What Is Raw Food? And Why Should You Care?
Have you ever wondered why your shape may not be changing as fast as you’d like, despite going to the gym? Or why you may still be feeling tired or run down? Exercise, while vital to good health, is only one part of the equation. The other part of course is what we eat. And living food, or ‘raw food’, as it is often called, can be your ally both inside and outside of the gym. But what is raw food? And why should you care?
What is raw food?
Raw food is defined as any food that has not been heated to above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius).
Many people think that this means carrot sticks and salads, but actually all it means is that the food has not been heated excessively.
Raw food can be marinated, chopped, blended, juiced, fermented (think wine, kombucha, sauerkraut) or dehydrated till crunchy (think kale chips, sprouted crackers, crunchy granola cereal).
What do fruit smoothies, granola, kombucha, tomato salsa, marinated mushrooms, wine and kale chips have in common?
They’re all technically ‘raw’!
Why should you care?
Here’s why raw food is fantastic for your health…and therefore your figure, your sports results and your energy:
Raw food retains many of the digestive enzymes that we need to maintain good health. The food is literally still ‘alive’, so its vitality hasn’t been totally lost.
Think of an onion: if you plant a raw onion, it will continue to grow. If you plant a cooked onion, it will rot.
The vitality in living foods makes all the difference to our health when we are eating them on a regular basis!
What can I eat apart from fruit and veg?
Nuts, seeds, edible flowers, superfoods such as maca and spirulina, seaweeds, natural sweeteners, sprouted beans and grains…all of these can be combined to make the most delectable dishes, including sprouted hummus, Thai green curry and chocolate pudding!
I and others like me specialize in creating living, vegan and gluten-free goodies: cereals, soups, dips, pickles, curries, crackers, cheeses, chocolates, cookies, ice creams…the list goes on! And if I can do it, so can you.
What are the benefits of eating more raw food?
Here’s what people tend to notice: more energy and vitality, smoother skin, weight loss, weight gain, less need for sleep, relief from allergies and other issues stemming from food sensitivities, and improved well-being overall. Wow!
You can also improve your recovery time. My children do a lot of sport and also eat a lot of raw food – although they also eat a lot of other foods too – and they both have very fast recovery times. It’s amazing how much energy we can free up for ourselves by feeding our bodies food that is packed with vitality!
How much raw food do I need to eat to see a difference?
I always say ‘more than you were eating before’. And I do recommend listening to your body – it will guide you better than anyone. For example my partner lost over 4 stone by eating a high-raw diet but still eating meat. It was a vast improvement over what he was eating before!
Living foods are like any other way of eating: there’s the right way for one person and then the right way for you.
And there are wrong ways: there are some people who say they eat 100% raw food but they don’t look healthy because they’ve forgotten to look at the nutritional balance of what they are consuming. For example there is plenty of protein in living foods – dark leafy greens are full of protein, chia seeds are a complete form of protein – but you have to know that and not just eat nuts all the time. Balance, as with everything, is key.
Fresh juices, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, superfoods, fasting, detox – these are useful for us all, but the degree to which you implement these things needs to be your own personal choice.
And it needs to be easy, fun and delicious – which is where I can help.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. Your health is the sum total of all your life choices and appropriate professional care and guidance should be taken as you make changes to your diet. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.
About Barbara: Barbara Fernandez, the Rocking Raw Chef, is a raw food expert who has been helping people learn to make delicious raw food that’s quick, easy and family-friendly for over ten years.
Barbara’s passion is teaching others how to make healthy food for themselves that is family-friendly, made with simple equipment and ingredients, ready in 5 minutes and above all, super delicious. “I’m a total foodie,” Barbara says. “I’d rather rock out than spend hours in the kitchen, and I’d definitely rather eat curry than chew on a carrot stick!”
Barbara feels very strongly that people should be allowed to start where they’re at, rather than be forced to adopt a 100% raw lifestyle. To this end, she specializes in what she calls ‘ONE meal for everyone’, enabling busy people to make raw food dishes quickly that can easily be combined with other foods so that parents and children, friends and lovers can all eat a single meal together, no matter where they may be on their own personal ‘food journey’.
Barbara holds David Wolfe’s Ultimate Raw Nutrition certification, is a graduate of Anthony Robbins’ Leadership Academy, is trained in Voice Movement Therapy and in addition to singing, performing, giving interviews and teaching, she has written 7 ebooks on raw food, which are currently being published in both English and Spanish.
In addition to holding workshops, giving talks as well as singing her ‘rock it raw’ spoof songs, Barbara also holds Raw Food Detox retreats in the beautiful Cotswolds.
A free starter program as well as recipes, articles and tips are available at her website.