Most people don’t think of cooking their food as a bad thing. Chances are, you love baked potatoes, green bean casserole, glazed cooked carrots, and much more. Sure, you’re game for the occasional salad and veggie tray with dip, but the thought of switching to a raw foods-only diet sounds pretty radical. What would you eat, exactly? Would your diet be balanced? Would you be getting proper nutrition?
According to Cherie Soria and Dan Ladermann, authors of Raw Food For Dummies®, it might be worth your while to think outside the box (or the skillet). There are a lot more compelling reasons to go raw than you might think!
“All raw foodists have personal stories about how raw foods helped them lose weight, heal, gain more energy or mental clarity, look better, feel better, or achieve some other benefit or goal,” says Soria, co-author along with Ladermann of Raw Food For Dummies® .“This diet has even attracted celebrities including Demi Moore, Sting, Madonna, and Woody Harrelson.”
If you’re totally unfamiliar with the raw food lifestyle, it essentially means that you eat fresh, nutrient-rich plant foods that have not been heat processed. When foods are cooked, many of their nutrients are lost.
“You can go totally raw if you’d like, or you can simply incorporate more raw foods into your existing meal plan to experience the benefits,” explains Ladermann.
Ten reasons why raw might be the way to go:
Looking and feeling better. Most people report improved health and general well-being within weeks of switching to a raw food lifestyle. The nutrient-rich raw diet is high in antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids), so it maximizes health and vitality.
Reducing health risks and healing from disease. The facts are indisputable: A raw plant-based diet leads to lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and obesity.
Avoiding premature aging and promoting longevity. Many raw foodists look twenty years younger than people of the same age who eat cooked foods. This youthfulness is due in part to the nutrient density of raw foods, which are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamins that protect the body from free radicals, which attack healthy cells.
Achieving an ideal body weight. Many people believe that the body continues to feel hungry until nutrient needs are satisfied. Therefore, even if you eat enough calories to fuel your body, you’re still hungry—for nutrients! In this situation, your metabolism slows down, you stop burning fat, and you crave more food.
Increasing energy, vitality, and stamina. When the human body is well nourished, it’s healthy and active, and has an abundance of vitality. Fats, especially heat-processed oils, slow you down because they require long periods of digestion, which steals energy from your body. Light foods, such as fruits and vegetables, digest easily and leave you with energy for activity.
Enhancing memory and mental clarity. Your brain needs nourishment, and whole, ripe, raw organic plant foods provide the power you need for strong mental acuity. The essential fats that the brain needs, such as omega-3 fatty acids, are in leafy greens, flaxseed, chia, hemp, and walnuts as well as many other raw plant foods. The human brain also needs plenty of water, magnesium, and organic sodium; whole raw foods offer an abundance of these nutrients.
Reducing colds, flus, and allergies. Most raw foodists find that their diet reduces or even eliminates their respiratory problems, colds, flus, and allergies. A raw diet is especially great for people who are intolerant of dairy, wheat, and soy because raw foods have virtually no hidden ingredients.
Forgetting about cleaning dirty pots and pans. Hallelujah! A raw diet frees you from cooking! And raw food preparation is (for the most part) quick and easy with meals that are a breeze to clean up. No greasy stoves, hot ovens, or fryers.
Demonstrating kindness to animals. Although some raw foodists do consume small amounts of meat and fish, Soria and Ladermann recommend following a raw vegan diet, which includes only plant foods. When all of your recipes are vegan, no animal suffering is involved.
Protecting the environment. A raw lifestyle supports sustainable farming, creation of healthy topsoil, protection of watersheds, and reduction of your carbon footprint. A vegan diet also protects natural resources by not contributing to the deforestation that’s inherent in the meat industry.
Published Wiley in December 2012, Raw Food For Dummies® is available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or directly from the publisher by calling (877) 762-2974. Retail $19.99