After watching and listening to one of our last lectures given by David Wolfe, a huge proponent of the raw food diet, I became intrigued with a whole new way of thinking that I have never been exposed to before. This lecture gave me a little food for thought and has now interested me enough to start instituting more raw foods into my diet. Raw foodies claim that not only does this diet provide a diet rich in antioxidants and other nutrients from plant sources, but the live food contains enzymes which act as catalysts for detoxification and absorption of nutrients. They also believe that cooking food leads to the destruction of enzymes that assist in the digestion and absorption of food. However, after reading the book, titled, “Put Your Heart in Your Mouth” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, Dr. Campbell-McBride not only claims that vegetables should be eaten every day, but both in the cooked and raw state. She claims that cooked vegetable are easier to digest and provide warm nourishment for the body, while raw vegetables keep our bodies clean inside as they provide powerful detoxifying substance and the best quality fiber. So, as I see the merits of eating more raw food, I also see the benefits to both raw and cooked foods. So, I will continue to add more raw foods for the detoxifying properties, more fiber and higher nutrient content while maintaining my diet with cooked foods for the digestibility and warm nourishment.
So, you may be asking….so what is the raw food diet?
The raw food diet consists of unprocessed and uncooked plant food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweed. The diet omits food that are processed or significantly cooked. Typically, at least 75% of the foods must be living or raw in this diet. Most people include a limited amount of foods that have undergone some processing, as long as the processing does not involve heating the food over 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The most popular raw food diet is a raw-vegan diet, but other forms include raw animal products and/or meat.
During food preparation, there are specific techniques used to make foods more digestible and add variety to the diet. These include: sprouting seeds, grains, and beans; juicing fruits and vegetables; soaking nuts and dried fruit; and dehydrating food.
Why would someone follow this diet?
Raw foodies, as proponents of this diet are called, believe that heating food above 115 degrees Fahrenheit can destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. They believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost a significant amount of their nutritional value and are harmful to the body, whereas uncooked foods provide living enzymes and proper nutrition. Raw foodies attest that a raw food diet prevents degenerative diseases, slows the effects of aging, provides enhanced energy, boasts emotional balance, and improves overall health.
Below you will find a delicious raw recipe that I have adapted from Tosca Reno, author of “The Eat-Clean Diet Stripped”
Kale and Carrot Salad
1 bunch kale leaves, stems removed
2 carrots, peeled and grated
½ cup thinly sliced radishes
1 cup chopped English cucumber
2 Tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tablespoon golden roasted flaxseed
2 Tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon pinch cayenne
¼ teaspoon sea salt
In a food processor, pulse kale leaves until coarsely chopped, working in batches if necessary. Place chopped kale in a large bowl and add carrots, radishes, cucumber, and pumpkin seeds.
In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and toss to combine. Serve topped with flaxseed.