Learn more about how raw wholesome plant based food can optimise your health
The importance of NUTRITION
When I was younger, my knowledge of food and nutrition was slim to none. This meant that I didn't use to question what I ate, I would just eat everything that was put in front of me including junk food, sugar saturated drinks and sweets, processed foods and a lot of animal products, including meat, dairy products and seafoods. Of course there were many times when I tried to eat healthier, but that was more to stay slim than to nourish my body. My thought process was 'if everyone else eats processed foods, it must be ok for you' . However, the food that I was eating meant that my body was suffering. I experienced IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which included symptoms such as a bloated stomach, abdominal cramping and constipation. I also didn't feel vitalised after eating this type of food and seriously lacked in certain nutrients such as iron and magnesium.
In my late teens, I was introduced to a few books on the topic of nutrition and my view on food completely altered. I was shocked to find out how important food really was and how little I actually knew about food. Weeks into starting my Anthropology and Archaeology degree, I became fascinated on the topic of nutrition and how far we had come since the advent of agriculture over 10,000 years ago. More recently, the introduction of industrialisation brought about further devastation to our food systems, as people discovered that by mixing real food with artificial ingredients and preservatives, food will have a much longer shelf life! What was yet to be discovered from this new food production, was that it would have devastating effects on our long term health, causing a raise in many serious diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
What I have discovered through my personal encounters and research on the topic of food and nutrition is that if we eat the best nutritious foods in a form that can be absorbed well in our body, such as raw superfood smoothies and green juices, our body will use the nutrients to thrive and heal. Like Hippocrates once said:
One of my most fundamental turing points into my new discovery about food and nutrition was my introduction to raw foods. This was a completely new concept for me. I was particularly interested in the study of raw foods as its main focus was about nourishing and cleansing the body through superfood smoothies, green juices and more!
My love of raw food began early on my nutrition journey and continues to be a major part of what I eat and feed to my friends and family.
I believe every one should eat a balanced diet. My diet includes a mixture of raw and cooked organic plant based foods! I encourage everyone to listen to their body, and to seek out the best quality foods, buy organic and stay away from packaged and processed foods. Instead, rediscover a love and respect for food and allow the food to stay simple and healthy so its nutrients will be able to nourish your body!
WHY RAW FOOD?
My interest in exploring raw foods began when I first learned about the raw food guru, David Avocado Wolfe.
Since then, I have developed a huge passion for raw food and nutrition. Another key influence on my journey is this awesome guy named Daniel Vitalis. Daniel and David are incredible people who speak primarily about raw food, super foods, spring water, earthing, re-wilding and much more.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RAW AND COOKED FOOD:
One of the major differences between humans and other animals, is that we are the only species on earth who cook our food. Doesn’t this alone seem strange? If food was meant to be heated before consumed, why are we the only species who practice this? According to many experts in the field of health and nutrition, cooked food seems to have many detrimental consequences to our health. Author of the 80/10/10 Diet, Dr. Douglas Graham states:
To varying degrees, the different methods of cooking introduce toxic substances that the body must eliminate. The repeated consumption of cooked food results in a detrimental enlargement of the pancreas, as well as damage to the liver, heart, thyroid gland, adrenals, and most other organs, as a result of toxic exposure combined with reduced oxygen availability…Obesity, too, is directly associated with cooking our food. Heated foods are nutritionally inferior, which is one of the reasons people commonly overeat cooked food. Their stomachs feel full, but their cells crave nutrients and remain nutritionally starved. To escape the destruction of cooked food, one must be willing to recognize that, as a culture, we have been eating ourselves into poor health, early death, and disease-ridden old age. (Graham 2006, p. 55)
What are ENZYMEs and how are they important?
When you cook or process food you destroy the natural enzymes the food contains that your body needs to help digest the food once it’s in your body. Enzymes are destroyed at a sustained heat of 48-54 degrees C or above. However, if you eat raw, enzyme rich foods then it allows your food to ‘predigest’ in your stomach through a process called autolytic digestion. Without autolytic digestion then your body over produces stomach acid and digestive enzymes in the pancreas as a way to compensate and try to breakdown the enzyme deficient food. Therefore eating cooked or processed foods on a regular basis is actually putting an incredible stress on the body, especially the pancreas. We are each born with a limited amount of enzymes and our bodies cannot produce any more. Therefore it is essential to get enzymes from foods in order to aid in the digestion process and to protect the limited supply that our body has.
HOW CAN YOU INTRODUCE MORE RAW FOODS INTO YOUR DIET?
It is easy to introduce more raw foods into your diet. You can introduce more raw foods through juicing raw vegetables or blending raw greens and fruit in a smoothie. I recommend shopping at your local farmers market and buying produce that is in season and preferably organic. You may also want to start your own garden or grow some herbs in pots if you have limited space. Remember to introduce variety into your diet, including leafy greens, herbs, super foods, sprouts, micro-greens, fruits and veggies.
Some people often ask me if it is more expensive eating the way I do, and the truth is when you cut out expensive items from the shopping list such as meat, eggs, dairy, sugary and processed foods and replace it with whole foods and fresh produce, it works out about the same.
You don’t need any equipment to eat raw food, but having it does make life a lot easier if you want the most benefit from eating raw. Many of the raw foodists I know of have top of the line equipment, which at the end of the day can be very expensive. Having just finished some time living life as a student, I know that it is hard to try to save for some of the more expensive equipment, such as a juicer or blender. So if some of the equipment is out of your budget I encourage you to take a look online at second-hand goods, as they are generally a lot cheaper than buying brand new. I bought my food processor on trademe (similar to eBay) for $10 NZD and despite its retro/vintage look it is far better than some of the new ones out in the stores today.
1. Blender (depending on what type you get prices can range from $60 – $2000 NZD). Most raw foodists recommend getting a vitamix and if you have the money I would totally recommend one too. We use a nutribullet! It’s so fantastic – you can make more than just smoothies with the nutribullet you can also make sauces, hummus and so much more! Totally recommend it and its not too expensive either. Learn more about the nutribullet here.
2. Juicer (prices can range from a few hundred to >$2500 NZD). Top of the line recommendations for juicers include the Super Angel Juicers, Omega J8006 and theHurom. We use the Hurom and it is a FANTASTIC juicer!! I love using it, the juice is so pure and it leave’s little pulp as it extracts so much of the juice. I seriously recommend buying a cold press/slow speed juicer if you are in the market for one, as they keep the enzymes and nutrients in tact in comparison to many of the high speed juicers out there that don’t.
3. Food processor – great for making raw deserts, sauces, mixing, cutting and so much more.
4. Spiralizer – for making raw spaghetti (e.g. zucchini pasta)
5. Food dehydrator – for making dried fruits, raw crackers, raw chips, etc. A fantastic piece of equipment that I am yet to purchase.
6. Jars and sprout lids – for making sprouts
7. Nut milk bags – for making nut milks