Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thoughts on Raw Foodism

So after my Master Cleanse experience, I have experienced something really unique – I am still as obsessed with food, cooking, dining, and all things epicurean, but now I’m really craving and thinking a lot about super healthy foods. I don’t really desire meat much anymore – I have sliced turkey every once in a while for lunch in sandwiches or wraps, but haven’t eaten chicken at all, and red meat only once. Strangely, I don’t miss it that much, and I love the way I feel without it in my system! I have been craving fish and nuts like crazy, though, so I have indulged those desires – they’re the good kind of fat and protein.

Anyway, I have read a lot about vegetarianism, raw foods, organic foods, and how to eat for maximum health over the last month, and took a class last night on raw foodism, and want to share some of the things I’ve learned. Raw Foodists believe in eating only an uncooked, unheated, unprocessed and organic plant-based diet. Vegetarians and vegans only eat a plant based diet, but still do indulge in processed foods. And although some people adopt these lifestyles out of a thing to save animals, for me it’s about the health benefits of not eating meat (or eating a whole lot less of it, in my case). From what I’ve researched, I believe that it’s just a healthier way to live. Do I think I’ll be able to live 100% as a raw foodist? NO WAY – I love wine and cheese, and those two will ALWAYS be a part of my diet. But I’m going to do my best to implement some of the raw foods ideology to stay clean and healthy as possible.

Examples of raw foods are fruits (dried and fresh), vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, grains, sea vegetables (seaweed, kelp), and other organic/natural foods that have not been processed. Many vitamins in food are heat sensitive, so when you heat/ cook them, you lose the enzymes that maximize the absorption of the nutrients in the food. There are some special ways to prepare the foods such soaking or sprouting nuts, seeds, beans, grains before consuming them, which makes them softer for some recipes without having to cook them and lose the nutrients. Raw veggies also have a ton of water, so they hydrate your body better than other foods – as you know, water is the most important ingredient to keeping your body clean and healthy. Raw seeds, beans, and grains also contain tons of protein. Actually, heating and cooking protein makes about half of it unusable to the body, so raw food protein is even a better source than animal products (except for maybe sushi... don't quote me on that, though).

Canned or jarred fruits and veggies are probably going to be processed or blanched in some way; it’s best to buy the foods in their natural state. Frozen veggies and fruits are still considered raw; the freezing process might take a little bit of nutrients away, but definitely not like cooking. Just about all drinks purchased at a store have been processing in some way, and aren’t considered “raw”: soda, bottled juices, coffee, alcohol, and most others. The best drinks according to raw foodism are purified water (not tap or bottled), fresh juices (made with your juicer), or homemade almond or coconut milk (you can put it in recipes to make sauces, and on homemade cereals and granolas, too).

Cooking with raw foods often involves stacking, stuffing, rolling, juicing, and blending. Tools used to prepare raw foods are blenders, juicers, food processors, dehydrators, and strainers. The recipes are better than you think, too! You can make raw hummus, cakes, “pasta” sauces, soups, wraps, kebobs, and more. Check out this site for a pretty comprehensive list of recipes:

And here’s the deal with “organic” foods – I have been wondering forever what the big freakin’ deal is with organic foods, but it turns out that it’s not brain surgery: "Conventional" produce is grown with pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and chemicals that are toxic to your body. Organic produce contains no pesticides or other toxic residue, which helps your liver operate better, which in turns process toxins and fat more efficiently, so your body processes your food versus storing it. Healthy liver = healthy weight! It’s been shown that organic food can taste better and provide better nutrition, too. Rinsing conventional fruits and veggies will reduce the amount of pesticides, but not the stuff that absorbed into the produce as it was growing. Apparently, the most often tainted fruits and veggies are strawberries and bell peppers, and the least often tainted are carrots and avocados.

So really, in the end, these are the benefits of eating raw foods:

*Healthy digestive system = healthy body = healthy mind*
*Better mental clarity and more energy, due to eating more enzymes and fiber that allow your body to digest more easily*
*Organic foods tread easier on the earth, since there are no pesticides*
*It’s a more animal-friendly diet*
*Healing properties – having a clean digestive system encourages better protection against illness*

So there you go. I’m not suggesting that everyone becomes a raw foodist, because I’m certainly not going to live that way 100%, but I think if you can incorporate some of these things into your diet, you will see a great improvement in your health and feel great!

Love, Mer


Anonymous said...

I think Tony Robbins has a similar type of diet. It totally works!!!

Anonymous said...

Your a raw food dork!!

Anonymous said...

But I love you anyways!!