Summer is a great time to eat more raw foods. Our bodies naturally crave cooling foods during the summer heat. People who follow a raw food (also called living food) diet consume at least 75% uncooked vegan or vegetarian diet, which consists of berries, fruits, vegetables, roots, nuts, flowers, sea vegetables, germinated seeds, sprouts, and sometimes raw dairy. Nothing is to be heated above 115 degrees F in order to preserve the integrity of the enzymes associated with digestion and absorption. Dehydration of food is permissible but only if the process is kept below 115 degrees. Followers of a raw food diet claim that they have increased energy, weight loss, and overall better health. Raw foods are live foods. The more raw foods you eat the more alive you will feel! Here are some of the most beneficial reasons for going raw.
Benefits of Eating Raw Food
When we cook our food we also destroy the enzymes contained in that food. Without the proper enzymes to break down our foods, we begin to accumulate undigested materials in our system. This leads to weight gain, inflammation, stagnation, digestive distress, and fatigue. The more raw food we eat, the more enzymes we accumulate. The more digestive enzymes we have the better we are able to properly digest and absorb our food.
Digestion can be one of the most energy draining activities for your body. Our body uses 85% of its stored energy to digest our food. When you eat a diet high in raw foods, you digest your foods much faster, which means you get more energy. It can take anywhere from 1-4 days to digest cooked food completely and have it be eliminated. Conversely, when you eat Raw food, your digestion can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours, depending on how the food is combined. The more raw food we eat the quicker we digest our food and have more energy to do what we want.
Eating raw foods helps create healthy glowing skin. Raw foods are whole, natural, live foods. They are the best medicine you can give your body. When you eat a typical raw food diet you are also bound to get a healthy amount of the “good fats”. These include mono-unsaturated fats, which you can find in avocados, almonds, and olives, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids, which are in flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts. The “good fats” are healing for the body and help produce healthy glowing skin. Eating half an avocado a day can have powerful healing properties for the body!
Raw foods contain lots of vitamins and phytonurients, meaning plant nutrients. These nutrients are loaded with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which help prevent chronic diseases, most notably, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Dark leafy greens are one of the most beneficial of the raw foods because of their dense nutritional profile. For more information on this topic check out an article written by the Journal of Nutrition.
Weight loss is directly related to our digestive system. The better and more effective we can digest, absorb, and then properly eliminate our food; the more we are likely to achieve a healthy weight. As I mentioned above, raw foods help us improve our digestion and eliminate toxins from the body. Eating a raw foods diet also means you will be eating a lot of fiber. Fiber helps promote weight loss and allows us to feel fuller longer.
If you find it overwhelming to go completely raw, try incorporating more raw foods into your diet. Add seeds and nuts to your dishes. Eat more avocado and healthy fats. Summer is the best time to transition into a more raw food type of diet. Start by eating at least one raw food meal a day and slowly increase it so you are eating mostly raw, whole, natural foods. Check out my Recipe page for some healthy salad ideas!