Whole Foods: Raw Foods

DenaJanuary 23, 2014

After the last post in my Whole Foods series, I received a few questions about why I emphasize the word “raw” in some of my recipes. It’s a really great question and something that I’ve been meaning to write about.

Simply put: eating raw foods is important. When food is cooked above 118 degrees Fahrenheit for three minutes or longer, its protein becomes coagulated, its sugar becomes caramelized, and its natural fibers are broken down. This means that it takes longer to move through the intestinal tract. Additionally, 30% to 50% of its vitamins and minerals have been destroyed and 100% of its enzymes have been destroyed. As a result, cooked food depletes our body’s enzyme potential and drains the energy we need to maintain and repair our tissues and organ systems.

There are lots of benefits to eating raw foods. Most raw foods are low in calories, fat, and sodium, and high in fiber (great for digestion!). Raw foods diets work for weight loss. You also get nutritional benefits from eating raw. Most of what you eat will be high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals.

Everyone knows that eating lots of veggies and fruits is good for you, but there is more to it than eating a small salad with dinner. I like to pack as much raw food into my diet as possible. That’s why I put raw kale, spinach, fruit, and nuts into my smoothies. Most of the packaged nuts that you find in the grocery store are roasted and salted. If you look a bit, you can usually find the good, raw nuts near the trail mix section.

Other benefits to eating raw include:

  • Increased energy.
  • Better sleep and less sleep needed.
  • Increased mental clarity.
  • Eat as much as you want (of raw food only!). That one isn’t really a health benefit, but you don’t get that uncomfortable full feeling eating raw that you do when eating cooked food.

There are raw foodists out there who eat 100% raw food diets. Many of these people are extremely healthy and some have used a raw food diet to overcome disease and mental illness. It’s pretty incredible to read their stories. As for me, I don’t aim to eat a 100% raw food diet. If I’m being honest, I just love cooked too much. I wouldn’t even want to imagine a life where I never ate a fresh-baked cookie or a hot slice of pizza again. However, I also realize how important incorporating raw food into my diet really is. That’s why I aim to eat at least 50% raw every day. I don’t reach that goal every day, but most days I come close. Keeping that “50%” goal in mind plays a positive role in my daily food choices.

I hope that answers the questions that I received about raw food. If you have any other questions about whole foods, raw food, etc. — fire away! I am not an expert but I’ve done a lot of research in this area and I have a lot of knowledgeable friends. I also want to highly recommend the documentary, Foodmatters. It was the first film that really opened my eyes to the importance of raw food and how much our diet truly impacts our overall health. I’ve watched it several times. (It’s also available on Netflix streaming.) It’s a must-see.

Wishing you happiness & good health! xo

Comments (3)

  • Crista at Hands and Hearts More Than Full

    January 23, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I am LOVING your informative and delicious blog posts- keep ’em coming! 🙂

    1. Dena

      January 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Thanks, Crista. I’m so excited to be starting off 2014 right. I’ve got my eye on the prize: fitting into my pre-prego jeans! Sharing here really helps keep me accountable. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to post my before & progress pix….

  • A (Mostly) Raw, Vegan Lifestyle – Live, Love, Simple.

    August 14, 2017 at 4:30 am

    […] Before I get started, I’m sure that most people are familiar with the term “vegan lifestyle” (no animal products or byproducts), but the term “raw lifestyle” is not yet as popular, so I have an old post explaining what I mean about a raw lifestyle here. […]

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