Okay, so as of the last few months, I say few months but it's really been over the course of the last year and a half, I have accidentally and slowly transitioned into mainly vegan foods and eating a 70%, possibly more, raw foods for my meals. I never expect anyone to fully eat or live the way that I do, I am here merely to educate you on lifestyle aspects. I get a lot of questions about being vegan and eating raw, one of the biggest is the benefits it brings. Recently I couldn't figure out why I wasn't hungry as often as usual and I noticed the only thing that had really changed drastically for me was the foods I was eating.
WHAT DOES RAW MEAN?
Simply put raw is anything that is non-processed or cooked and edible in it's organic and original state. Fruits and vegetables are the main things in this type of nutritional eating. However, keep in mind there are some fruits and vegetables that benefit from being cooked or roasted. Tomatoes for example fall into this category (1). Some of the more beneficial and powerful antioxidants that tomatoes offer are released and more easily absorbed when slow roasted or lightly pan fried over a low-medium heat.
WHY EAT RAW?
Now again, keep in mind this is not a way for everyone to fully eat. And by that I mean be a "raw vegan", I am however suggesting adding at least one meal or snack of this sort to your daily meals and eating rituals. Now raw, well raw because when something is in it's organic state and hasn't been touched or altered in any way it is more nutrient dense.
There are certain building blocks our bodies need to function properly, if food is the source of all life and food is also the culprit for the majority of disease in America then maybe we need to reexamine what foods we are eating rather than blame it on our jobs, children, money, or even our genetics in some cases. Eating raw provides more of these vital building blocks such as: enzymes, vitamins, minerals, essential fats and fibers, and even protein than adding heat for a little extra pizzazz to your meal. Or maybe because you're cold and let's be honest, everyone loves a hot meal when they're cold. Okay, okay back on track; Raw is better for this simple fact.
Many raw food lifestyles include fermented foods, sprouted grains, nuts/seeds, raw fruits and veggies. There are some raw food advocates that claim raw is so far the only way to go that they even consume dairy in the raw, meat, and fish in the raw also. Personally I think cooking things keeps us safe from the harmful bacterias and viruses that could be brimming on your chicken breast or lurking in your salmon, cream cheese and lox.
Adding heat, even a low amount of heat helps to preserve vital nutrients and activate others. Oh yes I said activate. Remember those enzymes I was talking about? Certain foods, such as tomatoes, have some vital nutrients and enzymes that aide in fighting inflammation and digestion. However eating tomatoes raw instead of lightly sautéed, will leave you a little empty on the nutrients, that's not to say that they aren't still very nutritious raw.
On the other hand to deactivate any and all enzymes they only need to reach a temperature of 117F (47C), that's not much when you think about it. Boiling vegetables may reduce content of water-soluble vitamins by as much as 50-60%. Steaming, roasting, or stir-frying are some of the most effective cooking methods for retaining vital enzymes and nutrients found in our foods. Some nutrients and vitamins can also be leached out of food during the cooking process, vitamins such as Vitamin C and B.
Personally I love the way I feel after I eat some raw, vegan tacos but that doesn't mean this lifestyle is for everyone. While I think everyone could incorporate aspects of this lifestyle into their own to aide in finding what their own bodies need, well then we may have a little healthier nation. My advice is simple; Listen to your body, eat the foods you need not what you crave. You will feel better not only in the present but also in the future.
Note from the Team.
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