You may have heard raw foodists talk about finding great beauty in growing, preparing and eating living foods, but for most people interested in a raw diet, the real beauty is in the long-term health benefits and increased energy that eating raw brings. Mimi Kirk, the author of Live Raw, says that eating raw foods reverses the natural aging process, stating in interviews that she accredits her youthful appearance and vibrancy to eating raw for over forty years.
The trouble, for many who wish to reap these benefits, is that adopting a raw food diet seems costly and time-consuming (and, well, boring!). The good news is that the best way to experience raw foods is by incorporating them into your regular food routine and enjoying the occasional raw food day or week. These tips can help you get started without overwhelming yourself.
- RAID THE HOUSE – Start by going through your pantry and getting rid of refined, processed or “dead” foods. This will help you to avoid temptation when starting out and will improve your diet overall, including your cooked meals and snacks.
- PLAN AHEAD – Do some research into recipes you would like to try and plan a few days ahead at a time. Try to include some raw foods in each day's plan, maybe even planning an entire raw meal or two. Pick recipes that don't require a lot of ingredients and that can be made in batches and stored.
- GO SHOPPING – After you plan your recipes, make your grocery list and head to the store. In the produce section, be sure to buy all the colors of the rainbow, and remember no boxes, cans or cartons. If there is a store near you that offers non-GMO, organic foods, that's a great place to start.
- START SMALL – Take each day one meal at a time. Be fair with yourself; if you slip up don't sweat it, just move on to the next meal. You can start by challenging yourself to eating something raw at one meal or snack per day and gradually work up to eating an entirely raw meal here and there. When you're ready, you can even try eating all raw food for an entire day or weekend.
- START SIMPLE – As far back as the late 19th and early 20th centuries Maximillian Bircher-Benner was the first to tout the benefits of eating raw food in order to heal the body and maintain overall health. He is best known for inventing Muesli. Muesli is made by combining raw rolled oats, fruits, and nuts; a simple combination that has become a classic. Delicious, healthy food doesn't have to be fancy or complicated.
- MAKE IT FUN! – Raw food doesn't have to be all veggie sticks and salads. Fermented foods offer great nutrition along with exciting flavours and textures. Kimchi is a delicious fermented food that can be a great starting point for eating raw. It requires only a few ingredients and once made it can last a long time in the refrigerator, plus it is low in calories. Smoothies with nut butters are another fun favourite. They're quick to make and pack a protein punch along with your fruits and veg.
Going raw for only a few days can help reset metabolism and increase energy levels. Consuming live foods like sprouts, nuts, leafy greens, vegetables and fruits raw offers more in terms of nutrients than eating their cooked counterparts. Adding a blender, a food processor and a dehydrator to your kitchen arsenal can help you to unlock the nutrition within many foods, while making them easier for your body to digest without cooking. There are plenty of online communities for raw foodists; this can be a great way to find tested recipes and connect with like-minded individuals who may have additional suggestions for starting out and staying on track.
Recipe: Tangerine-Tomato Soup
Try this delicious and beautifully coloured soup as a light snack or use it as a dressing for cucumbers.
1-4 medium tomatoes, cored 4 tangerines or clementine oranges 1 sprig of fresh basil 1 tablespoon curry powder 1 tablespoon cumin ½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt (natural grey salt) or to taste ½ a jalapeno pepper, seeded ½ clove of garlic, minced ½ cup sesame seeds (optional)
Peel oranges and place tomatoes and oranges into the blender. Pulse to liquefy then add spices and herbs. Enjoy at room temperature.