The latest buzz in the dieting world is all about the raw food diet. Celebrities such as Angela Bassett, Lisa Bonet, and Demi Moore enthusiastically credit eating raw for their lean and youthful appearances. Tyra Banks recently highlighted the raw food diet on her show about weight loss. One of the women lost over 30 pounds and declared it was the best thing that ever happened to her.

Eating raw food is actually not a new concept. Before fire was discovered by our prehistoric ancestors there was no such thing as cooking food. While raw food may not sound all that appetizing here is brief list at how vast raw food actually is: Fresh fruits; Vegetables, Salad, Leafy greens; Herbs and wild greens, Nuts; Dried fruits; Beans, Seeds; Vegetable seeds; Mushrooms; Sea vegetables; Algaes; Oils; Stimulants (such as chilli, onion, ginger); Spices; Superfoods; and natural sweeteners (e.g. agave nectar,). The foods can be eaten whole or combined to make wholesome and healthy meals. One of the best parts about a raw food diet is being able to eat as much as you want and yes, that includes desserts…(did I also mention that eating raw is kosher?)

There is no arguing that cooked foods certainly are yummy to the taste buds. While we get nutrition from cooked food, every time we eat food that is cooked, brought pre-prepared, in a can, in a box or bag we lose up to 70% of the vitamins, some of the minerals, and all of the enzymes. Heating food above 116 degrees F is believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Research has shown that when someone eats cooked food the body sends the white blood cells to the digestive system in order to deal with the perceived “invader”. This cooked food creates free radicals (toxic molecules of oxygen) in the body. All it takes is one free radical to generate tens of thousands of chain reactions that cause tremendous harm Free radicals are especially prominent in animal products (chickens and other birds, cows, pigs, fishes, lambs, eggs, dairy products, animal fats and proteins) and refined foods such as white sugar, white flours, hydrogenated oils, etc.

On the flip side, a diet that consists of raw foods has been attributed to reversing or stopping the advance of many chronic diseases, including heart disease. Several studies have shown that eating raw vegetables reduce the risk of getting breast cancer, colon cancer, and leukemia. A raw food diet can also protect you from such as colds, flu, measles, allergies, etc.

When one stops eating cooked food and switches over to raw the body begins to detox. The detox gets rid of toxins and poisons that are stored in the body from eating cooked food. There will be certain changes in the body such as weight loss and your skin will clear up. During the detox there will probably be some mild side effects such as headaches, acne, and nausea.

Pre made raw food is costly at grocery stores and restaurants. The great thing is most of the food you can make yourself. The main equipment needed for preparing raw food is a food processor, blender, and a juicer. There are recipes online and new cookbooks coming out every day that expand on raw cuisine. Making raw food also takes less time than cooking food; a raw food dish can literally be made in ten minutes (sometimes less).

Becoming a raw foodie takes dedication and discipline. Going a hundred percent raw may not be for you; maybe it is more about incorporating more raw food into your lifestyle. Most experts agree that a diet consisting of at least 75% truly raw foods is needed to reap most of the benefits. But, if you replace at least one traditional meal a day with a raw meal it will increase enzymes levels in the body and garner positive results in health changes.

There is a wealth of information online about raw food. Here are some of resources for you:

Fresh Network –www.freshnetwork.org
A great organization based in the UK with a website that gives product reviews, services, community, etc.

Alissa Cohen- www.alissacohen.com
Cohen is an author, teacher, and raw food guru. I was certified in raw food through Alissa Cohen, her work is fabulous!

Sun Organic Farm- www.sunorganicfarm.com
A place to purchase raw food products

G Living TV- www.gliving.tv
Green lifestyle Network that has information on everything green including raw food internet TV shows with awesome recipes and more

There are many more resource so read up, sign up for newsletters, and of course keep reading my postings of The Raw Adventures.

Shoshi can be reached at shoshi@yolandashoshana.com