Why Eat Raw

Why Eat Raw

Food sustains us,… Yet what we eat may affect our risk for several of the leading causes of death for Americans, notably, coronary heart disease, stroke, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, and some types of cancer. These disorders together now account for more than two-thirds of all deaths in the United States.” -former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop

It is estimated that 60% of disease is caused by the SAD diet (Standard American Diet). If food is the culprit, I believe that food can be the answer. As we become mindful about what we eat, we can start to make choices that promote our health over illness. Food is consumed for nutrition but it is also consumed for pleasure. What happens if we learn how to satisfy our pleasure receptors with healthy food? Our lives improve.

veggies

What do our bodies need to eat raw?

What are the building blocks that our bodies need to function? Enzymes, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, protein, essential fats and fiber. These are all provided by our food and are involved in growth, repair and maintenance of the body. Let’s take a quick look at each of these and what they do for you.

Enzymes

Enzymes convert the food we eat into chemical structures that can pass though the membranes of the cells lining the digestive tract and into the blood stream. Their job doesn’t end there. Enzymes are the living proteins that direct the life force into our biochemical and metabolic processes. They help transform and store energy, make active hormones, dissolve fiber and prevent clotting. They have anti-inflammatory effects. Enzymes help balance and restore the immune system, and heal many diseases. Enzymes even help repair our DNA and our RNA.

When we cook food, we destroy many of the enzymes that help us naturally digest it.

Vitamins

Without vitamins our cells would not function properly and thus our organs would suffer and eventually we would no longer be able to survive. Vitamins help regulate metabolism, help convert fat and carbohydrates into energy, and assist in forming bone and tissue. Guess what happens when you cook food? You got it, a large percentage of the vitamins are destroyed.

Viktoras Kulvinskas in his book, Survival into the 21st Century, estimates that the overall nutrient destruction is as high as 80%. Tests have shown that we will lose 50% of the B vitamins while B1 and B12 can lose up to 96%. 97% of folic acid is destroyed as well as 70-80 % of vitamin C.

Minerals

Seventeen of the thirty elements known to be essential to life are metals. Mineral deficiencies cause disease in humans. Minerals also have a synergistic relationship with vitamins. They help each other help us. When foods are cooked, many of the minerals are destroyed, or altered, rendering them useless and also unable to assist our friends the vitamins.

Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are what give fruits and vegetables their color. Phytos protect the body and fight disease. They also fight cancer and help your heart. Phytonutrient are at leading edge of research on nutrition. They provide medicine for cell health. And once again, Phytonutrients in freshly harvested plant foods can be destroyed or removed by cooking.

Why Eat Raw?

It just starts to make sense. If cooking destroys the vital and essential nutrients that we need to stay healthy, eating our food raw does the opposite. It provides us with what we need for our health and well being. I know from experience that when I am eating at least 80% raw, I have more energy, more mental focus, and all of the pesky things that irritate me on a daily basis, like acid reflux and my daily aches and pains, dissipate. I also know that I am feeding my body what it needs to thrive, not just survive.






{ 103 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon March 10, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Hi Susan, Your website and recipes are amazing. I always look to your site for healthy, well tested/researched recipes. Thank you for sharing your passion and skills.

Do you teach or mentor? I am impressed with your professionalism (website, skills/talents).

Thanks again!

Shannon

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Janet Greenhalgh March 19, 2013 at 12:49 am

I’m glad your website cam across my path. So many raw food recipes look like something the dog threw up, but most of these actually look nice enough to present to my family and other foodies I know. I realize the nutritional value is the most important thing, but I also look for basic ingredients, quick preparation and attractiveness on the plate. As the western Germans say, Maltzeit!

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Diana April 21, 2013 at 12:56 am

Hi Susan,

Congratulations you are Helping so many people!! I’m so happy to find your Web by accident, I’m been vegetarian for 2 years and now I had a lack of Vitamins deficient specially with all the Bs. So I start trying some of your amazing recipes.

I also would want to ask you if changing to a raw diet will help my sister she has Thyroid problems for 10 years and I really want to help her she is suffering for many things with this disease. Thanks again.

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Susan April 22, 2013 at 11:00 am

I would recommend searching on google. I can not give any medical advice here nor would I as I am not an expert in that area. Everyone’s situation is different and everyone’s bodies are different.

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Larissa Consolagio May 10, 2013 at 7:50 am

I have had a few raw meals from a friend into holistic healing and this way of life. Do you know of any week camps where one can stay and learn everything from fermenting to dehydrating and the health benefits of different foods? I am extremely interested and willing if possible exchange labor help for learning and cooking and a place to stay. Please let me know your thoughts on this.
Thank you

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Aslana May 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Ok here’s a way to look at raw prep. I am a 47 mother of 2, one small, and one teen. I work, go to school, practice violin, teach yoga and pilates, and managing three websites, and training for that as well as, creating a holistic pilates program. I’m pretty sure if I have time to raw it, I think no one is busier than I.
First plan your meals. I did this when I cooked, I have to plan the week. This is the first step into not running into the junk fast food trap. So ask what do you need to soak, sprout etc. What days do you work more or less on and figure your food plan around that. You have to do this, it’s for you health! many times we fall into bad eating habits because we can not say no to other peoples needing us to do something for or with them. we get too busy and thats why were in a problem with food to begin with. so make it a point to do this for you! Those people who are requiring your “yes” to their every requests Only wnt/need you to do something for them, but when you need their help ( make time to sprout or dehydrate) they’ll throw a fit and not honor you. We live in a culture and are ill with the disease to please. Women do this, so when you feel better, you can go back to yessing everyone and being as busy and lively as you want.
Second, there is less time than cooking really. Compare cook dishes with raw and comparatively there is more steps for raw but less time for prep. For cooked food there is sometimes less prep time and more cook time. Unless you use processed box foods to speed things up.
Sure I’d love to make that mango kiwi raw cheesecake but today no time. Perhaps tomorrow, but I have find time to squeeze in sprouting dehydrating and blending I have reduced my BMW 4 points in one month and reduced weight. It’s worth it for me.

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judy ann May 8, 2015 at 2:57 am

Absolutely! You cant look after others if you don’t look after yourself

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Aslana May 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Umm that BMi not BMW dang spell check.

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Anne May 29, 2013 at 7:22 am

Hi
I am on my 7th week of a total raw diet, I am finding it easier as time goes on, I keep it simple most days and follow recipes when I have a little more time, i feel fantastic for it. My only problem is I still have to cook healthy meals for my non raw family 5 adult meals and 1 child meal, this I find very challenging,
I am enjoying this site as none of my friends eat raw, it’s nice to get idea’s and recipes from other people.

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Tanya September 5, 2013 at 5:47 am

Hi Susan,

I have only found your site a few hours ago and as a professional chef that truly loves food, so far your site is the best compared to the 20 ish others I have looked upon the past several weeks. Which is the reason I am seeking Raw out and learning about it. My love affair with food has been taking a toll on my health. I worked for years at an exclusive health spa yet I was not doing what I preached. Unfortunately, I had a work place accident a few years ago and had my right arm/shouldet amputated. I gained a lot of weight since losing my arm and even though I got myself back on skis that wintet and snow shoe and hike. I do yoga and just recently, I mean 3 days ago recent, started at Crossfit. Not sure how that will go as they don’t seem very open to my different but obvious challenges.
Then again I had to go through 4 different yoga teachers to find the one that wants me in her class and is open to helping me learn. It took me 9 months to pick up my Chef knife and re-learn everything lefty. Raw definetly has it’s challenges but even more so for myself. I was very excited about juicing but that ended very quickly as I could not get it apart or put bck together. So for the time geing I have my dehydrator and my blender. I have used my food processor to help chop up the greens to then put in my blender. The Vitamix is on my list, eventually as it is not in the budget, yet.
What would be a good substitute for any tree nuts in your recipes? Would tahini work as I am allergic to almost all tree nuts and peanuts. I actually really love the taste of wheatgrass but I see a lot of different info regarding if its considered yay or nay on gluten free. I think it’s GF. Would organic frozen wheatgrass puree from Whole Foods still have health benefits? My biggest obstacle is peeling fruit like, mangos, pineapples, melon, etc. I buy melon from Whole Foods cut up but can I use organic frozen fruit and still get the nutrients?
Thanks,
Tanya

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Bella December 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Tanya- I know you wrote this post last year… but I just want to cheer you on! I hope you are still eating raw and working out. You are inspiring to me. Keep it up!!!
Bella

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Menzi Nkosi October 21, 2013 at 7:31 am

Eating Raw alone will make one go insane! Smoothies and Juicing are the best way to get your raw dose of nutrients and foods. I normally have two fruit smoothies and one veg juice per day, and I Saute` my stir fry veggies for 5 min Max! in avo or olive oil, or sometimes I’ll steam them. All extremes are never good, just like eating Meat alone will not benefit you, eating raw will make one go crazy, humans need to balance out their diets. Salad Sandwiches are also a good way of getting a raw dose of nutrients and minerals. wonderful site by the way

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Susan October 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm

There are many people who eat 100% raw and are just fine. :-) What is important is to find out what works for you. Cheers!

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W. Ying November 6, 2014 at 7:21 am

Susan:
You are right.

Our instincts control our health for millions of years.
The instincts are our ancestors’ successful experiences saved in our DNA.

The instincts tell us:
(1) eat raw;
(2) do not eat cooked or processed.

So, a child of several years old eats instinctively a raw food but not processed one..

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Dana January 18, 2015 at 11:39 am

I’m on week 3 of RAW. Most days I feel pretty great because of it. I have had Chronic Migraines for 15+ years. If I wasn’t so sick I wouldn’t even be trying to eat this way, which I think says a lot about people in general and our addictions. I’ve tried everything and I’ve gone on food elimination diets to determine if I can’t have dairy or wheat etc. After many months I usually give up out of complete frustration and just keep taking the pills. I have read so much lately about RAW and in 15 years I’ve never tried it. I have been beside myself that I somehow missed this logical step in trying to determine how to get better. I have seen a noticeable drop in my migraines. They have not completely gone, but again its been 3 weeks. The main thing I’ve noticed is that in 16 days I’ve only had to take half of a tripan (migraine prescription pill). Typically my insurance gives me 8 pills a month and that is usually not enough, and I split them in half which make 16 doses. They felt like they happened over night, but while they did, they also got worse over the years. I’m sure if this is to work its going to be a process in my body repairing itself and me learning exactly how to do that with the right foods. Not everyone is trying the hottest trend and some of us really are doing this for our health. If its not you today, someday it either will be or it will be too late. I keep looking at this as a blessing to be forced to do most won’t do until forced. I can’t put into words how important health is, but again how can most of us be healthy when we are constantly under educated on what we really need to do to be healthy. I just know if you are chronic and something works, regardless of what anyone says you will believe your body.

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jane July 28, 2015 at 11:34 pm

Dana-I know its been a while since you’ve posted, but I am also going through similar things. Migraines and chronic headaches! I’m now 42 yrs old and have been dealing with them for several years and they too, were getting worse. A few years back I stopped wheat, dairy and started eating clean. Six months ago I put myself on Bio-identical Hormone replace-just progesterone. The headaches really escalated. (I think it was the base that the hormone was mixed in-as a doctor mentioned that I request a different base called Versabase).
Just recently (about 6 weeks ago) I said ENOUGH! I was getting headaches everyday. I then stopped everything. The progesterone and coffee. Yes, coffee..and went raw. I feel great!! No headaches. I think it may have been the coffee all along and the BHRT didn’t help either-thats foresure. Hope this helps anyone out there. Peace.

Yvonne C. November 11, 2013 at 12:47 am

I absolutely LOVE your site and so glad I found it! You are amazing, and the recipes are delightful with the photos! If there is one thing i hate, its making a recipe without knowing what its supposed to look like, or I order something at restaurants and all the ingredients aren’t listed so I think I am going to like it, and then it comes out completely different with more or less of something. I think it’s sooo frustrating. Great job! I am a plant based diet, and raw as much as I can, but I just eat things raw, so it will be nice to make some cool recipes of yours. Thanks again, keep up the amazing yummy creations.

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Jess November 21, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Hi :) When you say you eat 80% raw is that per day? and what exactly is 80%? I eat mostly raw and will occasionally eat eggs, chicken and steamed veggies but I am not sure how you calculate the percentage. Can you clarify? Also, made your simple almond cheese and rosemary almond crackers today and they are both SO delicious. Thank you so much for putting your time and energy into this website to help others. I am very grateful! ~*Many blessings*~

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Susan Jenkins January 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I just started eating raw and just found your website!!!! I am beyond thrilled!! Thank you for being here!!!

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Tammy March 2, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I recently started eating raw and it is simply amazing. The recipes are wonderful and I think the foods taste just as delicious as traditional cooked food

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Ariane March 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Hi Suzan,
I am with my second attempt to eat raw. The first time I had to give up because of a massive bloating, cramping, and weight gain. Since a week I eat 95% raw. It happened again I feel more and more miserable instead of better Have you had this too in de beginning? Is it an initial phase that passes? Could it be that my body does not function well on raw food? Help, I want so much more energy, no pain etc
Thanks a lot

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Susan March 15, 2014 at 11:45 am

I would start slowly. Don’t try to do it all at once. Incorporate raw food. Cheers!

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Marsha January 12, 2015 at 2:49 pm

To Ariane-
I’ve found that even a green smoothie for breakfast will cause diarrhea, cramps and bloating for me. Raw foods are full of fiber and wondrous nutrients that begin to detox the body. But not all bodies are ready to adopt this way of eating ‘cold turkey’ (sorry to bring in a reference to meat). I found out that from an Ayurvedic perspective, I have a damp system (others well informed on this should feel free to correct/elaborate on my elementary understanding), and therefore need foods just slightly heated-1 or 2 tosses in the pan and then eaten, so that the heat has begun the digestive process for my system, especially in the winter. But this does not mean that I cannot eat raw. I encourage you to seek an Ayurvedic practitioner and consult about what will best suit your body. My husband was recently diagnosed with a cancer of the plasma, so I am no longer delaying changing to purified water and making smoothies as well as at least 1 raw meal a day and raw treats. I’ve noticed that my body craves wonderful raw veggies and I can’t get enough. I hope Jim’s will too. Namaste

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Jacque March 30, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Susan,

I have been exploring your website and it is absolutely beautiful. You are so talented in making raw food look delicious and more appealing than cooked foods. Would it be possible if you could add any beef tartare or fish and beef ceviche recipes?

Thanks again for your hard work and dedication!

Jacque

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Susan March 30, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Hi, Jacque, Since my site is vegan, you probably won’t be finding any of that here. :-) Cheers!

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Shayna May 18, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Eating raw can be amazing lifestyle for most people. Hint to the wiser though… Check out your blood type because it can help show a person what their body optimally digests and needs.

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Susan May 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

Hi, Shayna, there is a lot of controversy over blood type and diet. In my nutritional studies, the opinion was that there wasn’t any data that supported the theory.

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Kathy November 25, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Dear Susan….Thanks so much for sharing your recipes…it gives me inspiration…..i am just starting to eat raw….i needed a guide that makes food fun and interesting…..happy thanksgiving

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Susan December 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Kathy, You are so welcome! Cheers!

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Ysmay December 5, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Hey! I just found your blog, and I’m really loving it. Eating Raw sounds like such a great idea. Thanks for keeping up your blog. I look forward to seeing more posts.

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Pauline March 8, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Susan,

Thank you for the information you provide on your website. I especially find the information on “Why Eat Raw?” beneficial. I have started eating more raw within the last 5 years and I’m loving it! I’m feeling so much better! I have also used the blood type diet and I find that I do much better when I eat the recommended foods for my blood-type.
Pauline

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Christine Cook April 30, 2015 at 4:40 pm

I have recently started to eat raw,and I love it. I feel so great. I must say I have been on a transition for a few years now. I gave up meat,alcohol, processed foods and started to drink decaf.It was a hard struggle. It did not happen over night. I started reading and learning. I had to wean my body off sugars,caffeine and other junk. Now my body is saying yes to healthy foods and when I eat junk,I feel awful. So awful it helps me now to say no to the junk.Thank you for your site and all these wonderful recipes. I appreciate it. I will still eat some vegetarian dishes as well, but what a great way to live. Because I feel good,all the time.

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Julie May 13, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Hi Susan, I just wanted to thank you for all of the information you have here as well as the wonderful recipes! I have created many of them. I am an ultrarunner, vegan for a few years and now find myself feeling better as I consume more and more of my meals as raw. I was surprised to see that you are from Minnesota. I am from Big Lake, MN. I assumed, incorrectly, that you were in the land of sunshine and year round fresh vegetables in your back yard. That is what I get for assuming :)

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Susan May 14, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Hi, Julie, Actually I do live in California. I have been here for about 3 years. :-) But the blog is about 6 years old, so it did grow up in Minnesota!

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allison May 25, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Hi Sue

I’m on a diet, I eat chicken but no other meat and cook fresh veg. I like your recipes and i have tried raw dessets because I hope to go completely raw but I want to make this a gradual process. I have a question what is a dehydrator? I live in England.

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Susan May 26, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Hi, Allison, You can see different dehydrators in the Rawmazing store. Also, there is information on the FAQ page. The tab is at the top. Cheers!

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Patsy June 30, 2015 at 8:50 am

Hi Susan,

Your recipes are amazing and encourage me to incorporate more raw recipes. Just like to know if it’s okay to eat so many nuts, nutritionally I mean. Have read somewhere that it’s good to eat a few ounces per day but more than that can be bad?

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Susan June 30, 2015 at 9:38 am

Hi, Patsy, I answered this where you previously asked the question. Here was my answer: Nuts are very healthy for you. They protect against cardio vascular disease, provide healthy fats, omega 3s, fibre, good plant phenols and health-promoting compounds. They also are packed with protein, rich in vitamins, minerals and flavonoids, which help protect blood vessels and lessen inflammation. That said, it is recommended that you keep your consumption to around 2 oz a day. This recipe has 1.8 oz of nuts per serving so you are within your daily allowance. Cheers!

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