How To Get Started With Raw Food

By now, most people have heard about the health benefits of eating plant-based food, also known as raw food.

It has become more and more clear to us that by eating large amounts of animal products, we might increase the risk of poor health and ilness.

Eating a plant based diet could also be better for the planet.

Whatever your reason for wanting to give raw food a go, there’s no question that decreasing the amount of meat you eat and enjoying a mostly plant based diet (or all plant based if you want to be really good) is the best thing you can do for longevity, good health and a healthy younger appearance (as well as for the planet).

Eating plant based or following a raw food meal plan has become very fashionable of late, thanks to various books published by raw food enthusiasts. 

Another important thing to come out of this ‘craze’ however, is also the fact that additives in processed foods may also be a contributing factor for health problems in millions of people globally.


Because this is a big article, we have included a table of contents below. 
There are also jump links at the end of each section of the post that will bring you back up to the top.

Table of Content: 

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What is raw food and why's it such a big deal?


how-to-start-a-raw-food-diet

Follow a raw or ‘living food’ diet, means that  70-100% of your diet comes from uncooked vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

This could be salads, cold soups and/or raw vegetables.

The term ‘raw’ can refer to any food which has not been processed or cooked over temperatures of approximately 104°F (40°C).

This is the point at which enzymes start to break down although the exact temperature varies for each food.

When foods are heated, enzymes can become destroyed and fats damaged by both heat & light. 

The temperature this happens at depends on how stable an oil is and what form it is in.

If this sounds unattractive to you given our cold climate, it might be helpful to know that it doesn’t mean you have to eat food straight from the fridge, simply that if you are heating something, you don’t let the temperature rise above 40 degrees centigrade.

Neither does it meant that the food has been completely stripped of nutrients.

Although food cooked or heated above these temperatures still contains essential nutrients, however it can put the body under stress as enzymes are destroyed and essential fats are altered.

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So, why does this matter?


Enzymes are important as they affect crucial chemical processes in our bodies including those which provide energy and those which aid digestion.

They are used up during periods of illness, detox, physical exercise or emotional crises and our body’s ability to produce them diminishes with age. 

We need to acquire enzymes from our food so it’s important to include some raw food in our diet to prevent ending up with an enzyme deficiency.

Essential Fats are important in the normal functioning of all tissues in the body – they contribute towards weight loss, improve skin and joints, help to balance hormones and improve mental clarity.  Essential fats are found in cold-pressed oils, nuts, seeds, veg, beans & algae.

Apart from coconut, nearly all fats are unstable once heated and produce free radicals (highly reactive molecules) that cause damage to cells in the body.

These can be mopped up by anti-oxidants and enzymes which are mainly found in raw fruit & veg.

We’ll be covering more on raw foods and how to begin to integrate them into your diet over the next few articles. It’s easier than you might think!

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A Simple Plan For Starting A Raw Food Meal Plan

The most difficult part about starting a raw food diet is finding enjoyable meals.


How to Follow the Raw Food Diet

Many people have diets that consist almost entirely of cooked food.

Burgers and fries, steak and potatoes, spaghetti and meatballs, the list is endless.

When people make the switch over to eating raw they tend not to see all of the possibilities.

But there are just as many ways to arrange your raw food meal plan as there are ways to organize an average meal plan.

When you start eating this type of diet you need to understand that limitations create possibilities.

Many people fail to realize how many different fruits exist until they are required to eat fruit on a daily basis.

The same is true when it comes to vegetables, nuts, and grains.

When you take away cooked foods, you will find endless possibilities for your raw food needs.

When designing your raw food meal plan you have to focus on your big meals, as well as a snack here and there.

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Raw Food - The Simple Way To Diet


More and more people are realising that the key to health is not just in the exercise that you do but also in the type of foods that you are eating.

The old saying is that you can not out train a bad diet.

But a healthy diet is not just for people looking to get fit. It’s also for people that want to cure or prevent illness and disease, to feel better and happier or to slow down the aging process.

Eating raw food is one of the ways in which you can provide your body with optimal nutrition.

There are many benefits to a raw food diet, or just incorporating more raw food into your current diet.

Humans were meant to eat natural whole foods, not the processed sugar and salt filled junk foods that are causing so many modern illnesses, diseases and obesity in Western countries.

Specific benefits of eating more raw food include losing weight easily and keeping it off, curing heart disease, reducing bad cholesterol in the blood, curing IBS, acne and other allergies.

People who start eating more raw food also report having more energy, and increased libido.

The reason that eating raw food makes you feel so much better is because raw food is richer in enzymes and nutrients than processed food or food that has been cooked too much.

Our body needs enzymes to function correctly and many processed foods contain little or no enzymes.

Cooking food at a temperature higher than 115 degrees Fahrenheit destroys the natural occurring enzymes in food depriving you of the benefits of eating food in the first place.

Further advantages of eating raw food are that your body is able to extract the maximum amount of nutrients from what you are eating, it is cheaper than processed food which isn’t giving you any nutrition, helps you lose fat easily, it helps you think more clearly and feel more calm and contains little chemicals or preservatives especially if you get organic produce.

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The Benefits of Raw Food


The benefits of a raw food diet

It’s a fact that raw fruit and vegetables deliver far higher levels of nutrients to our body than cooked food.

In fact it can contain up to a third more vitamins and minerals than cooked food, because boiling water actually absorbs vitamins B and C during cooking.

  • Raw food isn’t just good for you due to this benefit though

It also contains more fibre than cooked food.

This is because heat breaks down the fibre, which then tends to get lost during cooking.

Ideally, we should aim to eat at least one course of raw food at every meal.

Including some raw food in your diet is an ideal way to get your daily quota of five portions of fruit and vegetables.

  • Raw food can also benefit our skin.

Carrots and tomatoes contain beta-carotene which when eaten raw contains higher levels of this vitamin.

After the body digests beta-carotene, it is converted into vitamin A.

This chemical stimulates skin cell growth and builds collagen – a structural protein present in the skin which is essential for skin elasticity and the youthful look we all aspire to!

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The Raw Food Diet of the Hippocrates

The Hippocrates Raw Food Diet: Can It Transform Your Life?


The Hippocrates Diet

According to the English Dictionary, food is “Any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth”  and the key word there is Nutritious.

On that basis most of the things that most of us are eating everyday, cannot be classed as food these days according to the definition in the dictionary.

Over the years, many studies have proven that when food is preserved using chemicals or cooked above 44˚C destroys enzymes in the foods and depletes it of its nutritional value which would suggest that the vast majority of us are getting very little nutrition from what we eat or drink.

No wonder we’re all deficient in something or other.

And as if this news weren’t bad enough, research has also suggested that this zero nutrition food is actually CAUSING health problems.

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How Did Western Food Become So Bad?


After the Second World War, the way in which food was manufactured for public consumption changed in a big way, and we saw new advanced farming methods becoming widely used incorporating chemicals for pest control, chemical fertilisers to increase and speed up growth and genetic modification to improve crop yields.

But little did we know back then just how harmful all of this was. Before the Second World War, all produce that the public could buy was organic.

It’s madness to think that now, we have to carefully check the packaging to see whether something is organic or genetically modified.

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What Is The Hippocrates Diet?


The Hippocrates Diet is a world renowned eating plan or food movement that uses only raw uncooked foods, and heavily focuses on incorporating highly nutritional foods into the diet such as wheatgrass which has anti-ageing properties, and raw sprouts to aid the bodies healing process and prevent illness.

It’s all about using food as medicine.

Time and time again, this raw food diet adopted by the Hippocrates has been shown to reduce cancer risk, and to prevent many degenerative and nasty illnesses that are so common now in the West.

Below is a list of the foods that the Hippocrates raw food diet utilises to ensure that the body gets ultimate nutrition and prevents illness.

Please note that not everything on these lists is used or promoted by Amchara, as we do not promote dairy products.

The list is purely for educational purposes in relation to the Hippocrates diet, and it does sit fairly closely to what we recommend at Amchara minus the dairy.

  • Protein  Seed and nut milks, yogurts and cheeses, sprouted seeds, beans, nuts, seeds, fermented seed and nut sauces, green juices and avocado
  • Carbohydrates Grain crisps, sprouted grain breads, sprouted wheat, grain milk
  • Fat Avocados, raw nut butters (small amounts), seed or nut cheeses, cold pressed oils
  • Vegetables All vegetables that are non GMO, organically grown, including raw sprouts and pickled sprouts. Can be blended into soups and juices.
  • Fruits Fresh raw fruits or dried fruit, can be blended into soups and juices.
  • Drinks Fresh and raw fruit or vegetable juices, plenty of water.

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Two Simple Ways To Eat More Raw Vegetables


How to Eat More Raw Vegetables

One of the most difficult things about going raw is eating enough greens and non-sweet fruits.

They don’t have as much flavour as sweet fruits do and often times require a bit more chewing as well.

Here are two super simple and delicious ways to help you increase the amount of healthy veggies in your diet.

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1: Green Smoothies


The main reason people have such a hard time eating their greens is pretty obvious, it’s hard to chew 1-2 pounds of greens in one sitting!

Not only can this take quite a long time, it’s actually tiresome on the jaw.

A great way to combat this is to eat/drink green smoothies.

A green smoothie is simply a fruit smoothie that has greens added to it.

The easiest way to make a green smoothie is simply to add your favorite greens to your favourite fruit smoothie.

With all the different fruits and greens available, the possibilities are endless.

You could even try adding mild herbs like mint or parsley to your smoothies.

How about a strawberry, banana & mint smoothie?

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2: Raw Pastas


Another reason people find it difficult to eat their greens and non-sweet fruits is that they get bored with the typical humongous salad.

They want something new and different.

Make way for the raw pasta! Raw pasta is just spiralled vegetables!

You simply take a non-sweet fruit like cucumber or zucchini and run it through a spiral vegetable slicer.

Then, you make a clever sauce from fruits and veggies and viola.

Now you have raw pasta!

If you do not own a vegetable spiral slicer, you can use a mandolin or vegetable peeler to make raw fettuccine.

Try to cut them as thin as possible so that they resemble noodles.

You can even add fatty foods to your raw pastas.

Make a Guacamole type sauce using avocado or sprinkle raw nuts on top of a tomato sauce.

Just make sure that if you are using fats to eliminate any sweet fruits from your dish.

There you have it!

Two tasty and healthy ways to increase your vegetable consumption.

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Reasons To Snack On Raw Foods


five-reasons-for-snacking-on-raw-foods

There are many reasons to eat raw food as part of your diet and they make great healthy snacks.

They are beyond easy to prepare and once you get used to eating them for snacks, you will realize how tasty and fulfilling they are.

In this day and age, many people have turned to convenience foods, especially for snacks.

Most of these foods are processed which means that they contain toxins of some kind.

By the time that fruits and vegetables go from a field to a freezer or a cabinet, they have already lost much of their nutrients because they are picked early, ripened and processed.

When you cook them, they lose even more nutrients.

To avoid this loss of nutrients and lacing of toxins, it is a good idea to eat fresh fruits and vegetables along with unprocessed nuts, seeds and so forth.

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Here are five reasons for eating raw foods as healthful snacks:


  • Low in Calories and Fats

When you eat fresh fruit and veggies and other types of unprocessed food, you can bet that it is lower in both calories and fats that the convenience food that you are accustomed to.

You will be surprised when you start reading the labels on supposed “diet” food.

Many times, they contain much more that you want or need in calories and fat and the serving portions leave you hungry.

  • Filled with Nutrients

Fresh food that is uncooked and unprocessed is filled with nutrients including vitamins, minerals and essential oils.

Many diets rely on vitamin supplements to balance a diet. It is much healthier to eat real food that contains the essentials that are needed for a healthy life.

  • Give You More Energy

Lack of nutrients and the toxins in processed food naturally drag you down.

Because raw food is high in nutrients and pretty much toxin free, it will give you an energy boost.

  • Reduce Cravings

Eating these foods as snacks will drastically reduce cravings.

If you have a sugar tooth or constantly crave carbohydrates, eating fruit after you have gotten into the habit of foregoing chocolate and potato chips will satisfy your cravings and make it easier to avoid unhealthy snack attacks.

  • Fewer Toxins

When you eat food in its natural state, you take in fewer toxins.

To avoid toxins altogether, it is wise to choose foods that are grown organically.

Choosing healthful snacks can really make you feel better as well as making you healthier.

Healthy kids snacks can also affect the lives of your children making them more healthy and alert.

The choices are plentiful to provide variety for your diet.

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Here are some Raw Food Recipes to get you started: 


Let us start with breakfast.

The best way to start a raw food meal plan is with a scrumptious smoothie.

Smoothies are a great way to start the day and is a very common breakfast item for raw foodist.

To make your smoothie, simply add your favorite fruits and vegetables to the blender, add a cup of water, and then enjoy.

You can also add herbs and spices to give your smoothie a unique flavor.

Another breakfast idea is to make a granola cereal. Use fresh nuts and grains, then chop up some of your fruit. If you’re committed to the diet, then add a cup of water instead of milk.

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The lunch part of your raw food meal plan should be a mono meal.

This meal is an overindulgence of your favorite fruit.

Try to eat until you get full, but only eat one item.

Bananas, oranges, apples, it can be whatever you choose.

You might be surprised how much you can eat when all the extra chemicals and calories do not get in the way.

A mono meal should tied you over until dinner, but if it doesn’t you can have add a healthy snack to your daily food intake.

Nuts, grains, and seeds make a great mid day snack.

 

For dinner you can have a salad.

But try to mix things up by using spinach instead of lettuce, or cucumbers instead of spinach.

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Raw Food Recipes: 


Basil Mango Salad Dressing

This is a completely raw vegan salad dressing that is healthy and makes any salad taste amazing.

Simply take:

1 cup mango, fresh or frozen and thawed
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped onion (or 2 teaspoons onion powder)
1 clove garlic (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
3-5 drops stevia or to taste (or use softened dates to sweeten to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Method:

Blend all the ingredients together into a smooth dressing style substance, and drizzle over your favourite salad!


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Raw Portabello Mushroom and Veg Kebabs with Asian Slaw

This is a wonderful raw food recipe from therawchef.co.uk that is perfect for eating outdoors, and it’s a great vegan alternative for the barbecue too.

If you prefer the vegetables ‘cooked’, you can use a dehydrator to give that cooked consistency and flavour, or go for raw for the easier alternative.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large portabello mushrooms
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 zucchini (courgette)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flax oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Method:

  1. Chop the vegetables into one inch pieces.
  2. Blend the pineapple, tamari, ginger, fennel seed, celery seed, olive oil, flax oil. sesame oil, and salt; then transfer to a bowl. Add the vegetables to the bowl and marinate for a few minutes.
  3. Make small skewers, alternating the vegetables on each wooden skewer to have a nice colour and texture variation.
  4. Optional: Place in the dehydrator for 2 – 3 hours at 115 degrees F. 

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Delightful Curry Carrot Salad

It can be quite difficult for some people to find ways to flavour salads without adding dairy products or high fat dressings, but there are so many different herbs and spices and it is such as shame that they’re not used more for their amazing flavour.

That’s why we love this curry carrot salad, a truly exquisite raw food recipe for summer.

The Salad

  • 4 cups grated carrots, (approximately 10 medium carrots, grated)
  • 2 cups snow peas, sliced into 1/2-inch long pieces
  • 2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 to 1 cup raisins
  • I bunch scallions, sliced thin

The Curry Dressing

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 6 hours and drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh almond milk (you can use water but it won’t be as flavorful)
  • 2 teaspoons sweet yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nama shoyu (or low sodium tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon raw agave
  • Himalayan salt to taste

Method:

Toss carrots, snow peas, pineapple, raisins and scallions together in a large bowl.

Place all dressing ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Pour dressing over salad and mix through to coat all pieces.

Per serving: Calories 202, Carbs 42, fat 4 g, Protein 4 g. (These are approximate.)

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Raw Fruit Smoothies


Jump to the Recipes:

 

With today’s diet, very little raw foods are consumed.


There are many benefits to eating a raw diet and simply stating, raw smoothies are the fastest and easiest way to ingest a large quantity of raw foods at one setting.

Eating raw is eating fruits, nuts and vegetables in their natural form. No cooking or processing with heat.

The most common raw foods are green salads and fruits such as bananas, apples and grapes. Sadly, even these foods are scarcely being consumed in the average home. This is obvious with the increased rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Our food can be our medicine if we choose the right foods and it is common to reverse certain diseases by eating a high percentage of raw foods.

The best way to start is by blending a raw smoothie.

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1. Increased Consumption of Vital Nutrients



Raw foods contain an excellent quality of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and enzymes (which aid in digestion).

Cooking destroys or diminishes the vital nutrients found in fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Eating raw increases your energy level and the more raw foods you consume the more satisfied you feel on less food.

This is because the fiber, water and vitamins and nutrients all meet your body needs.

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2. Quick Prep Times



A raw smoothie is full of flavor, therefore little seasoning is needed (as often used when cooking).

Fruits are naturally full of sugars which help the blended kale and broccoli go down a bit easier.

There is little prep time in creating a raw smoothie and if a large enough quantity is made several people could benefit from one quick blending, or this could be placed in the fridge to grab later on in the day.

One time saving tip I have learned is after shopping, I process (as in wash, cut up, peel) the fruits and vegetables I can and place in glass containers in the fridge or in the freezer.

Then, when its time for smoothies, the prep time is decreased.

I simply go to the freezer or fridge and pull out the already chopped and peeled carrots, pineapple, mango, strawberries or whatever I bought.

Also, keeping soaked and/or sprouted nuts in the fridge makes it quick and easy to sprinkle a few into a smoothie for added protein and enzymes, among other wonderful things.

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Get Veggies At Breakfast!

We all love a good smoothie for breakfast, and what’s great is that they are so good for you. 

The only problem is, many people always go for fruit as the main smoothie ingredients and fruit contains large quantities of natural sugar called fructose. 

While eating fruit smoothies is good for you in moderation, it is often best to get as many low sugar vegetables in as possible for optimum health.

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The Antioxidant Breakfast Vegetable Smoothie


This smoothie is packed to the brim with cancer fighting antioxidants and has all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help keep the doctor away.

It also tastes really yummy and the mint gives your body a nice wake-up call in the morning.

  • Simply add a whole cucumber
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • a handful of spinach
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • a handful of mint leaves 

Add to the blender with a pint of water and blend. 

If it’s too thick, add a little more water to your liking. And if you want to add a little more sweetness to it, then add a peeled and chopped pear to the mix. Yum yum!

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The Exotic Immune Booster Smoothie


This tasty and exotic flavoursome smoothie is the ideal breakfast smoothie to boost the immune system. It also tastes really yummy and sweet and gives a really good energy boost first thing in the morning too. 

Just add this to your blender and mix: 

  • ½ pint coconut milk
  • ½ small pineapple diced
  • ½ cucumber peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks kale
  • juice of a lemon
  • ½ pint water
  • 2 teaspoons of honey

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The Healthy Digestive System Smoothie


We all know that fibre is important for good digestive health, and so this smoothie is a good way to keep your digestive system as it should be. 

  • Just add ½ pint of oat milk
  • ½ pint water
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons of flaxseeds
  • a handful of spinach
  • a handful of kale 

Add to the blender and mix well. If you want to add a little fruit, you can add 3 peeled and chopped kiwis for a yummy exotic taste.

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