What is raw?
Raw Food is a movement, a way of life, and certainly a cooking style. The term "Raw Food" applies to food that has not been heated above 118-122 degrees Fahrenheit. This rule allows for much creativity on the part of the raw food chef. Beyond the innumerable concoctions of smoothies, juices and salads that can be created with raw fruits and vegetables, many raw foodists sprout beans and grains to make them edible, soak nuts and seeds to create nut milks, cheeses and sauces, use dehydrators to heat foods at very low temperatures, and often incorporate superfoods in their recipes. “Raw” is also almost exclusively vegan, as no animal products are consumed, although utilizing items like raw honey are left to the discretion of the chef. By definition, Raw Food does not include dairy, refined sugar or flour, synthetic additives, dyes or preservatives. It is a truly pure diet of real food that grows in the ground. Many raw foodists insist on organic to preserve the raw status of the food.
Raw foods fall under the following categories:
leaves (leafy vegetables, herbs)
legumes (peas, beans and peanuts)
sap (maple syrup, bee propolis)
water vegetation (sea vegetables, sea salt and algaes like spirulina and chlorella)
1. You are what you eat
It’s the cliché everyone knows from childhood, but it is actually so much more than a metaphor. The food we eat, quite literally, becomes the bodies we have, the energy we experience, the state of health that we enjoy. If you want to feel ALIVE, eat food that is living. Food that has life-force energy from the sun makes you feel more alive. Food that was created in an industrial, assembly line, processed, atmosphere has dead energy. Is it any wonder that processed food doesn’t make us feel very well?
It is interesting to note that humans are the only species who cooks their food - the other 80 million species eat exclusively raw food. In the 1930’s Dr. Paul Kouchakoff, M.D. found that consuming a diet of more than 51% cooked food, caused the body to react to the food as if it were being invaded by a foreign organism, elliciting a reaction called leukocytosis. He went on to discover that if 51% of meals ingested were raw, there was no white blood cell reaction, and so the immune system would not be activated with the false alarm caused by cooked food.
2. The importance of enzymes (in a nutshell)
Enzymes are vital to all life processes - they are the catalysts for all reactions in the body. There are 3 types: metabolic, digestive and food. Metabolic enzymes operate in the cells, tissues and organs, and are a vital part of every single biological activity. Digestive enzymes aid in the digestion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and assimilation of nutrients. Food enzymes are those found in whole living foods and come enclosed and in their proper proportion for digestion (they are completely destroyed at 118º). Cooked food requires the use of the body’s limited amount of digestive enzymes (the pancreas can only make so many at a time). If there is an insufficient amount of digestive enzymes, the body will draw upon its metabolic enzyme reserves which exist in the major and minor organs and glands. This constant depletion leads to overall weakening of health, immunity, vitality and longevity. (It takes 10 metabolic enzymes to form just 1 digestive enzyme). We begin to accumulate undigested materials in our system, which leads to inflammation, digestive disorders, fatigue, weight gain, and could eventually become systemic disorders, auto-immune disease and other, life-depleting diseases.
3. Goal: ADD IN
You do not have to eat 100% raw food in order to reap the energy-and life-giving benefits of a raw food diet. By focusing on ADDING IN some raw foods to your daily life, you can dramatically improve your energy level and overall wellbeing. In addition to incorporating raw fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, you can add in smoothies, fresh juices, daily salads and maybe graduate to raw recipes if you like the results you experience. This way, getting to 51% raw is actually pretty simple, especially in warmer months when we tend to crave cooler temperatures.
Check out these Feeding Your Life raw food recipes:
Zucchini pasta & sundried tomato sauce
Raw ice cream
Kale hempseed salad