Start Reaping the Benefits of Raw Food

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Think you could live on uncooked food alone? Plenty of people do, citing healthy benefits for their love of eating raw.

What we eat, according to experts, is both the cause of and solution to many of today’s major health problems. Battling with heart disease? Be sure to eat enough garlic, olive oil and salmon and limit fatty foods. Struggling with your weight? Nosh on natural, unprocessed meals and skip the sweet stuff. Not surprisingly, the foods that most often help keep us healthy come from fruits, vegetables and grains, which explains why vegetarianism and veganism are both popular with health conscious people.

But there’s another portion of the population who has taken healthy eating to the next level, choosing to follow a “raw diet.” Also known as “living foodists,” those who eat raw foods believe that cooking fruits, vegetables and grains “kills” their most beneficial qualities. Raw foods are never heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, as this is the temperature at which it’s believed the plants’ disease-fighting enzymes are destroyed. The diet may sound a bit sketchy, but scientific research has proven that cooking does indeed destroy valuable phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals found in many fruits and vegetables.

Worried you won’t be able to stick with a raw diet? You don’t have to go completely raw in order to reap the health benefits; fitting just a few raw foods into your daily diet is a simple step with clear health benefits. Eating raw does require a bit more work in the kitchen, but thankfully there are several brands that adhere to raw diet standards, like Alive and Radiant Foods and Lydia’s Organics. Just don’t be scared off by these brands’ higher price points, as tons of hard work goes into making their delicious offerings

For example, to make Alive & Radiant’s Kale Cheesey Treats, the company takes Green Organic Curly Kale from a local grower, carefully washes and de-stems the freshest greens to preserve the long, crunchy leaves, drizzles the kale with a special organic sauce that is massaged into each leaf, then gently dries the kale at under 115 degrees for around 14 hours. Knowing that your snack went through such a meticulous process is worth every penny. After all, you can’t put a price on good health!

Published in the Winter 2010 Whole Foods Market Whole Value Newsletter.

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