In a world where food is growing more and more artificial, more people are returning to the basics. Eating healthy is all about getting the most nutrients out of the food you eat. One of the best options is going raw.
A raw food diet is focused on promoting personal health, weight loss, and energy gain through the preparation and consumption of raw, unprocessed foods. This means you’ll eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and nuts, with a few other, similar ingredients. This doesn’t mean that you can’t turn the oven on every once in a while, but it does mean that about three-quarters of your diet will remain uncooked.
The reasoning behind eating a raw food diet is simple: nutrient retention. Certain studies have shown that cooking food, particularly vegetables and other produce, can significantly reduce the amount of nutrients available. For instance, cooking a tomato for two minutes can reduce vitamin C levels by 10%; 29% if they were cooked for half an hour. That’s almost a third of the vitamin C lost!
The advantages of eating a raw food diet come not only from the food’s uncooked state, but also the types of foods best suited to the style; reducing carbohydrate and animal fat intake results in weight loss, increased heart health, and the higher-than-regular fiber intake keeps you, well, regular.
That’s not to say you should cut all cooked foods. Removing steamed vegetables and the vast array of potential vegetable stews and soups isn’t necessary, and many raw food enthusiasts consume some manner of cooked fish or lean poultry for iron and protein. Another limiting factor is the potential cost of the food itself. Depending on the area, produce selection may make a raw food diet difficult or pricey to obtain.
One popular way to consume food on a raw food diet is through smoothies. Many components of a raw food diet are perfect for blending into these tasty drinks, and the natural nutrients present in the ingredients make them healthy to boot.
Here’s a recipe for an easy, delicious, and healthy smoothie using ingredients you can get at your local market:
1 cup spinach (or other leafy green)
1 cup apple juice
1. Peel and chop mango and place it in blender.
2. Peel banana and place it in blender with mango.
3. Add remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly.
Yields one quart.