Lots of water has flowed under the bridge of my life since I first dove into a very high raw food diet in 2006. Now, well into my 12th year of learning and living and experimenting with what works best for me, I am still a very high raw vegan eater, and not 100% either.
Yes, it’s a little more relaxed way of being than I once subscribed to and promoted. Still, the modifications I’ve made are relatively few, and I still am very much in favor of eating a very high raw vegan diet. So let’s revisit it again.
Most importantly a “raw food” diet is not another fad as we usually think of one – here today, gone six weeks from now. Rather, raw foodists like myself embrace a lifestyle which promotes eating more fresh, whole foods in as close to their natural state as possible. We strive to eat mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked foods, preserving all the nutrients, and eliminating dangerous additives which are often present in packaged, prepared foods. Raw, unprocessed foods are more easily digested and absorbed and are exactly what we were created to use for fuel, for our source of energy.
As a “thing,” raw foodism has been around since the 1800s, and, since then, has been shown by both clinical studies and anecdotal evidence to provide numerous benefits.
Here are a few of them:
– Lowered inflammation and amount of anti-nutrients and carcinogens in your diet
-Improved digestion, heart health, skin health, energy, maintenance of a healthy body weight
-Prevention of cancer, constipation, nutrient deficiencies
-Supported optimal liver and other organ function
-Provision of the very beneficial dietary fiber.
Raw food diets may contain a good deal more than fresh produce. In addition to raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some among us also consume some fish, sea vegetables, fermented foods, sprouted grains, and even some eggs and raw dairy products.
What ties these possible varieties together is that, in general, no foods that have been pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives are included. We call it “clean” food. Popular packaged and processed foods sold in the grocery stores like breads, bottled condiments, cereals, crackers, cheese, refined oils, and processed meats are avoid.
Any diet which professes long term healing and thriving of the body encourages eating more raw fruits and vegetables.
There are good reasons for this – cooking otherwise nutrient-dense foods tends to destabilize some of their valuable enzymes and destroy certain anti-oxidants and vitamins.
Raw foods also help to alkalize the body, reduce acidity, and have far less chance of fermenting in the gut and causing inflammation, leaky gut, and autoimmune reactions. This is true for everyone. Some people, however, can especially benefit from eating more raw foods, including those with cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, osteoporosis, kidney disease, gallstones of gallbladder disease, autoimmune disorders, food allergies, fatigue, joint and/or muscle pain, headaches, PMS and other hormonal imbalances, trouble with weight gain and/or obesity.
Another reason to eat more raw foods is because of how they easily make their way through our digestive systems. The longer a food sits in our digestive tracts, the likelier it is to ferment and cause problems. Pre-fermented foods are very good for you, but ones that ferments in your gut causes gas, inflammation and toxic waste to accumulate. During this process proteins putrefy and fats go rancid, which produces problems for the lining of the gut and can lead to leaky gut syndrome.
Like many things in life, the quest for diet optimization is a process, small steps, incremental changes, increasingly better choices over time.
Many studies show that plunging into a new way of eating as a quick-fix “diet” more often than not results in weight that is lost quickly regained, then surpassed. Also, gradually adding more high-fiber foods, many of them raw, quite possibly can help minimize digestive disturbances and cravings that occur when your diet changes.
People, in general, who are persistently intentional about maximizing their health and well being by making better and better choices about what they eat, gradually move to a diet which is more diverse, more rich in whole, unprocessed foods – more and more “raw.” Rather than striving for some ideal percentage of raw foods to aspire to in your diet, I think a wiser approach is to more your food intake to one that is more natural, more nutrient-dense, and less processed than what it was yesterday or a week or a month ago. It’s progress, always towards a healthier, more vibrant and disease-free lifestyle – not “perfection” – whatever that may mean.
There is no “there” there. Embrace the journey in the right direction. I’ll be with you on the road, for sure.
More next time on some steps to take on the path to better living.
Related blogs you may enjoy.
http://abundantrawlife.com/74-2/ The Raw Food Lifestyle