The Truth about RAW Food

Have you been warned to stay away from raw food, especially if you are sick? (In fact, the more serious the illness the sterner the warning). There are so many views, theories and opinions surrounding raw food: the good, bad and ugly. Let’s first take a step back and understand raw food, and how it’s impacting our body, before we succumb to the rumours.

I’m sharing the dictionary definition of raw food, then we will deep dive into debunking some myths surrounding the topic. The dictionary definition of the word ‘raw’ is: Unrefined, unfiltered and untampered with. A raw food diet in its purist form is about preparing foods without heating them above 42 degrees C.

Here’s how I break food down for myself- if the food is natural i.e. provided by nature (and termed as safe to consume,) then I’m convinced it will support my body. We are a part of nature; fruits and plants are a part of nature (read raw food here), so how can they be “bad” for us? The relationship has to be symbiotic.

I often hear clients, friends and family saying ‘raw food is too hard to digest’, ‘raw food constipates me’, ‘I feel so bloated after eating raw food’. While I don’t doubt these symptoms, it’s imperative to differentiate between natural detoxification, and symptoms due to an illness. When we detox our body has to eliminate toxins (isn’t that the whole point of a detox?) so it can display similar symptoms to an illness. How else will your body get rid of its debris in order to heal? So, before ditching the raw, wait it out for a week and I’m pretty sure you will feel better than when you first started.  

When I first initiated my wellness journey many years ago, it encouraged me to include some raw food in my daily diet. I’ve always loved an occasional salad that was dressed well, especially at a restaurant; although not a part of my staple diet at home. However, over time, and lots of trial and error, I graduated to eating a salad with each meal. I began to notice certain foods that would typically cause me to bloat, didn’t have the same impact anymore. I had to understand why, and with some research I uncovered, raw food contains enzymes of their own, reducing the demand of salivary enzymes for digestion. The enzymes in raw food enables our body to spend less energy in digestion, unlike cooked food.

A salad (has to be 70% raw) is typically nutrient dense (given you don’t laden it with heavy dairy or sugary dressings), and helps manage blood sugar levels and support healthy digestion. This isn’t a demand for a fancy gourmet salad, just a cucumber, radish, tomato, carrot can do the job! No room for excuses here.

Do you know what else raw vegetables give us? AMINO ACIDS (protein)! It helps repair our body, provides building material for our cells, makes hormones, strengthen bones, whiten teeth, build muscles, boost immunity- basically it supports our body to do every day jobs. We absolutely don’t need protein supplements if we are eating correctly and regularly!

Also, to clarify, when I say raw, it includes fruits too! The most debated natural food I can think of. High in calories, spikes your blood sugar, run from them if you’re diabetic, are just a few myths attached to my favourite food! Yes, fruits contain glucose, but so does our body; in fact, that’s EXACTLY what our body needs to thrive.

Bear with me, when it comes to fruits I can ramble on, and I’ll let myself so we need to unveil these myths! Here are some fruit facts:

  • They provide us with known and unknown (we are still all learning) nutrients, from Vitamin A to Zinc, and more recently discovered ‘antioxidants’.
  • Fruits are pre-digested, which means they require little digestive energy and aren’t a burden on your body (if you don’t feel good after fruit look within, the issue is your overall system)
  • Extremely high-water content which helps cleanse the toxic waste build up
  • Fruits are good for the Earth, therefore our environment and therefore our body

Do you ever wonder why there’s no media hype or lobby behind the fruits and vegetable industry? Why is there so much publicity for protein powders, milk, supplements and let’s not even start on the junk food, especially targeted at kids? There’s no money to be made if we all buy and consume more fruits an veggies! (this topic can be a whole book on its own).

This article has gone all over the place, but my bottom line is, if nature has provided us with it, its most likely the best food for us. If we find it uncomfortable to consume, it’s probably due to high levels of toxicity in our body that’s being mobilised when we start fuelling it with better inputs.

How to start?

  1. Increase your fruit intake on an empty stomach by 40%
  2. Include a raw salad with each meal

It helps to have someone guide you through this process- explain how this can impact your body and see you through any detox symptoms. I am a health coach and would love to offer my support in any way possible- even if it’s a simple question, please reach out! My mission is to make this world a healthier and happier place through building awareness. Sounds too lofty? But they say “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are too small”