These days, there is so much confusion and misinformation about health and well-being, that it’s difficult to know what is the right thing for us to do in order to truly be optimally healthy and feel great.  And there is no other arena more convoluted and chalked full of biased information than diet, or our chosen way of eating.  Fortunately, we can turn to science and deductive reasoning for the answers.

raw food, woman, kitchen

Amidst the ocean of misinformation and fad diets, a definitive statement in understanding what is truly healthy and optimal for all people, has arisen; raw food nutrition.  “Raw food” implies eating foods that are completely uncooked, unadulterated, unprocessed, whole and organic.  The rational behind this lies in the fact that for most of mankind’s history, we’ve eaten fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, freshly picked, and because of that our digestive system is designed for optimal digestion and assimilation of plant-based nutrients.  This isn’t an opinion, it’s a scientific fact.  And when we cook our food, not only is all of the vital, living nutrients and enzymes destroyed, there is also a certain quantity of non-assimilable by-product and free radicals created that must be eliminated from our bodies after digestion.  When we eat food in it’s live, whole and uncooked form, there is little or no toxic by-product that the body will have to deal with.  So while there are schools of thought that believe we should cook all of our food, science has shown that doing so eliminates up to 90% of the bio-available nutrients that are present in living, raw food.

Given the design of our body’s digestive system, nutrients from plant-based foods are the easiest to absorb and utilize.  Raw fruits and vegetables also contain enzymes that enhance digestion, as well as detoxification.  However, these enzymes are destroyed when cooked at temperatures above 118 degrees F.  Also, raw fruits and vegetables require very little energy and water digest them.  This means that the energy you gain from eating them is substantial.  Weigh that against animal products and processed foods that put a huge strain on the body in terms of digestibility, some of which are so dense and nutritionless that it actually requires more energy to break them down and digest them, than they give you…not to mention the strain it puts on your system to eliminate and detox all the by-products and toxins they contain.  With raw, whole foods, the energy and nutrition you gain from them is many times greater than the energy used to break them down and absorb them.  The result is increased health and vitality.

An excellent way to benefit from raw food nutrition, is to make sure that 50% of what you eat on a daily basis, is uncooked and unprocessed plant-based foods.  At first, this may not sound so appetizing.  However, the sheer variety of plant foods and possible ways to prepare them is so numerous, that you could make a different raw food meal every day for months, and not repeat the same one twice.  There are dozens of raw food preparation books for sale at local bookstores and on the web, as well as multitude of free internet-based resources for learning how to eat raw.

The benefits of eating a predominantly raw food diet are numerous and incredible.  Raw food carries virtually no by-product or toxicity to process, so your body will stay relatively free of diet-related toxicity.  The nutrient density found in eating large amounts of raw foods, will ensure that your body stays properly nourished and functioning optimally.  Also, eating raw has powerful detoxifying and stress reversing effects, so it will literally keep you looking and feeling younger and better able to handle the difficulties life throws at you.  And there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your favorite cooked meals when you feel like it, as your body will be even better able to handle whatever load that kind of food may put on your system.  Also, you will find greater leverage in eating snack foods and deserts, since your body will be staying far better nourished and detoxified from ongoing raw food consumption.

Overall, choosing to make more of your diet raw plant foods will increase your health, vitality, and well-being in ways that will benefit you for the rest of your life.  Eating raw is relatively easy to learn and adopt, and can be a wonderful source of fun and enjoyment as you learn new and life-affirming ways to prepare incredibly nutritious and delicious meals.  Choosing to go “raw”, makes a fantastic combination with all aspects of holistic living, and is an easy way to improve the quality of your life!