The term “raw food diet” refers to the consumption of foods that haven’t been cooked or treated at temperatures above 105-115 degrees. Above this temperature food and especially the enzymes in the food begin to degrade. Therefore adding a greater percentage of raw foods into your diet can have amazing health benefits. Whether you eat 100% raw, high raw with some cooked or just some raw, no matter where you stand, I think we can all agree that consuming more fresh greens, vegetables, fruits, fats, sprouted nuts / grains, fermented foods and proteins is an excellent way to reach or maintain your optimal health.
You have to choose your own path, one that resonates with your own body. All cooked food is deficient in enzymes, furthermore cooking food changes the molecular structure and some people feel that it renders it toxic. Enzymes are a necessary part of our diet and assist in the digestion of foods. And are thought to be the “life-force” of food. Somebody once pointed out to me that if you put a raw carrot and a cooked carrot in the ground the raw one can grow whereas the cooked one can’t. So this might be a little esoteric but whatever it is in the raw one that makes it so it can grow, that “life-force”, when you eat raw you get that in your food. Also our bodies are incapable of creating most enzymes and must get them from what we eat, so why not eat as many as possible?
The recipe section of Nouveau Raw has only raw recipes, however here and there I may use a cooked or processed ingredient. I have done this either because I am not sure what I can use as a raw alternative, it might be the only ingredient that I am aware of to create a certain flavor or I may not have access to anything else. This site and its recipes weren’t designed to persuade you to become 100% raw, it is just a vessel that I use to share recipes. I hope it might help you increase the amount of fresh whole foods in your diet. I am not here to argue the raw food beliefs, or to say that there is only one path in obtaining health. I simply want to share recipes, encourage you to be creative in the kitchen and to nourish your body with love and the best quality of ingredients.
Arm yourself with knowledge
- Much to my delight raw foods are starting to make their presence felt in the market. Raw foods obviously are nothing new, the concept has been around forever. But as the percentage of people who are concerned about the effects of what they eat has on their health, this dietary choice has become more and more popular. The Internet can entertain you with raw food ideas, recipes, and concepts till the end of time! Not to mention all the wonderful books on the market that break it all down in so many ways.
- If you are considering in switching over to a high raw diet or even in just adding a few dishes here and there I recommend that you arm yourself with a little knowledge ahead of time. If you don’t, you are setting yourself up for some frustrations and possibly failure. And I sure don’t want anyone to have that experience.
Where do I find all these ingredients?
- It is important to check out all your local grocery stores, health food stores and farmers markets. Compare products and prices. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your local grocery store to start carrying a certain product. It never hurts to ask. You might even find better deals online. I do try to shop local whenever I can. I do however buy several items from companies such as Nuts-On-Line and even Amazon (who I can usually get next day free shipping!) but to be honest there are tons of wonderful Internet sites that offer wide varieties and selection. Google is your friend!
- Be sure to buy ORGANIC and SEASONAL produce whenever possible. Organic food doesn’t contain toxins like pesticides, heavy metals, dangerous industrial chemicals (for example, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives). And everything in it is natural: it’s real food, not “Frankenfood” created in a laboratory for profit regardless of the fact that genetically modified, synthetic foods have massive, well-known health hazards. This is a topic that could on and on, so I recommend that you do some research to better educate yourself about the hazards of consuming non-organic produce. The Living Foods site has a great write-up. Try to buy everything organic if you can. But if you need to buy conventional, use these lists as a guide to help you make smart decisions.
Dirty Dozen ~
Buy these organic whenever possible.
Lowest in pesticide residue.
Buying Raw Ingredients
The idea of raw foods goes beyond just fruits and vegetables. The raw food diet also includes nuts, seeds, some raw dairy (if you are not Vegan), raw sweeteners, and many other items. But what does that mean when it comes time to buy? Here are a few examples:
Raw Nuts and Seeds
- Raw nuts and seeds are alive, but unfortunately almost all nuts and seeds that are sold in stores have been roasted, toasted, or pasteurized to extend their shelf life, and these heating processes cause the nuts and seeds to die, as well as lose some of their nutritional value, and to make matters worse most of them have also been dipped in salt. You want to make sure that the nuts and seeds that you buy are RAW. This will be indicated on the packaging but if you really want to make sure that they are 100% raw, call the manufacturer. More and more raw nuts are showing up in the bulk bins at your local grocery stores. Always test for freshness. Nuts in bins can go stale or rancid.
- One of the secrets to raw food recipes is finding a proper raw sweetener to substitute for the refined sugar which is in virtually all conventional desserts. Fortunately, you don’t need to look far to find something you like to sweeten your foods. Click here for some of the most common raw sweeteners.
- The best spices are organic, air-dried spices because they don’t contain caking agents and other preservatives. Better yet, grow your own, dry them and grind away!
- Having the right tools in the kitchen will make things much easier and more fun. This is a lesson well learned from my husband. “Be sure to have the right tools to get the job done” I can’t tell you how many times we have chased down the Snap-On truck. haha The kitchen is no different. To prepare raw dishes you don’t need a lot of different pieces, just a few good quality ones will help you be on your successful way. I often find really good deals on Craigslist. I have purchased a Vitamix Blender and an Excalibur Dehydrator for a fraction of the new price. So to start off, check Craigslist, Ebay, or even ask friends or family if they have stuff that they would be willing to lend to you. If you are a kitchen gadget lover as I am, there are all sorts of other tools of the trade that are fun to play with. I have created a section on the site that talks about supplies and tools, it is forever growing and I will keep adding to it so check that section often. Click here to see.
- I won’t go into depth on this topic because it deserves more than just a paragraph but I do want to share a word of caution. Anytime you make dramatic changes in your diet, your body is bound to let you know that something is happening inside. Whether those changes are for the good or the bad, you will begin to see the effects of your choices. With that being said, be gentle with yourself as you start to explore the raw food culinary world! You can jump in with all the gusto in the world, read, learn, study, and prepare yourself mentally for the change of diet. But please ease into it, raw, whole foods can cause a cleansing effect on your body especially when you are just starting out.
- A raw food detox diet is a great way to detoxify the body. If you do it well, it removes toxins or other contaminants that are stored in our body fat and cells. Detoxing improves health, energy, immune system, memory and digestion.
Symptoms & Benefits of Detoxing
Symptoms of Detoxing:
Bloating, stomach pains
Trouble sleeping, nightmares
Diarrhea and constipation
Fatigue, drowsiness, low energy levels
Congestion or Mucus that feels like a cold
Benefits of Detoxing can include but not limited to:
Regular bowel movements
Emotional stability / eliminated depression
- Many of us don’t have wonderful raw food restaurants in our home towns and if that is the case, what do we do? I am going to speak strictly from experience here. When I decided to try the raw food diet, I went 100% over night. I am not sure I would recommend this to everyone but for me, it worked. Eating raw at home was a tad bit of a challenge when I first started my new of eating but eating out was a whole new can of worms (er nuts?).
- Whether you eat 100%, 80% or 50% raw, take time to educate yourself about the restaurants in your area. These days you can Google just about every restaurant and view their menus online prior to going out. Doing this step will save you time and many headaches. When I didn’t do this step I found that it took a bit of time and many questions to the waitress as to what they might have in the kitchen to accommodate my diet. This then caused the whole dinner to revolve about MY eating habits with those around me. It’s not that I don’t mind talking about raw foods to others, I actually love to but sometimes I just want to enjoy my food and focus on other things.
- So again. as you read though the menu, take note of all the fresh veggies or fruits that are offered in various dishes. From there you can build your own personal salad or plate. Many times I would just explain to the waitress that I would love for the chef to build me his own creation, using every raw vegetable that he had in the kitchen. Often times chefs love this freedom to make something new and beautiful. So don’t be discouraged, just be creative!
This web-site is not intended to provide medical advice. All content, including text, graphics, images and information available on this site is for general informational, entertainment and educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment. The author of this site is not responsible for any adverse effects that may occur from the application of the information on this site. You are encouraged to make your own healthcare decisions, based on your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.