Food

What is going Raw?

Raw Spring Rolls: Zucchini, lettuce, carrots, red bell peppers and jicama.

Sure, you might feel like you’re being healthy when you order a nutritious salad (meaning: not a pile of iceberg lettuce saturated in creamy, fatty dressing, but actually vegetables), but would you want to commit to eating all raw food, all the time? The raw food movement, sometimes called the Live Food movement, is focused on eating only raw and unprocessed foods, often organically grown. Although many are only familiar with the vegan version of this movement, there are vegetarians (lacto-ovo and others), as well as omnivores who participate. A smaller component of the movement actually promotes a carnivorous (only animal product) diet. Similarly, fruitarians- those who try to only eat fruit- are a part of the raw food movement.

One of the main tenets of the belief that raw food is better lies in the loss of nutrients through cooking or processing food. While this is certainly true to a very large degree, it does not hold across the board. A more holistic approach might be to look at each food individually to determine whether it should be eaten raw, slightly cooked, or thoroughly cooked. As with most things in life, knowledge is power.

For some foods, scientists have discovered that light steaming actually makes nutrients available in food that the body would not otherwise be able to digest- broccoli is one such food. If the focus is truly bio-availability, then knowing that the nutrients in spinach are most readily absorbed by the body when it is lightly steamed and eaten with vinegar makes it hard to argue for eating spinach raw. With both of these foods, overcooking leads to a loss of nutrients, so attention paid to each individual food will allow you to gain the most nutrients from them. Likewise, freezing blueberries unlocks many of their antioxidant properties – increasing their health benefits, which is what exploring healthy diets is all about.

So, is raw right for everyone? Probably not. Is raw right for you? Maybe….you never really know until you try it. What it all boils down to is bioindividuality. What works wonders for one person may not for the next. You simply have to experiment to find out.
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