How to incorporate more raw food into your diet

| Sunday, May 16th, 2010 | No Comments »

Raw food.

Pilates Plus Wellness Center Nutrition

Enjoy robust health with raw foods!

You have probably heard about the health benefits of incorporating more raw food into your diet – but you may be wondering how you get started. This article will show you how by answering some of the more common questions about raw foods.

What do you mean by “raw foods”?

There are many different ways to define a raw diet. Raw food aficionados have varying viewpoints; some people advocate a raw vegan diet while others believe that raw meat and unprocessed dairy are a component of healthy living.

For our purposes, when we say “raw food,” we mean uncooked, unprocessed, organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. As you will see, this definition encompasses a wide range of culinary delights.

Why should I eat more raw foods?

Optimal health benefits

The biggest benefits of enjoying fresh, unprocessed plant food is that you will be able to easily meet the daily requirement for fruits and vegetables that lead to optimal health.

What is this requirement? According to the Harvard School of Public Health, you should try to up to thirteen servings a day!

Easier weight loss

Like most of us who have increased our intake of raw foods, you may be surprised at how full you will feel and how quickly you will be able to shed extra weight. The reason for this is four-fold:

  1. Raw fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories. For example, if you snack on a slice of leftover cheese pizza, you are consuming about 230 calories (and who can eat only one slice?). If you choose raw apples instead, you would have to eat over three-and-a-half to get the same level of calories. Three apples will most certainly fill you up!
  2. Raw vegetables and most raw fruits have very low glycemic loads, which means that you have less excess insulin flooding your body when you eat. Excess insulin is indicated in obesity, diabetes, and some cancers.
  3. Raw plant matter is high in fiber. You will stay full and your digestion will work like clockwork!
  4. Our bodies absorb calories from cooked and processed foods very efficiently. Cooking was a wonderful advance in human nutrition back when foodstuffs were scarce—but in these modern times too many calories are the problem, not too few.

How do I get started?

The easiest thing you can do is simply eat more uncooked fruits and vegetables! When you plan your meals, opt for a salad, bell pepper wedges, or a luscious fruit plate instead of traditional sides like cooked potatoes, rice, noodles, or bread.

Also, when shopping, choose uncooked walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, etc. instead of the usual salty snacks you buy. Grabbing a handful of raw nuts gives your body healthy fats and keeps you feeling full and satisfied.

If you like cooking already, you may find that exploring raw food preparation leaves you feeling a bit lost at first. Don’t worry! You can use this as an opportunity to try new recipes and flavors that will expand your culinary skills.

For example, are you curious about kale? Raw beets? How about exotic fruit like star fruit, mangoes, and kiwi? You now have a reason to drop those unusual produce items into your shopping cart.

What resources would be helpful?

Pilates Plus Wellness Center Nutrition Counseling

For our clients in Prince George’s County and vicinity such as Upper Marlboro, Dunkirk, Lothian, and Brandywine, we invite you to make an appointment for our Nutritional Counseling service.

Our counselor uses a holistic, whole foods approach based on the belief that minimally-processed, organic food is the best way to improve your health. We will with you on food mix, recipes and portion sizes.

Reading resources

One of the best sources of information on healthy foods is the non-profit website, World’s Healthiest Foods. This site, while not exclusively raw, advocates a minimal cooking approach to most fruits and vegetables and offers easy recipes for fresh foods. And if you want to know any nutritional data on these foods, this is the place for that, too.

Another good source of information is Jonny Bowden’s book, 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Again, this is not an exclusively raw book, but he demystifies many fruits and vegetables and explains ways in which they can be enjoyed.

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At Pilates Plus Wellness Center, we care about you and your quest for a healthy lifestyle. If this article inspires you to try raw foods, please share your experiences with us in the comments section. We would love to hear your thoughts!

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