Following a raw food pathway is more than a diet. It is a lifestyle committed to living healthy. The more people become ill with chronic illness, the more important eating more raw whole foods becomes for greater health. The raw food movement came about as a result of the ever-growing unhealthy populations riddled with chronic preventable diseases that are driven by our unhealthy food supplies.
It is not a mystery that in order to generate health, you need to eat fruits and vegetables. When people think of raw whole foods, however, they immediately think of salads, and shortly after they think boredom. Eating healthy raw whole foods does not have to be boring or distasteful. It can top any pre-packaged, preservative-laden food in both taste, as well as nutrients. In fact, eating healthy can be nutritious and delicious. You can enjoy many delectable dishes ranging from gluten-free pastas to raw vegan cheesecakes. People often think when they choose to eat more whole foods. they are forsaking all of their beloved dishes. This is not true!
When I teach a raw food class at my center or work with patients on their diets, the first thing I tell people is not to stop eating anything unhealthy. What? Don’t stop!! It is better for the psyche to add rather than take away, so the first thing that should be done is adding more whole delicious foods into your diet. That means if you have a pizza, add veggies to it. If you are having a beer, drink water before and after. The raw food lifestyle is not about eating 100 percent raw. What is required is an open mind and a willingness to add the unexpected to otherwise unhealthy dishes.
For example, yogurt is a dairy product and can tend to be unhealthy in terms of adding inflammation to our systems. Dairy can also affect healthy bacteria in the gut, which houses 70 percent of your immune system. It is important to keep this area of your system as healthy and vibrant as possible. That’s why adding raw food to your diet will boost your immune system and your overall health.
Here are a couple easy recipes to try:
RawGURT - Vegan Yogurt Alternative
1/2 cup berries (strawberries are in season!)
1 banana, peeled
1 apple (I like red delicious)
1 T. vanilla
1 T. nutmeg
1 T. cinnamon
Blend all ingredients together in a blender and throw some homemade granola on top for a delicious dairy-free alternative to yogurt. If you want to add a probiotic punch to the blend, I recommend using a live cultured probiotic with at least 25,000 microbes to keep your healthy bacteria flowing beautifully!
And what is yogurt without some homemade granola? For the next recipe, you need a blender strong enough to cut through nuts. I recommend a Vitamix or a Ninja. Soak your nuts in water overnight to help the body’s ability to breakdown the nuts. If you have candida or yeast, this recipe is not recommended, or if you have an inability to digest, it is best to take it slow on eating nuts. Soaking them, as well as draining them, and dehydrating them can help significantly in digestion.
1/2 cup almonds (soaked and drained)
1/2 cup walnuts (soaked and drained)
1/2 cup dried berries (I like cranberries)
1 tablespoon cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla
2 tablespoons grade-B maple syrup
Mix all ingredients into a food processor until it forms a moist granola consistency. Place granola on parchment paper and place in the dehydrator at 95°F for 6-8 hours or until desired dryness. Food is still considered “raw” if it is less than 115° Fahrenheit. An alternative to this is to place it in the oven on 200 degrees with the oven door cracked. You can also eat this non-dried. Try it both ways and see which you prefer. Then top it on your granola and enjoy!!
Eating raw food or healthy whole food is a lifelong journey and takes time. Remember extremes do not work and help is always a phone call away.
Erica Steele is the founder of Essential Wellness Center & Living Foods Café, a total wellness center dedicated to using food as medicine, detoxification, and affordable naturopathic health care. For more information, call 757-685-4325 or visit www.vabeachwellness.com.