Raw food diets are based on the idea that food is most healthful when eaten fresh and uncooked.  Cooking comes in hundreds of styles, but its ultimate function is using heat to kill or inactivate harmful organisms, such as bacteria and viruses.  However, nutritional value is also lost. 


High heat, anything above 118 degrees F, denatures the naturally present enzymes in food.  Enzymes are the body’s little heroes.  Their role in digestion is to break food down into a simpler form.  Without enzymes, food can’t be digested.


What happens when we cook food and kill its natural enzymes?  Eating sterile foods means your gut works harder, a lot harder.  Now your gastrointestinal system must use and produce its own enzymes.


Here’s an example.  Ever heard of lactose-intolerance?  Lactose is a sugar in dairy products and its enzyme partner is lactase.  A person who is lactose-intolerant cannot produce enough lactase to break down the lactose sugar.  They’re left with painful cramps and bloating.  Every food, not just dairy, has an enzyme partner, which usually occurs naturally in the food!  Often, folks who have lived with lactose-intolerance for years find that they are perfectly able to eat or drink raw dairy products!  That is because the lactase enzyme is abundant in raw milk.


A chronic lack of enzymes is believed to lead to digestive diseases, nutrient deficiency, and weight gain.  Yuck!  Instead, a diet rich in enzymes promotes health, slows aging, and generates increased energy. 


If you lack energy or often feel fatigued, consider how much energy is drained from your body through inefficient digestion.  Instead of gaining energy from food, you’re left depleted!  Raw food enthusiasts claim eating live food skyrockets energy levels.  Why not let food digest itself, while you experience the energy it provides?


Beyond increased energy, benefits of raw foods can include clearer skin, weight loss, and reduced risk of disease.  Natural, uncooked foods are free of processed waste such as trans-fats, artificial additives, and added sugars.  Instead, they are high in fiber, cancer-fighting compounds such as phytochemicals and antioxidants, vitamins like folate and vitamin A, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium.


A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consumption of a raw food diet lowered total plasma cholesterol and blood triglycerides, decreasing the risk of heart disease, the number one killer for U.S. adults. 


My favorite reason to enjoy raw foods?  They’re colorful and delicious.  If you’re interested in raw foods, try making raw vegetables the foundation of most meals.  Leafy greens like kale and bok choy are tasty and versatile.  Eat more raw nuts and seeds, not roasted.  Consider switching from pasteurized milk to raw milk.  Start your raw food exploration and enjoy the benefits of living food!



Idaho State Journal

July 20, 2014



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