New year, new you, right? Now is the time to try something different. Something to make you healthier and cut down your dependence on bad-for-you processed foods. Switching to a whole raw diet, whether as a lifestyle change or in an effort to cleanse harmful toxins from your body, is the perfect way to feel better and be happier in 2017.
Don’t know what a whole, raw diet is? Let us explain.
What is a Whole Raw Diet?
Whole raw diets emphasize eating fresh, organic, plant-based foods, like fruits, veggies, leafy greens, nuts and seeds. There is no cooking, no steaming and no eating processed foods, but you can use a blender, a dehydrator or a food processor to prepare meals. Most people on raw diets consume a minimum of 75% raw foods, making it the ideal complement to a gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diet.
Now that you know the basics of a raw foods diet, here are a few of the benefits:
- Decreases inflammation
- Enhances energy levels
- Helps prevent cancer
- Improves digestion
- Improves liver function
- Reduces carcinogens in your diet
- Reduces risk of heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis
For more information on the benefits of raw food, visit our friends at FullyRaw. Kristina does a great job breaking down the health and fitness benefits of living fully raw and also provides an excellent selection of yummy recipes.
Why Shouldn’t You Cook Food?
One of the basic tenets of a raw foods diet is that you cannot consume any food over 116-118 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius). Cooking certain foods causes them to lose essential nutrients and enzymes. By reducing the availability of these important compounds, your body loses the ability to process foods naturally and it may also contribute to a variety of ailments and diseases.
There is also research that suggests cooking meat, including fish, at high temperatures can result in an uptick in heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).1 HCAs and PAHs mutate DNA putting you at greater risk for developing cancer.
What You Can Eat
Eating a diet rich in whole, raw foods is easier than you think, especially if you are already vegetarian or vegan. It’s not as restrictive as some make it out to be. You simply eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Here are a few of our favorite foods that meet raw requirements:
- Fruits – apples, apricots, grapefruit, bananas, berries, pears, tomatoes, young coconut
- Vegetables – broccoli, cucumber, kale, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes
- Nuts – almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts
- Seeds – chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
- Grains – amaranth, barley, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, wheat
- Legumes – black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans, peanuts
- Dairy products (for vegetarians) – raw milk, raw cheese, raw yogurt
Tips for Maintaining Your Health on a Whole Raw Diet
How to Transition to a Raw Diet
The most important factor to consider before making any big dietary change is to think about the impact it will have on your health. Jumping right into a whole raw diet will be much easier for some than others. If you are not already vegetarian or vegan, we recommend only eating two of three raw meals a day with smoothies or pressed juice for a snack. This will help your body adjust to a raw diet.
Eat More Fermented Foods
Kimchi, kombucha and kefir – what do they all have in common? They’re fermented, and fermented foods are an important addition to any raw diet. Fermented foods are chock full of the probiotics that are essential to rebuilding and repopulating your intestines with good bacteria. Probiotics also help to aid in digestion and improve immunity.
You Don’t Have to be 100% Raw
Certain foods do actually benefit from being cooked. Like cruciferous vegetables. They contain goitrogen compounds that, in excess, can block thyroid function. The good news is, cooking cruciferous vegetables will deactivate these compounds.
While going raw is great, don’t do so at the risk of your personal health. If at any point you start to feel less than your best, please visit your healthcare provider. As you’re cleansing harmful toxins from your body, you can add in BALANCE Purify to help detox your system in the new year.
Tell Us Your Tips
Now it’s your turn to tell us. Do you have experience going raw? What are your tips for staying healthy on a raw foods diet? Let us know in the comments section!
- Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk. (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2016, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cooked-meats-fact-sheet