Rawism or raw-foodism is defined as “a diet consisting of uncooked, unprocessed and often organic or wild foods.” Proponents of rawism believe that consuming uncooked, unprocessed plant foods leads to a leaner body, clearer skin and higher energy, which, according to researches, is true (to some extent). An article on Full Circle identifies the benefits as those above, as well as:
- having natural cleansing effects
- having more available enzymes to break down your food and absorb nutrients,
- reduces the risk of over eating, and
- digestive regularity
Raw foodism is a lifestyle choice as a lot of raw foodists spend and not a lot of their time in the kitchen preparing their meals. It is not a weight loss diet and if done incorrectly, those following the raw food diet may be faced with serious undernourishment.
If you want to see and feel the benefits of having more raw food in your daily diet, simply swap one cooked food for a raw option at each meal. This simple change can make a difference in how you feel. Some raw foods you can gradually incorporate in your diet include:
Cultured or fermented vegetables
These are some of the best foods you can put in your body. They’re easier to digest than raw vegetables yet they are a great source of enzymes and probiotics that help build immunity, improve digestion and nutrient absorption. Cultured vegetables can be served as a side dish, a salad, or food topping.
Coconut is not called the tree of life for no reason. Coconuts are one of the most naturally hydrating foods. Coconut water is rich with natural electrolytes, almost a perfect match to what your body already produces, which makes it better at re-hydrating the body than any other expensive sport/nutrition drink. Coconuts contain healthy fats that help bring down cholesterol levels, fuel brain and heart function, and they also have natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Green, leafy vegetables
One can never have too much greens – if possible, you should include green leafy vegetables in your every meal! Vegetables such as kale, chard, beet greens, collards and spinach, are very high in chlorophyll, a powerful antioxidant; vitamins C and E; fiber; enzymes; and amino acids. Eating leafy greens raw preserves their nutritional content and makes for a more filling meal.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are naturally high in fiber, vitamin E, and has a lot of healthy unsaturated fats that help keep your brain and heart healthy. Raw nuts and seeds are also a good source of protein and zinc, which have been linked to reducing levels of LDL cholesterol. You can grind nuts and seeds to a paste similar to peanut butter; add these to your salad; mix it with your muesli or just nibble on them when you feel like having something to munch.
Seaweed such as kelp, nori, wakame and arame (often used in Japanese cuisine) have about 10-20 times more nutrients than land plants, and are also one of the richest sources of chlorophyll around. Seaweeds are very high in minerals which are supposed to be easily assimilated within the human bloodstream. Seaweed is also a good source of iron, calcium and iodine.
Blueberries, despite it’s small size, have more antioxidants than any other fruit. Furthermore, blueberries contain quite a bit of heart healthy fiber and is also considered a natural brain food. It’s not hard to incorporate blueberries in your diet – frozen organic blueberries are readily available in supermarkets, and fresh ones can be purchased from farmers markets. They can be eaten raw, or added to salads, cereal and beverages.
No, not just any kind of chocolate – but raw chocolate or cacao. Raw cacao are rich in magnesium which is needed for energy production in cells. Cacao is also full of antioxidants that help relieve stress. However, even if raw cacao is good for you – too much isn’t. The benefits of cacao decreases when too much of it is consumed, and when sugar and other processing is involved.
There are other food items that you can consume raw. However, before you embark on this raw food diet, make sure you consult with your doctor, and perhaps, follow the advice of a dietician.