You’ve probably been hearing a lot about the value of a raw foods diet. A raw food diet consists primarily of uncooked, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, sprouts, seaweed, nuts and juices. It’s a vegetarian diet, but one that rejects any animal products. Its central tenet is that cooking and processing take out the majority of essential vitamins, enzymes and nutrients that our bodies evolved to thrive on.
A diet is considered a raw food diet if it consists of at least 75% raw, uncooked fruits, vegetables, sprouts, etc. Raw and living foods are believed to contain essential food enzymes (living foods contain a higher enzyme content than cooked foods). The cooking process (i.e., heating foods above 116°F) is thought to destroy food enzymes.
People who follow the raw diet use particular techniques to prepare foods. These include sprouting seeds, grains and beans; soaking nuts and dried fruits; and juicing fruits and vegetables. The only cooking that is allowed is via a dehydrator. This piece of equipment blows hot air through the food but never reaches a temperature higher than 116°F.
Do you have to follow the regimen that strictly? Of course not. But it’s certainly worth it to incorporate some of these techniques and ideas into your diet. If you tend to snack at work, try taking in carrots or apple slices. Many of the bigger grocery stores now offer packaged vegetables or fruits that make it easier to pack them and take them to work. We’re a nation of convenience, and much of the resistance to healthier eating is that it does generally take a little more effort and time to buy and slice fruits and vegetables. Food retailers have been catching on, slowly, and it’s much easier now to get bags of sliced carrots, celery, apples, nuts and raisins.
Of course these aren’t necessarily organic foods, and organic is the better way to go, but we think anything raw is infinitely better than cooked, processed food. If you have the time, do buy organic and slice them yourself. But if you’re in a hurry, and nowhere near a natural food store, then don’t beat yourself up or sabotage your efforts because you can’t do this 100% all the time. That’s not realistic. Anything from the fruit and vegetable aisle is going to be better for you than a potato chip, or worse yet, a french fry!