What is Raw?
I am often asked, “What is a raw food diet?” “Is this classed as raw?”, and to be honest it can be a bit confusing when you first start out. When I was first transitioning to Raw (some ‘in the club’ Raw lingo right there for you!) I was full of the same questions.
Luckily for me I knew where to reach out to get all the information that I needed and this, with my personal experience of going 100% raw then moving towards a high raw diet, enables me to now be able to share all of my knowledge with you. There’s plenty of information out there and here’s a few headliners to get you started. Find out more about what I eat here.
By the way you absolutely do not need to go 100% raw to gain amazing benefits from eating healthier! It was just the approach for me that was right for me at the time. Introducing more plant based and more raw foods in to your diet slowly is going to give you fabulous health gains!
Raw foods are uncooked foods:
Put simply raw foods are uncooked foods that come from nature – usually not heated to a temperature of 42/43 degrees (depending on what you read this number can vary depending on your source!) I do find that I rarely have to worry about temperature control unless I am dehydrating certain foods.
Raw foods come from nature:
A raw food diet is usually animal product free. It therefore does not include meats or fish (even uncooked). It does not include dairy of any kind. (Some people work very well with diary ferments like kefir, and yogurt cultures)
Easiest to remember is that raw foods do not usually come in a box with a label on! Raw foods are unprocessed living foods that provide abundant nutrition for the body. Raw foodies hold the belief that nature provides us with complete sources of nutrition from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains and pulses. In addition I personally buy into what I have researched about a high vibration diet! Foods rich in enzyme nutrition (like activated nuts) are top of the pile when it comes to raw foods because they are not only loaded with essential minerals and vitamins they are bursting with energy. And we are what you eat. We are what we can absorb.
Uncooked fruits and vegetables:
Raw plant based eating is based on the principal belief that the most healthy vibrant foods for the body are uncooked and not heated to over 38-43°C (different foods will have different heat limits. You will often see a ‘limit’ of 46°C used) to preserve the enzymes. So a raw food diet isn’t just ‘uncooked stuff’ it’s a menu that is high vibration, enzyme rich, nutritional goodness which gives you your highest vibration and your best self!
Meat and milk:
For me this used to be no way. It was a non-negotiable part of the deal in my first 7 years of being raw. This really helped me rebalance things. Lately I have introduced a very small amount of fermented dairy cultures in to my diet. As I teach fermented foods this really made sense to me and I have found that ethically sourced (preferably from permaculture farms) milks that are fermented with vibrant cultures work as a wonderful probiotic for me from time to time. But it’s not for everyone and I do believe that we have to work with non-judgmental flexibility.
Focusing on adding delicious foods to your diet helps you forget about all the things you might be taking away. Think of the addition and not the subtraction!
By all means reduce your intake of meat (and dairy) as you progress towards a plant-based high raw diet but, for me and let that settle at a level that works for you. Animal free, plant-based, living foods are the foundations of my Explore Raw menus & recipes and therefore meat definitely plays no part. I promote a high raw, high plant-based diet that is not exclusively 100% raw. From time to time I do use ethically sourced products from my permaculture farming and beekeeping friends that include animal milks and bee products such as honey, poles and propolis.
When working with clients I NEVER suggest that my way is the only way – we are all different. But introducing any aspect of plant based living, that suits your needs, can have amazing health benefits to the body.
Juicing (especially green leafy vegetables) is like hooking yourself up to a maximum-health drip; like injecting pure goodness into your veins because you are giving your body immediate access to the nutritional content of the foods that you have just juiced – bypassing a sometimes lengthy or sluggish digestion process. Believe me it’s the only bypass you are ever going to want. Juicing is NOT a replacement for a regular diet but is a fabulous addition to a plant based (or any!) diet! Juicing works for me and I am a big fan.
Why Eat Raw?
Eating a diet high in activated raw living foods can help you feel fabulous! That’s why! It helped me turn my health around and give me a very different perspective on life and eating. It is energy providing, clean and thoughtful eating that heals the body. Think energy. Think wellbeing. Think weight loss.
- Raw foods are high in fibre and that’s great for weight control
- Raw foods are low in calories (not that we count them when we are raw) including calories from fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables & sprouts
- Raw foods are loaded with vitamins & minerals AND enzymes, destroyed in some foods by the cooking process.
- Raw foods have a high water content helping you stay hydrated
- Raw foods are full of energy as they are closer to their live natural state
And, why eat raw?
The body’s natural state is one of constant self repair. If we eat a highly processed rich diet that includes meat, dairy, meds and alcohol then we become loaded with toxins. The body moves away from its primary repair tasks and focuses on the removal of toxins from the body and over time this leads to poor health. We are literally eating ourselves sick.
There are many reasons why a clean natural plant-based raw diet is what the body needs – and it can be helpful to focus on the following three key elements.
Eating Raw preserves food enzymes:
Enzymes are hugely important and are the life force of food – responsible for all metabolic activity in the body. Enzymes are needed to break down food particles quickly so that the body can process them. Cooked foods are without enzymes and pass through the body slowly encouraging fermentation and allowing toxins to remain in the body which is not good. Toxins present in the body are ‘weight loss blockers’ and encourage hormonal imbalances – interrupting the body’s natural ability to heal itself, detox and process waste. Cooking food destroys many minerals, vitamins and amino acids. There are a few exceptions such as lycopene found in tomatoes and carrots. Let’s bust this myth right here.
Eating Raw alkalizes the body:
It is said that a diet that is plant-based and high in raw foods can help in alkalizing the body. This might be really imprortant to your health if your eating habits are out of balance and if life becomes stressful. This means that your body can be more ‘in balance’, and your PH levels will even out. This is important as an ‘acidic’ diet causes stress on the body which increases weight gain and decreases immunity. An acidic diet is one that is high in things such as: junk food, processed foods, prescription and recreational drugs, smoking, meat, dairy and alcohol. Alkalizing the body can help the body to move towards its natural state of constant repair & rejuvenation.
Let’s do this!
Eating a high raw plant based diet has helped me to turn my health around. It can do the same for you! I cured myself from chronic disease, released weight and hopefully gave myself huge deposits into my long-term health bank account! We can’t all live forever but I plan to live healthily for as long as I can and hold off any critical illness. Read my full story here.
Hey, I am just a middle aged woman trying to do her best and, probably like you, I want life to be healthy, happy and full of joy. GREAT food plays a huge part in that for me.
To start your raw journey claim your FREE e-book Raw24 The One Day Raw Detox.