It seems as though everyone is following some kind of a diet these days. With so many new and old diet trends to choose from it is easier for each person to find a diet that fits a specific lifestyle: vegetarian/vegan, paleo, gluten-free, low-carb, no sugar… there are enough diets to make your head spin. One diet that has gained attention both for being too extreme and to some, the most healthful and cautious choice when it comes to dieting is the raw food diet. While many experts believe when taken too far this diet can leave its practitioners under nourished and famished, it could also be helpful to integrate some of these principals into a regular more hearty diet.
The Basic Principals
The basic idea behind going raw is that by not cooking “live” plant-based foods the nutrients and vitamins are better preserved and adsorbed in the body. An ideal “rawist” eats 75% of their food–mostly organic fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted beans–raw. Food that absolutely must be cooked cannot reach higher than 116 degrees Fahrenheit, as rawists believe that cooking at high temperatures destroys powerful enzymes that help with digestion and optimal nutrition. To achieve raw “baked” goods like cakes, or breads (usually made with live-sprouts or grains) rawists use dehydrators. Certain foods are avoided, such as all dairy, meat, eggs, and any processed foods. Grains are also avoided, as most of them must be cooked thoroughly in order to be edible. However, quinoa and oats can be soaked for a long period of time and eaten, so these are accepted. The many health benefits to eating raw foods include: weight management, increased energy, better sleep, clearer skin, digestion health, and rawists believe better mental clarity.
While going purely raw is very unrealistic for most of us, dietitians do see the benefits of incorporating a few of these principals into our everyday diets without having to go to such extremes of eating a purely raw food diet. For instance, simply having a morning smoothie with juice, fresh fruit, and greens is a healthy raw way to start your day. Since spring is here, take a trip to your local farmers market and begin to start each meal with a small raw dish like a fruit, or veggie salad—skip the bread. Or add more vegetables to your sandwiches and wraps, like kale, or sliced apples. Keep your foods interesting and try new and fun raw recipes in order not to feel as though you are simply eating raw vegetables. By just adding one or two raw dishes to your daily diet, nutritionists say you can make a huge difference in your overall health and nutrition.
We love food too much to go all raw, but wanted to gather these fun and unique recipes to add a few more raw dishes to our everyday foods; it is much easier to add these foods to your diet in the spring and summer months when fresh and local produce are more readily available.