Everyone knows it is healthy to eat fresh, uncooked fruits and green vegetables every day. That isn’t a new concept. A raw foods lifestyle simply says that these foods should be most of what we eat. You don't have to eat 100% raw or even be a vegetarian to get started. Anyone can enjoy improved health and vitality by eating at least 50% raw foods.
REASONS FOR ADOPTING A HIGH RAW DIET
Biological adaptation: All animals other than humans eat raw foods to which they are
biologically adapted. What are our natural foods? Like our primate
cousins, in nature, we would eat primarily fruits and greens.
Vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals: Phytonutrients give fruits and vegetables their beautiful colors, and are important in the prevention of cancers and other chronic diseases. Most vitamins and phytonutrients are destroyed or damaged at above 130 degrees.
Enzymes: What are food enzymes? Enzymes "digest" or break down raw foods. Raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds contain the necessary enzymes to complete the digestion process.
The importance of enzymes in the diet is currently a subject of debate among nutritionists. What we do know is that enzymes are the most heat sensitive of all nutrients, destroyed at temperatures above 118 degrees. More and more research suggests eating high-enzyme food aids digestion, and also that our bodies can recycle many of the enzymes in food, which means less depletion of its own store of enzymes. Eating an enzyme-rich diet is thought to increase vitality and slow the aging process.
Water: Fruits and vegetables are rich in pure water. Our bodies are 70% water, consuming a water-rich diet keeps us well hydrated and lessens the need for extra water.
Proteins: Heat damages proteins, causing the amino acid chains to congeal. These large protein molecules may be unusable and even harmful to the body, causing inflammation and other problems.
Fats: The good, natural fats (think of avocados and flax seed oil) are very sensitive to heat and are easily damaged by it. Heated fats have lost their antioxidant qualities, and are known to be carcinogenic. Heating fats also makes them sticky (think of a lasagna pan), which can cause blockages in the arteries and digestive tract, inhibit the absorption of nutrients, and reduce the body’s ability to transport oxygen.
Digestion, Assimilation, and Elimination: Good digestion aids in good assimilation and good elimination. All are essential to good health. The soft, soluble fiber in fruits and tender green vegetables also aids elimination.
Acid-alkaline balance: Processed food, cooked food diets, pollution, and stress leave most people too acidic, which prevents optimal cellular activity and immune system functions, and leaches alkaline minerals from the body. Fruits and vegetables are alkalizing. Meat, dairy, sugar, starches and most grains, and most nuts and seeds are acid forming.
MAKING RAW FOOD PREP
Buy a book or video
Do some advance prep once a week. Mince onions, crush garlic, juice lemons, and mince parsley. These all keep for a week and are used in many recipes. If you want to do more advance prep, make almond milk, a paté, a salad dressing, and a dessert.
Take a class.