I want to use this post to talk about raw food and its benefits. I am a big fan of raw food diets and I practice them religiously. I feel that consuming food in its raw, natural state is the most healthy way to eat because food in its natural form has more nutrients in it than cooked food. Well, that’s a simple way of putting it.

Here’s a more thorough explanation: the theory is that when you cook food it chemically alters the structure of the nutrients contained therein. This causes the food to damaged, or toxic. When you eat cooked food your body has to work harder to break down and dispose of these toxins. Secondly, raw food contains special living enzymes that rebuild the body’s systems and help with your digestion. The moment you start to cook food above 104° F, these enzymes die off leaving you with what we raw foodies call “dead food”. This dead food also contains high amounts of free radicals and a chemical called HCA. Free radicals cause lots of nasty damage to the body, but HCA has been proven to cause cancer in animals! Hows scary is that?

Those are the major benefits, but there are other minor benefits to a raw food diet as well. The most important thing that I can think of would be the beneficial bacteria contained in uncooked food. Like I said before, when your food is cooked you not only gain toxins but you loose the good bacteria as well as the bad. The good bacteria are impotent since they help so much with digestion. If you are a long time Celiac disease sufferer like me than you might have bad digestion as well. Sadly, this is common among many Celiac disease patients.

Now when I consume raw foods I always make sure they are organic, I try to avoid anything with pesticides or additives. These can cause problems in their own right. But that’s a post for another day. Instead I will try and give you some general guidelines that we raw foodies follow, if you ever want to try this yourself that is.

* No cooked, pasteurized, or homogenized food of any kind. this includes oils and roasted nuts
* No food additives, preservatives, or food dyes of any type.
* Avoid stimulants like tobacco, liqueur, and caffeine.
* Try to avoid drinking tap water. RO or distilled water would be better.
* Foods that are o.k to eat raw: fruits, vegetables, nuts(although you should soak them first), sushi, some meats, kombucha, milk, and kefir.
* It is advisable to avoid lentils, since they are difficult to consume raw.

And that’s it. Easy right? Well there is one thing you need to be careful about: detox. That’s right. When you are someone who has eaten a life long diet of cooked, processed, rubbishy foods, you build up a great deal of toxins. When you suddenly change you diet the body wil begin to release these toxins out off pretty much everywhere. It is kind of similar to what an alcoholic goes through. Many people who go on a raw food diet for the first time get flu like symptoms and diarrhea. This is just your body’s response to receive wholesome food for what is most likely the first time in your life! But seriously, if your not ready detox can be a huge shock. Its best to start your diet during a time in your life when you have some time off from work, since the first few days are often the worse. After this period the symptoms will gradually subside as the body empty’s itself of toxins.

One last thing. In the raw food movement there are many who believe that to be truly raw you should only consume fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Basically raw vegan-ism. I have tried this in the past and have found that it can be tough to keep up in the long run due to lack of calories. You have to eat a lot of nuts and vegetables to equal one steak! What I have found is that a little meat a couple times a week in the form of sushi, tartare, or eggs makes it much easier to stick to the diet over the long term. I always ensure that any meat I consume comes from grass fed animals or wild caught/grazed animals.

Well that’s it for my raw food guidelines. I like to think of my raw food diet as a lifestyle change. This has helped me make a lasting change in the way I eat. Having the right attitude about your diet can make all the difference since it will keep you from sinking back into the old and unhealthy eating habits.

Have a rawsome day!

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