You might think that a raw food diet would be incredibly limiting and not very tasty, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Eating raw foods isn’t a fad diet either; it’s actually one of the healthiest ways to approach nutrition.
Cooking and heating foods destroys valuable enzymes that aid digestion and help our bodies absorb nutrients from the foods we eat. Raw food diets feature natural and organic vegan foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts, seaweed, and fermented foods. Instead of using traditional cooking methods, raw foods are often prepared by blending, dehydrating, soaking, sprouting, and juicing. Raw foods have a detoxifying affect even when used just for a short time, and long-term benefits for sustained overall health.
Benefits of a Raw Diet
Numerous medical studies have shown that eating raw foods are healthy. These are some of the potential short-term and long-term benefits of eating raw foods.
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases
- Improved digestion
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- More energy
- Balanced hormones
- Weight loss
- Improved appearance of the skin, hair, and nails
How to Get Started with Raw Foods
It’s important to note that eating raw foods isn’t an “all or nothing” endeavor. You can go as raw as you like – 100% raw food, 80% raw and 20% cooked, 50% raw and 50% cooked, and so on. Really think about what your health goals are and why a raw food diet appeals to you. Maybe you want to cleanse your body of toxins, have more energy, lose weight, or something entirely different.
There are a few “tools of the trade” that you may want to pick up to get started with your new raw food approach to eating: a blender, a juicer, a good set of knives, a mandoline slicing tool, a dehydrator, and a food processor.
Shop for vegetables twice per week to ensure that they are fresh and don’t spoil from buying too much ahead. Pick out fruits that are in-season and grown organically. Visit those mysterious granola, nuts, and seeds bins at the market to pick out your favorite ingredients and make you own cereal, snack bars, and trail mix.
Also, stock up on spices to make raw foods more flavorful exciting, and branch out from the standard strawberries and bananas to make smoothies. You’d be surprised at all the things that taste delicious when blended in a smoothie, such as green apples, spinach, persimmons, cucumbers, broccoli, and ginger. This is also a good time to start learning about “superfoods,” which include things like acai berries, goji berries, maca powder, and spirulina.
There are lots of resources available out there to learn more about raw food diets and how you can make them work for you. A few examples are Meredith Baird’s book, Everyday Raw Detox, Deckopedia’s Raw Food Beginner’s Deck of cards, and Matthew Kenney’s “Everyday Raw Express” mobile app.
Tips for Sticking with a Raw Food Diet
And finally, here are some manageable tips for sticking with a raw food diet.
- Slowly incorporate raw foods into your favorite meals
- Then progress to having one raw food meal per day
- Experiment with smoothies, juicing, and salads
- Get your family members and friends on board with raw foods
- Use all-natural food supplements if you have trouble getting enough raw foods in your diet, like Carrot Powder, Pomegranate Capsules, and Artichoke Capsules
Have you tried incorporating more raw foods into your daily diet? Share your experience with us in the comments below.