Raw is the New Vegan: 6 Reasons to Experiment With a Living Foods Diet

For the record, here's a somewhat "official" explanation of a raw food diet: "The raw food diet is a diet based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit, and seaweed. Heating food above 116 degrees F is believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Cooking is also thought to diminish the nutritional value and 'life force' of food."

Then, of course, there's the added bonus of being like my friend Charles "Chuck" Balcer and using your bike power to make your raw smoothies. All kidding aside, Balcer's transition to a raw food lifestyle is instructive and motivating. Since switching from a "diet of pizza, KFC, and pork fried rice," he's no longer suffers from "high blood pressure, a heart murmur, migraine headaches, high cholesterol, and pretty severe acid reflux. Chuck sez:

"In the book version of The Wizard Of Oz, the Cowardly Lion mentions how odd it is that humans cook their food first. And he's right, if you compare us to the rest of the animal kingdom. Sure, cooking is an ancient tradition that's probably been around as long as fire, but that doesn't mean it's the most ideal way to eat. Take a seed and plant it in the ground; it'll grow. Take that same seed and roast it first, then plant it. Nothing will happen. That seed is dead. When you eat raw, not only are you eating food in its freshest state without any vitamin or mineral loss, but there's a vitality in it that fire destroys."

6 Reasons to Experiment With a Raw Food Diet

1. Raw Food is Green

Needless to say, the planet-based nature of the raw food lifestyle automatically puts it light years ahead of the carbon-producing meat-based diet. In addition, by eating whole raw foods, you will drastically reduce your waste output and end up composting what's leftover.

2. Raw Food Can Help Prevent Disease

Once again, there are the health benefits of removing animal products from your diet. But American medical doctor, psychiatrist, family therapist and raw food authority Gabriel Cousens goes much further, claiming that a raw food diet can cure type 2 diabetes in his book, There Is A Cure for Diabetes: The Tree of Life 21-Day+ Program.

3. Raw Food is Good For Any Meal

Whether it's a Superfood Shake for breakfast, a Broccoli-Waldorf Salad for lunch, or a Raw Creamed Spinach Soup dinner, raw food is tasty and fortifying all day long.

4. Raw Food is Delicious and Full of Variety

Too often, new eating habits are portrayed as being about sacrifice but going raw includes a broad range of new meal options, including Raw Tagliatelle Pasta of Zucchini and Carrots with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce.

5. Raw Food Includes Juicing

Besides the fun of concocting new blends, juicing delivers enzymes. Living-Foods.com sez: "Enzymes are your body's work force. Acting as catalysts in hundreds of thousands of chemical reactions that take place throughout the body, enzymes are essential for digestion and absorption of food, for conversion of food stuffs into body tissue, and for the production of energy at the cellular level. In fact, enzymes are critical for most of the metabolic activities taking place in your body every second of every day."

6. Raw Food Can Be a Lifestyle or Just Part of a Lifestyle

Without even trying, most of us "eat raw" all the time: fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc. Many salads are raw as are some juices. So don't get caught in the all-or-nothing trap. Try it out, experiment, and don't make it pressure. The odds are you'll find yourself moving—at your own rate—towards a diet that includes more and more uncooked meals.

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