Stay Young Longer!
Raw Food For Smart, Busy People
by Cherie Soria
Most people hesitate to make healthful dietary changes if it takes too much time, they think it is too restrictive, or they are afraid the foods will be tasteless and unappealing. People tend to enjoy foods that provide the level of flavor, texture and visual appeal they are accustomed to. Who can blame them? Unless they are in a life-threatening situation, it’s hard for anyone to give up the foods they love. In fact, people may refuse to make dietary changes even when facing death.
Today, smart, busy people all over the world are discovering that raw food doesn’t need to be flavorless or take a lot of time to prepare. What may have been considered a fad diet 10 years ago is now recognized as a revolutionary new cuisine that is nurturing to both body and spirit.
People everywhere are sick and tired of being ‘sick and tired’ and they are eager to learn how to take control of their health and make better food choices. However, since they aren’t willing to give up the flavor, texture and appearance of the foods they love, they’re delighted to find raw foods that can be both delicious and nutritious, and they begin to make positive changes that they can immediately feel in terms of increased energy and well being. The answer is as simple as knowing where to start, what to eat and what (and when) not to eat.
Where to Start…
Start right here, right now. The raw food lifestyle doesn’t need to be 100% raw, 100% of the time. Include both raw and cooked plant-based foods. How much raw food is needed to maintain good health and stay young and vibrant depends on each person’s starting point and what their health goals are. For most of us, it isn’t just how much raw food we eat; it’s also which raw foods we choose, which cooked foods we consume, and (equally important) which foods we choose not to eat. The truth is that some cooked foods are better choices than certain raw foods. For example, lightly steamed broccoli is a healthier choice than raw cashew cheesecake, which is primarily sugar and fat. It doesn’t matter that the fat is raw and the sugar is natural; it’s important to remember that foods like raw cheesecake are for celebration rather than everyday consumption. Knowing what foods to eat and what foods not to eat isn’t difficult if you know a few simple rules.
What to Eat…
Our bodies are high-performance vehicles that need the best fuel possible to ensure maximum performance and long life. Of all the steps anyone can take to look younger, feel more vibrant and joyful, and have clear beautiful skin and healthy hair and nails, one thing stands out among the rest — raw plant foods.
Fresh, ripe, raw, organic, colorful plant foods contribute nutrients important for clear skin, vivid eyesight, a sharp mind and radiant health as we age. Many of these nutrients act as antioxidants, helping protect our cells from free radicals (highly reactive molecules that contain unpaired electrons, which can damage cells and cause premature aging). Let’s take a look at a few high performing fruits and vegetables.
Deeply colored foods high in phytonutrients and antioxidants combat free-radical damage and promote good health and healing:
Dark blue or purple foods: beets, blueberries, blackberries and black mission figs
Dark green leafy vegetables:
collard greens, kale, bok choy, broccoli and Napa cabbage
Yellow-orange foods: squash, peaches, sweet potatoes and carrots
Red foods: tomatoes, bell peppers, watermelon and strawberries
Foods high in vitamin C: lemons, oranges, strawberries, papaya, kiwi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, red bell peppers, romaine lettuce, kale and mustard greens
Foods containing omega 3 fatty acids: chia seeds, flax, hemp seeds and dark green leafy vegetables like kale, romaine and dandelion greens
Foods containing zinc: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts and lentils
Hydrating foods: juicy fruits, non-starchy vegetables, non-chlorinated drinking water and fresh green juice
Probiotic-rich foods: sauerkraut, grain-free miso and fermented vegetables
What not to eat …
Animal proteins: meat, eggs, and dairy products (raw or cooked)
Foods high in concentrated sugars (raw or cooked)
Foods devoid of nutrients: refined wheat and other high-gluten products (pasta, pizza and pastries)
Fried foods and high-fat foods: nuts that are cooked at temperatures above 240 degrees Fahrenheit
GMO foods and conventionally grown (non-organic) foods
Don’t make alcohol consumption part of your daily routine
Eat foods that are easy to digest and won’t interfere with sleep, and do not eat anything late at night
What cooked foods can I include?
Lightly steamed vegetables: broccoli, yams, and squash
Non-glutinous ancient grains: quinoa and millet
Legumes: lentils, adzuki beans and mung beans
What makes raw food tasty?
We want contrast and excitement in the foods we eat, whether they are raw or cooked, so include these:
Pair crunchy and creamy foods together, like crispy cucumbers with guacamole or flax crackers with raw nut cheese
Contrasting flavors like a sweet and sour salad dressing on bitter greens
Dramatic, pungent flavors like garlic, onion or chili
Raw foods offer the best quality fuel for good health, healing from disease and anti-aging — and the best part is, they can also be delicious! Why wait until you are old or sick to try to get healthy, when you can enjoy great taste and excellent health NOW?