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Happy New Year, Friends!

Open Up…And Say “Rawwww”

Previously published/Karen Anne Izzi, PhD

Health nuts. You have seen them with their sparkling eyes, wearing tie-dyed tees, Birkenstocks, and unruly hair. This, however, is not the look of all health nuts. We come in all shapes and sizes, aren’t too fussy about our appearance, and love all living creatures. Health is created from the inside out and we don’t need dreadlocks to prove it. According to USA Today, the world’s top diets include, Paleo, Keto, Dash, Flexitarian, Mayo Clinic Diet, Atkins, The Zone, The Perricone Perscription, Life Choice, Weight Watchers, Macrobiotics, and the Raw Foods Diet. Did you know the Raw Foods movement has gained the most fans worldwide in the shortest amount of time?

We really are what we eat. Raw foods are literally “brain and body” food. Followers cite numerous health benefits; clear skin, better attitude, internal cleansing, improved memory, weight loss, less sleep required, less mood swings, lower body fat, inner peace, more creativity, a boost in creativity, and decreased level of cholesterol. You do not have to be an advocate for saving the animals but eating raw foods does create an awareness of our intentions and the things we consume, how and when we consume them. Familiarize yourself with the benefits of vegetarianism before taking the plunge into a raw foods diet. Learn about protein and essential nutrients so that you completely understand why the diet works. Real raw fooders enjoy a diet which consists of 75% of their plant-based meals being uncooked, or RAW.

The raw foods diet consists of consuming fresh, organic, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts, beans, and grains. Popular meat substitutions like tofu, tempheh, and seitan are available at your local grocery stores or whole foods market. The key to getting acquainted with and accepting the raw foods diet is not to eat any foods that are processed, cooked, or especially fried. Fresh juice and purified water are essential parts of the diet as they are the healthiest way to stay hydrated. Yogurt is encouraged because of its beneficial, live cultures to aid in digestion and proper elimination. With an enormously higher amount of nutrients going into your system how could you even think of being tired or grouchy? Healthy, good-quality food makes you happy.

Live, or raw foods contain essential and beneficial enzymes that are destroyed by heating or cooking at temperatures above 116˚. Enzymes play an important role in our digestion and absorption of the foods we eat. Did you know that cooking some foods causes them to become toxic. This proves that even though we may be purchasing healthy food, the nutrients are being destroyed before we even sit down at the table.

Since we live in an imperfect world, there is no such thing as the perfect diet. However, after trying all of the latest fads, this diet does not feel like a diet. It is real because the foods are real. It feels natural and wholesome because it is natural and wholesome. The taste of raw, organic foods has diminished frequent cravings for sweet/salt and dieting obstacles have disappeared because my body is being fully nourished.

Consuming raw, whole foods is not only relied on for specific health concerns but for anyone who would like to properly cleanse, detoxify, and nourish their systems. As I find myself blurting out to my friend as he watches football, “We should be eating more of this…blah, blah, blah… and less of that.” he smiles approvingly and return this attention to the game. I go to the kitchen, post a list of recommended foods on the fridge, and delete my sugary splurges from the grocery list.

If you are tired of feeling sluggish and forgetful without a reasonable excuse, then I encourage you to make small changes until your diet contains at least 50% raw foods, then 75%. For some, this will take a few months and a lot of will power, while for others it will mean smaller steps toward the many rewards. During the first few weeks of the transition your body will be going though a tremendous amount of cleansing as it adjusts to whole foods. The farther away you are from consuming an all-raw diet, the more symptoms of cleansing you will notice. Without sugar, salt, and excess fat, the body will eliminate properly, may show signs like, skin eruptions, headaches, fatigue, increased flatulence, and bad breath. For a few days you may feel as though you won’t make it without coffee, a donut, or a beer- but trust me, you will!

Going raw is like being put into someone else’s body. You will not recognize yourself, the new attitude, or the tremendous amount of new energy. Your clothes will fit more comfortably, and you won’t feel the need to suck in your stomach when you sit down. Obviously, the original human diet consisted of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. A plant-based diet has been the main food staple throughout the history of mankind. I wonder where we went wrong.

It is up to you to make healthy choices.

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