Celebrities and regular folk alike are jumping on the raw foods bandwagon, swearing that they feel better, look better and have loads of extra energy. Heralded as the latest fountain of youth, chowing down on a steady diet of raw, preferably organic fare has a legion of fans who have sworn off cooked foods in favor of lots of leafy greens, seeded fruits, sprouty grains and colorful veggies.
Why Eat Raw?
Proponents of raw foods say you are what you eat, and who wouldn’t prefer to be fresh, vibrant and natural? The body’s essential building blocks of vitamins, enzymes and nutrients give us the glow of health inside and out, with clear skin, gleaming hair and long, lean muscles. The process of cooking destroys many of these vital elements, robbing our food and our bodies of nutrients needed to avoid premature aging, illness and lack of energy.
Eating raw foods gives a perfect, fresh-picked balance of vitamins, minerals, fibers and healthy fats. Some nutrients are available only in raw foods.
Certain raw beans, sprouts, herbs and even bee pollen provide beneficial natural hormones that contribute to longevity, while powerful phytochemicals, present in raw foods, benefit your hormonal system due to their natural antioxidants, alkaloids and polysaccharides. Water itself, so vital for human existence, is drained from foods in the cooking process, resulting in less natural moisture to aid digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Which Raw Foods are the Best?
A basic raw food diet involves three basic groups of foods: green leafy veggies, plant fats and raw fruits. All three types of food can be eaten at the same time unless the combination causes symptoms of digestive distress such as cramps, headache or flatulence. Raw greens should be living, and many diet adherents build or buy a sprouter for their kitchen, providing an ever-fresh supply of their own home-grown salad and sandwich toppings.
Preferred raw fruits are seeded, including sweet varieties like apples and pears, as well as sour but tangy grapefruits and lemons. Best vegetable –type fruits include bell peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes, and unseeded fruits like seedless grapes and oranges should be avoided.
Beyond the basic fruits and veggies, raw cuisine can include roots, flowers, herbs, mushrooms, seaweeds, algae, lentils, green peas and grain sprouts. Buckwheat, amaranth and wild rice are staples of the diet, and warming herbs like chili, garlic, jalapeño pepper and raw cayenne add some zip to your crunchy fare.
Benefits of Raw Foods
The benefits of eating raw foods are myriad. Much to raw foodies’ delight, this crunchy diet helps the overweight lose extra pounds quickly as the body seeks its perfect weight. People who are too skinny find those desired few extra pounds, while all body types find themselves with longer, leaner muscles, less puffiness and an amazing, healthy glow.
Folks who go raw are also headed for a longer, healthier life, finding they sleep better, have incredible energy and can eat as much of their raw delights as they want. On the practical side, no cooking means no cleanup, and less packaging makes it easier to “go green”.
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