Thousands of years ago when humans were hunters and gatherers, our diet was all raw and naturally organic. This changed though as we discovered fire and cooking, continuously evolving the human diet to become what it is today. This had many beneficial outcomes for mankind, but also many detrimental ones too such as ready-made meals and fast food filled with additives such as MSG, preservatives and artificial colouring. Even the ingredients of the food that we eat are made from “unhealthy” grown food full of hormones, herbicides and pesticides.
More and more people today are becoming aware of the facts and realise that this is a far cry from what nature intended for us. They have decided to choose food that is more natural, organic and pure to eat. As part of this countermovement to the mainstream eating behaviours that we have developed, the number of people following a raw food lifestyle is continually growing. Even Kuala Lumpur now has raw food outlets such as Delicious Detox Delivery. But what are the benefits of eating more raw?
1. Truly nourishing
Organic raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains are nutrient-dense. This means that they are full of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and enzymes. While you can get these from other foods, they are largely only available, and in a form that is better useable for our body, when eaten raw. That’s why raw food is often called “live food” as well. Unfortunately some vitamins like B and C are lost when you cook food.
2. Stop cravings
A craving is usually a sign that our body is missing something - in some cases it could be emotional support, but it is often a vitamin or mineral. Eating raw food ensures that your body is getting what it needs and thus eases your cravings.
3. Weight loss
Studies have shown that your weight drops when you eat more raw food. One reason is that raw food contains a lot of fibre, which makes us feel full faster. Another reason is that raw food is simply healthier as it is nutrient-dense.
4. Better health
Every process in our body requires vitamins and minerals. If the body has everything that it needs, the “system” runs smoothly and diseases can be reversed or sometimes even cured.
5. Beauty and anti-ageing
Raw food is packed with antioxidants, which help to smoothen our complexion and wrinkles to achieve and maintain a more fresh and revitalised look.
6. More energy and vitality
Forget highs and lows - with raw food you will have more and constant energy throughout your day.
7. Better digestion and detox
Eating more raw is like a giving your system a good spring cleaning. The fibre cleans your gut, helps with digestion and helps to ease constipation.
8. Great for the environment
When we eat food that is raw, it should be organic. Therefore by eating raw food we are also helping the environment by reducing harmful substances such as herbicides and pesticides. By focusing on local produce you can also help to reduce your carbon footprint.
9. Clean and pure
Raw food is free of refined sugar, MSG, preservatives, artificial colouring and additives which are all harmful to you in one way or another.
10. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free
As you may have noticed, a lot of people are realising that they are sensitive to gluten nowadays. Fortunately, raw food dishes are naturally gluten-free. They also do not contain any animal products (except sometimes honey) and are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans as well.
Should I go 100% raw?
Some nutrients like lycopene (as found in tomatoes) for example are better absorbed by the body when lightly cooked. Therefore I would suggest including more raw into your diet instead of going all raw. Don’t try to follow just one diet strictly - listen to your body and see what feels right for you. When you eat cooked food, go for those that are made of pure, natural and organic ingredients, while avoiding those with MSG, preservatives and artificial colouring. And when you go shopping always remember to read the labels - a shorter list of ingredients is a good indicator that it will be healthier for you.
It’s more than just salads and fruits
When people think of “raw food” they often think of just salads and fruits. This is simply false as the raw food movement has advanced so much that it now even contains pizza, noodles, burgers, desserts and more. These can be made out of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, so you will never get bored!
How to start eating raw today
Instead of thinking about what you can’t eat anymore, think about what you CAN eat and add it to your diet. Start by integrating one portion of raw food into your diet and increase that as you go along. Green smoothies are a great way to get started as you can have them any time of the day. The next step is to look for one raw breakfast or main dish recipe to embed into your lifestyle. Once you have mastered that one dish, try out a new one each week to get used to the new taste and preparation method. And for those who are short on time, you can always order some raw food delivered straight to your doorstep.