We have all been told from the time we were little to eat our fruits and veggies. We know we need to do so, but because of our busy lifestyles and the ease of just picking something up while we're out, we have gotten so far away from that. And, for most people, eating veggies means some overly cooked green goo heavily laden with butter, cream, cheese or other unidentifiable things. Every once in a while, a salad may make it onto a plate, but oftentimes is loaded with commercial salad dressings which pretty much cancel out the goodness of the greens.
One of the best things you can do for your body is to eat more raw vegetables and fruits. Raw foods are loaded with enzymes, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients - all of which are vital for building healthy cells and removing toxins from your body. The removal of toxins promotes weight loss, good digestion, restful sleep, energy, brighter eyes, healthy and younger looking skin, mental clarity and the reduction and/or elimination of cellulite, just to name a few. In addition, greatly increasing your raw food intake can prevent and even reverse disease and chronic illness.
Eating Raw refers to plant based foods that have never been heated above 115-118 degrees. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds. You can find many Raw food products on the shelves of health stores and online. The Raw Food World is a great resource for all things raw and is where I purchase many of the 'hard to find' raw products on the market.
Nomi Shannon, a well known Raw Food chef and author put it best when she wrote the following, "Eating a high enzyme diet consisting of raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds, nuts, grains (for
some people) and some seaweed will profoundly increase your chance of achieving optimal health."
Eating predominantly cooked food puts a tremendous strain on the body. To understand why this is true, you need to understand the role enzymes play. Enzymes are in the cells of every living plant and animal. It is enzyme activity that accomplishes all biological work from blinking an eye, to lifting a finger, to having a thought.
When we eat, we need enzymes to help digest the food. If the food we are eating is raw-whether it is a rutabaga, a carrot, a lettuce leaf or a trout-all the enzymes we need are right there in the food itself, ready to go to work for us.
If the food is cooked beyond 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Centigrade), however, these naturally occurring enzymes are killed by heat, and our body must manufacture its own digestive enzymes
to do the job.
The father of the food enzyme concept, Dr. Edward Howell, argued that when the body is busy digesting food, it is unable to divert the energy necessary to make the type of enzymes needed to do other tasks. There is a tug-of-war between the demands of the digestive system for a constant supply of digestive enzymes and the needs of the body for the metabolic enzymes vital for cleansing, healing and building. Without an adequate supply of metabolic enzymes, over time, we suffer.
What does this suffering look like? It looks like disease, indigestion, constipation, age spots, fatigue, lethargy, wrinkles, bad skin, declining eyesight, declining memory, mood swings, irritability, allergies, brain fog and candida. This decline in health is usually attributed solely to 'aging.' But it is really the result of two facts: over time, the body loses its ability to manufacture enzymes (young adults have thirty times the enzymes of the elderly); and, when we eat food that is cooked, it forces our bodies to manufacture enzymes for digestion, instead of enzymes that could be used for healing. Ultimately, when we don't have enough enzymes to carry out the basic needs of life, we die.
The SAD (Standard American Diet) of meat, bread, dairy, processed and cooked foods, caffeine and alcohol is not only totally devoid of enzymes, it also creates an acidic state in the body which causes a variety of health problems. On the cellular level, our body needs to be in a predominantly alkaline state to take in nutrients and oxygen efficiently and expel toxins.