How to Choose Raw Foods

 

by Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Author, Eating for Energy

That’s it! You are sick and tired of being sick and tired. You are convinced that your terrible eating habits are keeping you from feeling your best. And so, you have thrown out all the junk food in the house, and find yourself standing at the doors of the grocery store. You have an empty cart, and no shopping list. No have no ideas what to buy, but you’re sure of one thing, you will not turn on your oven this week. Every meal will be raw.

There are three aisles you need to hit in that grocery store, and three that you can skip completely.

PRODUCE. This one should be a no-brainer. Aside from the plastic bags you’ll be putting the produce into, there is nothing in this section that you cannot eat raw. Well, okay, practically nothing. Potatoes and kidney beans are to be avoided. But you won’t have time to mourn those absences, as the plethora of other choices will fill the majority of your shopping cart. Carrots, peas, green beans, avocados, all varieties of leafy greens, corn, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, yams... the list goes on and on. If you ever get out of the produce aisle, your next stop should be...

SEAFOOD. Now, this one might seem like a head scratcher, but it’s not. Most grocery stores will stock a large supply of fresh, cold-smoked salmon fillets. These chucks of fish have never been heated to the cooking point, but give you some great protein and fatty oils, along with great taste. As with everything, fresh is better, so only buy as much as you can use within a day or two, and come back for more as needed. Freezing should be used as a last resort.

BULK. There are all sorts of wonderful items in the bulk section and the best of the bunch are the nuts. Many bulk sections feature nuts still in their shells, which is the best way to buy them. This way, you know they haven’t been contaminated by accidental dustings from other bulk containers, and they will stay fresher until you need them. Other bulk goodies will include quinoa, chia seeds, several kinds of nut flours (almond being the most common) and spices like cinnamon.

All right, your cart is full. You can head to the register now, safely skipping by:

FROZEN FOODS. For the most part, you probably would have guessed this, but there are some items in the frozen section that might have made you pause like packages of frozen veggies and fruits. And while this seems like an ideal way to keep good food on hand for future use, remember that what is frozen now will have to somehow be unfrozen later. For vegetables, that usually means a dip in a pot of boiling water a definite no-no for the raw food diet. For berries, you could probably let them defrost in the fridge, but the ingredients list on the side of the package usually includes some cooked and processed items like syrups and sugars. Stick to the fresh stuff.

BAKERY. There are ways of making bread for the raw food diet, but your grocery store bakery will not be the place to find it. Everything here is baked and cooked, and should be avoided.

SNACKS. Really, you have carrots. Do you need potato chips?

 

 

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