The Benefits of Eating Raw:
- Reverses Aging
- Reduces the risk for cancer (many have overcome cancer by eating raw foods only)
- Improves Digestion
- Improves Skin Health
- Improves Mental Clarity
- Increases Energy, Stamina and Endurance
- Increases Physical Strength (Apples are the best!)
- Helps improve Weight Loss
- Normalize Blood Sugar
- Encourages Healthy Cholesterol/Triglyceride Levels
- Improves Liver function
- Reduces overall Inflammation
It's time to get back to basics. Want to know a little secret? Eating raw goes back to the days of the caveman and even Moses. So what does eating raw mean? It means you don't cook your food and I'm speaking of eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. All of these foods can be prepared faster than sitting in a drive-thru.
Here's the secret. One raw food meal a day can consist of a green juice or smoothie with leafy greens and a bit of fruit for sweetness or a fruit smoothie consisting of banana’s and berries. One can see that you can start every morning the healthiest way possible. Want to know something else? How many of you eat a salad for lunch because you WANT to be HEALTHY? Today's salads can be full of as much calorie or fat as a fast food burger because of all the dressing and add-ons. Health isn't complicated and it should be easy, fun and tasty! So keep it that way! A lunch time salad should be only lettuce and other vegetables, nuts or seeds and a non-oil balsamic dressing or a couple of squeezes of lemon as a dressing.
Here's what you do. Start eat day with a green drink or smoothie. You can purchase blenders such as Vitamix or Blendtec which help you make the healthiest drinks possible. You can make a different smoothie everyday or find your groove and create one that gives you everything at once. Add kale, chard, ginger, turmeric, berries, banana, apple, lemon or orange and find a recipe that provides a plethora of nutrients. You will find plenty of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes that will supply the building blocks to improve your overall health. These same nutrients are not only building blocks, but they can reverse aging and repair damaged tissue. You will find increased energy, healthier skin, better mental clarity, improved digestive health, clearer vision and more! And who wouldn't want that?!
Enzymes convert the food we eat into chemical structures that can pass though the membranes of the cells lining the digestive tract and into the blood stream. Their job doesn’t end there. Enzymes are the living proteins that direct the life force into our biochemical and metabolic processes. They help transform and store energy, make active hormones, dissolve fiber and prevent clotting. They have anti-inflammatory effects. Enzymes help balance and restore the immune system, and heal many diseases. Enzymes even help repair our DNA and our RNA.
When we cook food, we destroy many of the enzymes that help us naturally digest it.
Without vitamins our cells would not function properly and thus our organs would suffer and eventually we would no longer be able to survive. Vitamins help regulate metabolism, help convert fat and carbohydrates into energy, and assist in forming bone and tissue. Guess what happens when you cook food? You got it, a large percentage of the vitamins are destroyed.
Viktoras Kulvinskas in his book, Survival into the 21st Century, estimates that the overall nutrient destruction is as high as 80%. Tests have shown that we will lose 50% of the B vitamins while B1 and B12 can lose up to 96%. 97% of folic acid is destroyed as well as 70-80 % of vitamin C.
Seventeen of the thirty elements known to be essential to life are metals. Mineral deficiencies cause disease in humans. Minerals also have a synergistic relationship with vitamins. They help each other help us. When foods are cooked, many of the minerals are destroyed, or altered, rendering them useless and also unable to assist our friends the vitamins.
Phytonutrients are what give fruits and vegetables their color. Phytos protect the body and fight disease. They also fight cancer and help your heart. Phytonutrient are at leading edge of research on nutrition. They provide medicine for cell health. And once again,Phytonutrients in freshly harvested plant foods can be destroyed or removed by cooking.
Here are some great tips to improve your smoothies so that when you do decide to create smoothies you will ace them every time!
- Freeze: Freeze your fruits! Especially bananas. Simply peel your bananas and place in the freezer. Unfortunately, freezing apples turns them rock hard! So you would want to avoid freezing fruits with high water content.
- Find a liquid base: Find a “base” liquid to your smoothies. This can be coconut water, freshly made juices, nut and seed milks or even water.
- Find your leafy greens: Most leafy greens work well with each other, it’s up to your taste preference in which one you choose. Leafy greens such as Kale and Spinach are some of the most nutritional dense foods on earth, so you may want to consider adding these from time to time.
- Use Fresh Juices: If you are looking to add an extra flavour to your smoothies, use some fresh juice, this not only heightens the flavour but it boosts the nutritional value of your smoothie.
- More protein? So you have finished a great workout session and want more protein in your smoothies? How about adding high protein dense foods such as Chia seed, Hemp seed, Bee Pollen or Spirulina to your smoothies? These four superfoods add another level of protein nourishment to your smoothies.
- Freeze your coconut water: Freezing your coconut water into ice cubes is a great way to add nutrients and flavour to your smoothies.
- Supplementing: Adding green powders and berry extracts are another great way of boosting the nutritional level of your smoothies.
- Blend your greens first with your liquid: If you are using a regular blender, try and blend your greens first with your liquid as they are often the toughest to break up, and then add your fruit.
- Blending time: There has been quite a bit of debate around this topic. Most people keep their blending time to roughly around 30 seconds to 1 minute as this prevents oxidisation. However this is highly varied as people have different blenders and blender speeds. A good way of judging your blending time would be to check the consistency of your smoothie and adjust your time accordingly.
- Go organic: If possible buy organic locally grown fruits and vegetables. These fruits and vegetables are not only tastier, but they contain higher levels of nutrients to nourish your body.
- Lots of Berries: Berries are a fantastic way to increase anti-oxidant intake without having a huge sugar rush. Berries are generally on the lower end of the glycemic index and therefore do not disturb the bodies sugar and insulin levels.
- Add some natural sweeteners: Naturally occurring sweeteners such as Xylitol or Stevia can be added in small amounts to heighten sweetness.
- Add some flavour: Consider adding some dried fruits such as Goji berries or raw cacao powder for a higher anti-oxidant boost.
- Spices: Consider adding spices to your smoothies. A pinch of cinnamon, cayenne pepper or turmeric can go a long way. These spices not only contain high levels of anti-oxidants but are known to prevent many other diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Add healthy fasts such as flaxseed oil, coconut oil and yes the might avocado will do the trick!
- Preparation can save time: If you are looking to prepare a smoothie for the following day to make things easier add all your ingredients to the blender and leave the jug in the fridge ready to blend in the morning.
- Use a glass jar: For example, Mason jars are great as they are larger than normal glasses or mugs and are very easy to clean. They can be recycled from all jars that you have accumulating.
I can promise you that incorporating one raw food meal a day will lead to vast improvements in your health. As you start this journey, you'll find ways to keep going and add a second and eventually a third. The fast food mentality is a quick way to die. There is no nutrition in fast food and your body deserves better, so give it better and you'll have more stamina for this fast-paced world in which you live and now you can truly LIVE it!
Ward W. Bond, Ph.D.