Raw foods are foods eaten that are in whole, uncooked and unprocessed forms, which are often fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish (sushi, sashimi). Fruits, nuts and seeds are easily eaten raw. Veggies, on the other hand, are usually bland and flavorless without seasoning or any prep work done. I call those foods “rabbit food.” If someone next to you looks at you and says “you eat like a rabbit,” it’s a compliment!
If you’re someone who doesn’t consume food in its raw form often, starting may not come easily, but don’t give up just yet. What worked for me that allowed me to enjoy bites of uncooked Persian cucumber, bell peppers, okra, tomato, etc…was sitting in a katrillion classes learning about unhealthy eating habits and the terrible diseases associated with them. Wouldn’t it be simple if everybody picked up a healthy lifestyle after taking one nutrition course? Although you should be cautious of eating raw animal products (eggs, meat, etc.) because of the risk of food poisoning and foodborne illnesses, there are still many benefits from including as many raw plant-based foods in your daily regimen as possible. Please do your research if you are adopting a raw food diet as some plants can be very toxic to the body if eaten raw
Benefits of consuming raw foods:
- raw foods contain an abundance of naturally occurring enzymes that aid in digestion
- raw foods are higher in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals than cooked or processed foods
- raw foods usually contain more water than processed foods. Yay, hydration and less calories!
- raw foods support healthy weight loss as it encourages the consumption of fruits and vegetables in place of unhealthy, calorie-dense foods. as a result, your hunger is sustained and eat less.
- raw foods have a positive affect on heart health as it promotes healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels as your intake of fatty and greasy foods decrease
- raw foods also regulate your blood sugar and promote physical and mental energy (no afternoon sluggishness or sugar crashes)
- raw foods make you feel intuitive about your eating habits
- raw foods helps control unhealthy cravings as you become accustomed to and appreciate the natural taste of food
- raw foods can increase awareness of nutrients in certain foods. Yay, nutrition!
- raw foods may encourage you to cook your meals instead of dining out which, in turn, saves you money!
I started really enjoying eating raw veggies in two ways: 1) dipped in hummus or peanut butter and 2) blended into smoothies. Then I gradually just consumed raw veggies without so much of the extra dipping. I pretty much started like a kid (I still snack this way), eating apples, banana, or celery sticks with tons of peanut butter. How much peanut butter? Probably not a healthy portion, but now I limit myself to no more than 2 tablespoons of peanut butter/hummus for a handful of fruits of vegetables. My favorites are broccoli, cauliflower, yellow tomatoes, carrots, sweet peppers, and spinach. Besides healthy dips, you can also combine other raw veggies with nuts, seeds, lowfat cheese, tuna, egg, and all the fruits!
I’ve noticed that tolerance for the taste of raw foods comes easy(-er) if you don’t eat a lot of fatty and sugary foods at the same time or in general. This is why babies shouldn’t be introduced to ‘flavor boosters’ like sugar, syrup, jam, jelly, salt, oil, butter, etc., when they are introduced to baby food and then finger foods. Once you’ve had a saccharin-saturated treat, it’s hard to tell your brain that carrots and celery are more satisfying for your taste buds. In this case, it may be true that what you don’t know, doesn’t hurt you. Reduce your daily intake of high fat foods (cake, cookies, chips, ice cream, fried foods, french fries) and high sugar foods (soda, syrup, sauce/condiments, dried fruits) to adjust your palate and help you enjoy the nutritious taste of RAW FOODS!
There’s no loss when something good is gained. Don’t knock it till you try it!
Find: Raw Food Recipes here.
Infographic below: an A-Z list of raw ingredients to choose from for your next juice!