Apologies for the title, I really couldn’t contain myself.
For as long as I have been vegan (3 years) I have been attempting to transition to a mostly raw food lifestyle. The benefits of a diet consisting of vegan, whole foods not heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) are undeniable. However, what I really want is that unmistakable, intense, beautiful glow. You know the one I’m talking about. The way almost every raw foodie looks. Health oooozing from their pores. Bright eyes. Clear skin. Explosive energy. I want that. I mean really, who doesn’t? The benefits of a raw diet are virtually endless.
Like anything, the only problem with the whole thing is the commitment. I would imagine that most people feel overwhelmed when they start to look into the raw lifestyle. The time, energy and forethought make my jam-packed schedule shudder with fear. But the truth is: sprouting, juicing and dehydrating are really easy -they just require some time management skills. Even if you are the most unorganized chick in the world (like myself) you can slowly ease your way into this super healthy diet.
What is a raw vegan?
A raw vegan person who consumes food in its most natural state. These foods are vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains. They are not processed and contain no preservatives or chemicals. Preparation includes but is not limited to: sprouting, soaking, dehydrating, freezing, juicing, and blending. Sound bland? Hardly. Raw recipes are among the most innovative and surprising I have ever seen. After a hearty raw meal you will feel so full of life you will come back begging for more.
There are tons of reasons why a raw food diet is beneficial to you, your body and your well being. Here are just a few:
- The heat of cooking depletes vitamins, damages proteins and fats, and destroys enzymes that benefit digestion. A raw diet ensures all these beneficial components remain in tact.
- increased energy levels
- A raw diet makes you feel more satisfied and eases digestion since you are eating undamaged, nutritionally dense food.
- Improved appearance of skin
- Eating a diet of raw foods has been shown to reverse or stop the advance of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
- No Burns!
- A raw food diet can strengthen your immune system and protect you from acute diseases such as colds, flu, measles, etc.
- Improved digestion, and relief from IBS and colitis.
- It is extra environmentally friendly. We all know a vegan diet is an amazing eco-diet, but eating raw reduces on packaging and transportation costs that are associated with packaged, processed foods. You also save gas and electric from not using your oven, crock pot, toaster, or microwave.
- Increases mental clarity and concentration
- Saves you money on food, vitamins, pots and pans, appliances, doctor bills, drugs, and health insurance.
- Weight loss.
- Can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, and lower the levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Followers of a raw food diet have low body mass index (BMI), high Vitamin D levels, low levels of C-reactive protein, and lower levels of IGF-1(a growth factor linked to risk of breast and prostate cancer).
Most raw foodists recommend not diving into a raw diet headfirst. If you thrive on a meal plan of mainly processed and packaged foods, you should seriously consider starting off with adding one uncooked meal a day to your repertoire. If you jump too quickly from SAD to RAW you will likely suffer from nausea and other yucky side effects that come with the detox that your body will be going through. After you are feeling good about your one meal a day, add a green smoothie or a juice for breakfast. Then you can gradually progress as you learn different recipes and concoctions. Luckily, raw foodies love to blog, so there are plenty of recipes and ideas floating around the internet.
http://melomeals.blogspot.com <-amazingly innovative recipes for super cheap.
http://www.squidoo.com/raw_food <-great article with lots of resources.
I personally have no intentions of achieving a 100% raw diet. However I would love to transition to a diet consisting of about 75% raw yummyness and 25% cooked whole food goodness. Currently I eat minimal processed foods, but I would love to eliminate them completely. What is your ideal healthy diet? Is a complete living foods diet something you strive to achieve?
Stay tuned for part II of this article, dealing with time management and making raw food prep easy. Oh, and some scandalous recipes.