by Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Author, Eating for Energy
There has been a lot more focus lately on the food choices available to those who want to follow a raw diet. But what exactly does that entail? What counts as raw, and what doesn’t?
Quite simply, to follow a raw diet, you will want to eat only uncooked foods. What does ‘cooking entail? Anything that’s heated to beyond 118 degrees Fahrenheit is considered cooked, and drained of many of the wonderful nutrients and living enzymes that make these foods truly worth eating.
So, what is raw and edible? Just about every fruit and vegetable imaginable can be consumed raw, and should be, as often as possible. This is nothing ground breaking. The fresher, the better. Fruits and vegetables you should definitely stock up on include everything from the staples like carrots, spinach and tomatoes to more exotic items like avocados, whole coconuts, and fresh ginger root.
Of course, nuts are also an important part of the raw food diet, but again, freshness is important. A nut may seem like one of those items that don’t really require the freshness warning, but nuts still in their original shell are protected against spoilage and contamination and ensure you don’t end up with nuts that have been harvested with a heating process that would technically render them as cooked! Almonds are a great nut to have around the house ñ not only are they the perfect snack food, you can also make almond milk, almond butter, and almond flour from them, with very little effort on your part.
When it comes to meats, the best possible choice is fresh cold-smoked salmon. This process never raises the temperature of the fish’s flesh beyond the cooking threshold, but it is safe to eat. More importantly, it’s delicious, and full of oils, proteins and fatty acids like Omega-3 that are highly beneficial. Salmon is also considered a low mercury fish, which means it is safe to consume it on a more regular basis that larger fish like swordfish or white tuna.
For flavourings and sides, you can find raw food tapenades and pestos, as well salsa and mustards. If your local grocery store does not carry a certified raw food version of these items, you can always make your own at home. Extra virgin olive oils and some varieties of coconut, sunflower and sesame oils can be used in these recipes.
Other great finds in your grocery store include quinoa, goji berries (also sometimes known as wolfberries), and raw organic honey. Many recipes will call for these ingredients, so it never hurts to have them on-hand.
When it comes to foods to avoid, it’s pretty simple, really. If it has been pasteurized, heated or cooked, leave it behind. If you can’t eat it without cooking it (like potatoes), there’s not much you can do with it. And if you’re not sure, but you know there’s a recipe online to make it yourself with ingredients that you know are raw, take the time to make your own.
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Raw Food Diet, Weight Loss, Eating for Energy