Raw Foodism I – Why Do It?
By Natalie Greggain, Contributing Raw Food Editor
Note: The Succulent Wife is thrilled to welcome Natalie Greggain of Purely Juicers as a raw food expert & contributing editor. Yeah! Natalie’s upcoming articles will certainly demystify raw food and juicing practices while providing all the essential tips & tricks on how to easily introduce raw foodism into our complicated lives. Stay tuned for more how-to articles on raw food and juicing along with some pretty fantastic (and easy) recipes.
Raw Foodism has been around for centuries but it has become increasingly popular over the last 5 years. I find that whenever the subject of raw food comes up, people ask me things like: Why would anyone decide to stop eating cooked foods? How could they possibly survive? What the heck do they eat? … Are they crazy?
Now, I will certainly answer those questions, but first I’d like to get a few things out in the open. I know a lot about raw foodism and tons of other types of “diets” or nutritional choices. I believe whole-heartedly in the benefits of raw foods; however, I, personally, do not eat 100% raw foods or even fall into any particular category of diets (vegetarian, vegan, etc). I eat pretty much everything. In my eyes, diets and ways of life will only benefit you if you figure out how to “follow” them in a way that works for you and will work for you for your whole life (or at least large chunks of it- I’m talking 5-10 years minimum). Unless we feel like we have balance in our lives, we will never be able to maintain that unbalanced lifestyle and we will eventually “fall off the bandwagon”. Which is why diets fail – people go on some extreme eating regimen for a month, lose weight, then go back to normal life. A few months down the road, the weight is back and it’s time for to diet again. But losing that weight gets harder every single time. So, the sooner you learn to live a lifestyle that is balanced with healthy nutrition, exercise and enjoyment (because it’s important to be able to indulge in life’s succulence without feeling guilty about it), the sooner you will be able to say goodbye to dieting. It takes a lot of work and attention (and certainly devotion), but if you can find a way to provide yourself with a healthy balance, you will never have to diet ever again. Cut back on over indulging – maybe, but diet, never!
I think you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m not trying to convince you all to make a drastic change to your lives and begin a new raw food lifestyle. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think everyone could benefit from eating more raw foods or that some of you can achieve balance through raw foodism. Therefore, I’m finally going to answer those questions:
- Why would anyone decide to stop eating cooked foods? Substantial amounts of research shows that the enzymes in food begin to break down and eventually get destroyed when they are heated past 120 F. Have you ever been told not to over-cook your vegetables? That’s why. As we lose those digestive enzymes, it is harder for our bodies to access the vitamins and nutrients in our foods. So, raw foodists are simply trying to provide their bodies with full access to all the nutrients in their foods.
- How could anyone possibly survive on a raw food only diet? Well, eating raw foods actually makes it easier for one to survive. When you eat raw foods, you give your body more nourishment than you would from the same amount of foods if they were cooked. So, you actually need to eat less. Trust me, I say this from experience. I notice a very drastic difference in my energy levels when I am eating more raw foods, and I find I have to eat much less. Since our bodies get so much nutrients from what we eat when it’s raw, the energy seems to last so much longer. I’m sure you’ve all heard of green smoothies? Try making yourself one – I’ll post a recipe soon. It’s amazing how long it takes me to feel hungry after I have a green smoothie for breakfast.
- What the heck do raw foodists eat? Most of the time, raw foodism is also accompanied by vegan (and preferably organic) ideals. That means no animal products (no meat of any kind, no dairy, no eggs, etc). Along with these ideals often comes the desire to support more sustainable agricultural methods. Therefore, raw foodists try their best to eat local, seasonal, organic food that was grown using sustainable methods. So, raw foodists eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, young sprouts, nuts, seeds, cold-pressed oils, and a whole lot of herbs and spices. Although that may sound a little limited, it really isn’t. Cooking raw foods does not mean you take a bunch of raw vegetables and chomp on them. In fact, cooking raw has really encouraged me to explore with new spices and get creative in the kitchen. Almond milk and raw nut butters were like this divine discovery of mine – we are currently in the middle of a very serious love affair. Raw foodists also make tons of really cool dehydrated creations that are like traditional baked goods (but different). Raw flax crackers and flatbreads are delicious! And graw-nola, yyuuuuummm! The array of food options is really a lot less limited than it seems.
- Are raw foodists crazy? Absolutely not! A little extreme perhaps but if you give the lifestyle a bit of a try, I think you’ll start to understand why some people are 90% – 100% raw. It has been my personal experience that the more raw foods I eat, the better I feel and the more energy I have. So why don’t I eat 100% raw then? It takes a lot of effort that I don’t always have. Do you know what it would be like to head up to a friends cottage and refuse all their delicious foods and only eat salad? Or a dinner party? Life is far too short for me to give up all those succulent things. Like I said earlier, it is important to be able to indulge without feeling guilty. However, just because I’m not 100% raw, it doesn’t mean I’m missing out on the health benefits from the raw foods that I am eating.
So hopefully I’ve stirred up some interest in increasing your raw food intake. I think everyone should add a little raw to their lives! Stay tuned- I will be providing more information and tips on how to live raw in a manageable way!
Learn more from Natalie in her blog that posts tons of great juicer recipes.