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10 years back, I began what was actually an experiment on myself to find out the best nutrition for my individual needs through living foods and slowly I discovered the phenomenal benefits that come with it. My intention was to be as healthy and feel as alive as possible, so switching to a raw diet seemed promising owing to the high nutritional and energy content. This is especially true if the food is organic as the soil in which the food is grown has also been allowed to maintain its natural state in comparison to soil that has had the heavy burden of pesticides, fungicides and other poisons diminishing its natural balance. The chemicals from these harmful pesticides leach into our food, and thus into our blood stream.
There are some basic things that define a raw food lifestyle; a raw food diet consists of unprocessed raw vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). Foods on a traditional raw food diet include fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, uncooked beans, sprouts, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables and unprocessed grains. Beverage choices on the diet include purified water, fresh juice and coconut milk from young coconuts. Some raw foodists also drink tea that has been brewed by the sun. However, most likely you will have to grow and dry your own tea herbs at home.
The subject of nutrition is a vast one and not everyone seems to agree on the same principles. It is useful when gathering information about health, to really question the motives of the person or organisation from where you gather information. For example I read an article once on red wine and how great it is for the health, only to find out that the company who wrote that article actually manufactured wine! There are certain bodies that use false advertising and even lie to sell their so-called food which actually have an opposite effect on your health. Case in point is the pharmaceutical industry, which is one of the biggest profit making businesses in the world today; sickness is a big business. I personally prefer health, and that is why when people say ‘organic is expensive’, I know where my priorities are and choose to invest in health and well-being. The ten year long relationship with pure nutrition has prompted me to delve deeper into nature and its bounties. I have selected a few key points for optimum health and nutrition that I have found along the way.
HYDRATE: 4 litres of liquids a day is optimum. This can be obtained through raw milk, smoothies, juices and herb teas.
ALKALISE: Greens, these come through leafy greens, sea vegetables, green powders (wheatgrass, barley grass etc). Greens contain a large amount of chlorophyll, the structure of this is almost the same as haemoglobin in our red blood cells that detoxifies and oxygenates the blood.
ENRICH: Essential fats are involved in the healthy metabolism of every cell, essential to human life as the body does not manufacture them itself. In a raw food diet fats added to dishes make them super satisfying and fulfilling. They can be used in abundance, there are many, to name a few – coconut, olive oil (only extra virgin can be relied upon to be rich in nutrients as excess heat is not created when extracting the oil), avocado, hemp and flax.
Raw and living foods nourish and improve the body’s inner environment, enabling the body to dispel accumulated waste. Raw fibre from these pure foods acts as a broom sweeping the intestinal tract keeping it cleaner, while cooked fibre loses its ability to do this.
Enzymes present in raw food are destroyed at temperatures as low as 118 degrees Fahrenheit; these enzymes are really important for digestion, with cooked food the body uses up its own store of enzymes which is known to contribute to the ageing process of the body. Raw living food nourishes the whole system of the body’s environment enabling the body to expel and unblock accumulated waste; this is known as detox and happens when raw food is taken in a good quantity. Detoxification is a profound process and needs care and support for the body with plenty of hydration and rest.
Prior to 1930, it was believed that whenever we ate, there was an immune system response as if we were poisoned. An immediate rise in white blood cells, by about 300%. White blood cells are our body’s soldiers; they are produced to fight off threats like poison, trauma or disease. This reaction to eating was called Digestive Leukocytosis and thought to be normal. In 1930, Dr Paul Kouchakoff conducted research to compare the effects of cooked food versus raw food. He discovered that Digestive Leukocytosis occurred only when cooked or processed food was eaten. He found that there is no immune system response when we eat our food in its natural, unheated, unprocessed state.
When we eat purely raw foods, our immune system rests and recovers. People who switch to eating only raw foods always experience the same thing.
The transition from cooked food to raw food, like from a non-vegetarian to vegetarian diet, should be a slow gradual process under the guidance of an expert as per the requirements of the body. You may begin by introducing minor quantities of raw food in your diet and you may write into Dhyan Foundation for any help required.
Author: Anna Steele