When you think of raw food, what do you picture in your mind? If you’re imagining gourmet nut-based raw desserts, dehydrated meals, and other time intensive recipes, then it’s understandable why you and many others may have scoffed at the idea of going high raw to better their health. It’s not uncommon to hear excuses like, “It takes too much time”, or “raw food ingredients are too expensive”, when the topic of raw foods emerge in conversation. Your challenges and concerns are valid, and there are solutions at hand which I’m excited to share some with you below.
First of all, raw food has become quite the buzz word. Many of us associate raw food living to a strictly vegan diet, or a diet that consists of very unique recipes & uncommon ingredients. But did you know that you don’t have to be a vegan, or even a wealthy Whole Foods shopper to add more raw foods into your life for the purpose of creating a healthier version of yourself? Well, it’s true!
Think about this for a minute, what is raw food really? Well, raw food is anything that hasn’t been processed, isn’t cooked above 118 degrees and for some arguably above 109 degrees, and for most of us, raw food is usually as organic as possible, preferably local, and whole from nature (so organic skittles wouldn’t count). Even if you think you’ve never eaten raw food before, or that you just couldn’t pull it off, hear me out on this one…
I’d be willing to bet that almost everyone has tried raw food at least once in their lifetime, including you! If you can check off one or more statements from the list below, then you are fully capable of getting healthier with raw foods:
- You’ve eaten a fresh green salad with vegetables on it before
- You’ve eaten a fresh salad with no dairy on it
- You’ve had fresh squeezed orange juice (not from a box)
- You’ve had sashimi at a sushi bar
- You’ve had a green smoothie
- You’ve had a fruit smoothie
- You’ve tried a green juice from a juice bar
- You’ve eaten an uncooked apple, orange, or banana
Do you see where I’m going with this? Raw food doesn’t have to be some mysterious lifestyle that takes all of your energy to prepare daily meals, while the rest of your time and money is spent sourcing crazy super ingredients that aren’t within your budget. Raw foods are fresh pressed juices, green smoothies, fruit smoothies, big green salads, raw wraps, whole pieces of fruit, cucumber slices, some nuts & seeds, and even sprouted hummus! It’s easy to be raw when you look at the big picture from a new perspective through a clear lens.
Who Says you have to be 100% Raw?
I don’t personally subscribe to the mentality that you need to be 100% raw to achieve your health goals. Being 100% raw is wonderful if you’re healing or losing weight, but over the long term it’s not required and often it’s not sustainable either. Some people can stay 100% raw and thrive that way, and often times they’re either eating a high fat diet or a super high fruit diet which I’m not saying doesn’t work for some because it does, but the majority of us out there need a little more balance over the long-term.
When I went 100% raw back in 2010, I did so to heal myself and shed the excess weight I had gained from a series of unfortunate health mishaps which included kidney stones twice, and a surgery that left my hormones totally out of balance and my adrenals fatigued. It was the dead of winter in Canada, and even I managed to pull off raw food living and loved my experience the entire way through! Once I had gotten my body and my energy back, I began to experiment to find the right balance for me. That balance at present isn’t a 100% raw diet, instead it’s a “high raw diet” that includes plenty of raw foods throughout my day. At this point, it’s hard for me to imagine not eating raw foods on a daily basis, no matter where I am or how busy I get.
If you want to get healthier, shed excess weight, balance your hormones or feel more happy and inspired it could be very beneficial for you to consider adding a few new additions to your daily routine. To start, those new additions could look something like this:
- When you wake up in the morning, have room temp fresh water with a squeeze of lemon
- Enjoy a daily green smoothie with a bit of fruit
- Eat 2-3 pieces of whole, organic fruit or low sugar berries like blueberries each day
- Have 1 big green salad a day
If you do one or more of the things on this list, you will likely notice an improvement in your overall health, energy and vitality. That’s because the more good stuff you add into your diet, the less room you have for the bad stuff. Instead of depriving yourself, you’re nourishing yourself and at the same time your body is responding by giving you more energy to work with, and healing what needs to be healed. Trust me, this system works. Caleb and I, and countless others around the world are living proof!
When you put processed food, fried foods & other sugary stuff into your body, it cannot focus on healing or weight loss, because it’s too busy fighting off the internal perceived foreign invasion inside of your body. Anytime you take a break or totally eliminate toxic foods from your diet and add in fresh, whole, living foods – your body is allowed to rest, rejuvenate and heal.
What are the benefits of eating more raw foods?
Results of raw food show up differently for everyone, but the most common results are:
- More Energy
- Healthy Weight Loss
- Better Sleep
- Less Stress & Anger
- Less Cravings for Sugar & Processed Food
- Clearer Skin
These are the surface benefits of raw food, but even if you look good on the outside, you can still be sick on the inside. That’s why we rarely use fitness models or bodybuilders as examples of health, unless we know what they’re putting IN their bodies as well. When you start to eat less processed food, not only are you going to experience external results, but your internal health will also improve.
Take Dave the Raw Food Trucker for example, this excerpt is taken from his story on TheRawFoodTrucker.com:
Dave Conrardy is affectionately referred to, as, Dave, “the Raw Food Trucker” in health and nutrition circles. He literally redefined his life during the process of achieving a huge weight loss. During this time, his body rid itself of stage 1 cancer, diabetes, acid reflux disease and a number of other ailments, including kidney problems. Incredibly, he was also able to wean himself off, all but one, of the 19 prescription medications he had been taking, and off of another 6 over he counter medications.
As you can see, there are really no drawbacks to eating healthier and adding some raw foods into your life. If Dave and I can do it, so can you!
If you want to check out some more shining examples from people who have totally overhauled their lives by doing a raw food or juice cleanse, adopting a raw or high raw diet, check out these documentaries:
Simply Raw (Healing Diabetes in 30 Days)
I’ve had people tell me that eating 100% raw food isn’t a sustainable way of life, however I have yet to have anyone argue that it would be a poor health choice to:
- Drink more water when you wake up
- Have a green smoothie or a green juice every day
- Eat 2-3 pieces of whole fruit
- Have 1 large green salad a day
- Cleanse properly with raw foods a few times throughout the year
That’s because all of these practices listed above, are recipes for more energy, vitality, better health, less sickness & dis-ease, a happier internal environment, and a more positive outlook on life. We are all as unique as our fingerprints, that is something I have come to learn so well along my own journey to find a balance that works for me. I have witnessed hundreds of people who all have very different backgrounds and histories and thrive on various diet styles, but they all shared one thing in common: when they eat more fresh food during the day and drink water when they wake up – they just feel better!
Anyone can benefit from eating a bit more raw food during the day, even you. So, if you do give a few of these suggestions a try, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below on any changes you’ve noticed in your health or energy levels.
Sometimes we have to take baby steps towards achieving greatness. Evolving our diet to be more in alignment with nature and less supportive of corporate manufacturing (processed food) is a wonderful goal to set for yourself. Remember to honor your small changes and celebrate the little successes, for those are what you have to be proud of, and all add up to help you reach your own version of optimal thriving health!