All Your Raw Diet Questions Answered
"The benefits of eating raw food have been studied for hundreds of years."
In today’s show, Dr. Nancy Lin, PhD holistic nutritionist, is going to talk about going raw and what that entails. We will look at both the differences and similarities between the vegan diet and the raw food diet. We will get to know what a raw food diet is, what the health benefits are, and some of the potential drawbacks as well. Then we'll get a raw food diet recipe and learn about the one key nutrient that everyone who is eating raw must include in their diet.
- 3:36: Introduction.
- 4:44: The belief on raw foods.
- 8:24: Health benefits of eating raw food.
- 10:02: Raw Food Diets.
- 12:59: Foods that are most commonly consumed on a raw food diet.
- 16:55: Foods to avoid in a raw diet.
- 18:44: Myths about the raw food diet.
- 20:57: The raw food pyramid.
- 21:50: Fermented foods.
- 23:12: Raw food recipe.
- 31:25: Wrap Up.
There are many fad diets out there; Keto, Atkins, Paleo.... the list goes on and on. Then there is the raw food diet. Unfortunately, the raw food diet is sometimes considered a fad diet. A raw food diet is more of a lifestyle than a diet. It consists of choosing to eat all natural organic foods; not just fruits and vegetables, but nuts and seeds, greens, and fish in their natural state — raw and unprocessed, not boiled, baked, grilled, or fried.
The Belief on Raw Foods
People who eat raw believe that it benefits your body by allowing it to get tons of nutrients, undisturbed and undamaged by heat from cooking or processing. Raw food dieters believe that our bodies digest foods and nutrients best in their natural state. In addition to the fact that no additives, preservatives, or chemicals go into your body with raw food, your digestive system has a much easier time breaking down and absorbing the nutrients when presented that way.
However, you don’t have to eat 100% raw to enjoy a raw diet. Just going raw as much as you can, and selecting as many foods as possible in their natural, unprocessed form has tremendous health benefits.
Health Benefits of Eating Raw Food
Eating raw is not a new idea. This was how our ancestors ate before the invention of fire and long before fast food. The benefits of eating raw food have been studied for hundreds of years, and countless studies show that eating raw foods does have some health benefits, including:
- Better digestion
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Stronger immune system
- Healthier liver function
- Lower rates of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome
- Less food allergies
- More energy
- Fewer nutritional deficiencies
- Improved dietary fiber intake
- Much, much lower amounts of chronic inflammation throughout the body. This is important as inflammation causes so many issues with our health, including issues with our hormones and our immune system, the digestive system, brain health, and your overall wellbeing. Remember the health equation: Less Inflammation In + More Inflammation Out = Healthier you.
Raw Food Diets
There are many varieties of different raw food diets. Some people eat 100% raw while others only eat a few raw fruits and vegetables but also eat cooked greens and meat. Others eat raw produce, nuts, seeds, and fish, but might opt to cook other foods.
Raw food eating doesn’t have to be just one way but no matter how people choose to eat raw, there is one pretty constant practice that everyone who eats raw should follow. The one thing that ties various raw foods together is that no raw foods can be pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives.
This means that to eat raw in any form, you need to avoid packaged and processed foods sold in the grocery stores. If you go raw, you’ll need to avoid breads, bottled condiments, cereal, crackers, cheese, refined oils, and processed meats.
Foods that are Most Commonly Consumed On a Raw Food Diet
The most commonly consumed foods on a raw food diet include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Dried fruit and sprouted or soaked grains and legumes
- Nut milk
- Raw meat or fish. Do your best to know what kind of meat you’re buying. Your source of meat should be really fresh.
- Nut, almond, or cashew butter. This should be raw and never heated up more than 118°
- Fermented foods
- Cold pressed olive oil, and coconut oil
Foods to Avoid In a Raw Diet
The foods to avoid in a raw diet plan include:
- Anything roasted, baked, boiled or fried
- Refined oils and trans-fats. Replace these with good fats like extra virgin olive oil or cold pressed coconut oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds, which are essential to reducing the chronic inflammation in the body
- Refined sugars
- Processed snacks
- Table salt. Opt for sea salt or himalayan salt instead
- Refined flours. Use almond flour or chickpea flour instead. You can also buy the flours that are not treated with heat, which usually are labeled “raw”
- Pasteurized dairy products or juices. You need to be particularly careful about orange juice as well. Manufacturers take orange juice, heat it up, and add more coloring and flavoring to it, while claiming that it's all-natural.
Myths about the Raw Food Diet
The raw food diet promotes eating food that has not been treated. The heating process destroys the essential nutrients and enzymes that are important for digestion and staving off diseases and inflammation. Therefore, people who eat raw don’t use ovens, stoves, hot plates, or microwaves. However, this does not mean that you cannot use blenders, food processors, mixers, and dehydrators. These are all wonderful gadgets in your kitchen that you can use to prepare food on the raw food diet.
To maintain the integrity of essential nutrients and dietary enzymes, raw food diet experts suggest that you should warm up the foods to 118°, but not cook them. So don’t be afraid to blend it, juice it, mix it, flip it, dehydrate it... just don’t cook it.
Going raw can be hard on many people’s digestive systems. As we age, the enzymes in our intestines start to deplete. We are born with many more enzymes than we have in our later years.
Raw Food Pyramid
This is a beautiful pyramid that consists of oils at the top and dark, leafy greens at the bottom. Nuts and seeds, as well as sprouted foods, are found in the middle.
We strongly recommend that when going raw, you take Smarter Nutrition Enzymes, a broad spectrum digestive enzyme blend. This can be consumed prior to meals or during your meals to help break foods down, especially if you are older or dealing with any kind of stomach issues.
This is another must-have for anyone who is on a raw diet. They provide raw and natural probiotics — the good, healthy bacteria that restore a healthy gut balance. These foods have been eaten for centuries and are absolutely essential to the health of your immune and digestive system. They also help to reduce inflammation, improve the health of your skin, and support hormone balance. Fermented foods include Kombucha, cultured vegetables, pickled vegetables, Sauerkraut, and Kimchi, to name just a few. You can improve gut bacteria balance even more by taking the wonderful Smarter Gut Health product, which is very good for your digestive system, and promotes good digestive movements.
Raw Food Recipe
This is called the enlightened smoothie bowl. It is an extremely versatile, easy, and delicious raw food recipe. To prepare it:
- Get a blender cup and put in 1 ½ cups of frozen berries. Frozen berries are wonderful because they are picked when they’re the ripest so they maximize your vitamins and minerals. These are really, really dense in nutrients and are so good for you.
- Add 1/2 of a fresh banana in the blender cup. Bananas are high in sugar but they also have lots of potassium that is good for your body.
- Add 2 Tbsp almond butter or natural nut butter. Almond butter is best to use, as all of the enzymes are activated and are more bioavailable, they yield more protein and are easier on your digestive system.
- Put 3 or 4 ice cubes in and then add 1/2 cup of water.
- Blend ingredients together
- Scoop the beautiful mixture into a bowl. Add toppings; these can be anything you want that will add more nutrients and make it richer. They include bananas, kiwis, granola, coconut shreds, hemp seeds, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, and walnuts. All of these seeds and nuts have high levels of omega-3 in them. You can also add a scoop of raw protein powder when blending. This is a great way to up the protein content of your smoothie.
This smoothie is perfect after a workout. It’s not too sweet as the only ingredients that have natural sugar are the berries, bananas, and kiwis. It is a great, hearty, satisfying, delicious, nutritious snack or meal.
The raw food diet is not a vegan diet and it is not a typical diet used for losing weight, although that is one likely outcome. The weight loss is a byproduct of eating fewer processed foods, fast foods, and other unhealthy things, replacing them with raw, unprocessed foods.
The raw food diet is more like a lifestyle choice than a diet. Selecting healthy and nutritious food sources in their natural raw form over unhealthy, cooked or processed choices is going to be beneficial for your entire body, from head to toe. The goal of eating raw is to consume the most nutrients and the least toxins possible to help prevent and defend against health conditions like cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, obesity, autoimmune disorders, thyroid cancers, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, and inflammation.
We reviewed a number of foods to eat and foods to avoid when eating raw. The most important takeaway is to avoid any processed, pasteurized and homogenized refined foods. Also remember that eating raw does not mean that you can’t take advantage of the preparation benefits blenders, juicers, food processors and food dehydrators can provide.Whether you eat raw or you opt not to, the one thing we do recommend, is making sure that you get a healthy dose of probiotics everyday. Kimchi and Kombucha are excellent options, but we suggest starting out with a digestive enzyme before each raw meal, and adding a hearty Gut Health supplement. Don’t forget to give the smoothie bowl a try. It is so yummy; you will love it and the kids are going to love it too.