Raw food vs. Cooked food! What are the benefits of a raw food diet?

More and more people are switching to a raw food diet because they want to feel healthy and look great for longer. If you are thinking about changing your diet from cooked to raw food, but still need some convincing, we’ll give you the low down on the benefits of eating raw.

1. What is a raw food diet?

A raw food diet is essentially uncooked foods which consist of fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains or animal products.  These foods are all eaten in their natural state – which means NO cooking, boiling, steaming or grilling

There are four branches of raw foodism and they are divided into:
Raw vegetarians – the only animal products eaten are eggs and dairy but most foods eaten are raw
Raw vegans -  no animal products are eaten but most foods eaten are raw
Raw omnivores – both plant-based and animal-based foods are eaten
Raw carnivores – only meat products are eaten raw

A variety of foods ranging from beans, dried fruit, fresh fruit, veggies, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, meat, and fish (sushi, sashimi) is eaten on the raw diet.
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2. Why eat raw food?

Raw enthusiasts believe that the cooking process destroys the essential vitamins and minerals in food. According to them, raw and living foods contain enzymes which are the life force of food – helping us to digest and absorb nutrients.

About fifty percent of the nutrients are destroyed during the cooking process because heat alters the chemical structure of food.  When you bake, grill or fry at high temperatures, it denatures enzymes which then cause them to become toxic to the body.

When we consume too much cooked food, more waste is produced in the body. Our bodies have to now work even harder to keep up with all the waste that has accumulated and over time, results in digestive problems, weight gain, nutrient deficiencies, premature aging and other chronic diseases.

Most of the food in this diet is eaten raw, although heating is acceptable as long as the temperature is between 104 and 118 degrees Fahrenheit – thereby cooking over a longer period to preserve the nutrients.
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3. What are the benefits of eating raw?

There are definitely several benefits to going raw! Raw foodists claim that changing their lifestyle has been worth the effort. You will experience more energy, clearer thinking, weight loss, improvement in digestive health and radiant complexion. Other health benefits that are also noted include a better and deeper sleep, firmer, youthful body, increased self confidence and a healthier sex life. 
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4. What do raw foodies eat?

Are you wondering what exactly raw foodies eat? They eat a combination of fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds. Some eat raw animal products such as raw milk, carpaccio or raw fish such as sashimi or ceviche. Some raw foodists WILL NOT eat meat, grains or dairy foods! Their diet is then basically made up of 75 to 85% fruit, 10 to 20% green veggies and 5% nuts and seeds.

Newbies to the raw food diet will initially start out eating large amounts of fatty and dense foods such as nuts and dried fruits – these foods will give you that feeling of being “full and satisfied”, the same way one that you have after a cooked meal. 

Lots of fruits and salads are eaten and smoothies and freshly made fruit and veggie juices are drunk at first until your taste buds become more adventurous and you are ready to try raw foods prepared in a different way.
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5. Is it hard to go from cooked to raw?

It’s not easy to switch to a raw diet. You may feel motivated to want to go completely raw when you see the benefits that followers of this lifestyle have reaped – their glowing skin, weight loss, youthful appearance and positive outlook could be the turning point for you. Lots of people who have been ill often decide to change their lifestyle and switch to a raw diet.

Be prepared to accept that making the switch requires effort and patience – it is a matter of changing your mindset and being 100% committed! It is also a gradual process AND can be challenging at times.

Your taste buds have to get used to new flavours and textures, and it’s only normal that you will miss certain tastes that have been part of your daily diet. You don’t have to go completely raw, you can start off eating 50 percent and then gradually increase to ninety percent or even more.
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6. What’s the best way to change from cooked to raw?

Raw foodists recommend that the best way to start is to increase the amount of raw foods that you eat, and slowly decrease your cooked foods. Breakfasts that usually consist of cereals, toast or milk can be replaced with seasonal fruits.

In summer, start your day with strawberries, blueberries, mango or melon and in winter, change to oranges or grapefruit. If you usually had a sandwich for lunch, now you can fill up on a banana and berry OR carrot, ginger and pineapple smoothie. For dinner, you can have a large salad followed by fruit for dessert.

Delicious ‘cheeses’ and creamy sauces can be made from nuts and if you invest in a dehydrator, you can also make crackers, wraps and other tasty meals that will get your taste buds humming! Snack on nuts and seeds in between meals while drinking filtered water with lime, mint and cucumber. Sounds good, don’t you think?

Once you’ve acquired the taste for raw food and start to enjoy it, you can try your hand at introducing raw lasagne (layers of thinly sliced veggies and nut cream), gazpacho, raw wraps or spring rolls which are so yummy!

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7. What else can I do to stay healthy if I’m on the raw diet?

Once you’ve switched to the raw diet and start feeling and looking fabulous, your main objective would be to want to remain in the best of health. While eating a raw diet can help you to achieve optimum health, there are additional things that you can do. Exercise can help you to keep fit and active, and feel good too. Being active by walking, running, dancing or going to gym  at three times per week will lower cholesterol levels, balance blood pressure and keep you young  at heart.

Taking vitamins and natural remedies will also help you to maintain perfect health. Be sure to take your omegas for heart health, inflammation, joint pain and depression. Natural remedies to boost the immune system, balance the body’s system and promote youth and vitality can make a significant difference to your health.

In the Feelgood Health range, Immunity Plus is a herbal remedy which strengthens the immune system and acts as an overall tonic for the body. It also helps with a quicker recovery during and after illness. Superfoods Organic Green Shake provides a balancing spectrum of nutrients for optimum health and is essential to alkalize the body, balance pH and detox and cleanse the system. If you’re feeling stressed, tired or run down, Superfoods Organic Green Shake helps to regulate any systems that may be out of whack.

Another remedy that you can add to your daily regimen is Solgar Turmeric Root Extract which is a plant based antioxidant  and protects against disease and the ravages of aging.
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