The Raw Foods Diet has exploded onto the health scene more in the past several years than ever before. More people are hearing about raw foods and are now interested in learning more about it.
But what exactly is raw foods and why should you consider incorporating it into your diet?
What is Raw & Living Foods?
In short, raw and living foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, seaweed, and sprouted grains that are completely uncooked or not cooked above 118 degrees. I would also add to the list raw dairy and raw honey.
Raw foods are pure, fresh, vibrant, enzyme-rich, oxygen-rich, unadulterated, whole organic living nutrition. These foods can be combined in a variety of ways to create the most DELICIOUS and highly nutrient dense meals. Here is a sample of the amazing foods you can enjoy on a raw foods diet: burgers, lasagna, pizzas, crackers, chips, cheesecakes, fudge, ice cream, crepes, smoothies, and so much more.
The choices are endless! There is nothing boring about this way of eating!
Why Raw Foods?
There is a vast amount of information already available on this subject so I will not attempt to produce anything new or unique here. Rather, I will direct you to some helpful websites which explain it in more detail. The links below have a vegan perspective, so they would disagree with consuming any animal products or animal product ingredients. We respectfully disagree with many aspects of veganism (and vegetarianism), but nonetheless find these sites to provide helpful information on the basics of raw foods and its importance.
Raw Basics: an excerpt….
RAW BASICS (excerpt from article on www.rawfoodlife.com)
A Raw Food diet is based on eating whole, live, uncooked and un-processed foods as a large percentage of your diet. When 75-100% of your total food consumption is raw food, you are a raw foodist. At that rate it is believed that your body’s elimination system can eliminate all or most of the toxins in the cooked portion of your diet. When you eat more cooked food, the body can’t eliminate all the toxins and they back up causing dis-ease. Heating food above 118 degrees F. is believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in digestion.
Cooking is also known to diminishes the nutritional value of food, and the heat actually causing chemical changes in the food creating many of the carcinogens, mutagens, free-radicals and other toxins that are associated with many of today’s diseases, from diabetes and arthritis to heart disease and cancer.
Do you have to be 100% raw?
Logically, based on the description of what raw foods are, then all cooked foods should be avoided, right? Actually, no.
It is no doubt that a diet high in raw foods is extremely beneficial and is a key component in an anti-cancer diet. It has even been noted that 60-80% of the diet of traditional cultures consisted of raw and living foods. However, there are important benefits of some cooked foods in one’s diet – foods such as steamed vegetables, soups, traditionally prepared and fermented/cultured foods, etc. With more conservative and traditional methods of preparation and cooking, many anti-nutrients that interfere with the utilization of nutrients are destroyed and thus increase the food’s digestibility and absorption in the body.
For our family, another (very important) factor in our decision come from food principles found in Scripture. Not only does the Bible support foods from both the plant and animal kingdoms, there are also many examples of people (our LORD Himself being one ) eating cooked foods (ie: fish, bread, savoury meat, etc). We must not forget that in Biblical times, the foods consumed were organic and whole foods. There were obviously no processed foods, no refined foods, nor were there issues with pesticides, synthetic ingredients, hormones, GMO’s, etc. that we are bombarded with today. These Biblical food principles are the principles that undergird our family’s way of eating.
Here are a couple of articles that would be of interest on this topic:
In closing, we believe that raw food is vital to good health and needs to be a very high part of our diet. We don’t believe you have to be 100% raw to achieve optimal health, nor do we believe you must be vegan or vegetarian. There needs to be a healthy BALANCE. The S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) is a diet that has over 90% of its food cooked and/or processed. We advocate the concept of a “high raw foods diet”, meaning at least 75% of your diet is comprised of raw foods. If you are just starting out and are coming from a S.A.D., initially having at least 40-50% of your diet raw and increasing as you go along is a great plan.
Regardless of the amount of raw foods you decide to incorporate into your diet, the foundational principle to keep in mind is that optimal health begins by eating a whole foods-based diet.