The Power of Raw Foods
Eating a raw food diet means consuming fresh, nutrient-rich plant foods that have not been heat processed. When foods are cooked, much of their important disease-preventing nutrients are lost. Conversely, a raw diet provides you with a greater degree of health and vitality, slows aging, and promotes healing. By making the majority of your diet healthy raw foods and avoiding unhealthy alternatives, you can improve your health and reduce your risks of suffering from a degenerative disease. Getting started with this nutritious lifestyle is easy.
Raw Food Staples to Keep on Hand
With a bit of planning and preparation, you can enjoy the health benefits and culinary rewards of raw food any time. To make mealtime a snap, here’s a list of raw foods to keep stocked:
· Versatile fruits such as blueberries, oranges, bananas, and avocados
· Fresh, in-season vegetables
· Leafy greens, including kale, spinach, cabbage, and romaine lettuce
· Soaked raw nuts and seeds
· Sprouted or steamed gluten-free grains such as quinoa, millet, and buckwheat
· Sprouted or cooked legumes, including lentils, peas, chickpeas, and beans
· Probiotic-rich foods such as raw sauerkraut, miso, and raw yogurt
Getting Proper Nutrition on a Raw Food Diet
When you start transitioning to a raw food diet, knowing what to eat can be tough. Be adventurous and try new things, but also be sure to follow these eating tips to ensure you get proper nutrition:
· Eat a wide variety of fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits and vegetables.
· Consume all the colors of the rainbow to get a full spectrum of nutrients.
· Make nutrient powerhouse green foods the largest portion of your diet.
· Consume a variety of raw nuts and seeds in moderation.
· Include foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
· Minimize fried foods, saturated fats, and oils.
· Soak and sprout nuts, seeds, and legumes before eating them.
· Choose organic whenever possible to minimize chemical residues.
· Minimize or eliminate meat and dairy products from your diet.
· Reduce sweets and concentrated sweeteners, like white sugar, corn syrup, evaporated cane sugar, and sugary drinks such as soda, candy, and desserts made with sugar.
· Use only a moderate amount of salt.
· Choose gluten-free grains such as quinoa, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat.
· Supplement with vitamin B12.
· Supplement with vitamin D if you aren’t getting enough sunshine.
Surprising Natural Foods to Avoid on a Raw Food Diet
When you hear the words raw food diet, you probably correctly assume that it doesn’t include fried, roasted, baked, or grilled foods. You may also realize that most raw foodists avoid highly processed, sugary, salty, and oily foods. But that’s not the whole story.
Here are a few more foods that may appear healthy at first glance but don’t measure up to raw standards:
· Roasted nuts and seeds: Select raw varieties of seeds and nuts to avoid free-radical damage to your cells. Soak these foods before eating them to enjoy maximum nutrition.
· Soy foods: Common allergens often hidden in prepared foods like veggie burgers and soy meat analogs (fake meat) can be replaced in burgers and meat substitutes using soaked nuts, mushrooms, and root vegetables.
· Wheat (except wheat grass), breads, pastries, pastas, and “wheat meats” (seitan): Use sprouted grains, soaked nuts, and vegetables such as zucchini to make breads, crackers, and even pasta.
· Vinegar: Use citrus juice and other acid fruits in dressings, marinades, and sauces in place of vinegar, which can cause digestive problems.
· Honey: Using agave nectar, date paste, or coconut syrup is a better option for small children and others with immune system challenges.
· Refined sugar: Use dates or other dried fruit, agave nectar, coconut sugar, or stevia instead to keep your blood sugar at healthier levels.
· Iodized salt: Use Himalayan crystal salt and avoid chemical additives.
From Raw Food For Dummies by Cherie Soria, Dan Ladermann