My Experience with Raw Foods
Many natural health experts agree that the majority of our foods should be in its raw and pure form. It is claimed that cooking destroys essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes vital to our bodies health and well being. In fact, the “life force” associated with raw foods helps build our own life force, creating vibrant health within and around us every day for our whole entire lives. Just how true are the claims to the raw food movement?
There are many who seem to claim that eating a raw food diet can help clear acne, reduce wrinkles and aid in getting rid of gray hair. Since all of these claims are not necessarily backed up by the science, I’m a bit wary to believe them. However I do know that cooking does destroy vitamins and nutrients in which are crucial for maintaining beauty, youthful skin and good health. The connection is there and can be made, but I can’t say for sure that it would reverse the clock on aging. I w0uld like to think so, as many raw food acquaintances I know (some vegan and some not) look very young and have tremendous energy. Some raw foodists, however, do not embody this, yet looks may be deceiving.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been eating a mainly raw food diet. If you are a regular reader at my blog, you already know how I like to do dietary experiments, like my Grain-Free experiment which turned into a now normal lifestyle of a no-grain diet. I found this diet not to be limiting at all, as there are a surprising number of sources which can help create the same foods without the ill-effects of hard to digest grains. You may also remember my “Beyond Sweets” experiement, where I took out all sweet tastes from my diet.
Raw Food is Making Me Psychic?
My experiences with the raw food diet has given me insights I never even imagined would happen based on the claims. I haven’t necessarily known a difference in my skin or the way I look, but perhaps the physical appearance takes some time if it even changes at all. For some reason, though, I have found that when I eat mainly raw foods (including raw eggs and raw milk for their complete protein content) I find that my intuition is incredibly heightened. My ability to tell what will happen next, what someone will say, knowing that someone will walk through the door any second–my “psychic” abilities, perhaps, become enhanced.
Rarely will I get into all the psychic hoo-haa here on this blog, so I really like to refer to it as “intuition”. There are some people on the Interweb talking about how when you eat raw foods and meld with its life force, you are connecting to your own inner life force and enhancing your intuition. I was thinking, if this is even true at all, that when you consume the life force you connect to the ultimate source of life which knows no time, yet is a part of every single moment in all the time of the Universe–past, future and present. This is only a small speculation on my part, and I may be entirely off.
Since there is no science to back up my experience with the raw food diet, I was a little reluctant to share. I can’t promise eating mostly raw foods can enhance your intuition, but it certainly did give mine a boost. The connection between anti-aging and raw foods is probably linked to the high amount of anti-oxidants consumed in raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also more balanced, reducing inflammation in the body associated with certain disorders and accelerated aging.
Raw Food and Enzymes
Cooking food does destroy enzymes, yet there are those who claim that the simple act of digesting the food can also kill many living enzymes by the acid the stomach produces. Enzymes are biological catalysts which facilitate metabolic changes, and it is important to have as many healthy enzymes in the body to function on the tasks at hand.
Digestion enzymes, for example, decreases as the body ages, making it crucial to find ways to increase digestive enzymes, either through supplementation or through eating more raw foods. I’m not yet sure if I yet believe that simply taking in enzymes through raw foods will help in the production of digestive enzymes, so until you or I see any solid research on this, I might only use raw foods a “just in case” route.
Anti-oxidants fight free radicals, which are molecules with an unpaired electron that wreak havoc on our health and beauty (anti-aging efforts). As I mentioned before, anti-oxidants are probably one of the biggest effectors in the raw food diet that help to relieve different symptoms and to promote beauty, youthfulness and better health. Cooking destroys up to half of the vitamin A in foods, for example, and this vitamin is a powerful antioxidant for helping produce better eye health.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are more balanced in plant foods than animal sources, are also degradable through heat. These aren’t antixodants, but almost provide the same qualities of promoting better health through reducing inflammation and promoting better skin, hair and nails. You should still get omega-6’s in your diet, but not in the extent that the modern American gets it through their processed foods. Animal products are higher in omega-6s, however eating animal protein, especially in the form of raw, organic and free-range eggs or clean raw milk, provides many health benefits to help ease worry of any omega-6’s you might be consuming. PLUS – organic, free range beef, grass fed eggs, milk and meat contains a better balance of the omega-3 and -6 fatty acids than conventional raised animals.
Raw Animal Protein
Even though I have eaten mostly raw for the past couple of weeks, I still make sure I receive a high quality source of complete protein. The easiest way for me to do this is to eat meat, whether it’s in the form of chicken, turkey (Thanksgiving!), fish or eggs. I haven’t eaten raw eggs or raw milk these past two weeks, but that is soon to come! Raw eggs can only be consumed by me when I blend it into a green smoothie, because the texture of them plain kills my appetite.
Most vegans are committed enough to make sure that they are receiving the necessary B-vitamins and amino acids the body needs, so if you are vegan and are considering a more raw diet, this section may not apply to you. Supplementation can be really important for vegans, especially for vitamin B-12, but I know many raw vegans who do this without a problem. I, however, find it much simpler and more natural to get these needs from humanely raised eggs, milk, fish and sometimes beef. It’s a personal preference. I would love to hear any feedback on this area!
My Future with the Raw Food Diet
I’m not going vegan. I have many vegan friends, but I’m not going vegan. I am, however, going to be eating mainly raw for the next couple of months, going into 2011. I will hopefully have access to raw goat’s milk and farm fresh eggs, so these will be my main protein sources (along with some hormone-free beef and chicken and low-mercury fish a couple times a week). Wish me luck!
Many nutrition experts believe about 80% of the diet should consist of uncooked, raw foods. I think I am starting to believe this. Cooking some foods does help with their digestion, putting these foods in the other 20%. There is a really good article which presents how cooked foods helped the human civilization move forward, which is worth a read (I am in the midst of finding that article which seems to be lost in the ether–link to come). I will still enjoy cooked foods, as they provide a warming quality, yet they will decrease a bit while I up my raw food intake.
Any diet that helps me get in more raw vegetables is a plus, because these natural foods are brimming to the top of the nutritional rating chart, full of phytonutrients and anti-oxidants. Being a 100% raw foodist is not completely for me, but it is fun to incorporate certain ideals of the lifestyle in everyday life to promote better health overall, mentally, physically and spiritually. I will be posting some raw recipes that are high in fiber, protein and good fats very soon, so watch out for those!
Before I end this post, I wanted to let everyone know that today is the 55th anniversary of Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger. She was the first woman I learned of when we would talk about black history in school, and her silence moved me greatly as a child. It let’s others know, no matter their race, gender or personal preferences, that you deserve to be free in the world in which you live, and that you shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.
For now, this is The Healthy Advocate.
P.S. I’m seeking help from any fellow blog owners on transferring this blog over to its own domain. If you can help me, please message me through Facebook or email me at my Yahoo! account (thehealthyadvocate). Your aid in getting this blog up and running will be greatly appreciated, and I will definitely give you credit for the help! Thank you. – Brandon