What is Raw Food?

Raw and living foods are vegetarian whole, plant-based foods – essentially fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted legumes and micro-greens that have not been heated to temperatures above approximately 42°C / 118°F.  They exclude processed products, wheat, dairy, refined sugar and salt, eggs, meat or fish.

What happens to whole food cooked above this temperature?  Once temperatures are raised above this level the molecular structure of the produce changes quite dramatically and the nutritional value and quality is greatly reduced.  Most of the important vitamins, minerals, oxygen and enzymes will have been destroyed in the cooking process, leaving the food, in effect, dead.

So what is the “Raw Food Diet”?  The Raw Food diet is not really a “diet” as such.  For instance, you would not say that you eat a “cooked food diet”.  It’s really just a term that many people use when at least half of their diet consists of raw or living foods.   Most people who follow this lifestyle are vegan or vegetarian, but not all. Some choose to eat cooked meats, fish and other animal products, as well as some raw cheese and milk. For some, it takes a while before they think about eliminating these items from their diet.  It’s really a matter of finding what “level” right for you.

So why should I consume more raw and living foods?  When we eat something cooked, our digestive system needs to draw on the bodies’ own enzyme reserves to break down and digest the food.  This uses valuable energy and is the reason why we can so often feel bloated, gassy and tired after eating a large meal.  It’s also one of the reasons why we age quicker than we would if we weren’t drawing on those valuable reserves – you are only born a certain amount of enzymes at birth.  Raw foods help to slow down this process and promote longevity – you will be consuming the “life-force” or “life-blood” of the plant or seed, which is filled with oxygen, water, vitamins, minerals and live enzymes.

Each time you eat raw, whole foods, you are providing yourself with the enzymes required for many of your body’s natural functions to work efficiently, including digestion, therefore reserving your own vital energy and enzymes that you may need in other situations, such as if you get sick or go through a stressful time.

Remember, your body is a living organism, and therefore knows exactly what to do to extract the nutrition it needs from natural, whole foods.  Basically, they speak the same language!  Synthetic and processed food is practically “dead” and your body has to work hard to figure out what to do with it.

What can I eat on this “diet”?  Well, this varies for each person, and your transition will really depend on your health, circumstances and what you are used to eating.  But the following list will give you an idea of what the general raw food diet consists of.  You may be surprised at some of these ingredients, there may be some things you would never have considered trying before but, as your body begins to re-balance and re-mineralise itself, your taste buds will change to a more natural state you will stop craving for unnatural processed foods – they just won’t taste the same anymore!  It won’t be long before you begin to know what real food tastes like.  Many people eating raw foods say that after a while they begin to crave greens!

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard)

Micro-greens (sunflower & buckwheat sprouts, wheatgrass)

Sea Vegetables (nori, wakami, carrageenan etc)

Salads

Raw nuts & Seeds

Sprouted nuts, seeds & grains (almonds, sunflower seeds, wheat grains)

Sprouted beans & pulses

Dried fruits (raisins, dates, goji berries)

Herbs (fresh & dried)

Wild Edibles  (flowers, nettles, dandelions, mushrooms)

Oils (olive oil, rapeseed, etc)

Spices (dried & fresh)

Superfoods & Powders (cacao, bee pollen, maca, spirulina, green powders, hemp powder etc)

Natural Sweeteners (Raw honey, Agave, Maple Syrup, Coconut Sugar, Date Syrup)

Dehydrated foods (flax crackers, breads, kale chips etc)

How do I eat these and make them taste good? There are some very easy ways of combining and processing all of this beautiful, bountiful produce that will make them taste delicious and keep them powerfully nutritious.  The time you put into learning how will pay you back in good health ten-fold!  That’s where we at The Raw Vision come in! By following our blogs, videos and recipes you will learn how to incorporate raw and living foods into your diet and lifestyle in simple ways.  And, you won’t ever miss cleaning pots and ovens ever again!

Check out our weekly blogs or click here for some tasty recipes.

With fresh, whole, raw ingredients you can make juices, smoothies, salads, soups, sauces, dips, entreés, snacks, desserts, chocolates, ice-cream, live pizza, “pasta” noodles, lasagne, patés and lots more.  In fact, the list is endless and new raw gourmet recipes are being discovered every day! You just have to allow for the fact that raw and living food dishes do taste a little different to what you would be used to, with different textures…. and some weird and wonderful combinations that will surprise and delight your palate!

What about the Research?  There is mounting research and proof that attributes most of today’s modern diseases, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, to poor diet and lifestyle.  As much of the Western diet consists of highly processed, sugar, wheat and dairy-laden foods with synthetic ingredients that give us little or no nutritional value, our bodies are left in a state of malnutrition, open to disease and increasing obesity.  In fact, the real reason we “crave” foods is because our body is crying out for something – and that something is nutrition!  It can only tell your brain to feed it what it is used to being fed, but you can re-set that programming by changing your diet!

The China Study (Benbella Books Inc. 2006), hailed as the “most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted” was a 27 year study carried out by T. Colin Campbell PhD, a scientist who dedicated his life’s work to understanding the effects of diet and nutrition on the body.  Dr Campbell, raised on a dairy farm, had always held the profound belief that humans needed animal based foods for protein consumption, energy and stamina.  However, during his life-long study he observed that in fact the healthiest diet a human being could consume is one made up plant-based foods, with an emphasis on uncooked whole foods.  In fact, he found that the group with the lowest rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes were vegans.

What else do I need to know?  Eating a diet that is high in raw and living foods gives you much needed energy, nutrition, vitality and clarity and you will stop craving the wrong foods.

Eating this way isn’t about being saintly, depriving yourself, or giving up all the foods that you are used to, but it seems to be the case that people who do change their diet to include more raw and living foods tend to naturally want to eat even more of them, and stop seeking satisfaction and comfort in processed foods.  Once you begin to taste real food again, processed foods become much less appealing!

We hope to inspire you to make some simple changes to your diet, by introducing more health promoting and delicious foods into your life!

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