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.






{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy February 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Susan,
Thanks so much for this fantastic website, it is the best raw food site I have come across yet. I have only tried a few recipes so far, and we loved them, even my fussy kids! I will defiantly be frequenting the site! Keep up the awesome work :)

Tania February 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Hi there! I am a huge raw food advocate and have been for quite some time! I noticed that in your recipes, you dehydrate food up to 140 degrees. From what I’ve ever known and learned about eating raw, nothing should ever be heated over 106 degrees because of enzyme deterioration. What are your views on this? Can you still preserve enzymes at higher temperatures?

Thanks a Bunch!
Tania

Susan February 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Tania, yes it is still raw. Please see: http://www.rawmazing.com/raw-food-dehydration-basics/

Tania February 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

Thankyou for clarifying! That makes a lot of sense. I have the 9 tray excalibur dehydrator and I’ve always been leary of going over 106 degrees. What temperature so you suggest for dehydrating fruit?

Thanks again!

Tania

Kimberly Bonham March 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Susan,
Thank you so much for this. I stumbled across your website from Pinterest.
This is great information. I have been sick now for over a year with stomach problems and have been to numerous doctors. I had an endoscopy done and they found chronic inflamation in my stomach and my esophagus. He prescried me Zegrid and OTC acid reducer. I am not one for taking pills, I try to go the natural way.
I decided to take my health into my own hands and watched some documentaries about the raw diet.
I love food! Who doesn’t right!??!
It’s amazing how most of us dont even think about what we are eating, but when you really think about it, it all just makes sense.

I am trying to incorporate more fruits, veggies, oats, nuts, etc into my diet to see if I can heal my gut and reduce all my inflamation. When switching to a raw food diet, do you have an idea how long it will take to see any results?

Susan March 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Everyone is different. I would suggest finding a good integrative medicine doctor who can work with you on this.

Nisha March 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

@Kimberly – I am not a raw foodist, though probably eat raw for about 50% of my diet, with the rest being mostly home-cooked, plant-based, organic (no pesticides or genetically modified organisms!), as locally grown as possible, whole foods (like lentils, quinoa, veggies, whole grains, etc.) minimally cooked. I used to have (and still do a little bit) some MAJOR dietary problems. Was hospitalized for gut problems, had horrible skin, and other health issues. Changing my diet has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. I say, do your research into foods and food health. The website World’s Healthiest Foods gave me a lot of info about nutrients in foods and how they relate to different body parts. Good luck on your food journey. :)

@Susan, I’m really glad you wrote this break-down. I am printing it to share with the middle schoolers I teach. I am also going to give them some raw celery with raw almond butter that I made from your recipe. Thanks! :)

Gail May 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Thank you for this web site, your recipes look amazing. I’ve been trying a raw diet for 2 months now, although not 100% because I’m struggling with scheduling food prep. Do raw foodists not work? For example, I want to try the Falafel recipe. I’ve sprouted the chickpeas, but now i have to figure out when to dehydrate. If I put them in on a timer for 6 hours before I go to bed do I have to get up at 4 am to take them out and put them in the fridge? If I put them in before I go to work can they sit in the dehydrator for another 3 hours after the timer has shut it off? I spend weekends with my daughter watching my grandkids so weekend food prep marathons are not happening then. thanks for any suggestions you may have.

Jessica July 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

hI,

Question: Have you ever read any books by Dr. Bruker or Dr. Vogel? The things you mention about raw food sound exactly like what they would teach.

Great site. Thanks

Jenny September 15, 2012 at 11:54 pm

I agree with Gail ^^ it seems extremely time consuming. It would probably be best to stick with green smoothies, salads and whole fruit.. Nuts seeds etc..instead of the complex recipes. Those can be saved for special ocassions maybe.

Susan September 16, 2012 at 12:05 am

It doesn’t have to be time-consuming. It does require some advanced planning. I actually spend much less time in the kitchen than I did when I cooked everything. No cooking time, even clean-up is much easier. If you are doing one of the recipes that require advanced planning, plan for it. Cheers!

Debra Benfer October 8, 2012 at 5:53 am

I’m very excited I came across your website. These recipes look amazing and so much simpler than cooking. I have a 1 yr old so anything that is easier is better. I noticed a lot of recipes call for a dehydrator. Do you have one you recommend? We are on a tight budget as I stay home with our daughter so a good, inexpensive one would be great and I don’t know anything about them. Thanks again for this terrific website! It’s been added to my favorites list.

Stacey January 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Hi there! Love this info! I am putting together a raw challenge, can I use this article?

Susan January 29, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Please feel free to link to the article.

emma February 28, 2013 at 6:55 pm

THIS IS THE BEST SITE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVER!

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

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!

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.

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.

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

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.

Aslana May 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Umm that BMi not BMW dang spell check.

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.

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

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

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!

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.

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*~

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!!!

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

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

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!

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

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!

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.

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.

Leave a Comment

{ 8 trackbacks }