Want to get healthy? Feeling sluggish? Not at your optimal health? Toss aside calorie counting and get ready for a raw food taste explosion. It’s not just about munching on salads and crudités all day long – it’s about preparing and consuming foods in a simple, gourmet and flavourful way. The benefits demand attention: increased energy, clearer skin, natural weight loss, reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, not to mention helps those already managing diabetes reverse the disease.
The basic principle to eating raw food is you consume foods in their “raw’ state or as unprocessed as possible – meaning no cooking (what busy Canadian doesn’t like the sound of that?). It’s a bit to get your head around but once you do, the ease of preparation and mouth-watering tastes will keep you coming back for more.
Not ready to jump in with both feet? You can choose to incorporate some aspects of the raw lifestyle into your daily meals or take the plunge and go raw all at once – it’s your choice baby! After only a few weeks we bet you’ll feel more energized than ever before and you’ll make a conscious decision to make more healthy raw choices.
People who follow a raw vegan lifestyle eat foods that are unprocessed and “uncooked” (although dehydrating foods at 115ºF is acceptable so you can still get a bit of that “cooked” feeling). It’s generally a plant-based diet including fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains and legumes. Sound limiting and boring? Think again! Imagine a gourmet mouth watering raw pizza made with pesto, fresh basil, cashew cheese and peppers or a beautiful lasagna with layers of zucchini, tomato sauce and “cheese” not to mention the variety of delicious desserts like “cheese” cake (topped with fresh berries or simply topped with chocolate ganache).
Eating raw actually means the food is live with the nutrients and enzymes intact, which actually leads to increased taste intensity while ensuring optimal nutritional composition. Did you know that cooking food kills the enzymes, which are important for easy/best absorption of nutrients and digestion of food?
Our food choices today contain additives, pesticides and due to our busy lifestyles, fast food is still a choice for many. Only proactive approaches to our health, including even two “raw” food meals a week, can lead to a marked improvement in health and disease prevention.
While it may seem daunting, a raw food diet is actually quite simple to incorporate into your diet. You can start by having the following items in your home/pantry: leafy greens (like kale, spinach, romaine lettuce), avocados, sprouts, lemons, cucumbers, nuts and nut butter (like raw almond butter), oils – flax, hemp and coconut, seaweed, tomatoes, fruits (like mixed berries, granny smith apples, grapefruit and pomegranate.)
Also, the addition of some superfoods to your pantry is also beneficial. Superfoods are rich in essential nutrients and can aid with headaches, back pain, inflammation, eczema, poor immunity, allergies, asthma etc. Some superfoods to have on hand: maca, goji berries, hemp seeds and cocoa etc. Introducing raw food doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Keep it simple, make it fun and enjoy all the health benefits raw food has to offer! For more tips, ideas and menu suggestions visit www.makeitraw.com.
Try to stay away from:
• Processed and refined food
• Take advantage of local produce organically grown
• Add lots of fresh green leafy vegetables to your meals
• Keep it simple – fresh simple dishes are often packed with the best flavours
Francesco Comito started his raw food journey in 2005 when his own fast paced life style and eating habits caught up with him. In less than optimal health, frustrated with low energy, chronic illness, inflammation of the liver and other symptoms, and less than pleased with the prescribed solutions of prescription drugs he discovered the merits of enjoying a more natural-food diet.
Photo: James Manderville, Camera Shy Productions.