- Food and Cooking
The Inside Scoop of Eating a Raw Food Diet
It's the stereotype though of what a vegetarian diet is. My thoughts then quickly transition to one of a five pound juicy bacon cheeseburger with French fries and a pint of my favorite lager. While this other idea is hardly the idea of ideal health, on the surface, flavor comes to mind. A raw food diet does not have to be without taste. It can actually be quite flavorful and for some, a normal way of life.
-James Goetz (New Jersey)
Coconut is not a nut whatsoever. Coconut is actually a seed. It is the largest seed of the plant kingdom and comes from the coco palm.
When one thinks of a diet, they often believe it is a temporary manner of which to eat in order to achieve some goal involving their weight (most likely decreasing). Webster's Dictionary defines diet as, "a regulated selection of food and drink, especially followed for medical or hygienic reasons:. Nowhere does the definition state, "a temporary manner of eating to lose weight". This has to be understood before making any changes in ones life. I found through experience that most people are "all or none" in their thought processes. There is no middle ground. IF you are truly committed to eating a particular way (diet), there should be an evidence based reason to do so. This means to eat a diet that is 100% raw vegan is what is being committed to forever. (*The long term health benefit of this decision is debatable. See Note at end of article)
Did you know...
Most true vegetarians have pernicious anemia? They lack intrinsic factor, which is created only in the presence of vitamin B-12, a vitamin obtained through meat. While a B-12 supplement or nutritional yeast do contain B-12 and are a necessary supplement if one eats vegetarian- do consider and understand the concept of bioavailability, which is your bodies ability to absorb nutrients into cells.
What the evidence does show is by having a diet rich in 7-9 servings of vegetables, 2-3 servings of fruits, nuts and whole grains and small amounts of free range grass fed meat; combined with an active lifestyle of 1 hour per day of exercise, one should live a long and relatively disease free life.
Enzymes break down at certain temperatures. Therefore, many supposed raw foods that have been dried have had their enzymes degraded and therefore no longer a true raw food. Cashews may be one of these foods as wild cashew kernels are grown in a hard shell. By heating the shell, it opens to reveal the nut. In doing this, the cashew is no longer a true raw food.
By eating raw foods, the natural enzymes are present. This allows them to be better broken down and allows nutrients to be absorbed and utilized by your body. When foods are processed and/ or cooked at or greater than 108 degrees Fahrenheit, the enzymes are degraded and your body is unable to optimally benefit by the food eaten.
Turmeric is a member in the ginger family and has been used in cooking and healing for thousands of years. It is used as an antiseptic and has anti-inflammatory properties. Scientific studies of it's active ingredient curcumin, are being done on diseases such as: Alzheimer's, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and multiple myeloma as well as a variety of arthridities such as rheumatoid.
Ideally one should obviously avoid processed foods all together as part of their diet. Avoiding the heating of fresh fruits and vegetables should also be avoided (to realize their maximum effective properties). If this is not feasible, there are excellent digestive enzymes available on the market today. But that is a topic for conversation of another day.
Many herbs and spices use din the culinary arts have a long history of medicinal use. For instance, basil and oregano have strong anti-bacterial properties and support the immune system. Cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and fennel are known to support the health of one's digestive system.
Raw foods are abundant in live enzymes. As long as your body can break down the cellular membrane of the food, its nutrients are highly bioavalable to benefit your cells. This is a good thing.
Olives antioxidant properties are believed to derive from their high polyphenol levels.
Modern science has been discovering the wonderful nutritional benefits of the ancient foods such as chia seeds, flax seeds, dark chocolate, and a variety of berries. These super foods have a high ORAC value (The USDA utilizes the ORAC method to measure the antioxidant capacity of foods) and many contain important immune- strengthening antioxidants.
What's Your Take?
Would You Follow a Raw Food Diet?
When purchasing coconuts, ensure it is organic. Coconuts imported from Thailand may be treated with fungicide and formaldehyde, both highly toxic to humans.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is known to have said, "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food". Eat a rainbow of colorful foods to enjoy a high quality long life. Be well.
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*NOTE: The many different types of world diets in regards to long term health, is still a highly disputed topic. As of the date of publication, a vegetarian diet appears to lead to lower total cholesterol levels than a non- vegetarian diet. However, the total cholesterol levels do not appear to correlate to the risk of developing heart disease and may actually increase the incidence of stroke and other diseases (Teicholz 2014). Before beginning any diet plan, it is recommended you seek the advice of a competent up to date evidence based nutrition expert. To learn more about nutrition and it's history and how it applies to humans, I encourage you to read: The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz