The Raw Foods Diet
October 27, 2008 by Dr. Nicole Sundene
Filed under Anti-Aging, Anti-Inflammatory, Diet Tips, Diets, Digestion, Fruits and Veggies, Raw Foods Diet, Superfoods, Weight Loss, Wheat Free/Gluten Free, Whole Foods Diet
Ever wonder what is going on with this new “Raw Food’s Diet” everyone is talking about?
Well actually the diet isn’t all that “new” it is simply a snapshot of the way our ancestors ate before the advent of factory refined foods.
Don’t worry you don’t have to be a vegetarian to benefit from raw foods eating, raw foods can and SHOULD be enjoyed by EVERYONE! And…no this is not about gnawing on a nasty raw piece of chicken or steak. I do NOT recommend the consumption of raw meats. Instead enjoy more raw fruits and vegetables fresh picked and full of nature’s abundant energy. A raw foods diet can also be done as a quick detox if you are feeling sluggish and need an easy “pick me up”.
You don’t have to go 100% raw either, you can benefit from this diet simply by eating less cooked “dead” foods and more fresh foods that are full of life.
What is “Raw Food” eating?
Ask 10 different people that question, Doc, and you’ll likely get 10 different responses. So, I’ll tell you what “raw food eating” is for me: eating food in its natural state, not refined, not processed. That means, I consume a primarily plant-based diet, consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts.
Do you realize that we are the only animal on the planet that cooks its food? Strange, huh? We are living beings, yet we consume food that is dead, or cooked. Nutrients and enzymes are heat sensitive and destroyed at temperatures above 118 degrees. So, 85-90% of my plant-based diet is uncooked, or raw. By choosing to eat this way, I am infusing my body with live enzymes.
What made you decide to go raw?
The short answer? I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, all the time.
While at the local library, a book on the “New Arrivals” shelf jumped out at me: Crazy, Sexy Cancer by Kris Carr. What possessed me to check that book out, I’ll never know, but I am so glad I did. Kris’ story of being diagnosed with an extremely rare, incurable cancer and her journey toward health and healing is so inspirational. A big part of her healing journey has been adopting a raw foods lifestyle. The back of the book is loaded with resources and I started checking out websites and other books. The more I learned about eating raw, living food, the more sold on the idea I became. It was when I read The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose that I thought, “I can do this!”
What were the biggest challenges of adopting the raw foods diet?
It was a big change for me. BIG. I grew up in a Hungarian household, where I was weaned on chicken paprikash and stuffed cabbage. Vegetables were potatoes and corn. Not too many salads, because Dad thought “they taste green.” As I grew into an adult and began living on my own, I couldn’t be bothered with cooking. Convenience was key — get more, faster. So, I ate food in packages and racked up frequent flyer miles at the drive-thru windows. I thought the four food groups were Starbucks, cheeseburgers, fries and milkshakes.
There was the whole emotional component around food too. I’ve had to change my relationship to food. I used to live to eat. Now, I’m learning to eat to live.
What changes have you noticed in your health since switching to a raw foods lifestyle?
I’m really glad you said “lifestyle.” Diet implies something you start and then stop when you reach your goal (or fizzle out). Lifestyle, on the other hand, is the way in which someone chooses to live and reflects their beliefs and values.
The changes to my health have been amazing. Gone are the debilitating headaches, the fire-breathing dragon heartburn, the constant fatigue, the edema, the chronic depression, the joint pain…oh, and 62 pounds! My energy level is through the roof. I sleep like a baby at night. My skin is smooth, clear and radiant.
I have a mental clarity today that I have never experienced in my life. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but it feels like I have broken a long-term drug addiction. It feels almost like I was walking around before under the constant influence of alcohol, and then suddenly becoming alcohol-free. The thing is, I had already been sober for 18 years!
Who should NOT be on a raw foods diet?
Can’t think of a single person who would not benefit from incorporating more raw, living foods into their diet. But, if you do not want to feel better, strengthen your immune system, reverse the effects of aging, stop counting calories, fat grams and carbs forever, then by all means, do not eat a diet high in raw plant foods.
***Dr. Nicole pops in and says: Pregnant women and rapidly growing children should work with their doctor before continuing a strictly raw foods diet to ensure that the required amounts of iron, B12, protein, zinc, and omega -3 oils are attained. Also people with a history of disordered eating should be cautious before implementing any restrictive diet plan.
Who should benefit from a raw foods diet?
People have reversed heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, fibromyalgia, autism, depression, arthritis, and a host of other illnesses by consuming a raw, vegan diet. And the thing is, you will begin to feel the benefits almost instantly.
Really. Look, we live in a society that craves the quick fix and wants instant gratification. When you start to feel and look so much more healthy and vibrant, it’s a great motivating factor. Start where you are. Begin now.
Intimidated? Natalia Rose lays out a simple, safe program that anyone can follow in “The Raw Food Detox Diet”. It doesn’t have to be traumatic. You don’t have to change your lifelong eating habits overnight and go 100% raw or vegan tomorrow.
Can you give us a snapshot of your diet for the past 24 hours?
Sure. Let’s look at yesterday.
- 1 quart fresh juice (kale, cucumber, sweet pea sprouts, apple, ginger)
- 2 bananas
- 1/2 cantaloupe
- large salad w/raw ranch dressing (mixed greens, yellow bell pepper, cherry tomato, red onion, cucumber, avocado, dried cranberries, spicy sprouts)
- raw harvest butternut soup
- 1 quart fresh juice (purple cabbage, carrot, apple)
- Asian salad w/carrot-ginger dressing (baby romaine, baby bok choy, sugar snap peas,mung bean sprouts, fresh basil and cilantro)
- Pad Thai (purple cabbage, carrot, zucchini, young coconut, raw cashews) w/raw “peanut” sauce, served over seaweed noodles
- 2 dates
Please share your favorite recipe.
Oh gosh, only one? Keep it simple is my motto, so here’s a super easy and super delicious “pasta” dish.
Zucchini Fettuccine with Sesame Mango Sauce
- 2 zucchini
- 4 mango diced
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 Tbsp raw tahini
- 1/4 C water
- chopped mint leaves for garnish
- black sesame seeds for garnish
Spiralize the zucchini into fettuccine noodles, using a spiral slicer or a regular vegetable peeler. To make the sauce: blend mangoes, tahini, water, and lemon juice in blender until smooth. Top the zucchini noodles with sauce and garnish with chopped mint leaves and sesame seeds.
How can people learn more about The Raw Foods Diet?
Enroll in the University of Google and go wild! Just doing a search on “raw food diet” ought to keep you busy for a while. Visit your local library and start reading. Besides Kris and Natalia’s books, I’d recommend “Rawsome: Maximizing Health, Energy and Culinary Delight With The Raw Food Diet” by Brigitte Mars. “Green for Life” by Victoria Boutenko is another great place to start.
I think besides educating themselves, one of the most important things a person who is transitioning to a raw foods diet can do is to connect with other individuals who are living this lifestyle. A wonderful cyber community of raw foodies that I belong to is Raw Fu. You’ll find loads of support from folks who have been eating this way for years and years, as well as newbies. There’s an upcoming Holliday Mini Challenge you can get involved in or sign up for the 100 Day RawFu Challenge that kicks off on January 1st!
To participate visit Raw Fu: http://www.rawfu.com/
What a great idea for detoxing after the holidays! Thanks for being a guest at my kitchen table Earth Mother! For more great tips and recipes ideas for eating raw please visit Earth Mother at: http://earthmother-intheraw.blogspot.com/.Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.
She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.
For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
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