About a year ago, I was introduced to the concept of raw foods. At first, I was amazed – how could anyone live on 100% raw foods? Then I was curious – Andrea, the lady I met looked amazing. She had initially ‘gone raw’ to lose weight, but after losing 40kg and recovering from various ‘lifestyle’ diseases, she has never looked back. Andrea remains a 100% raw vegan, and now helps others on their raw journeys through Raw Vegan Lifestyle.
After meeting Andrea, I decided to go raw for a few weeks. After the initial detox (headaches, tiredness etc) I felt amazing and as an added bonus I lost 4kg! Since then, I have gone from less than 20% raw (eating an apple used to be a struggle) to 80%+ raw, I feel fantastic and have lost a total of 15kg. I have to admit, that this shift towards raw foods was made much easier when I discovered raw chocolate! A diet without treats is tantamount to torture!
Many celebrities are now turning to raw foods, including Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Robin Williams, Uma Thurman, Sting, Beyonce and David Bowie to name but a few. More and more raw food restaurants are appearing, and raw food classes are all the rage.
So why raw?
Raw foodists say that enzymes are the life force of a food. Nature has given each food its unique perfect mix. These vital enzymes allow us to fully digest our foods without having to rely on our own digestive enzymes. Apparently the cooking process destroys or alters these enzymes, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Raw foodists believe that cooked foods take longer to digest and clog up our digestive system and arteries with partially digested fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Some of the benefits of a raw food diet include:
■Increased energy levels
■Improved skin appearance
■Significantly decreased risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
For me, for now at least, I’m happy with my 80% raw (I eat raw during the day, then we have a cooked family meal in the evening). But for most of us, we are just not eating enough fruit and vegetables, and as a consequence, lifestyle diseases and obesity rates are soaring.
The current guidelines in Australia are 5 servings of veg and 2 of fruit every day. Here are a few examples of a serving:
■1 small apple, pear, orange, nectarine, kiwi
■4 apricots (dried or fresh)
■1 cup berries or melon
■1 tomato, ½ cucumber or ½ capsicum
■6 baby carrots
■½ cup cooked vegetables
■1 cup raw vegetables
■2 cups raw leafy vegetables
■125ml 100% fruit juice
■250ml 100% vegetable juice
In the USA, the traditional ‘food pyramid’ has now been replaced with a simpler ‘food plate’, which shows that half of our plates should be fruit and veg at every meal. The average American consumes between 2 and 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The latest US dietary guidelines call for 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and it looks like the guidelines in Australia are also set to rise. The American Institute for Cancer Research is so convinced of the cancer-fighting abilities of fruits and vegetables that they’ve been recommending 9-11 servings each day.
Another interesting thing to consider when you are eating your veggies is how certain veggies can help certain parts of the body. Here are a few examples:
Tomatoes contain licopene, which is important for a healthy heart (and if you cut them in half, they have four chambers, just like a heart)! If you are not convinced, then Italy, the country that consumes the most tomatoes, has the lowest rates of heart disease!
Carrots look like the eye and science now shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.
Walnuts looks like the brain and walnuts have been shown to can help develop over 3 dozen Neuron-Transmitters for brain function.
Kidney Beans heal and help maintain kidney function and they look exactly like the human kidneys.
Celery, Bok Choy and Rhubarb specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don’t have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.
Avocados target the health and function of the Womb and Cervix of the female and look just like these organs. Today’s research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervical cancers. It takes exactly 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit.
Grapefruits, Oranges, Citrus Fruits resemble the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.
Isn’t Mother Nature amazing!
Over the next few months, I’ll be writing more about the powers of fruit and veg and how we can we get more into our diets. There will be some yummy raw recipes, including some that kids will love! I’ll also be mentioning a live wholefood supplement, Juice Plus+, that can help bridge the gap between the nutrition you actually get, and the nutrition you really need.
For those of you living in Perth, there are a number of wellness events coming up where you can learn more about the bad foods to avoid, and the good foods to include in your diet (I’ll be giving a talk on 4th April for the Bassendean Living Smart Group). See our ‘What’s on in Perth’ page for details.
Why not come along and learn about the Power of Fruit and Veg and how 5 and 2 just isn’t enough!
For further information, or if you would like to book a wellness talk, please email email@example.com or call us on 0407984793.
References and useful links
Raw Food Diet FAQ
Raw Food Recipes
Benefits of Raw Food Diet