Eating raw foods can kill you. Anyway, that’s what we have heard about eggs, bean sprouts, pork and ground meat. And yet a lot of recent print covers the benefits of raw food and a “raw food diet”.
Let’s be serious, up until a little over a hundred years ago raw foods were a major component of every person’s diet. It wasn’t until the age of mechanization in the late 1800’s that it began to change. All of our ancestors even before they left all four limbs and rose up to walk on two were hunter gatherers. The gathering part consisted of fruits and berries, various flower buds and green shoots, all consumed in their virginal state of rawness.
Most Paleolithic people are said to have eaten over 100 different species of food on an annual basis. Today, most people are lucky if they can eat 100 different species in a lifetime. How many different species are involved in a McDonald’s hamburger? Five at most (cow, wheat, tomato, mustard, cucumber). And yet we know that an assortment of food, especially a variety of fruits and vegetables, is one of the basic tenants of a healthy, balanced diet.
There is no disputing the fact that Paleolithic people ate a diet that was far less glycemic than today’s diet. Carbohydrates probably contributed about 20 to 40 percent of the calories, and none of it was from processed sugars and grains stripped of its chaff. Wheat is in everything from malt vinegars to frozen french fries giving rise to gluten free diets. Corn, especially corn syrup as a preservative is used across a wide spectrum of food products and now even in our gasoline. Cut down on sodas and don’t drink the gasoline whether it has ethanol in it or not.
The raw food diet is one based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit, and seaweed. These items have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) thus preserving their natural enzymes. Typically, at least 75% of a person’s diet must be living or raw. That, to some of us might seem a bit extreme especially if the seaweed is from the Gulf of Mexico (gulp…).
To get a healthier you, does 75% of your diet need to be “raw”? Probably not. Any proportional increase would help. Try these tasty items (unprocessed, preferably organic) to supplement or replace a portion of your current intake:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Unprocessed organic or natural foods
Freshly juiced fruit and vegetables
Young coconut milk
Those who consume a high percentage of raw foods suggest numerous health benefits, including:
Improved skin appearance
Reduced risk of heart disease
Who couldn’t accept a little weight loss or the reduction in heart disease prospects? Now, I know why mom always asked if I had finished my green beans.
Photo by: Elaine Vigneault