One Simple Change: More Raw Foods

Hello friends…it’s the weekend and that means it’s time for another One Simple Change post! It’s hard for me to believe, but this is my 26th in the series.

Since it’s summer (and you’re hopefully out doing some fun stuff and not in front of the computer so much), you may have missed my last few posts for OSC: on gardening, and on composting. I’m pretty passionate about both topics, so I do hope you’ll check those out ☺

Today I want to talk about the benefits of raw foods, and why it’s important to include lots of them in your diet.

{Before I go on, please note that I am not talking about eating a 100% raw food diet right now: a diet that is typically vegan, and in which everything consumed is raw/living/never cooked over 115-120°F. That is a diet that many folks swear by but I don’t follow it, nor am I promoting it here.}

Why eat more raw foods? Well, raw foods contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals and live enzymes: enzymes that aid digestion and nutrient absorption (and which are not, for the most part, present in cooked foods). Raw foods are also high in fiber.

Diets high in raw foods are more nutrient dense than those made up mostly of cooked foods, and eating more raw foods can be a good way to shed some weight and gain energy. There is also evidence that having lots of raw food in the diet may help prevent/heal a variety of chronic diseases.

How much of your diet do I think should be raw? A good percentage to shoot for would be anywhere between 30 and 50% (though I would aim higher if I had a health challenge).

Because more and more people are interested in raw foods, you will notice in pretty much any natural food store (and in many other establishments, as well) the availability of items designed to bring variety to the diets of people who follow a raw lifestyle. I’m talking about raw energy bars, raw drinks, raw crackers, raw cookies, and raw cereals, etc. These can be expensive, but they definitely make good alternatives to junkier options if you’re out and about and looking for a snack.

You’ll also see a lot of books on the market that are geared toward raw foodies. I have a bunch, and I’ve learned some cool tips about raw food preparation from them. Two of my favorites are: Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods and Living Raw Food: Get the Glow with More Recipes from Pure Food and Wine.

Eating more raw foods does not have to be complicated, though: I bet you could easily add more fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks (or learn how to make a salad that’s so kick-ass that it IS your meal or snack). Or, you could add a smoothie and/or fresh juice to what you eat every day.

Eating more raw foods doesn’t have to be limited to “plain” fruits and vegetables, though. Raw foods you can and should eat more of also include: lacto-fermented/cultured versions of fruits and vegetables, soaked and sprouted raw nuts, seeds, and grains, as well as raw milk and other raw dairy products, raw free-range eggs and raw wild fish. Meat is also consumed raw in some parts of the world: though it’s not common for Americans to eat raw meat, traditional dishes made with raw meat can be extremely nutritious.

{Keep in mind that it’s very important to enjoy raw milk, eggs, and fish from trusted sources only, and if you are going to prepare a dish with raw meat, it should be of the highest quality, and definitely pastured (aka grass-fed). To be honest, when it comes to fruits, vegetables, and anything else you are going to eat raw (or eat at all, frankly), you should be conscious of the quality, too. Buy the best you can afford (or grow your own) and eat local and organic, if possible; if you can’t get your hands on organic ingredients, clean your produce with a wash designed to remove all chemical residues.}

I think that summer is the ideal time to increase the amount of raw foods that you eat. There’s so much beautiful produce available, plus it’s hot, so who really wants to cook?

Here are links to some of my recipes that are mostly, if not completely, raw…I hope they inspire you to try something new in the realm of raw foods!

Banana Date Coconut Smoothie
Holly’s Green Smoothie
Cucumber, Endive, Kale, Green Apple, Ginger, and Meyer Lemon Green Juice
Jalapeno Watermelon Limeade
Blueberry Green Smoothie
Raw Tomato Basil Soup
Watermelon Soup with Cucumber and Lime
Watermelon Gazpacho
Pickled Cukes and Garlic Scapes
Lemon Cucumber Pickles
Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut
Cortido (Salvadoran Sauerkraut
Pickled Radishes with Carrots and Green Garlic
Quick Cucumber Kimchi
Lemon Balm and Cashew Pesto
DIY Chile Garlic Sauce
Indian Inspired Guacamole
Asian Sauerkraut
Breakfast Chia Pudding
Chia Breakfast Pudding with Pecans, Raisins, and Ginger
Cantaloupe Salad
Cucumber Salad with Borage Flowers
Cabbage Salad with Cilantro and Toasted Almonds
Herb and Flower Salad
Watermelon, Cucumber and Mint Salad
Orange and Fennel Salad
Spinach and Blood Orange Salad with Violets
Garden Pea and Rose Petal Salad
Avocado Salad Stuffed Squash Blossoms
Raw Kale Salad
Radishes with Herbs, Sungold Tomatoes, and Strawberries
Endive and Satsuma Mandarin Salad
Blood Orange, Kale and Avocado Salad
Spicy Cucumber Salad
Spring Greens Salad
Southeast Asian Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Savory Pink Grapefruit Salad
Raw Vegetable Sesame Noodles
Raw Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Dressing
Ricki’s Cocoa Nibbles
Fresh Fig and Blackberry Tart
Mostly Raw Vegan Apricot Blackberry Pie
Raw Chocolate Mousse
Coconut Oat Sesame Bites

So what do you think about this week’s One Simple Change? Do you already eat lots of raw foods or will this be a shift for you? I’d love to know…

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