Raw or not Raw, finding the right balance is the key to optimum health. This is the case for all aspects of health. These words would describe my food, dishes, recipes and the feel of my kitchen at this moment,
Wholefoods, Low fat, Plant based, Fruity, Nourishing, Starchy, Nutrient dense
During my search to restore my health that started in 2010 years, I discovered the importance of maintaining the right alkaline/acid balance in the body. From then on I added and used this knowledge in my diet, in my recipes and have been enjoy the benefits from my food regarding my health, weight and energy which I am really pleased with and grateful for. I would love to share what I have learned with you!
Finding balance, listening to my body, discovering true hunger signs and reacting accordingly, feeding my body with nutrient dense whole foods is a quick summery of the development of my diet since 2010. I started out with a raw vegan diet which developed into this delicious plant based whole foods love for food. I’m on the way to liberate myself from unnoticed little boxes, restrictions and fears about food.
The goal is listening to what YOUR body needs and finding balance to make it thrive. And while your at it, enjoying your food, amazing energy and caring for your body from the inside out.
Raw …. all the good stuff stays preserved
Raw food means vegetables, greens, ripe fruits, sprouts, nuts, seeds, everything that is not heated above 105 to 115F. Many phytonutrients, vitamins and enzymes are diminished during cooking. Phytonutrients, nature’s natural defense are natural compounds found in plant foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grain products and legumes with beneficial effects to promote good health. They also give vegetables and fruits their color, the orange in carrots, the red in beets and the green in spinach. They protect the plants against disease and can do the same for us.
Enzymes are proteins which have many many tasks to fulfill in the body with one of the most important being digesting our food. The amount of enzymes diminish as we get older. By eating lots of living enzymes in the form of raw foods we can stop or delay this aging process and enhance the bodies energy level and vitality. Enzymes are a life force.
More energy, health and longevity are the most important goals for people when turning up the amount of alkalizing, wholefoods in their diet.
High Raw & Alkalizing
High raw and alkalizing foods make a perfect base for a high energy diet. High raw means the biggest part of your daily diet is uncooked. May be from breakfast to lunch raw and your dinner is made up of cooked and raw foods? There are many ways to add some extra freshness and nutrition into any daily routine.
Symptoms of an acidic body are artritis, depression, fatigue, headaches, migraines, mouth ulcers, constipation, sore muscles, stomach ache, disturbed sleep, insomnia, a cold that wont quit, inflammation like rheumatism or eczema.
Besides all of this are raw veggies hydrating, rich in fiber and full of anti-oxidants. They are crunchy, fresh, easy and so good. A high percentage raw gives the body more energy. Finding the balance between raw and not raw is crucial.
Should everything be eaten raw?
Are there foods which can be cooked and still have the same alkalizing results on the body?
What is the effect of heating foods on nutrients?
Not everything needs to be 100% raw. In fact the most people who are looking for more energy and improved health are gravitating between 50 and 90% raw. Getting a large portion of “living” foods each day with every meal is of course important for everyone.
Raw vegetables are loaded with nutrients like chlorophyll and enzymes and should be the bulk, the main part of an energizing balanced lifestyle. Adding some nuts, seeds, healthy fats, fruits, carbohydrates and plant based protein makes it complete.
Finding the right balance is not that easy. Lots of raw, organic vegetables are SO needed but also goes for nutrients like iron, protein, calcium and fat in the right proportions. Using my pH list makes finding balance easier and more clear. I have mine printed and hanging on the refrigerator door.
What do I enjoy raw?
There is quite a long list of foods I do not cook or bake.
I leave half of my veggies raw and aim for a half pound to a pound of greens and the same amount for cooked vegetables per day. Salads, juices, smoothies are raw. Soups, steamed vegetables, curry’s etc are cooked.
Nuts, seeds and pits are best consumed raw. Heating these destroys the great nutrients and turns fats into free radicals which on their part attack our cells from the inside out.
4 Tbsp. of chia seeds contain the same amount of calcium as 3 cups of milk do. Equal amount of iron as a 1/2 cup of beans and just as much as omega 3 as a piece of salmon. The structure of omega 3 also changes when heated like, chia seeds should be eaten raw for the best nutritional benefits.
The wonderful anti-oxidant rich cacao powder looses its special powers when heated and turns into a very acidic substance. Such a waste of this super product! I add raw cacao to my smoothies, desserts, cakes, nut milks and puddings.
Garlic and onion also lose some of their healing powers but not every stomach can deal with raw garlic or raw onion. So if that is the case, like for me, I use oven baked garlic and onions to add a nice flavor to recipes.
Raw vegetables are your friends when trying to lose or to maintain a certain weight. You fill up your plate and add them as a snack. They are low in calories, high in nutrients and boost your metabolism. Combining veggies with a healthy fat makes absorption of nutrients possible so no more “naked” salads please. Add some nuts, nut butters, avocado or tahini to every salad to make sure that all the fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K will be absorbed and used by your body.
What is the influence, positive and negative of heating and cooking on our foods?
- Considering the quality of nutrients there is a big difference between different food preparations like cooking, baking, steaming, slow cooking, frying or BBQ-ing. The last two should be avoided because of the high amount of toxines that are formed during the process.
- Water soluble vitamins like vitamin C disappear into the cooking water so steaming is preferred above cooking.
- Sure, there are nutrients like vitamins and enzymes lost during the cooking process. Most vitamins are partially or totally destroyed when they come in contact with heat, oxygen, water and hot oil and – fats.
- Minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese and chromium are almost at the same levels raw or cooked.
- Potassium de-solves in water.
- Studies have shown that anti-oxidants in carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage and bell peppers are actually increased after steaming or short cooking. The anti-oxidants are released and made more easily absorb-able.
- Lycopeen, a cancer fighting anti-oxidant is freed in cooked tomatoes, especially in combination with a little extra virgin olive oil.
- Lutein is freed by lightly steaming or slow cooking from spinach and kale.
- Vitamin C does get destroyed by heat in tomatoes and spinach but can be replaced by adding raw veggies to your meal.
Lutein and lycopeen are much more rare than vitamine C which can be easily added to any diet. Therefor it seems that adding a baked tomato with olive oil or some sauteed spinach to a meal is very beneficial to your body.
Some nutrients are partly destroyed while some other qualities are enhanced. The most vegetables are better off raw regarding there vitamine and enzyme content. Most minerals stay neutral when cooked or heated.
The Slow Cooker is a nice in between solution. You actually tenderize and cook your food below the cooking point and this leaves you with much more nutrients in the finished meal. More on this great appliance from now on.
Just a recap …
- High pressure cooking or cooking makes vitamins leak from your food. If you are cooking broccoli you miss out on 80% of the vitamins! Steaming is a better option.
- Sauteing spinach, asparagus, carrot or a bell pepper in some coconut oil or water enhances their anti-oxidants and makes it easily absorb-able. We replace the lost vitamins by making raw veggies the main part of the dish.
- Frying and browning food increases free radicals due to high heat and oxidation of fats. Free radicals attack, damage and take over healthy cells in the body.
And now, raw or not raw …
My meals are made up of vegetables and sprouts, fruits, gluten free whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils, tofu and tempeh. The good stuff. The right diet gives energy, health and longevity.
By listening we can find the way of caring for our bodies exactly the way how it needs to be taken care of. This varies per person but the base where we work from is the same. I know when I am on the right road, I feel it and I see it. A balance in my food, between raw and cooked, between exercise and relaxation is also something that changes and is always in movement. Just keep in touch with your body and you can’t go wrong.
Enjoy your food and discover new tastes and recipes. Do not worry about percentages. Go for whole foods, plant based as much as possible. Listen to your body and enjoy the ride!