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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Loving Raw: The Top 3 Benefits of the Raw Food Diet

If you live in NYC, you may have already heard of the raw food diet. It’s been gaining popularity in recent years because people are finally waking up to the fact that our society is very sick. Everywhere we look we see people overweight, stressed out, chronically tired, and sick. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease statistics are at record high. The raw food diet brings them solutions and hope.

However, the raw food diet is not a new concept. It’s been around for over 2,000 years, first practiced by the Essene, a spiritual community that existed during Jesus’ time and ate exclusively raw foods, promoted cleansing and spiritual practices for optimum health. Frankly, I don’t even like calling raw foods a “diet”, because it’s really a way of eating for life, not just a temporary solution to a problem.

A raw food diet means consuming foods that are unprocessed, uncooked, organic, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, seaweeds, and sprouts. Consuming at least 75% of your food raw will change your health, and your life, dramatically.

Although volumes can be written on the benefits of the raw food diet, here are my top 3:

1. Weight Loss. Why do we overeat and gain weight? Because cooked and processed foods are deficient in nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and essential minerals. The process of cooking takes most of nutrients and vitamins out of food; heating food over 108 degrees Fahrenheit destroys enzymes, which are crucial to your body’s ability to digest what you eat. When you eat a raw organic apple, it already has a perfect balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and enzymes needed to digest those nutrients. When you cook an apple and destroy enzymes, your body has to produce its own enzymes for digestion and it also doesn’t receive any vitamins from that cooked apple. So the more cooked and processed food you eat, the more your body craves nutrients it’s not getting. The result? Your body keeps sending your brain signals that it needs good food and your brain keeps sending YOU a message and you need to eat more. Do you now see how the pattern of overeating develops? When you eat enzymatically-rich raw foods you naturally stop overeating and eat less, because your body and brain no longer starve for the nutrients they need. Eating lost of berries, melons, leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, and sprouts, and drinking lots of water will guarantee that you lose weight naturally and quickly.

Abundant energy.
As a busy mom and a city dweller, you probably wish you had more energy. Do you still depend on coffee to give you an energy boost? Do you want to wake up well-rested? Do you want to have enough energy to do all the things you do during the day and not feel like crashing in the afternoon? You can if you eat a diet high in raw and organic natural foods! Cooking food diminishes not only nutritional value of it, but also zaps all the live energy right out of it. So instead of your body getting energy from the food you eat, it has to spend more energy on digesting and processing cooked food. Do you ever notice how after having a big cooked meal you feel tired and in need of a nap? Does Thanksgiving dinner come to mind? That’s because your body is directing most of its energy resources to your digestive tract, leaving very little energy for anything else. Eating a diet high in raw foods supplies your body with all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes it needs to function properly and to have plenty of energy for supporting you in your daily activities.

3. Improved Health. The ability of raw foods to reverse disease and improve health is well-documented. Research shows that consuming a diet high in raw foods has dramatically improved (and sometimes eliminated completely) such conditions as diabetes, heart disease, and early stages of various cancers. Most people who switched to the raw food diet got rid of allergies, migraine headaches, acne, candida, depression, and ADD. Natural, organic, raw foods assist your body in removing harmful toxins, repairing damage caused by years of consuming unhealthy foods, and restoring health that is rightfully yours.

So how do you start on the raw food diet?
    - First, gradually replace your morning java with a green smoothie. It gives your body not only a healthy boost of energy, but starts you off with a great blend of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
  • - If you have a blender (Vitamix is the best), try this simple and quick smoothie:
    - 3-4 handful of organic spinach
    - 2 sweet mangoes
    - Peel and cut mangoes into pieces and put in your blender. Wash spinach and add to the blender. Blend both until smooth (15-20 seconds in Vitamix), add some water if you’d like a more juice-like consistency. Test for sweetness and add more mango if needed (when you body gets used to eating lots of greens, your sweetness preference may change). This is a very simple recipe and takes les than 3 minutes to make.
    - Second, make sure you eat at least one big salad daily. Your salads don’t have to be the same day in and day out – vary, explore different vegetables, greens, and sprouts, mix them up in different combinations.
    - Make a point of trying a new fruit, vegetable, nut, seed, or sprout at least once a week. This will bring more variety into your daily life and bring more raw foods into your diet. The raw food diet differs from all other diets because it’s not just about what goes out, but also about what goes in. It’s a diet of abundance and unlimited possibilities.
And if you would like to learn more quick and delicious recipes that can help you bring more raw foods into your diet, I would be delighted to have you at my Raw Food for Beginners class in August 2008.

Alina Vladimirova of Radiant on Raw is a Raw Food & Lifestyle Coach, based out of Brooklyn. She offers classes that help educate clients on the health benefits of a raw food diet. Alina also offers personalized, caring support to help you successfully go and stay on a raw food diet through one to one telephone coaching, group and in person coaching. To find out more about it and to register, please visit radiantonraw.com