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Practical


Solutions to


Eating Raw


Foods

Debbie Schroeder RN, BSN
11/13/2008
Professional Health Coach
www.HealthCoachTeam.com

You may be wondering, what does it mean to eat raw food? This diet consists of eating unprocessed, uncooked fresh raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Some people on a raw food diet will prepare food in a dehydrator, but the food is never exposed to temperatures above 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds will have their enzymes destroyed above 116 degrees and will lose most of their nutritional value once cooked.


Most people find it difficult to follow a 100% raw food diet. This diet is significantly different from the Standard American Diet, which consists of very little fresh fruits and vegetables and a significant amount of processed and cooked foods. However, if you think about it the raw food diet is the most natural diet for our bodies. Food grown in nature is packed with nutrition that is perfect for the human body. Food that is processed and manufactured with artificial chemicals and additives is a foreign substance to the human body. Processed foods have to be enriched with vitamins and minerals because almost all of the nutrition is lost from food as it is cooked and processed.


Eating raw food can be both fun and healthy. As raw food has been gaining popularity a variety of raw food recipe books are available. My local library has a number of book and resources on raw food so there is never a shortage of recipes. There are also numerous websites which have recipes and information on how to incorporate raw food into your diet.


With a little planning it can be easy to start to incorporate unprocessed, uncooked fresh raw foods into your daily diet. The first step is to go to the grocery store or local farmer's market and purchase some fresh raw fruits and vegetables. Consider buying something you have never tried before or haven't had in a long time. If you are uncertain how to select fresh fruits and vegetables ask someone who works in the produce department for assistance.


A quick simple breakfast is to eat several pieces of fresh fruit. Consider washing a cup of grapes and enjoying them for breakfast. Peeling a couple oranges or bananas and fueling your body with nutrient rich fruit instead of processed, refined food such as donuts, bagels or cereal which will not nourish your body.


As you start to eliminate processed, refined foods from your body and replace them with food from nature such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds you will notice significant improvements to your energy levels, your skin will become clearer, your mood will improve, you will lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and other inflammatory diseases, reduce the signs of aging and you will lose weight. You may think it sounds radical to eat just fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and for some of you this may be very difficult. The good news is you don't have to have a 100% raw food diet to receive the benefits from raw food.


In the beginning if you eat very little fresh food start slowly and incorporate a little at a time. As you get in the habit of eating fresh food it will become easier to eat more fresh food than processed food. Set a goal for yourself to get your diet to 50% to 75% fresh raw foods within the next year.


As you transition to a healthy diet, it is helpful to eat 5 to 6 small meals per day instead of 2 or 3 large meals. Fresh fruits and vegetables are easily digested, to keep your blood sugar and energy levels at a steady state eat something every 2 to 3 hours. This will keep you from ever being too hungry and overeating. To ensure you never get too hungry consider packing a cooler with some fresh fruits and vegetables to enjoy throughout the day.


Another tip is to start keeping a food diary. This will allow you to be more conscious of when you eat, how much you eat and how you are feeling throughout the day. It is so easy to grab a handful of chips, candy from a dish, or a donut in the break room and not even realize you have eaten. As you record what you are eating, you will start to see patterns in when and how much you eat as well as how what you eat affects how you are feeling. As you review your food diary, look for places you can replace fresh raw foods in place of your lower quality food choices.


I encourage you to explore the benefits of eating fresh raw foods and start to experiment with some new recipes. Your body will thank you for fueling it with high quality food. 

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