Raw Food Diet

Eating raw foods is natural. Our bodies thrive on all that is fresh and vital. A raw food diet (or increasing the amount of raw food that you eat) is bound to bring a feeling of increased wellbeing.

Raw food diets are based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, preferably organic, such as a variety of fresh fruits and vegies, nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit, fresh juices and purified water.

Why Raw Foods?

Basically a vegetarian diet, the raw food diet promotes eating and drinking ‘living’ foods. Living foods and juices contain the maximum amount of fibre found in raw produce, fibre that can be lost in processing. Such foods are easily metabolised and tend to be lower in calories than the average diet.

Heating food above 116°F destroys enzymes in food that aid in digestion and in absorption of food, diminishing its nutritional value.

Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

A diet of at least 75% raw food offers numerous health benefits, such as increased energy, improved skin appearance, better digestion, weight loss and reduced risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

A raw food diet contains little or no saturated fats, is low in sodium, high in potassium, magnesium, folate and fibre.
Raw food diets are also excellent detox diets. Different combinations of raw, living foods and juices can be used for colon cleansing, liver cleansing, kidney cleansing and skin cleansing.

The Basics of a Raw Food Diet

Any fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, beans, nuts, legumes, young coconut milk – even seaweed – can be menu items of a raw food diet. Your choice of foods may depend on your reasons for dieting, for example:

- sprouted brown rice slows glucose absorption and improves the metabolism

- cabbage supports healthy cellular function; radish leaves act as an anti-oxidant, as does Shitake mushroom

-carrots are a great source of vitamin A as well as encouraging healthy vision and a healthy cardio-vascular system

You can use a sprouter such as the Easy Green automatic sprouter to sprout seeds, grains, beans – even wheatgrass. Sprouts could be called a ‘super food’ – organic sprouts contain enormous levels of proteins, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll pigments and enzymes, and are the ideal natural supplement.

Sprouts can be used in salads and soups, or can be juiced. Fresh juices are a great ready energy supply and a good quality juicer, such as the Kempo Greenpower juicer, produces living juices that are full of essential nutrients.
A great juicing recipe to complement a raw food diet is carrot juice with potato, fennel and apple. Simply juice 4 medium carrots, 2 apples, 1 small potato and 1 small stalk of fennel.
Fennel has been shown to reduce and control inflammation of arthritis, it evens mood fluctuation and depressive states and has the rare nutrient called manganese, plus zinc and vitamin B complex.
The nutritional value of grains and seeds is impressive. They contain most of the vitamins – particularly A, B, and E. They’re also fantastic natural sources of unsaturated fatty acids and lecithin, and an excellent source of proteins.

You can even use soy milk makers (such as SoyQuick) to make non-dairy drinks from different beans, rice, nuts, seeds and grains to have with breakfast. If you want something a little more substantial than soy milk you can make your tofu (or, of course, visit a good health food shop).

Essentially, the idea of a raw food diet is to eat unprocessed foods for at least 75% of the time. If the idea of raw food isn’t very appetising to you, you can warm the food a little as long as the food isn’t heated above 116°F.

Cautionary Note

As with any major change in diet, it’s wise idea to consult your doctor before beginning a special diet. This is especially true for children, pregnant women, anyone with anemia and anyone with a pre-existing medical condition.

Even natural foods can conflict with certain medications, so please ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any medication.

Because a raw food diet is detoxifying some people suffer a mild detox reaction including mild headaches, nausea and cravings. These symptoms may last for several days and you’ll get more enjoyment out of your raw food diet if you cut down on things like meat, sugar and caffeine a week or so before commencing the diet.

Last But Not Least…

A raw food diet is certainly a good way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Like anything worthwhile it takes time, energy and commitment. Because many of the foods for this particular type of diet are made from scratch there is some preparation time involved. There are many great products on the market that can help you prepare your own living food and save you some time as well.

Combined with regular exercise, a raw food diet is also an excellent weight loss method. If you’ve been feeling ‘a little off’, or just need a pick-me-up and some extra energy, then a raw food diet is certainly a good way to go.

A Healthy Guide to Good Nutrition

Whether you are at your ideal weight or striving to reach your weight goal is it simply a matter of burning more calories than you take in? The answer, I suggest, is no! Overall body health improvement as well as weight gain or loss must be factored in to the equation or you could be heading for problems. Correct nutrition can help to reduce the risk of a miriad of health-related problems, the most frightening of which are surely heart disease and cancer. Proper nutrition, however, entails eating many different foods, monitoring your consumption of some food and beverage items, and counting calories. Good diets offer balanced nutrition that reduces cholesterol, blood pressure, and helps with weight control.

To function properly, your body must have the correct combination of nutrients:

Carbohydrates. They are the primary source of ammunition in your diet. The body uses carbohydrates to build glucose which can be used immediately or stored in your body for later. Too much glucose, however, is stored as fat. There are two types of carbohydrates - simple and complex. Sugars are simple carbohydrates. Starches and fibers are complex carbohydrates.

Proteins. Proteins help your body build and maintain muscles and other tissues. They also function in the creation of hormones. Like carbohydrates, excess protein is stored as fat.

Animal and vegetable are the two major types of proteins. Too much animal protein can cause high cholesterol, as it is high in saturated fat.

Fat. Strange as it may seem; fat is another nutrient your body requires. It comes in both saturated and unsaturated forms. Saturated fat puts you at risk of health problems. Unsaturated fat is healthy, but if it goes through any type of refinement process, it can become saturated fat.

Vitamins. These are also required nutrients. Different vitamins perform different tasks within the body. They can work with the metabolism to help with energy levels for any task you can think of that you need your body to perform. It has also been noted that certain vitamins can prevent disease.

For example, vitamins A, C, and E, also called antioxidants, can assist with the prevention of coronary artery disease by keeping build up from occurring on artery walls. Vitamin B-1 is needed for digestion and proper nervous system function. Vitamin B-2 is needed for normal cell growth. Vitamin B-3 helps to detoxify your body. Folic acid assists with production of red blood cells. Vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium. Vitamin K helps your blood clot.

Minerals and trace elements. These are another nutrient your body requires. Both are used in many different body processes. Minerals like chlorine help make your digestive juices. Phosphorus helps build strong bones. Both can be found in the foods we consume, but with a trace element, your body just needs a tiny amount. Salt is one final nutrient your body requires. You should not consume more than 2400 milligrams per day, though, as it might raise your blood pressure.

You should follow several guidelines to create a well balanced, nutritional diet. First, try to consume two and one half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit each day. When making your selections for each day, be sure to choose a good variety. A good rough guide is to eat as many different colors as possible, this will help you to select from all five vegetable subgroups at least four times per week.

You should eat at least three ounces of whole grain products each day. At least half of your grain intake should be whole grain based. Milk should also be part of a healthy diet. Consume at least forty-eight ounces of low fat milk or milk products on a daily basis. Your total fat intake should only be between ten and thirty percent of your calories. Most of the fats you consume should be in the form of unsaturated fats, as saturated fats can do much to damage your health. Meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products should all be lean, low-fat, or fat-free. Less than ten percent of your calories should come from saturated fats, and you should always try to avoid trans-fatty acid.

Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be a regular part of your diet as should potassium rich foods. Alcoholic beverages should only be consumed in moderation.

Excellent nutrition is the basis of a healthy diet.

12345...