Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Raw Deal

I had a member of my class this week ask me about the raw food diet. I have spent a lot of time researching this diet and learning about it over the last couple years. The premise of this diet is to eat all foods in their natural state. Followers extol a diet rich in fruits, nuts, and vegetables served raw or not heated over 114 degrees F. The benefit of this type of diet is not only how you feel but that you receive enzymes from the food. When you heat food over 110, its natural enzymes are destroyed. We need these enzymes to digest our food and get the nutrition from the foods we ingest. With additional enzymes your digestion can operate optimally. A lot of experts think that the immune system heavily resides in our gut. We are born with an abundant supply of enzymes but through aging, our normal eating habits ( processed foods), prescription drugs, and consuming antacids, our enzyme supply is depleted. Unless you take an enzyme supplement or replenish your body with natural enzymes found in food, you lose them for good. Many experts claim that eating raw food cures lots of modern illnesses and disease.

I found that when I did eat raw, I felt amazing. I had more energy, clarity and overall I felt more fit. I found this diet to be easier to follow in the summer when all the fruits and veggies are out and you crave that type of food. When fall and winter rolled around I found I wanted hot dishes likes soups so I felt like it was harder to follow. It is not an all or nothing type benefit though. Just starting by adding some raw foods can give you lots of benefits. You don't have to switch to 100% raw. Here are some tips to get started:
1. Keep it simple. Start by adding a fresh fruit smoothie or a fresh salad once a day.
2. Stick with the seasons. Try going more raw in the summer when your body craves more fresh and raw foods. Maybe even do a raw food 3 day cleanse.
3. Consider how you feel before comitting. Listen to your body and if you are not feeling good eating mostly raw, then scale back. Our bodies are all different and some people do not function well with so many cold foods.
4. Plan to succeed. Plan your meals so that you are not always grabbing what is quickest. Ensure you consume plenty of nuts, greens, legumes, etc so that your diet is varied.
5. Go organic if you can. Eating more fresh fruits and veggies exposes your body to more chemicals. Go organic when possible..especially if you are eating skins.
6. Enjoy it! If you are not feeling great and enjoying the benefit then why bother? The diet may not be for you.

Some restaurants in the area that specialize in raw options are:

The Yummy Tummy Oasis : 5816 SW Hood Ave Portland, OR
They even offer raw cooking classes! This is my favorite place to go for delicious treats! You will be hooked!

The Blossoming Lotus: 1713 NE 15th Portland, OR

Prasad: 925 NW Davis Portland,OR

Let me know if you have any questions!
I can recommend several raw food recipes, books or resources.

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