What is a Raw Food Diet?

A raw food diet is one that is focused on eating foods in their natural state, i.e not cooked, or technically at least not cooked above 118°F.  It is based on an abundance of fruits and vegetables, and small amounts of nuts and seeds.

From my personal experience, a low fat, raw diet is the most optimal.  Many long term vegans also swear by this - keeping the fat (avocados, nuts etc) intake to a minimum. Fats are very difficult to digest, so if you are eating too many; you aren't going to be functioning at your best.  This is 100% true for my body.

I personally do not eat cooked foods as a part of my daily diet.  At times I have "cheated" my diet, however I find in order to feel most alive and feel at my best, it is definitely, hands down eating 100% raw.  I have noticed my mood always goes down when I eat cooked foods, and pretty quickly I feel a difference.  My stomach also gets bloating and I just lose that vibrancy that I usually feel.  Trust me, it is a big difference in how you feel.  

Eating all raw is definitely a healing diet and one which will change you (or should I say bring out how you are meant to feel) in so many ways you haven’t even imagined. 

Raw foods are loaded with enzymes and life. Because they digest much easier; your body is getting what it wants, and running how it should. Enzymes are necessary for our digestive system to break down foods into usable nutrients and provide us with energy. Your body also produces digestive enzymes to break down foods.  But if you are constantly eating foods that do not contain enzymes; your body is then being pushed and pushed to produce them and it is placing a heavy burden on you. Overtime, this can, and does lead to problems. And how can you expect to feel at your most amazing, and also clear headed, when your body is working to do all of these things that you do not have to make it do?

Below are some excerpts from The Hippocrates Health Institute (hippocratesinst.org) which I found very interesting when I began my raw journey:

Whenever you cook food, whether it’s on a stove top, in an oven, on a grill, in a microwave, or in a fryer, not only does the molecular structure of the food become denatured, deranged, and/ or degraded, but those molecules are changed into new chemical configurations (this is a bad thing) and carcinogenic and mutagenic byproducts are formed. The degree to which this happens is dependent on the cooking temperature, time cooked and method of cooking.

Grilling, barbecuing, smoking and frying are the worst offenders; they are literally the fires of death, but steaming also affects the food. You know that old saying that there are more nutrients in the water of steamed veggies than are actually left in the veggies when they are done steaming? That’s because heat destroys nutrients, especially the water soluble vitamins like vitamin C and all the B vitamins. The heating of food also destroys the food’s enzymes. In fact, 100% of the food’s enzymes are destroyed at temperatures as low as 118 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the oxygen and water content of the food is drastically decreased, fats are carcinogenized, crabs are caramelized and proteins are coagulated and become virtually unusable by the body. Even the fiber in food loses that sweeping-like action in the colon.

 What happens to the body when we eat cooked food?

We have became a “Pyrofoodiac Nation;” consuming excessive amounts of cooked and overcooked food at each and every meal· including snacks» to the point of great disease and utter destruction! Here is what happens to the body every time we eat cooked food:

Digestive leukocytosis:

The term leukocytosis refers to an increase in white blood cells, indicating the body is in attack mode. This commonly occurs when you are sick; your white blood cells come out to protect you. It may surprise you to know this immune response also occurs when you consume cooked food. lt is referred to as digestive leukocytes, but it’s interesting to note, this reaction does not occur after eating raw/uncooked food.

To expand on this – in 1930 there was a study done in Switzerland by Dr. Paul Kouchakoff analyzing the effects of cooked and processed foods on the body in comparison to raw, unaltered foods.  It was discovered that after a person eats cooked foods, his or her body responds by increasing the number of white blood cells in the body, which is a response the body typically has to stress, trauma or what it senses as a potential invader.

In 1930, Swiss Researchers at the Institute of Chemical Chemistry found that eating raw, natural food in its natural state did not cause a reaction in the blood like that above.  They also found that if a food had been heated beyond a certain temperature, OR if it was processed (refined with chemicals), this ALWAYS caused a rise in the number of white blood cells.  

In addition, they tested many different foods and found out if they were not refined or overheated there was no reaction, however there was always a reaction at a high temperature.  It was discovered that the worst offenders of all were processed foods.

I find all of the above information absolutely fascinating.  I also know the effects from my own personal experience.  When I have broken my diet, especially with say a gluten free pasta meal or something similar, I can literally feel the inflammation and negative response throughout my body.  This is especially noticeable through my upper thighs and arms/hands etc. It is like I go from feeling alive and electric to inflamed when I eat a cooked meal now that I am clean and off of it.  

Transitioning to a raw vegan has been one of the most important things I have ever done in my life.  My body has, and is continuing to, heal from the inside out.  I feel alive. My health is in such a vibrant state. I feel a much greater sense of compassion and love.  I feel full of energy and can go on very little sleep and still be completely energized through the day.  I am more patient.  I am more spiritual. I am more creative. I am more understanding. I am much more focused and driven with magnificent clarity.  I look forward to each and every day.  

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