Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Raw Foods Primer

What are Raw Foods?

Raw means more than just uncooked and unheated. Raw foods are “Nature’s finished products; they are ready to be consumed, as is”(Graham 233).

After all, a sweet peach needs no help from us to be sweet.

Raw foods are also known as living foods, life foods, sun-fired and sun foods. Whatever you choose to call it, raw foods, with everything left intact, are the healthiest foods we can feed our bodies.

Raw foods include fruits, vegetables, greens, sprouts, nuts, and seeds.

The Two Approaches to the Raw Food Diet

When it comes to raw foods, eating can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it.

Some raw food books say you need a high-power/high-speed blender, food processor, spiralizer, mandoline, dehydrator and oh yeah, a good set of knives, in order to get started. Others will have you soaking and sprouting seeds, grains, and peas on a regular basis.

While there is nothing “wrong” with having a fully equipped kitchen or soaking and sprouting, these lifestyle habits can be expensive and foreboding for newbies and even laborious for the experienced.

So before you buy your first spiralizer or soak a chickpea, you should understand the two main approaches to raw foods. They are LOW-FAT RAW and HIGH-FAT RAW. HIGH-FAT RAW includes your nut-seed pates, guacamole with flax crackers, oil-based salad dressings and other raw food items that may be hard to digest because they contain too much fat. LOW-FAT RAW includes your fruits, greens, vegetables, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, and fatty fruits.

These two approaches are not necessarily in opposition to one another, but it’s important to know the difference between the two, especially if you plan on successfully eating raw for a long period of time.

LOW-FAT RAW recipes…
• contain 5 or less ingredients.
• contain 5% fat or less.
• can take less than 5 minutes to make.
• follow food combining principles, and are therefore easier to digest and assimilate.
• require little to no equipment.

HIGH-FAT RAW recipes
• contain 5 or more ingredients.
• Can take more than 5 minutes to make.
• contain way more than 5% fat (usually 40%-60% of the calories are from fat).
• generally ignore food combining principles.
• require more equipment.

A diet high in fat, whether raw or cooked is not good for the body.

So, whether you are considering a 100% raw foods or simply increasing your consumption of raw and living foods, you will be happier and healthier for it.

Graham, Dr. Douglas N. 80/10/10 Diet: Balancing your Health, Your Weight, and Your Life, One Luscious Bite at a Time. Florida: FoodnSport Press, 2006.


Zucchini Breath said...

Great article, thank you. I like to incorporate both, low fat simple fruit and green vege meals and gourmet meals. I love to go for a walk and have lunch off the trees in the summer time.

There is also such a thing as gourmet low fat raw food preparation.
Things like nori wraps and soft serve made from frozen bananas.

Balance is very important.

I look forward to your future posts.

Rachel Clifton said...

When is your next class?


love said...