foods but may not have really understood what all those words mean and what it actually is to follow a raw food diet.
Raw food is food that, in its simplest term, is eaten ‘uncooked’ or ‘unprocessed’ or food that is not cooked above 115 degrees.
Why would you eat raw food you may ask?
Raw food contains enzymes that are nutritional for the body. Cooking food can damage or deplete these enzymes actually making cooked food a less healthy option.
There are of course many other benefits:
- Weight loss
- More energy
- Clear skin
- Improved digestion
- Improved health
- High in Vitamins and Minerals
- Cell damage repair
Raw food is high in antioxidants which can reduce the risk of certain illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and dementia by reducing damage to cells caused by unstable molecules called free radicals.
I’m sure you are currently picturing a few protesters with placards now, but consider the fact that your body is fighting a war; a war against illness, disease, obesity, fatigue, skin damage and just the hustle and bustle of everyday life, now consider the fact that you can help it win the battle by just altering your diet.
You may have never considered a raw food diet, or perhaps you have thought about it and wondered whether it would even be possible. You don’t have to convert 100%, start introducing some week at a time and see how you get on. You’ll probably find it easier than you think.
What can you eat on the raw food diet?
- Raw fruits and vegetables; something that may already be included in your diet.
- Nuts and seeds (remember, not processed)
- Sprouts – yes that old winter favourite!
- Roots, root vegetables and squashes
- Fresh herbs and raw spices – grow these at home and you have them to hand every day
- Seaweed – sushi is a great raw food
- Fruit and vegetable juices – easy to make and delicious
Organically grown food is perfect for a raw food diet; it is grown naturally without the aid of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. But note that any food claiming to be organic must be free of artificial food additives.
How do super foods differ from raw foods?
Super foods are foods with supposed health benefits, things like berries, nuts, dark green vegetables (kale, broccoli or sprouts), citrus fruits, whole grains, oily fish and many legumes. You may be thinking that this is similar to the list above and you’d be right. The difference is how the food is processed before consumption.
As long as the food you eat is not cooked, it is raw food. Super foods can be cooked and then eaten, but would not be classed as ‘raw’.
The great thing about the raw food diet is that you can follow it no matter what your diet preference. If you are vegetarian or vegan stay away from the animal products, if you are following a gluten free or wheat free diet stay away from produce containing wheat or gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale).
Is it necessary to take supplements?
A lot of people ask whether it is possible to follow a raw food diet and still get all the nutrients and minerals you need to survive. Here is my answer:
Following a raw food diet may mean that there are certain nutrients you are not receiving which are typically found in animal-sourced products, but there is an answer and it doesn’t have to involve taking dietary supplements.
Those important to your diet are iodine, selenium, zinc and iron. All of these can be found in supplement form, of course, and if you want to, you are more than welcome to take them. But they can all be found naturally in food.
Iodine can be found in sea vegetables such as kelp, dulse and seaweed. Selenium can be found in Brazil nuts; just eating one a day gives you your daily dose. Iron can be found in leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, nuts and sesame seeds.Zinc can be found in pumpkin, poppy and sunflower seeds, oats and cashews.
And if I’m not mistaken these are all available on the raw food diet…
So tuck in folks and go raw!Google+