What is a Raw Food Diet?
A raw food diet consists of eating an uncooked diet based on fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Food preparation methods on a raw food diet means that food cannot be heated to over 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). This ideology forms the basis of the raw food vegan lifestyle, which means eating raw food 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I’m not saying that you should go out and start a 100% raw food diet, but just to incorporate some parts of this lifestyle into your diet even one meal a day will ensure that you will reap the benefits that this type of diet brings to you. One raw food meal a day can consist of a green juice or smoothie with leafy greens and a bit of fruit for sweetness or a fruit smoothie consisting of banana’s and berries – not that hard at all really!
Why Incorporate Raw Foods into your Diet?
People who have adhered to this type of diet full time have had great benefits to their health. There have been numerous cases where people with cancer have even cured themselves by changing to a 100% raw food diet. We’ve all heard our parents say: “eat your fruits and vegetables” and this is truer in this day and age as ever before. The standard diets of the modern world is focused around eating foods with little to no nutrition, to take it further we are over consuming these processed, nutritionally stripped foods. There is a shortage of nutrition which is causing huge problems in our society these are most notable through obesity, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and cancer, which have risen dramatically over the past 30-50 years.
Fruits and vegetables are jam packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are bodies are hungry for. Eating processed foods with no nutrition and loaded with toxins and sugar means that our bodies consume more of food just to make up the nutritional deficiency and more than often the foods that we end up eating are the wrong types of food. Because our bodies are craving nutrients we want to nourish ourselves with large quantities of vegetables and fruits. Eating uncooked allows fruits and vegetables to retain nearly all of their vitamins and minerals, therefore there are huge amounts of phytochemicals, phytonutrients and enzymes our body especially our gut needs to make sure that we can repair the damage that we have already created from years of eating processed, high sugar foods and toxins from our environment.
Is there enough protein in raw foods?
Yes there is. Foods such as Spirulina (blue green algae) and chia have the complete spectrum of protein. There is a huge underlying myth that we require large amounts of protein especially from animal sources to get our daily recommended intake of protein – this is simply not true. Other raw foods with high protein include nuts most notably almonds. If this still is of concern to you please bear in mind that this post is only speaking about replacing one meal a day with raw foods rather than going 100% raw. Incorporating these foods into your daily diet is beneficial for the large amounts of essential vitamins and minerals your body is crying out loud for.
Will I get enough Iron from adding raw foods to my diet?
Iron is incredibly easy to obtain through fruits and vegetables. The highest source of Iron is present in leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach. Kale contains more iron that beef! There are numerous other fruits and vegetables that contain large amounts of Iron and can be easily made into smoothies or juiced. Another great iron source is raw cacao (chocolate) – which is also packed with age defying anti-oxidants.
What can I eat along with raw foods?
If you are starting to incorporate raw foods into your diet, and eating raw foods as a standalone meal is great. Start incorporating one meal a day every day for two weeks and see how you feel. No better way than listening to your body!
How to Incorporate Raw Foods into your Diet
Incorporating raw foods into your diet is as easy as drinking one green juice or smoothie a day. Work from one meal a day to two meals at the start. Start off small with the green juices for breakfast and slowly incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. There is an amazing array of raw food recipes including decadent desserts. If you are looking for a raw food recipe book check out RAWvolution by Matt Amsden!
Try and go raw for one meal a day =)
Photo Credit: John Hritz