Raw food has been a hot topic since I started studying nutrition over 30 years ago and I’m sure it was popular far before then. There are varying schools of thought as to whether you should eat vegetables in their raw form or whether they are better for you cooked. I am an advocate of both raw and cooked vegetables and definitely have seen the benefit of eating large amounts of raw foods. In fact, many integrative doctors, based on their studies over the years, have found that a regular diet of exclusively cooked and canned foods causes the development of chronic degenerative diseases. I want to share the two main reasons why I teach the importance of raw foods in your diet and why I have been implementing this in my life for the last 30 years.
This first reason is that raw food gives you energy! Have you ever eaten a full meal of all cooked foods and felt tired an hour later? The reason for this is that raw fruits and vegetables contain functional live enzymes that help your body with digestion. When you consume too many cooked foods your liver, pancreas, stomach and intestines must come to the rescue and create those enzymes themselves. Although the body is amazing and can manufacture these enzymes, it must use up energy to do this; which can be very hard on your body and promote fatigue. These “living” enzymes are destroyed when foods are heated over 118 degrees. You can see why a salad alongside any meal is an excellent choice.
The second reason why raw foods are of paramount importance has to do with Ph balance, something we don’t always think about but is vital to our health. Allow me to explain; our bodies are always trying to maintain the ideal Ph level between 7.35 and 7.5, which is slightly on the alkaline side of things. We need the specific minerals found in raw foods to maintain this. There are 4 minerals in our bodies that are extremely alkaline: calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. The most alkaline of all these is sodium which we get plenty of in it’s alkaline form from raw fruits and vegetables. When our bodies need some help in returning to Ph balance it will go to our sodium reserves first and usually all is well. However, when our sodium reserves are depleted the next most alkaline mineral in the body is calcium, the majority of which is stored in our bones. Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, who is a doctor of Integrative Medicine and on the board of the Academy of Women’s Health, believes that over time the calcium leached from our bones will increase our risk of osteoporosis. When we choose to have a hamburger and a coke, for example (both are extremely acidic), our bodies have to kick in and return our Ph levels to balance. Not only are you not nourishing your body by eating this way but actually taking resources from it.
This information is not intended to scare anyone but encourage you to add some raw foods into each meal. We often forget that there is real science behind eating raw foods. There is a host of things going on in our bodies at any given moment and while it’s all incredibly complex so much of what we struggle with can be solved by eating well! Why do we pursue health? Because when we feel good we can do all the things that we were created to do. If we are sick and fatigued it limits our abilities to really live. I don’t want that and I know you don’t either. That is why I love teaching and sharing these things because I know what it feels like to be well and I don’t want to go backwards! Here are links to some of my favorite ways to eat raw food: Sundried Tomato Basil Hummus, Guacamole, Tomato Salsa, Salsa Verde, Favorite Cole Slaw and Broccoli Raisin Slaw! Yummmm.
© The Sown Life LLC, 2019