The importance of Raw Foods
Hunger isn’t satisfied by the quantity of what we eat, but the quality of what we eat.
1. What is a raw food diet?
Raw foods are classically defined as foods that have not been heated over 46 °C / 115 °F. A raw diet consists of whole fresh foods which are consumed in their natural states, without being subjected to cooking. They are also called “living foods” since the enzymes inside them are still active and may grow if you sprout them. I prefer this name—living foods—because it reveals how they will make you feel: alive, youthful and happy!
There are many ways to eat raw foods. First, there are raw foodists who eat animal products and others who follow a raw vegan diet. Some raw vegan diets are based on a high percentage of calories coming from fat, but I do not recommend them simply because of the reasons listed here
The raw vegan diet I recommend, then, is High Carb and Low Fat (HCLF). In my opinion, this diet is by far the most sustainable way of eating raw. The HCLF raw vegan diet consists primarily of fruits high in calories, along with fresh vegetables for their high mineral content, as well as small amounts of nuts and seeds. You can call yourself « fully raw » if you eat exclusively raw foods, or « mostly raw » if you incorporate a cooked meal or a snack once a day or a few times per week (as I do).
2. Why raw foods?
Raw foods are the optimal fuel for any creature in order to maintain cellular health. Science supports this concept. In fact, on planet Earth we are the only animals that cook our meals.
Applying heat to foods not only strips them of water, but also denatures proteins, caramelizes carbohydrates and makes fats carcinogenic. This process releases toxins in the body and is one of the greatest contributors to poor health, leading to symptoms such as low energy, digestion issues, chronical diseases and much more. Furthermore, cooking foods damages or devitalizes micronutrients (enzymes, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients), which are essential for our body to function properly.
Finally, it is important to know that even when plant-based foods are cooked, they release acid wastes. In order to keep your body’s pH balanced, it is necessary to incorporate a great percentage of raw foods in your diet since they are “alkaline foods”.
A diet high in raw foods allows the body to naturally cleanse itself of past and present toxic accumulations. Living foods allow your body to rejuvenate itself, and the benefits are tremendous. To confirm the old age adage, we are what we eat!
A raw vegan diet considerably improves your health. Here are some of the specific benefits you will experience by eating this way :
- High energy level: raw vegan foods contain vitamins and nutrients in their whole form, which provides maximum nutrition. Moreover, your body will use less energy in digestion and the elimination of toxic residues from cooked foods, thus giving you more energy.
- Optimal body weight: whether you want to gain or lose weight, a healthy vegan diet high in raw foods will help you to easily reach your healthiest optimum weight. For weight loss, it helps to lose excess fat and water weight while conserving healthy lean tissues.
- Ultimate vitality.
- No more constipation.
- Natural detoxification.
- Glowing skin.
- Balanced emotions.
Improved concentration, since your mind becomes clearer.
3. Do I need to eat 100% raw to feel the benefits?
Quite simply? No. It depends on what you want to experience in your life and your current health state. Some people need to invest fully in a raw diet in order to rid themselves of a disease or condition, and in this case a 100% raw diet may be the only option—at least for the first weeks or months.
I believe that a 100% fully raw vegan diet is entirely beneficial for the human body. However, it is important to follow this path with total conviction. Also, you must eat a wide variety of foods in order to fulfill all of your body needs. Since this may be challenging at first due to many personal reasons, I want you to know that it is still okay to eat some cooked foods once a while, as long as they are whole, low fat and cooked healthfully. In my opinion, the most important tenet is to keep your raw food intake very high, and to incorporate a lot of greens and raw alkaline foods to maintain an overall body pH balanced toward alkalinity.
If you choose this path, I recommend having as much raw food as possible, and eating your cooked meals at the end of the day since they take much longer to digest.