Written by Zeba Due
I recently began educating myself about the raw food diet. My first search on Google came up with 7,110,000 hits. Where to begin? A VFC customer recommended several books and websites as sources to start my journey.
The principle behind raw foodism (sometimes called rawism) is that plant foods are in their most nourishing state when they are uncooked and unprocessed. Heating food above 116ºF is believed to destroy enzymes that can assist in digestion and absorption of food as well as diminishing the nutritional value and “life force” of food.
Benefits of eating raw are believed to be:
• Increased energy
• Improved skin appearance
• Better digestion
• Weight loss
• Reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
The raw food diet not only contains fewer trans fats and saturated fat than the typical Western diet but is also low in sodium, high in potassium, magnesium, folate, fiber, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals).
A 100% raw diet consists mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, seaweed, freshly juiced fruit and vegetables, sprouted nuts and seeds, seaweed, and some soaked and fermented foods. Foods should consist of unprocessed, preferably organic whole foods. Some raw foodists also include; beans, grains, legumes, young coconut milk, possibly raw milk and cheese. There are raw foodists that eat meat and fish raw, but I haven’t researched this segment.
While there is a lot of information about eating raw, I also found value in speaking to others about their experiences and educating myself through experimentation. A raw foods diet doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”. Whenever I embark upon another new change in my life, I have to honor the time it will take me to “settle in” to my new routine. I have had great success in making a couple of simple changes that make sense for me.
The first change I made was implementing “Green Smoothies” 2 to 3 days a week for breakfast. If I was still hungry I would also eat the Raw Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Cereal (see recipe below). For lunch I would have a raw salad and then dinner would be cooked. For me a slow introduction to eating raw works. I paid attention to signs and symptom changes in my body and adjusted the raw eating accordingly.
Green DrinkPlace all above ingredients except ice in a blender and blend on liquefy or highest setting on your blender, blending until desired consistency. Add ice cubes and blend to crush.
1 1/2 cups raw milk or milk of your choice
1/4 - 1/2 small whole lemon (seeded)
3-4 cups spinach
1-4 inch piece of zucchini
1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
2 Tbsp. Nutiva Hemp Powder
2 Tbsp. protein powder
Pinch stevia powder to sweeten
1/2 tsp. lemon extract (optional)
1 Tbsp. fresh coconut
4-5 ice cubes
Soaking Grains & Nuts
The second change I made was soaking grains and nuts.
Soaking grains breaks down enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid so they are no longer harmful. As grains soak their vitamin content increases, especially the B vitamins. Soaking nuts also breaks down enzyme inhibitors, activating their full nutritional benefits and aiding in better digestion.
Raw Sunflower CerealIn a small bowl, combine seeds, groats, sweetener, oat bran, and coconut. Cover with nut milk. Chew slowly and enjoy.
1/8 cup raw pumpkin seeds, soaked
1/8 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked
1/8 cup raw buckwheat groats or oat flakes, soaked
pinch of stevia or sweetener of choice
1 Tbsp. oat bran, soaked (optional)
1 Tbsp. coconut
I’ve tried several variations of the above raw cereal. I’ve used soaked spelt berries instead of the groats, eliminated the oat bran and added soaked oat flakes. Also adding a heaping teaspoon of raw nut butter or/ and raw nuts will increase the protein. You may enjoy adding your favorite fruit. This is one cold cereal you need not worry about wilting before finishing!
Sources:by Zeba Due, BS Nutrition, VFC Cashier
Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine by Gabriel Cousens, M.D.
Eco-eating by Sapoty Brook
The Raw Food Diet Myth by Ruthann Russo, PhD, MPH
Celebrating our Raw Nature by Dorit
Prudence Tippins (VFC customer/owner)