raw food break-down

"The food you eat can be either 
the safest and most powerful form of medicine
or the slowest form of poison."
Ann Wigmore

I am most certainly not a raw food purist. (Very far from it!) I only recently began getting more serious about a raw vegan lifestyle for the benefit of my husband's various health issues. We've all probably heard people or organizations touting the benefits of going vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, low-sodium or low-carb, but our culture has warped the word "diet" into meaning something temporary, inconvenient or restricting. 
Di•et (DIet): a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
In my opinion, a diet shouldn't give off that vibe at all. If you're "on a diet" and feel restricted, hungry, moody or sick, then reconsider your motives and choices. Regardless of what you're eating, food should always provide energy and vitality; that's what it's for! Just as everyone's body is different, so are everyone's dietary needs. Wherever you are, practice non-judgement/harming. (Ahisma)

If you really pay attention to your own bodily functions, rhythms, mood, stability and energy level, it should be pretty obvious what types of food make you feel best. For instance, at a recent Fall Festival (and after a refreshing week's-worth of juicing and raw foods), Dave and I enjoyed a bit of what can only be described as "carnival-food." I won't deny that fresh homemade French Fries with neon-orange "cheese" didn't taste good, but we both felt truly sick and sluggish the rest of the day. (As if neon-orange "cheese" goop was coursing through my veins.)

I am in the process of reading this book, among others, pertaining to a raw food diet. There is definite science behind the fact that eating raw (living) food provides significantly more nutrients than eating cooked (dead) food. There are a lot of misconceptions about eating raw and a ton to learn and consider!

In a previous raw recipe post, I received a wonderful question about raw food from Mila of Cheerfully Chaotic blog. It's surely a common question!
Q: "I've always wondered - what about cold days when you just really want something warm? What would a raw foodist do?"
Don't get me wrong, eating raw in the summer is much easier and feels more natural for most people. But including raw food into your winter diet doesn't have to feel unnatural. Especially if you're not used to eating totally raw, here are some great tips:
A: 1) Warming foods in a dehydrator or oven is acceptable for a raw food diet. Anything warmed gently under 100º is still considered totally raw.
2) Many raw soup recipes recommend additional blending in the blender to allow the soup to warm nicely from friction alone or adding to the stove-top until warm to the touch. (Be careful if you use a Viatmix, as they can easily boil)
3) Adding extra spices helps build internal "heat"
4) Allowing fruits and veggies to cool down to room temperature before juicing makes for a more tepid drink
5) And of course, enjoying plenty of hot tea! :)

Another common question: 
 Q: "So is eating raw just salads?" 
A totally understandable misconception, but eating raw is not limited to salads. Salads are an obvious and common way to include raw foods in your diet, but variety is important. (And if you're looking to eat 75%+ raw food, you'd get pretty sick of salads.)

A: Using raw foods, you can make things like fresh juice, smoothies, salsas, hummus, soups, sauces, sweets, trail mix, dips and more. Raw foods include:
  • all raw fruits and vegetables
  • nuts and seeds (not roasted or processed)
  • nut butters
  • sprouts
  • roots, root vegetables and squashes
  • fresh herbs and raw spices
  • seaweeds (yay for sushi!?)
raw food break-down : wholehearter
Raw Food Pyramid - ©vegan-raw-diet.com

As with any lifestyle choice, the more you learn, practice and prepare, the easier it gets.  Pinterest is a wonderful resource for raw recipe ideas that is helping me discover new ideas everyday. Sometimes, since we're new at this, it still gets frustrating to stay on top of meal-planning. But when I see how positively raw food is effecting us and I take note of how well I feel, I know that incorporating as many raw foods as possible isn't going to be a temporary diet.

So what do you think? Do you currently include plenty of raw foods everyday? Are you trying to include more?