Sunday, June 5, 2011

Raw Food ~ Real Life Magic

Every year, around this time, I find myself drawn to eating a diet high in raw foods.  It just makes me feel SO GOOOOD!! : )  I don't believe there is any other way of eating that rivals the mental, spiritual, and physical clarity that comes with a raw food diet.  This is food in its original form, the way it was meant to be eaten!  Full of enzymes and nutrients that are depleted when cooked and/or processed.  Here are some of the benefits that come with eating this way:
  • weight loss
  • major energy increase
  • decrease or elimination of anxiety and depression
  • bright eyes, clear skin, healthy hair and nails
  • increase in mental focus and clarity
  • increase in sex drive
  • disease prevention and treatment
These are just a few of the many reasons to increase your raw food intake.  Many "raw foodists" eat 100% raw year round.  This is great but unless you live in a tropical climate or have a personal chef, this isn't a realistic lifestyle for most people.  Raw food cools your body, so most people need more warming foods in the colder months.  Although, you can work around this with the help of spices and certain high fat raw foods.  Eating 100% raw can also be difficult because it gets a little boring eating smoothies and salads all the time.  There are a ton of awesome raw food recipes out there but many of them are time consuming and require kitchen equipment that you might not find in the average kitchen, like a dehydrator or high speed blender.

For the summer, I am aiming to eat 70% raw.  Raw food, by the way, is any whole food that has not been processed and is either completely raw or has not been heated above 104 degrees.  If you feel like this is something you would like to try, here are some general guidelines:

  •  If you are not used to a lot of raw food, it is common to have some digestive issues at first due to increase in fiber and enzymes.  Start slowly.  Do 25% raw for a week or two, then 50%, and so on.  Other ways to help with digestion are to blend things, make juice, and soak grains and nuts.
  • Eat one fruit at a time on an empty stomach, if you are just starting to eat raw.  It digests quicker than anything else, so this will also help with digestive issues.
  • Find balance between Chlorophyll(green leafy vegetables), Sugars(fruits, grains, carbohydrates), and Fats(nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, coconut).
  • Stick to organic and local whenever possible.  Check out your local farmers market for a great selection!
  • Eating raw doesn't have to be animal free if you don't want it to be.  It can include raw milk and meat(sushi grade fish, certain preparations of beef, etc.)
  • If you are used to eating processed foods most of the time, you will go through a detox process when you eliminate those foods.  You may feel tired or irritable, develop some flu-like symptoms, or even have an emotional release depending on what your normal diet is like and how long it has been like that.  This is because when you eat cleansing foods, the toxins(physical and emotional) that you have been storing in your body become released into your bloodstream.  These symptoms will pass but if the detox becomes too much for you to handle, don't give up, just put some of your normal foods back into your diet and go more slowly.
  • Respect your body.  No one diet is right for everyone.  If you go through a detox and still don't feel good, your body might be telling you something.  If you feel better after eating a piece of cake, then its safe to say that its just detox talking. But if you feel better after eating a piece of cooked chicken, you might just need more protein.   Figuring out what is right for your body is a process.
Green smoothies are one of my favorite raw breakfasts.  Here is a recipe for one of my basic ones:

1 banana
3/4 cup plain almond milk
handful of frozen blueberries
handful of spinach
spoonful of spirulina powder(optional)
spoonful of maca powder(optional)
3 tbsn hemp powder(optional for protein)

There is much much more to this topic.  If it is something you are truly interested in, I would recommend that you read The Sunfood Diet Success System by David Wolfe.  It is one of my favorite books and full of so much wisdom.  Please let me know if you have any questions!  Also if anyone decides to include more raw food in their diet, I would love to know about it!  Hope everyone is having an amazing weekend!