Increasing the amounts of raw foods in one’s diet is described by many as a journey of physical renewal, mental enhancement and spiritual awakening. People report disappearance of minor ailments like colds and headaches, accelerated healing, increased energy and a calmer more enlightened existance.
There are various different categories of raw living foods.
Fresh foods include fruits, vegetables and salad greens and are great for their high water and vitamin content. A raw diet consists of more of these than any other type of raw food. Fresh green foods are particularly important for their oxygenating and alkalising effects.
Sprouted foods include seeds, grains and legumes and also green sprouts such as chlorophyll rich wheatgrass and sunflower greens. Sprouted foods demonstrate a massive increase in vitamin content as a result of the germination process. Weight for weight sprouted legumes can contain as much protein as red meat, yet are totally digestible and have none of the fat, cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics found in present day meats. Raw nuts and seeds become more digestible by simply soaking for 1 -12hours (time depending on the type of seed).
Superfoods are natural plant foods with an unusually high array of nutrients, for example wheatgrass or spirulina. These are the types of foods we would choose to mightily boost our regular intake of minerals, enzymes, amino acids, essential fats, and all the other essential nutrients which contribute to our good health.
Fermented foods such as seed cheese or sauerkraut which include a friendly culture (eg Acidophilus, Bifodis etc.) The good bacteria inhibits the growth of unfriendly bacteria (e.coli, candidia etc) and promotes a higher and faster absorption of food. These cultured foods fit into the category of ‘living food’ alongside sprouted food.
Dehydrated foods have had their water removed at a temperature lower than 48 degrees celsius (118 degrees farenheit). This is the temperature at which life giving enzymes die, and the main distinction between what is ‘cooked’ and what is ‘raw’. A dehydrator is a specially designed machine which makes it possible to create more varied textured foods such as breads or crackers.
Enzymes do essential work in the body, starting, altering, speeding up and slowing down biochemical processes. We need enzymes for everything we do including breathing, talking and walking! As we age our bodies natural enzymes become depleted. Natural uncooked foods contain exactly the necessary enzymes needed to digest them. It has been discovered that enzymes are destroyed by heat, so when we eat cooked foods we make demands on our bodies limited supply of enzymes, for digestion. Dr. Edward Howell who researched this, reported that our body must divert enzymes towards digestion which would otherwise have been cleaning, healing and rebuilding us.
Acid Alkaline balance
To be able to efficiently take in nutrients and oxygen, and to be able to rid itself of toxins, our bodies need to be in a predominantly alkaline state at the cellular level. An acidic body is prone to all sorts of disease states. We know that the Standard Western Diet comprises many more acid forming foods such as grains and meats than alkaline ones such as raw fruits and vegetables.
The acidity or alkalinity of a food is determined by the minerals it contains. Minerals and trace minerals supplied by our diet, are needed to activate vitamins and the enzymes which run our bodies, and are at the base of all the organ and cellular structures of the body. The more minerals the food has the better it is, and it is found that wild foods including seaweeds, and organic foods contain the highest amounts. Dr. Linus Pauling who won two noble prizes said, “You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment, ultimately to a mineral deficiency.” A highly mineralised diet contributes to the beauty of our skin and hair as well as our positive mental state.
For many people the first step towards a kinder and healthier diet and lifestyle is becoming a vegetarian. More and more research such as ‘The China Study’ link meat consumption to the high incidences of degenerative diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Better and more assimilable sources of protein include green leafy vegetables, almonds, hempseeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, buckwheat, algaes such as spirulina and chlorella, sprouted foods, durian and olives. Studies show that vegetarians have an endurance rate approximately twice that of meat eaters. Many world class athletes were vegetarian at the times of their greatest sporting accomplishments.
The use of artificial pesticides and fertilisers in farming which increased drastically since World War II, damage the environment and our health. It has been shown that pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides can cause cancer, nervous system disorders, birth defects, alteration of DNA, liver, kidney, lung and reproductive problems. These chemicals which are entirely unfit for human consumption also kill the micro-organisms that break down the soil to release plant nutrients. This is one of the reasons why modern food is less nutritious than foods of some decades ago. Organic food is better tasting and offers us significantly more vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and anti-oxidants than chemically produced foods.
The significance of raw food to health and longevity has been widely reported in an increasing number of scientific studies. Another significant piece of research widely reported in the raw food literature, is the fact that when we eat cooked foods our bodies produce large amounts of white blood cells which rush to the intestines. This response is called ‘digestive leucocytosis’ which is the body treating the cooked foods as a ‘foreign invader’. When we eat raw foods, or when we eat raw foods just before cooked foods, this does not happen. This phenomena was observed by Paul Kouchakoff in the 1930s.
Various types of rawfood diets
Using the ‘Hippocrates Diet and Health Programme’ holistic healing Centres such as The Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida have been offering detox and recovery programmes to thousands of clients in recent decades. Based on the work of pioneer Ann Wigmore, raw preparations and juices emphasising highly nutritious sprouted and green foods including wheatgrass are served as healing foods.
The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Centre in Arizona founded by Dr. Gabriel Cousens offers clients an individualised Whole Person Healing programme utilising live food nutrition. The emphasis here is on individualising the diet with many visitors on the low glycemic ‘Living Green Diet’ which has been found to be very powerful in the treatment of sugar related conditions such as hypoglycemia and candida.
‘The Sunfood Diet Success System’, devised by leading expert David Wolfe emphasises the important roles of fruits, greens including wild foods and supernutritious ‘superfoods’, and fats in a balanced diet, within the context of a broader personal development programme.
Detox and cleanses
Many people turn to raw foods because they are interested in cleaning their bodies from the inside out. Would you be shocked to know that you are very likely to have metres of a substance called ‘mucoid plaque’ – the undigestible residue of cooked grains, animal products and processed foods, covering the internal walls of your intestines and colon, polluting your body and inhibiting the uptake of nutrients? Drinking raw vegetable juices every day will begin to remove this, and it is also possible to use herbal cleanses or colonics to speed up this process. Most people report that besides having a massive increase in energy after a cleanse, they feel much better mentally and emotionally as well.
Massive benefits may be achieved by increasing the amounts of raw foods in your daily diet to 50-70% raw (by weight). A diet comprised of 80% raw foods is sufficient to keep your immune system functioning at a peak level. Transitioning slowly step by step is the best. This gives yourself a chance to adjust to all the changes, whilst letting go of negative or addictive habits. Enjoy expanding your choices – exploring and incorporating fresh, sprouted, juiced, cultured, dried, wild, exotic and ‘super’ raw foods. Starting can be as simple as adding to your diet, a vegetable juice each day. Explore the different approaches to eating raw to find a balance which feels good for you. The more knowledge you have, the easier it is to change your diet so read all you can, and speak to others on the same path. Let your goal for optimum health be your greatest guide!
At the physical level, ill health arises from ingesting toxins or by consuming foods which pollute the body during digestion, and from a lack of minerals or other essential nutrients. Diseased conditions take years to develop and often go unnoticed until the problem surfaces as a major crisis. Good health arises from detoxing your body and nourishing yourself with the best quality foods.
More to it than food!
The thoughts you have, the emotions you feel, the water you drink, the environment you live in and the exercise you do, and the rest you have all profoundly affect your life and health. Consider all of these things together with the food and you are surely on the path to success!
Article by Diana Store