There are so many components that go into making the difference between a person existing on this planet and one who is thriving. Most people are fully aware that it takes good food, adequate rest, regular exercise, meaningful work, rewarding relationships, and a spiritual sense that there is still much more to us than the sum total of all those elements. We know that we do not totally make ourselves, that there are forces in the universe that control much of what happens to us, and many of us have an understanding that, one way or another, our lives are not over when we die.
Truly, though, when we get down to the what-does-it-take to thrive in our lives, most of us start with the fuel we give our bodies to run on day after day – the food we eat. And from the beginning of human time, we have sought the best ways, the healthiest ways, the most economical ways, the tastiest ways, and now the fastest ways to get that all- important fuel in our bodies.
One of the great food trends of the day is the Raw Food diet. Trendy, yes, but eating the Raw Food way is hardly new. In fact, it’s how we began thousands of years ago, foraging for raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, thriving with a diet that was totally unprocessed and uncooked. Ironically, there is now a growing body of thought that in this case, the old ways may the best ways.
Some people these days also eat raw meats and fish, but most proponents of the lifestyle do not, and keep what they do eat to a temperature of the food less than 115 degrees. Basically, when food is cooked to greater temperatures than that, valuable natural enzymes (complex proteins), as well as most vitamins and many minerals are destroyed, rendering the food that is meant to fuel unable to do the job it is meant to do.
Enzymes are important because they’re catalysts for man metabolic processes, including absorbing oxygen, and reducing inflammation, the beginning point, some experts maintain, for all disease. With regard to vitamins, spinach, for example, has only one third the vitamin that raw spinach has. More valuable energy for us to run on is lost than gained through cooking.
A diet high in raw fruits and vegetables is higher in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and lower in calories. It has little to no fat, and contains no added sugars. Raw foods are also loaded with phytochemicals – chemical compounds naturally found in plants, – and fiber, which mops up toxins and waste products in the digestive tract for healthy elimination. Numerous studies have shown that consuming abundant fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risks of cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Other studies show that a Raw Food diet can lower diastolic blood pressure, improve fibromyalgia symptoms, (including pain, joint stiffness, and quality of sleep), and lower levels of both total cholesterol and sodium.
Many of my health coaching clients are in the second half of their life, and have complaints of minor or major aches and pains, which they attribute to the aging process. Not so fast! Premature aging is related to inflammation in the body, which causes free radical damage to skin cells. Poor quality foods such as sugars, processed carbohydrates, and processed and fatty meats can cause inflammation and damage to skin and other organ cells. Additionally, cooking methods such as broiling, frying, hot-oven roasting, grilling, and barbecuing can lead to the formation of glycotoxins – which increase inflammation – in certain foods. By contrast, a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables, which fight inflammation due to their high anti-oxidant levels, and very low levels of glycotoxins, also nourish us with high levels of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes still intact.
The long and the short of it is that anyone’s diet can be improved by adding more Raw Food to it. With a little intentionality about making just a few changes, people are amazed at how quickly they feel better, look more radiant, and operate with energy they didn’t know was possible to achieve.
Think about it! Think of one or two changes you could make easily and perhaps drastically improve the way you’re feeling. Then, go here, to my Abundant Raw Life Facebook page, and tell us what you’re going to do. You’ll inspire some other people, and maybe have the opportunity to benefit from someone else’s ideas. While you’re there on the page, like it, if you haven’t already!
Thanks! In my next post, I’ll put forth for your consideration a few of my own ideas about how to go more Raw.