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Raw or not Raw?!

These words would describe my food, dishes, recipes and the feel of my kitchen at this moment,

Wholefoods, Low fat, Plantbased, Vegan, Fruity, Nourishing, Starchy

During my search to restore my health, about 6 years ago, 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 and in my recipes and 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!

alkaline family

My “raw” is at this moment between 80 and 100% per day, depending on the weather, season or plain what I feel like my body needs. And that is the main change I went through the last year. Listening to my body, discovering hunger and reacting to it accordingly. I am on the way to liberate myself from unnoticed little boxes we tend to put ourselves and others us into. 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

Raw …. all the good stuff stays preserved …

With raw food I am talking about vegetables, ripe fruits, sprouts, nuts, seeds, everything that is not heated above 105 to 115F. The most phyto-nutrients, vitamins and enzymes are destroyed during cooking. There are thousands of kinds of phyot-nutrients which give veggies and fruits their color and taste. They protect the plants against disease and can do the same for us regarding we consume plenty of fresh greens.

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 deminish 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 our life force!

More energy is actualy one of the most important goals for people when turning up the amount of alkalizing foods in their diet.


High Raw & Alkalizing

High raw and alkalizing foods make a perfect base for a high energy diet. With high raw I mean that 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.

Symptomes of an acidic body are artritis, depression, fatique, 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 fibre and full of anti-oxidants. They are crunchy, fresh, easy and so good! A high percentage raw gives the body more energy, is easy on the digestion and works alkalizing. Finding the balance between raw and not raw is very personal and also very important.

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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 everybody wants or needs to be 100% raw. In fact the most people who are looking for more energy and improved health are gravitating between 50 and 100% raw. Adjusting your diet to what your body needs, that is the key! 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 chlorophyl and enzymes and should be the bulk, the main part of an energizing balanced lifestyle. Adding some nuts, seeds, healthy fats, fruits and plantbased 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.

een dag uit de planner

What do I enjoy raw?

There is quite a long list of foods I do not cook or bake.

I leave the biggest part of my veggies raw with some cooked elements here and there. Think of smoothies, wraps, vegan sushi rolls, veggie rice, avocado pudding or chia pudding with nutmilk … there are many great opportunities to get your raw porion met per day.

Quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth. Sometimes sprouted, sometimes cooked.

Nuts, seeds and pits, always raw. Heating these detroys the great nutrients and turns fats into free radicals which on their part attack our cells from the inside out. Choosing for a baked muffin with added walnuts or energy bars made of seeds out of the oven may sound like a good option but not something to do on a daily base.

Flax is used quite often as an egg replacer, which it does do, but heating flax seeds or flax oil is not a good thing.

4 Tbsp. of chia seeds contain the same amount of calcium as 3 cups of milk do! Woohoo! 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 in an oven, fried or baked until brown. Baked or heated chia seeds should be eaten unheated 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, nutmilks and puddings.

Garlic also looses some of its 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 ovenbaked or steamed garlic and onions to add a nice flavour to recipes.

Raw vegetales 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 and boost your metabolism. Combining veggies with a healthy fat makes absorption of nutrients possible so no more “naked” salads! Add some nut-, olive-, flax- or hennep oil to your dressing. Toss in some avocado and then you can be 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 prefered above cooking.
  • Sure, there are nutrients like vitamins and enzymes lost during the cooking process. Most vitamins are partialy or totaly 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 desolves in water.
  • Studies have shown that anti-oxidantes in carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asperagus, cabbage and bell peppers are actualy increased after steaming or short cooking. The anti-oxidants are released and made more easily absorbable.
  • Lycopene, a cancer fighting anti-oxidant is freed in cooked tomatoes, especialy in combination with 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.

spinazie    paprika    avocado     tomaat

Het vinden van balans lijkt hier ook belangrijk. Luteïne en lycopeen komen veel minder

Lutein and lycopene 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  very benefitial to your body. To achieve balance and nourishment on a broader scale than only focusing on the 100% raw label.

Some nutrients are partly destoyed 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 actualy tenderise 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! Also a new section on Slow Cooking between the recipes.

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, asperagus, carrot or a bell pepper in some coconut oil enhances their anti-oxidants and makes it easily absorbable. We replace the lost vitamins by making raw veggies the main part of the dish.
  • Microwave … destroys everything.
  • Frying and browning food increases free radicals due to high heat and oxidation of fats. Free radicals attack, damage and take over and  healthy cells in the body. .

And now …

I am trying to keep an open mind and not to be radical. My base is made up of lots of pure, organic raw foods. Plantbased. The main part of my meals are represented by vegetables and sprouts, alkalizing food. Completed by adding some nuts, seeds, legumes, quinoa, buckwheat, oatmeal etc. cooked or raw.

Being raw, high raw or just adding more raw foods to your diet is all good! There is more room to navigate in, it is not just black and white. The grey are in between is where we find balance and a way a lifestyle we can thrive on and enjoy!

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! A balance in my food, between raw and cooked, between excercise 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, energy, health and discovering new tastes and recipes. Do not worry about percentages of raw or not raw. Listen to your body and enjoy the ride!



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