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If cooked food is so good for you, why do we often feel so tired after eating it, and head for the couch?
The main reason is that cooked food can take much longer to digest, and our bodies have to work harder to process it. That’s because cooking kills off the enzymes in plant foods that help digestion. Our bodies can’t produce these enzymes, so if we don’t get them from our food or destroy them with high heat, our digestive system has to work that much harder.
Slower digestion means that more food can collect in the folds of the intestinal lining and ferment there. That’s bad news. If you’ve ever taken spoiled food out of your fridge, you have an inkling of what it looks and smells like when it’s been collecting in little pockets in your gut where it’s warm and moist.
Aside from giving you lots of the plant enzymes you need, raw food has many health benefits:
·Raw foods scrub your system clean of accumualted toxins and waste
·You get heaps more energetic
·You are eating live, nutrient-rich good rather than dead, over-processed food
·Foods moves through your body faster (cooked food can take around 72 hours, and can start fermenting in the gut)
·Your weight naturally stabilizes
·You get healthier red blood cells that transport oxygen more efficiently
·Your tissues and organs (including liver and heart) are healthier
·Your mind becomes sharper and your emotions more balanced
You don’t have to eat only raw foods to reap enormous benefits. If your idea of daily raw food is a small lettuce salad, then you might aim to add a bigger variety of raw vegetables to your salads and snack on raw veggies, fruits and nuts instead of baked or fried stuff. If you’re ready for a big change, be more adventurous. Try new vegetables, sprouts, and nuts. Aim to make raw food 25% then 50% of your diet.
Here are a few recipes to get you started, and to give you an idea of the different ways you can add more raw foods to your daily diet.
Breakfast: Soak 1 cup of barley in water overnight. Mix together the soaked barley, 1 cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, 5 tables agave nectar and enjoy.
Fruit Jam: Blend together 2 cups of good quality dried fruit and 1/3 cup of water. You can use this with any dried fruit. Adjust water to make a thick mixture.
Underground salad: Finely chop fresh fennel, a small piece of fresh ginger. Grate a rutabaga, a turnip, 1/2 cup celeriac and 1 daikon radish. Mix the vegetables with 2 tablespoons olive oil, juice of 1/2 an orange, and salt to taste, and serve.
Tahini spread: Blend some raw honey into a jar of tahini.
Cashew dessert: Blend together 1 mango, 1/3 cup raw cashews, and 1 teaspoon honey.