The Case For Raw Food

raw-food-benefits.jpg

Hello dear friends!

For those of you who have been following me on social media, you already know that I just got back from this year’s Paleo f(x) conference in Austin, TX. I had such a great time listening to the amazing lectures, meeting other health-minded people, and checking out all the rad new paleo products that are on the market these days. So, you may be wondering why I decided to write my first post-conference blog on raw food…seems a bit strange, right? Shouldn’t I be writing on the benefits of bone broth or putting butter in your coffee?

In case you’re new here, let’s just say I do things a little differently. While I am thrilled to be a Certified Primal Health Coach, I take inspiration from many healing paths, and always encourage others to find what feels true to them and resonates with their bodies on the highest level. For instance, I find that my energy is higher, my mind is clearer, and I feel more grounded when I eat more raw fruits and veggies. I realized this isn’t something that I write about often at all, so I felt like a full blog post was due!

Just over a year ago, I came across the book, Medical Medium, which maybe some of you are familiar with. This book, for those of you who haven’t read it (yet, hopefully), presents a different point of view on common “mystery illnesses” like Lyme, CFS, and autoimmune disease, and offers a simple and spiritually-guided method for healing. When I first read it, my scientific mind wanted to argue with all of his points, and yet, my spirit felt tremendous resonance as I absorbed the wisdom presented in the book. It was like my entire energy took a big sigh of relief. And by now, I know well enough to listen when my body gives me clear signs like this!

Spoiler alert: raw, high-vibration fruits, veggies, herbs, and wild foods are the keys to finally helping your body to heal. This certainly goes against a lot of the traditional recommendations, especially when it comes to emphasizing protein and fat, and the abundance of fully-cooked meals. It may be a lot to wrap your head around (it certainly was for me), but I think there is a strong case for bringing more raw, alkalizing veggies and fruits (yes, fruit!) into your diet. No matter what kind of nutritional strategy you lean towards- vegan, paleo, macro, AIP…it’s time that we reconnect with the inherent energy and healing power of plant-based foods in their natural state.

I’ll just throw out a little caveat here- I’m not saying that you have to go full-on raw foodie in order to reap the benefits I’ll talk about. Although you may be able to heal a lot of things with a raw fruit and veggie cleanse (like the one recommended in the book), it’s not a long-term strategy for most of us. By all means, if grilled chicken breast and butter coffee make you feel great, keep on keeping on! But let’s make some room for these unadulterated, unprocessed, high-vibe foods!

raw-food-paleo.jpg

If you are curious about raw foods, and how to bring them into your diet, here are a few of the benefits that I have noticed when I emphasize raw:

1. Low allergenicity

When you look at raw foods, you’ll see a pleasant lack of the allergenic substances that cause a lot of discomfort and disease in many people. Fruits and veggies are free from the common, pro-inflammatory compounds like gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, and industrial seed oils (e.g. canola). The more of your diet you can fill with raw, the lower levels of allergens you encounter. And for many people, this can clear up long-standing issues with digestion, brain fog, skin appearance, sleep quality, and more. And speaking of digestion…

2. GI cleansing

Metamucil, step aside. Raw fruits and veggies are where it’s at when it comes to your digestive health. If you have been experiencing sluggish digestion, bloating, weight gain, and serious food sensitivities, then it’s time to get raw. When you eat plants that are intact, as nature intended, you will get all of the fiber you need to get things moving. These foods pass through the digestive tract quickly, meaning there is less time for food to get stuck and start fermenting (bye, gas and bad breath!), and hey, more satisfying poops!

3. Clear intuition

There is a powerful energetic component to food, and when we can get back in touch with this tremendous vibration, we can clear the decks for our own mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. On a cellular level, that fresh apple or stick of celery has a natural frequency that cannot be replicated by processed or cooked foods. This is how nature intended for us to stay alert, stay in tune, and stay connected with the source of our energy. It may sound “out there,” but trust me, when you hold a piece of raw food in your hands, you can feel your body respond with excitement.

4. Shifting taste buds

As you savor more raw fruits and veggies, you may notice that your appetites start shifting to desire even more of these water and mineral-rich foods. When you start feeding your gorgeous bod the high-vibe, living nourishment that it is born to enjoy, you may find that your taste buds are less interested in the heavy, processed, sugary foods that you used to crave. For example, when I starting playing with a mostly-raw diet, I noticed that coffee wasn’t satisfying anymore, and my nightly carb cravings were fading away. I replaced my coffee with herbal tea, and snacked on apples, dates, or nuts in the evenings…and felt awesome!

5. Weight loss

Yes indeed, whether or not you’re struggling with your weight, you will likely experience weight loss when you emphasize raw foods. The perfectly balanced ratios of fiber, glucose, minerals, and enzymes will flush your system and reduce inflammation, and these things may result in a smaller waistline (bye bye, bloating) and a smaller number on the scale. While I’m not an advocate of measuring your worth by your weight, it can feel good to fit into smaller pants and walk lighter on your feet.

6. Abundance of micronutrients

If you are suffering from any kind of nutritional imbalance, and are attempting to correct it with a multitude of vitamins and supplements, then let raw food do some of the heavy lifting for you. The compounds found in raw, unadulterated, fresh produce are the most bioavailable on the planet, and the more you eat, the less of a need you may have for all those pills and powders. Plus, when you’re feasting raw, you’re eating a higher volume of food (raw foods are less energy dense), infusing your bod with even higher levels of active minerals and enzymes than you’d get in the caloric equivalent of cooked or processed food.

7. Clear skin

I admit, I have struggled with acne and blemishes since my teen years, and while I discovered that dairy was one of my major skin triggers, I noticed that, even after removing it from my diet, I was still experiencing pimples and overall dullness to my skin. I also noticed, that after only a week of 60-80% raw foods, my skin looked better than it had in years. While this may be a stress or hormone-related issue for some people, indulging in lots of raw fruits and veggies may improve your skin’s appearance, elasticity, vibrancy, and evenness. Give your skin a few days to cleanse and detox, then make note of how much more awake and youthful you look!

paleo-raw-diet.jpg

Friends, I really could go on and on about this topic, but I don’t want to overwhelm you! All I can say is that, in my own experience, I have found tremendous benefits of adding more raw foods to my primal-inspired diet. Again, you don’t have to go full-on raw vegan foodie to reap the rewards of raw, so don’t let your perfectionism hold you back. If you want to learn more about the benefits of raw foods, I really like this article by Dr. Josh Axe (whom I saw speak at the conference!), so go check that out.

Before I leave you, I want to give you some of my fave ways of incorporating raw foods into my day to day life:

  • Make a big smoothie for breakfast and load it up with fresh or frozen fruit and greens, using coconut water, filtered water, or raw almond milk for the liquid. I like to throw in some chia seeds, raw cacao nibs, and coconut oil for extra benefits and satiety!
  • Make cucumber “noodles” for a refreshing, hydrating salad or side dish. Toss with sesame oil, lime juice, and raw cashews for an Asian-inspired grain-free snack. P.S. I just had this yesterday, and it was SO delicious!
  • Bring a piece of fruit with you wherever you go- these are meant to be portable! Bananas, apples, dates, pears, oranges, tangerines, cherries, etc…make for awesome snacks when you’re away from home.
  • Try dehydrated snacks when you are craving a more solid, crunchy flavor. These foods have not been heated above 115 degrees, and still have their natural nutrients intact. I personally like kale chips, plantain chips, dried apricots, sprouted crackers, and anything coconut!
  • For lunch, throw together a big salad- make the greens the predominant feature of this meal. Load up your greens with diced apples or mandarin slices, raw walnuts or cashews, and drizzle with olive oil/avocado oil and raw honey. Feel free to add some cooked animal protein, but just keep the plants the main course!

So, friends…what do you think? Are you ready to start eating more raw fruits and veggies? Have you tried it before? Tell me how raw foods have changed your life in the comments!

Much love, and as always…

~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~