The Raw Food Diet - An Easy How To Guide

 

As more and more people turn to the healthier plant based lifestyle they will naturally start to feel fitter and healthier than ever: it’s the start of an exciting journey into healing the body and mind, and living the wonderful life that you were born to live. The raw food diet is sometimes a progression from plant based eating that may evolve naturally as you start to listen to your body’s needs.

 

What eating raw actually means

mixed vegetables

Eating raw food isn’t just some new fad and in fact has been around since the 1800’s, but of course even they didn’t actually invent it. Before the discovery of using fire to cook foods, it would have been the diet we naturally evolved on – which kind of makes sense as to why it’s so healthy for us now.

Raw food does not necessarily mean eating just plants; there are lots of animal products that can be eaten raw, such as fish, meat, eggs, and raw dairy products, however as this is a plant based website I will just be focusing on ‘raw plant foods’.

 

The cooking process often destroys nutrients:

potatoes and a saucepan

Eating foods in their uncooked state leaves all their nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants intact, therefore making them much more nutritious. You may be led to believe that cooking foods helps to digest them more easily, but this is mostly not the case.

Cooking foods often destroys those valuable digestive enzymes, but there are exceptions to this, as in the case of potatoes, carrots, spinach, asparagus, and tomatoes. Why? Because these vegetables have antioxidants that are released during the cooking process, such as ferulic acid, lycopene, and beta-carotene (which converts to vitamin A).

 

Sprouting and Soaking

Beans, legumes, and lentils will need to be soaked and sprouted in order to eat them raw, as they contain compounds that inhibit enzyme function and can actually be toxic. Sprouted pulses are in fact a great source of fiber, protein, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals – and should definitely be a part of a healthy raw diet.

It is easy to sprout your own pulses, seeds and lentils at home, and often more cost effective. You can then add these sprouts to salads, stir-fry’s, or smoothies, OR just eat them alone as a snack. Here’s a short video to show you how simply this can be done at home.

 

Most other foods can and should be eaten raw and in abundance, and many that contain the fat soluble nutrients such as A,D,E and K are better absorbed alongside a little healthy fat as this will greatly aid absorption. Examples of such fat soluble foods are:-

  • ALL green leafy vegetables
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Papaya
  • Butternut Squash
  • Cauliflower

 

Mix it up!

breakfast bowl

It’s probably safe to say that the best way forward is to get a good mix of both lightly cooked and raw foods, leaning heavily towards raw. Raw can actually mean anything that isn’t heated above 116 degrees, so you can still eat warm foods for the comfort factor – which is especially needed in cold weather.

You can incorporate raw foods into every meal and snack quite easily; it’s simple to add raw chopped fruit to your smoothies or morning cereal, eat dried fruit, nuts, and seeds as snacks, or add large side salads to your main meals. Just by doing this alone you will be making your diet about 50% raw – it’s that easy!

 

Make your own veggie and salad dressings:-

green salad leaves

You can make all sorts of delicious raw dressings in a food processor to add to your veggies and salads: my favorite is avocado, lemon, olive oil, tamari or soya sauce, maple syrup, and salt and pepper. Just whiz it up and add ingredients to taste – easy peasy! Putting a heavy dressing like this over your salad or vegetables makes it a filling and complete meal that really hits the spot.

 

Foods that are definitely best eaten raw

Some foods offer far superior health benefits than others when eaten in their raw state and with all their nutrients and enzymes intact, and these top 6 should be incorporated into the diet as much as possible RAW.

  1. Bell peppers
  2. Onions
  3. Garlic (sorry)
  4. Coconut flesh
  5. Nuts – especially macadamia, walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts
  6. Seeds – especially hemp and pumpkin seeds

 

THE RAW FOOD DIET BENEFITS:-

1. DETOXIFICATION

mixed salad bowls

As you start to incorporate more and more raw foods into your diet you will in effect be giving your whole system a cleanse. The fiber in raw fruits and vegetables literally drag all the rubbish out of your colon ready to be excreted out of your body.

Keeping the body in a good state of detoxification will lower your chances of not only toxic overload but also many other modern day diseases, such as cancer, degenerative disease, heart disease, and obesity.

Try to add these top detoxification foods to your diet as much as possible to really boost this process, especially needed when you’re just starting out on your raw food diet.

 

2. ANTIOXIDANTS

unpaired electrons

The fact that plant foods are just bursting to the rim with antioxidants means you will also be greatly decreasing your chances, yet again, of disease and illness. Antioxidants fight the free radical damage caused by too many toxins from both in your diet and environment; such as junk foods, chemical additives, sugar, burnt foods, sun exposure, smoking, alcohol, and pollution.

Free radicals are unpaired electrons that mess with your DNA and accelerate the aging process. Antioxidants help negate this, and so the more you can get into our diet the younger you will look and feel, both inside and out.

 

Green Superfood powders:-

Green foods are something that you should be eating in abundance every day no matter what kind of diet you are on. These foods are just rammed with fiber and life giving nutrients for energy production and are vital to a healthy lifestyle.

hemp protein smoothie

Sometimes it’s hard to get enough green foods into your diet which is where you might find juicing an easy way to do this. OR for even more ease you could simply do a quality green superfood shot of the dried powder. There are so many to choose from and they all have different uses and nutritional profiles. I find it is better to buy either a couple of different ones or a blend with a little of everything.

I have reviewed in depth the very best superfood powders of 2018 for you, and some of them are seriously mind-blowingly nutritious. We are living in a time where we now have available to us the best foods on the planet to boost our health into the stratosphere and we should take advantage of this. Exiting times!

 

 

3. STRONGER IMMUNITY

plate of healthy foods

As raw fruits and vegetables still have their nutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and digestive enzymes intact they will offer you much higher immune protection than cooked or dead foods. It is however very important to source out as good a quality, local, and preferably as organic as you can afford because these factors make a huge difference in food quality.

 

4. LESS STOMACH PROBLEMS

Raw foods because of their natural digestive enzymes, will help to ease and even eliminate completely stomach and digestive problems such as IBS, heartburn, gas, constipation, and indegestion.

 

5. BETTER SATISFACTION VALUE

raw salad

As raw foods are just SO nutritious you will feel more satisfied for longer periods after you have eaten. This is simply because your body has been given all the nutrients it needs to thrive on in their most bio-available and natural forms – which will stop sugar cravings AND help keep blood sugars stable.

Stable blood sugar is vital for good health and a slim body, and may also help prevent many diseases; the most common being type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, some cancers, and obesity.

A low GI plant based diet is a great place to start if you either want to get in shape, detoxify your body, kick sugar cravings, lower your chance of disease, or boost energy. Eating plant based with lots of raw foods will help you to achieve this fast!

 

5. FLAVOUR

Finally – raw foods can be absolutely delicious; it’s really easy to whip up a crunchy salad with a homemade avocado dressing, AND don’t even get me started on raw desserts which are simply out of this world tasty! Every week I make myself a raw carrot cake – the beauty of which is they can be eaten guilt free any time of day.

 

Energy Balls:-

Raw energy balls are a really simple snack to keep in your fridge, and are great when you feel peckish – even better as a pre/post-workout snack as they are full of nutrition and slow release energy.

There are so many different versions and flavours you can make, and they all pretty much have a base of smooshed together dates and nuts. From there you can add other nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, cacao, and flavourings – the world is your oyster for experimentation when it comes to energy balls.

If you want to make any of these delicious raw recipes for yourself then the internet is literally awash with them and you should have no trouble finding something simple to try out for starters. Here’s some recipe’s I found on YouTube that are simple and easy:-

 

IN CONCLUSION:

Adding more raw foods to your diet will definitely give you some rawesome health benefits. Nobody is saying you need to go 100% raw; just start by adding more and more raw foods and get your taste buds accustomed.

Raw eating is another level of health, and the next level from plant based. It is something that you need to break yourself into slowly if you don’t want to throw your body into full on detoxification too quickly (which can make you feel awful, and more likely to give up).

 

This lifestyle will make you look AMAZING!

woman jumping

Ultimately, going raw will cleanse your body and mind and take you on a journey inside yourself where you will find clarity, bliss, and even spiritual awakening. This is the testimony of those whom I have spoken with that have been eating raw on a long term basis, and as if that’s not incentive enough, they also look AMAZING in a way that I have never seen before – living proof that raw ‘alive‘ foods bring you to life also.

 

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Stefanie Taylor

I have studied nutrition for many years, and have since discovered that a plant based diet has been the most beneficial to my health and body. I have more energy and zest for life than I have ever had and this website is dedicated to helping others who wish to know more, and start out on this lifestyle.

12 Comments

Matts Mom · 31/03/2018 at 6:14 pm

I love fruits and vegetables, so doing the raw food diet seems simple enough for me. I am curious how a raw sweet potato tastes. I love sweet potatoes but I am not so sure about raw. Same goes with garlic and onions, love em both. Just not raw. Would I still be doing the “raw food diet” if I did steam some of the items?

    Stefanie Taylor · 31/03/2018 at 10:46 pm

    Hi there, yes raw foods definitely take some getting used to that’s for sure and even I’m not 100% raw, I’m probably about 60% and that’s a percentage I can realistically do at the moment as I do like a cooked dinner in the evening. I think the raw food diet in essence is 100% raw but there are not too many people that can convert to this, not easily anyway as it can take years.

    We all have so much conditioning around food, in fact a lifetimes worth of conditioning, and also our bodies are just so used to cooked food that it can be a real shock to suddenly go completely raw. I actually did do it for 2 weeks once and after the first week of horrid detox type symptoms I actually started to feel different to anything I had ever experienced before. My skin totally changed and I felt so alive from the depths of my soul, I know it sounds weird but there’s really no other way to describe it.

    However, I did go back to my cooked food diet but still kept LOTS of raw foods in, for the simple fact that I wasn’t quite ready for that complete change yet, it kind of freaked me out to feel like that because I’d never experienced it before. So now I am working towards it more slowly but I know it’s going to be my complete lifestyle one day.

    I think you should just for now start adding lots and lots of raw foods in whenever you can. Or go at least 50% and build it from there.

Penelope · 31/03/2018 at 8:20 pm

I love the energy balls idea, because so many people are used to having food already prepared and having something you can grab and snack on when you’re hungry means you’re less likely to open a package or go out to Burger King. I had NO IDEA you could eat sweet potatoes raw, how do you suggest to prepare them? Thanks for the great info about the raw food diet!

    Stefanie Taylor · 31/03/2018 at 10:36 pm

    Yes energy balls are great and I always have a stock of them in my fridge, I even make them sometimes for the local gym to sell! As for sweet potatoes, yes you can actually eat them raw as they do not contain the dangerous enzyme solanine like regular potatoes do.

    You can make raw sweet potato chips if you have a food dehydrator, or you can slice them thinly and dry them out in a very low oven. Anything under 115 degrees is considered raw.

Fred · 31/03/2018 at 9:19 pm

Great post Stefanie and something that I am really interested in, not for me only, but for my wife who is having a lot of problems now and needs to change diet. I’m going to follow some of your suggestions and recipes and try to start on. You should do recipes on raw foods.

    Stefanie Taylor · 31/03/2018 at 10:32 pm

    Thanks for the input Fred and yes, I do intend at some point to start adding recipes to my blog. In fact I do have two that may help you, one about turmeric and all it’s benefits which will surely help your wife with her condition. I’m not sure what she has but I do know that turmeric benefits SO many things that it can only help, not just for her but for you also. Please read

    Also,if you are chocolate lovers and want to eat healthier versions of high antioxidant and healthy chocolate, then you can easily make your own with just 3 ingredients. There is a recipe in this post

Willem Jim Kulk · 18/08/2018 at 11:48 am

Hi Stephanie. What a wonderful article. I believe everyone could benefit from at least a 50% level of raw fruit and vegetables in their diet. My wife and I often have salads for lunch and during the hot season, which is about 8 months long here, we also have salads for dinner. Those energy balls sound delicious. I think I’ll just have to make some for snacks. I eat far to many biscuits and crackers at the moment and they would be a fantastic substitute. Jim

    Stefanie Taylor · 18/08/2018 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Jim, yes indeed they would. Energy balls are just so quick and easy to prepare and you could just as easily grab a couple of those instead of reaching for the biscuits. Plus they will make you feel fuller for longer so it’s an all round win!

    It’s great you already eat lots of raw veggies and salads; it’s so surprising the difference raw meals make to energy levels I always think. In fact, sometimes I will do a whole day of just raw foods and when I wake up the next morning I feel transformed and lighter, even clearer headed. You really can feel it that quickly, but it is a hard diet to maintain – especially if you live in an area where there are not lots of fresh fruits and vegetables available. This is why I always have a green superfood powder on standby.

Daniel · 18/08/2018 at 1:29 pm

This your article is so informative, I am a vegan lover. You’ve described some raw food to eat that, unfortunately, is hard for me to eat such as garlic you did well by saying sorry. I am curious about energy balls, I should give a try. Great job, bless up!

    Stefanie Taylor · 18/08/2018 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Daniel, yes a lot of people would have a problem with eating raw garlic I know! Ha ha. A good way to do it is to crush some up and add it raw into a soup or stew after you’ve taken it off the heat and are ready to serve. This should leave a lot of its truly amazing nutritional benefits in tact without it tasting bad. Also, it would be better for your breath this way too!

    You should definitely try those energy balls as they are just so simple and quick to make and you can leave them in the fridge all week and eat as and when. They really are a healthy treat that will also give you a boost of energy. Especially good if you are about to do some exercise or go to the gym. They also act as a pre AND post workout snack.

Rob · 18/08/2018 at 2:51 pm

Hey Stefanie. Great information here! I’m really into fruits and vegetables because of my type 2 diabetes. These are the best foods regardless. I never thought too much about raw foods though, and of course they are healthier for you. But garlic is one thing I will never like.
I like what the benefits are for raw foods and those energy balls sound good! Thanks for providing some excellent tips!
~Rob

    Stefanie Taylor · 19/08/2018 at 8:49 am

    Hi Rob, no not many people do like raw garlic so I don’t blame you on that one! Ha ha. Yes, I can imagine having type 2 diabetes kind of forces you into a healthier lifestyle. I eat loads of fruits and veggies too, in fact they pretty much make up about 50% of my total diet, and I always try to eat them as raw or lightly cooked as possible.

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