When Nicole started telling me about her new Yoga and Raw Food Retreat I suspect I reacted as a lot of people might and said “raw food, isn´t that just like eating salad?”. How wrong was I as she went on to tell me about a yummy raw lasagne and some delicious raw tacos she had made!
The lasagne´s pasta sheets were replaced with sliced courgette, she made a cashew nut “cheese sauce” and the dish was chilled to firm it up. The taco shells were replaced with small lettuce leaves. The “meat” fillings were both made from ground nuts, very much like a nut roast, the key difference being that nothing is cooked. Tomatoes, onions and herbs all chopped up, completed the two dishes individually.
To find out why one might want to adopt a raw food diet and to help understand the principles behind it, Judita Wignall, author of Raw & Simple has kindly allowed us to reproduce the following passages which explain what raw food is and it´s benefits:
What is Raw Food?
Raw food is food that has not been heated above 48c. By keeping foods as close to their natural state as possible, we can preserve its nutritional content by up to 90%. Vitamins C and B are especially sensitive to heat as are the enzymes - naturally present in food - that help us digest our food more efficiently. Raw food is incredibly cleansing and alkalizing for the body, helping to reduce the high acidity levels that often occur from eating a 'traditional' diet. High acidity levels are responsible for many ailments and illnesses.
Benefits of Raw Food
Our bodies never stop repairing tissue, clearing out toxins and fighting pathogens but, if we overload our system with processed foods, toxins from cosmetics, water and air pollution, our bodies cannot keep up. Toxins build up in our fat tissues and then our bodies begin to weaken and our health declines. We become susceptible to infections, our hormones go out of balance, we feel tired and foggy, we have difficulty in losing weight and we are bombarded with free-radical damage that can lead to serious illnesses and accelerate the ageing process. When we eat clean, natural, easy to digest food, our bodies have more energy to repair and detoxify and becomes strong and vibrant in every way.
www.rawjudita.com Copyright 2013 Quarry Books
Most whole, unprocessed food can be considered raw food, including all fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, grains and pulses, fresh herbs and spices and pure oils. Living foods are also “allowed”, these include bean sprouts and grains.
Certain high grade fish and meats can also be eaten raw as long as they are not processed or heated above 48c. Dishes such as sushi (avoid any with cooked rice or processed elements) steak tartare or carpaccio of fish or meat can be incorporated into a raw food diet if you do not choose or cannot maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Drinks to complement the raw food diet include purified water, homemade juices (fruit and veg or both together!), homemade smoothies, some organic wines (check the manufacturing process) infusions (water not heated above 48c) and non-dairy milk (made from nuts, like almonds). By making your own juices and smoothies you can be sure there are no additives, sugar, processed foods or preservatives.
Ideally all of your raw foods should be sourced through organic producers to help eliminate all synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilisers. Organic food will also be free from irradiation, solvents and chemical additives.
Like most changes to our diets, our bodies take a little while to adjust and on the raw food diet a certain amount of detoxing will occur when first transitioning. In the first few days be prepared for a headache or two, the odd spot and of feeling bloated, your body will try to expel those pesky toxins any way it can!
These symptoms should soon pass and you should find you have more energy, your eyes will be brighter and your hair will shine, you may even lose some weight and, as a result of all this, you will feel so much better.
If you are already following a raw food diet or are thinking of trying a new way of eating, we would love to hear all about it. Why not try one of our Yoga and Raw Food Cleanse Holidays