Sunday 14 June 2009

Why Raw Food #3: Nutrients

Eating raw foods is a way to give your body some of the nutrition it desperately needs.
Many of us are at least slightly overweight, and even the morbidly obese are starving for essential proteins and amino acids. All the processed, cooked foods we eat give us only a small percentage of what we need. Consequently, we eat and eat and yet we’re still not nourished. Psychologists try to tell us we’re eating to make up for an emptiness in our souls. Wrong! Our bodies are empty and trying to tell us so.

Eating raw foods is good for us on so many levels. It’s satisfying to eat them. They take more time to chew and swallow, so we don’t eat as fast. And we’re getting so much more in the way of nutrition by consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts and sprouts.

Cooking dramatically alters food nutrients

Cooking fruit and vegetables alter their nutritive quality. When foods go through the cooking process, this heating process destroys about one-third to one-half of the vitamins A and C, riboflavin and thiamin. Cooked fats are dramatically deteriorated. Processed foods, with their high-fat high-sodium content, are hard to digest. They take an enormous amount of the body’s energy to consume. When your body’s energy isn’t used up digesting all that fat, it’s available for YOU – for work, play, love, exercise – in other words, for LIFE.

Most raw food, like our bodies, is very perishable. When raw foods are exposed to temperatures above 118 degrees, they start to rapidly break down, just as our bodies would if we had a fever that high. One of the constituents of foods which can break down are enzymes. Enzymes help us digest our food. Enzymes are proteins though, and they have a very specific 3-dimensional structure in space. Once they are heated much above 118 degrees, this structure can change.
Once enzymes are exposed to heat, they are no longer able to provide the function for which they were designed. Cooked foods contribute to chronic illness, because their enzyme content is damaged and thus requires us to make our own enzymes to process the food. The digestion of cooked food uses valuable metabolic enzymes in order to help digest your food. Digestion of cooked food demands much more energy than the digestion of raw food. In general, raw food is so much more easily digested that it passes through the digestive tract in 1/2 to 1/3 of the time it takes for cooked food.

Enzyme-dead food makes you sick

Eating enzyme-dead foods places a burden on your pancreas and other organs and overworks them, which eventually exhausts these organs. Many people gradually impair their pancreas and progressively lose the ability to digest their food after a lifetime of ingesting processed foods.
It can take time to prepare raw foods however, that's why a juicer is an important addition to your kitchen once your start to be serious about raw foods. A good juicer can process an entire apple – seeds, stems, peel, pulp and all – and turn all that into a healthy, nutritious juice. As I mentioned in my previous post, a Champion juicer for instances extracts ALL of the nutrients from the vegetable or fruit, for you to absorb in a form that is very easily digested.
Buying apple juice is NOT the same thing!!! Don’t even look at apple juices or even ciders in the grocery store. Put that $2 or $3 aside and save up for a juicer. Buy bags of apples, orange, bananas, carrots and make your own juices to get everything from the fruit that you’d get by eating it raw.

Add variety

Now you’re getting juice that’s as fresh as the fruit or vegetable you made it from. No preservatives, no processing that strips most of the energy from the fruit. And think of all the delicious combinations you can make with the many tropical fruits that are available now in most grocery stores. You can customize your fruits and add non-typical ingredients like pumpkin to an orange juice. Now that’s a powerhouse of a juice!

You do want to be sure though, that you’re getting enough of the right kinds of nutrition. Eating raw foods doesn’t mean eating only the raw foods you like. Watermelon is good for you, but it’s not enough. The same with most foods. You’ll need to do a little research into which raw foods have the essential proteins, or what combinations of food you need to eat to get enough protein. Raw food eating is intended to nourish your body in a completely different way, but just being raw isn’t enough. You want to do this to be in balance, and you need to balance the raw foods you’re eating for proper nutrition.

One way to ensure that you are getting enough nutrients is to incorporate a new vegetable every week. Buy something you have never heard of, like a "leek", or "swiss chard". You will find a whole new world of tastes and textures open up to you. You will feel more and more deterred by fast food.

More recipes from my Champion juicer manual

Raw Breakfast Muesli
3-4 apples (pealed)
1 orange
2 spoonfuls raw oats (soaked in water all night)
1 spoonful raw wheat grains (soaked all night)
1/2 cup dates or figs
1/2 cup raw almonds, or any kind of nuts
Assemble the Champion juicer for homogenization, and pass the ingredients in the order indicated above. Add some raw sugar (no fructose syrup!) or honey to your taste. You can us different fruits, but always with an orange to avoid oxidzation. You can add cinnamon, ginger...

Almond Milk Carrot Juice
4-5 carrots (unpealed if organic, but thoroughly cleaned)
10 almonds (soaked all night - throw the water away)
Extract the juice of carrots, adding 2-3 almonds after each carrot. Finish with a carrot.
You'll have a carrot juice rich with all the nutrients of almonds. Eat at once.

Liquid salad
3 carrots
1/2 small onion
1 slice green pepper
1 cup squeezed spinach
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup cut parsley
2 tomatoes

Extract the juice in the order indicated above.
This "liquid salad" is great for people who cannot chew salads.