16 JULY 2014 / LEARN

What does a Raw Food diet have to offer?

We recently took a look into the Paleo diet, and now we are reviewing another diet growing in popularity among our customers – the raw food diet! I had my first experience of raw food a few years ago when I stumbled upon a gorgeous little newly opened café called ‘From Earth & Water’ in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast. I dined on the most scrumptious tasting platter of raw cashew cheese ravioli, raw pad thai noodles, and a summer salad with mango and avocado. Following this was a raw food cheesecake and raw ice-cream that my taste buds couldn’t believe were not the real deal! The immense nutrient intake from the food gave me a natural ‘high’ that I had never experienced before. I was buzzing with so much energy that I felt as if I could have skipped out of the café, and down the street back to my car just like a little kid! It is for this reason that raw foods have also coined the name ‘high vibe foods’ or ‘sunfoods’ - making reference to the energy of the sun contained within.

Raw food advocates believe that cooking food to temperatures above 40 degrees destroys beneficial enzymes, and most of the essential vitamins and nutrients, but that raw living foods detoxify, increase nutrient intake, and leave many individuals feeling energetic and full of vitality. This diet, popular amongst modern Yogis, provides many of the ingredients our bodies need for health and well-being, and those who follow this diet claim they feel more alert, have better mental focus, less apparent aches and pains, sleep better, and wake feeling refreshed and energetic. Raw foods are also low in acid, providing favorable acid-alkaline balance, and are beneficial for the skin, giving it ‘the glow’! There are many cases where a raw food diet has even reversed the signs of aging in some people. Annette Larkins and Mimi Kirk are two examples of raw foodies looking years or even decades younger than their numerological age.

Strictly speaking, a raw foodie eats around 75 to 100 per cent organic, living, uncooked foods, prepared using methods such as juicing, blending, soaking, sprouting, fermenting and dehydrating. Some identify as raw vegans, and others who consume unpasteurised raw milk and dairy products are known as raw vegetarians. At the other end of the scale are Raw Paleo dieters who predominantly consume vegetables plus raw fish & meat. In reality, however, many raw foodies are not this strict and instead opt to simply incorporate more raw foods into their daily lifestyle.

You don’t need to call yourself a raw foodie to enjoy this type of food. New raw food restaurants are quickly popping up all over the world, and they are attracting people from all walks of life through their doors, who come to experience the array of delicious creations made from fresh organically grown produce. Raw pizzas, burgers, wraps, salad combinations, not to mention the most delectable raw desserts and drinks are just some of what you will find on offer.

The tools you will find inside a raw food kitchen include a high quality juicer, blender, vegetable spiralizer, dehydrator and nut milk bags. However, you don’t need to have all of these to start experimenting with raw food, and nor is it necessary to start eating raw food only.  You will find that any increase of raw food intake will provide you with noticeable immediate results. A great place to start is with a morning green smoothie, the incorporation of some more salads, and swapping your everyday snacks for homemade raw bliss balls and other raw treats.

As you dabble in raw food, you may notice the cost of your weekly grocery bill changing. If you are also cutting down on meat, there will be a saving here, however organic fruits, vegetables and nuts come with a price tag. The best ways to reduce the weekly grocery bill, is to shop at your local farmers market or grow some of your own food. It’s impossible to find vegetables any fresher than those that have been harvested out of your own garden you have nurtured, to eat immediately. It’s also a great form of therapy and good for the soul to be out tending the garden, connected to your food and nature.

There is definitely something to be said for incorporating more raw foods into our daily lives, however when experimenting with different diets, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy your food, and to listen to your own body. Everybody is different, and no one diet suits all, so take notice of how you feel after eating different foods, and you will quickly learn what makes you feel sluggish, and what gives you the most energy and vibrancy for life.

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