It's undeniable that eating raw has a powerful impact on your health as you take in all of the health benefits of these good-for-you minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients found in raw, unprocessed food.
Are Raw Foods Healthier?
Consider any food, such as an apple, eaten in a raw altered state is full of vitamins and minerals, nutrients and fiber, but when you feel that apple, cook it into a sauce and combine it with additives, such as sugar and preservatives, a lot of these nutrition benefits are inevitably lost in this process. It is undeniable that raw, unprocessed foods are healthier.
Is a Raw Diet Restrictive?
Raw foodies eat far more than just fruits and vegetables. In fact, the culinary possibilities are endless and comparable to a cooked diet given raw foodies can consume nuts, nut milk, sea vegetables, sprouted grains, and fermented foods. With a broad range of kitchen tools, such as dehydrators, food processors, mandolins, blenders and sprouters, raw meals can be as simple or elaborate as you choose.
Also, consider that you don't need to eat raw food cold or room temperature. To be considered raw, food can be heated up to 41C and in a variety of ways, such as using a dehydrator, heating plate, food processor or blender.
But it is not essential that you have these kitchen tools to eat raw and there is no requirement to spend hours in the kitchen if you don't want. These tools do, however, save you time when you want to make something more creative. Salads, on the other hand, are easy to throw together and so delicious. All to say, food preparation will depend on your own preferences.
Why Raw Foods are Beneficial for Your Health
By eating a diet rich in raw, natural unprocessed foods, you can reap all of the benefits of this lifestyle. Below are just a few examples:
- The heating process depletes food of its vitamins, damages proteins and fats, and destroys enzymes, so eating raw gives your body a better defense to prevent or fight cold and flu season with all of those powerful minerals and vitamins you are consuming.
- On a plant-based diet, you feel lighter on your feet and have more energy. You don't experience the sugars highs and lows that you would eating processed foods.
- Your body digests plants more efficiently than processed foods, which encourages a healthier, better functioning digestive system.
- Fruits and vegetables are lower in calories and your body will adjust to feeling satisfied with natural food and less of it, so you will likely drop some extra weight. Bonus: those mid-afternoon sugar cravings will disappear.
|Recommended Reading: Thinking of transitioning into a raw food lifestyle, then read this article on how to guarantee raw food success.|
If you're considering a raw food lifestyle, you'll want to equip yourself with the right kitchen tools to make your food preparation easier and faster and more fun.
With these tools, you'll be able to maximize your creativity in the kitchen, not the amount of time you spend there preparing your raw food dishes!
1. Turbo Boost Your Nutrition With a Juicer
Juicing is an efficient and easily digestible way to boost your daily dose of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Juicing involves the extraction of the juice of fruits, herbs, greens and vegetables by squeezing or spinning the produce (which then also separates the pulp or insoluble fiber from the juice). Blending, on the other hand, does not separate the pulp from the juice, so smoothies tend to be much more filling.
Juicing offers many health benefits, namely the soluble fiber contained in fresh juice helps balance blood glucose levels by slowing down the digestion of carbs. It also helps lower cholesterol levels by binding with the cholesterol and fat in your foods that is purged through your digestive system.
Juicing can be used to supplement your meals, treated as a snack or replace a meal entirely. It is hands-down the most efficient means of consuming a large quantity of fruits and vegetables.
Joe Cross was made world-famous when he documented his astonishing 100-pound weight loss in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead by embarking on a 60-day juice fast to cure his auto-immune disease. Clearly, Joe's story is demonstrative of the power of raw food to heal the body.
2. Food Prep Made Easy With a Blender
A blender is an invaluable raw kitchen tool due to its versatility. You will likely be using your blender multiple times a day for a wide range of raw food recipes as they are great for pulverizing, grinding, chopping, crushing, and whipping and it can handle large volumes of produce. Pro-tip: Save yourself time by purchasing a tamper to go along with your blender. You won't have to make a point of stopping the blender to scrape, push down, stir its contents because a tamper is designed to push down denser ingredients into the cutting path of the blade while it is still operating. It also helps to remove any air pockets that form while blending.
3. A Dehydrator Adds Fun & Versatility
Dehydration is a form of food preservation. It removes the water from food and adds shelf life to your food without the heat used to "cook" food. Most dehydrators will have temperature settings, and to be considered raw, foods should not be heated above 47C (118F). With a dehydrator, you can make raw versions of cooked foods and add some crispy crunchy goodness to your plate, such as crackers, cereals, cookies, or veggie burgers. Need some inspiration in the kitchen? Visit Raw Food Recipes to find a wide range of mouth-watering raw vegan recipes.
4. Grow Your Own Greens With a Sprouter
"Sprouting" refers to the process of soaking seeds until they sprout. Sprouted raw nuts, seeds, beans and grains offer dense nutrition and easy energy. An easy way to ensure you always have some hand to throw into your salads, smoothies or juice is to sprout them yourself.
Sprouting makes grains, nuts and legumes easier to digest. The amount of time required for sprouting depends on what you are sprouting (grains, beans, nuts or seeds), but sprouting generally takes anywhere from 1 to 5 days from start to finish, and your sprouts will keep up to 7 days in the fridge.
5. Can't Live Without My Mandoline
With all of the fresh produce that will be crossing your cutting board, you'll want to have a good quality mandoline in your kitchen arsenal. A mandoline will enable you to slice larger quantities of food quickly and slice consistently, anything from papery thin slices of radish to julienned carrots to shredded brussel sprouts.
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If you're ready to take your health to the next level, then consider adopting a raw food lifestyle. A diet consisting of raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains can have an unbelievable positive impact on your mind, body and soul.
Raw Food Lifestyle
Whole foods are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle as they are rich in vitamins, enzymes, and phytonutrients. A raw food, plant-based diet is typically low in sodium, and free from added sugars, preservatives, and unhealthy additives. When we eat food in its raw form, we feed our bodies natural enzymes that are vital to our health and digestion, whereas cooking at temperatures above 48C destroys these natural enzymes. By eating raw foods, we not only feel incredible, we look amazing too.
Amazing Health Benefits of Raw Food
A diet made up wholly or partially of raw foods can help you lose weight, clear your complexion, improve your digestive health, promote better sleep, and lower your chances of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
25 Must-Know Raw Food Terms
Whether your diet consists of 100, 80, 40 or 20 percent raw foods, this lifestyle has the power to transform your health. To help you navigate the raw food lifestyle, you will want to brush up on your raw food terminology. Here are 25 terms that will make you feel like an expert:
- Alkalizing: highly alkaline foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruits and unprocessed plant-based sources of protein, help your body maintain a more balanced pH level (see #19), which protects healthy cells and balance essential mineral levels.
- Cleanse: also known as detox, it's the process of ridding the body of harmful toxins, and may target a specific organ, such as the liver.
- Cold-pressed: method of extracting oil or juice that involves crushing the fruit, seeds, nuts, etc. through pressure and without the use of heat, which affects the taste and nutrition.
- Dehydration: a form of food preservation, foods are dried using a dehydrator (usually at temperatures of 37 to 49C).
- Digestive system: the group of organs that work together to convert food into energy and basic nutrients to nourish your body.
- Enzymes: proteins that act as catalysts within living cells and break down foods so your body can more easily absorb from raw foods.
- Fermentation: form of food preservation whereby natural bacteria feeds on the sugar and starch in foods (sauerkraut, pickles, apple cider vinegar) and creates lactic acid, which aids in digestion and increases immune response.
- Fiber: many foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help control blood glucose (sugar), reduce cholesterol, and prevent constipation.
- Freeze drying: a form of food preservation, foods are cooled to -40C and then all of the moisture is removed using a freeze dryer.
- Fruitarianism: a diet made up exclusively or mostly of fruits, seeds, and certain vegetables.
- Juicing: extraction of juice using a juicer that pulverizes fruits, herbs, greens and vegetables.
- Living foods: uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, sprouted legumes and fermented foods.
- Macronutrients: energy-providing molecules found in your food (carbohydrates, lipids/fats, and proteins).
- Nut milk: a substitute to dairy milk, made by soaking raw nuts (almonds, cashews, coconut) and then blending with fresh water using a food processor or blender.
- Nutrients: molecules found in foods that your body uses to make energy, grow, and develop.
- Raw foodists or Rawists: individuals whose diets are made up mostly of raw foods, which may or may not include animal products.
- Raw vegan: a diet that excludes all animal products and is composed of uncooked fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains and legumes.
- Raw food: food that is grown and has not been heated beyond 40-45C (threshold varies, depends on who you ask).
- pH (Potential for freeing Hydrogen ions): the pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The scale runs from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic, 14 being the most alkaline, and 7 being neutral. Our bodies generally maintain a pH very close to 7.4, which is just on the alkaline side of neutral, so when this varies too much, it is difficult for various enzymes to function properly and our health suffers.
- Phytonutrients: compounds found in plants that work with other nutrients to promote good health.
- Protein powder: raw, vegan commercially prepared protein powder can be used to supplement your diet, if desired although not necessary.
- Sproutarianism: a diet mainly of sprouted seeds.
- Sprouting: seeds, nuts and beans that have been soaked in water.
- Vegan: a diet that excludes all animal products.
- Vegetarianism: a diet that excludes all animal flesh, including poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustaceans; raw vegetarianism allows for uncooked fruit, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, dairy, eggs and honey.
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Freeze drying foods is a no-brainer way to preserve fruits and vegetables and still get the benefit of almost 100% of their delicious vitamins and minerals. That means you get the rewards of eating a raw food diet AND save money by eliminating food waste.
While you may have noticed freeze-dried food has grown in popularity in recent years, this method of preserving food is not new. In fact, freeze drying was developed during World War II as a means of keeping vaccines from spoiling and from there, the technology was refined and used extensively during the NASA space program. Remember astronaut ice cream?
How does freeze drying work?
During the freeze drying process, food is initially frozen to -40C to -46C. Once the food is reaches the appropriate temperature, the freeze dryer creates a powerful vacuum around the food and as a soon as the temperature of the food rises just above -18C, the frozen moisture in the food is quickly evaporated off as a gas. This process takes about 24 to 36 hours from start to finish and removes almost 100 percent of the moisture from food.
Are freeze-dried foods nutritious?
It is remarkable how freeze-dried foods can be stored for up to 25 years without compromising their nutritional profile, which means freeze-dried foods are just as healthy for you as the day on which they were preserved. They hold virtually the same nutrients, minerals and vitamins, plus they're free of additives and preservatives. Most people are surprised to learn that freeze drying does not affect the flavour, colour or shape of their food as compared to other methods of preserving food.
Is freeze drying a more nutritious method of food preservation (vs. dehydrating or canning)?
Other methods for preserving food (canning, dehydration) use higher temperatures and typically up to 60 percent of the nutritional value may be lost. They also affect the taste, colour and texture of the food, which makes freeze drying the healthiest of all methods for preserving food.
How are freeze-dried foods stored?
Food should be kept in a moisture and oxygen proof package to ensure its freshness and stored at room temperature, no refrigeration required.
Can freeze-dried foods be rehydrated?
You can re-hydrate freeze-dried food and it will go back to its original flavour, aroma and appearance. You can also enjoy your food as is and still receive the same health benefits and all of the flavour.
What types of foods can be freeze dried?
You can freeze dry just about anything, it's pretty incredible. Beyond raw and cooked fruits and vegetables, think entire meals, including casseroles, smoothies, desserts, nut milk. The possibilities are limitless.
Introduction to freeze drying video
Did you like this video? Check out many more freeze drying videos.
|FACT: Half of the food we produce in the world never actually makes it to our plates. That means about two billion tons of our precious food has gone to waste and that doesn't even include the food we waste in our own kitchens.|
What may have once been viewed as a fad diet is now becoming widely accepted as a way of life -- the raw food diet. Eating raw has amazing health benefits. It has the power to:
- give us more energy and improved sleep
- lower our body weight
- reduce inflammation
- improve our digestion
- give us clearer skin
|Did you know? A raw foods diet is made up of fresh, whole, unrefined, living, plant-based foods: staples include fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, which are consumed in their natural state. Foods are not heated above 48°C.|
Five Keys To Raw Food Success
Here are five straightforward tips on how to incorporate more raw foods into your daily life and make the transition feel effortless.
#1 Ease into your raw food diet
Begin slowly, take the experience day-by-day and gradually incorporate raw foods versus taking an all or nothing approach. Try choosing one day a week to go 100% raw or setting a goal to reach a diet that's half cooked, half raw. By taking your time, the likelihood of success increases dramatically.
#2 Educate yourself about raw nutrition
Inform yourself, immerse yourself in the local raw food community, do your research and educate yourself on eating raw and nutrition. Consult discussion boards, find out what works for others, and learn about what industry experts are writing. Empower yourself with the knowledge to support and sustain your new healthy lifestyle.
#3 Juicing for success
Juicing is an efficient and easily digestible way to boost your daily dose of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It has never been easier to create delicious raw juice recipes at home that will cleanse and restore your body and boost your immunity.
#4 Create a space that supports your raw lifestyle
Collect out of your fridge and pantry all of those foods you no longer want and replace them with the foods you do. Keep a food diary, take stock of the kitchen tools you need to prepare your meals, allow time for meal prep and arm yourself with recipes, a lot of them.
#5 Purchase organic fruits and vegetables
By purchasing organic foods, you reduce your exposure to dangerous pesticides, which have been linked to neurological problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, allergies, and asthma. Don't worry though, with some careful planning, eating organic doesn't have to break the bank. Set a weekly food budget and stick to it, use in-store and online coupons, buy local produce that's in season, shop online, and meal plan to reduce waste. Also, buy organic when it counts. To learn which produce contains the highest loads of pesticide residue, consult the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen of Raw Foods. These easy to follow solutions translate into real savings and a stronger, healthier you.
With these five simple suggestions, you will begin reaping the rewards of your raw food experience.
Are you currently exploring the idea of a raw lifestyle? If you've already transitioned, can you share a few tips?