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Why follow a raw food diet?

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Going raw foodism is the idea of the day for eating the healthiest foods which are uncooked and unprocessed. It’s almost having them in their natural state. It is generally said that cooking on high heat destroys most of the nutritional content of foods. The natural enzymes found in raw plant based foods are essential for good digestion and health.

A typical raw food diet would include mostly fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouts, raw milk, cheese, uncooked eggs and mushrooms. Enzymes are the life force of the food that helps in digesting food and absorb nutrients. Cooking denatures enzymes. Cooking food also to an extent diminish its nutritional values. Certain vitamins such as vitamin and folate are destroyed by heat. 

Broadly there are four branches of raw foodism:

  1. Raw vegans – no animal products are consumed at all, most food consumed are raw only.
  2. Raw vegetarians – only eggs and diary are consumed.
  3. Raw carnivores – only meat produced are consumed raw.
  4. Raw omnivores – here both plant and animal based foods are consumed mainly raw.

Raw foods include grains, legumes, nuts, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, seeds, sun-dried fruits, freshly made fruit and vegetable juices, seaweeds, other organic or natural foods which are not processed. You could also include eggs, milk and dairy products (non-pasteurized), fish (sushi, sashimi).

Now it’s important to know, are raw food diets beneficial to us? Studies have shown that any potential benefit of this diet is due to the increased intake of plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and sprouts. When compared with a standard diet, a raw food diet is much lower in saturated fats.

Having a raw food diet, one would automatically avoid the various artificial ingredients and enormous amounts of sodium added in highly processed foods. It is said that when you are on a restrictive diet, you have the risk of nutritional deficiencies.

A raw foodist eating a raw vegan diet is at a risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency. Other potential deficiencies would be vitamin D and iron, although iron from plant based foods are absorbed better when you eat vitamin C rich foods at the same time.

Some of the fantastic way of preparing raw food diets is: Soaking and sprouting, dehydrating, blending, fermenting, pickling, and juicing. The benefits that we get from eating a raw food diet are increased energy, weight loss, clearer skin, reduced risk of diseases. Eating fresh vegetable or fruit salads are the ultimate way of having a raw meal. You could include tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beetroot, lettuce etc.

Exotic veggies like artichokes, broccoli would also add taste and flavor to your salad. Eating a salad everyday would get your five daily portions of fruit and vegetables because the dish is made by tossing a selection of vegetables together.

You could also add new and additional flavors for enhancing the taste. For any raw salad, the freshness of vegetables and fruits, its textures, flavor and colorful creation is very important. Do add some apples, pear or citrus fruits to give a tangy flavor in keeping the salad interesting and yummy.

This will surely give you a nutritional boost and help in losing weight. Juicing is another amazing way to keep your raw juice highly nutritious, especially when you juice the whole vegetable along with the pith and peel.  Veggies and fruits like carrots, beetroots, peppers and apples and be juiced as it is.

While juicing vegetables and fruit, leave as much of the white pith as you like to get full benefit of the bioflavonoids - powerful plant-based anti-oxidants - which help the body to absorb vitamin C and also help strengthen the capillaries in the body, leading to better circulation and smoother, more beautiful skin.

Many raw foods are easy to prepare provided you have a good recipe to try. But for preparing a raw food diet you really don’t need to bother with recipes but just prepare simply and enjoy them in their raw state in salads, soups or in their own right as a snack. VahChef Sanjay Thumma

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Enjoy cooking and eating healthy foods to stay hale and hearty.

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