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The basics of a raw food diet

Posted by by Bea James, senior manager of organic, natural and sustainable programs
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Raw foods are a revolution. Really? Geez, my hippy friends and I from years gone by have been eating raw foods since 1975, although back then we just called it… well, hippy food. Nuts, dried fruit, kale and sprouts galore are just a few of our favorites.

There’s a new generation afoot and they’ve rebranded hippy food as raw foods.

Raw foods are a growing trend and it’s all about eating fresh, raw and sprouted foods to detoxify and invigorate the body. I must admit it works; at least it did for me.

A raw foods diet consists of unprocessed, raw vegan foods (vegan means no animal products of any kind, even honey) that have not been heated above 115° F. "Raw foodists" believe foods cooked above this temperature have lost their enzymes and nutritional value, so they’re potentially harmful to the body, whereas uncooked foods provide living enzymes and deliver more of the full nutritional value. There can be many benefits to eating raw foods, including weight loss, increased energy, clear skin, improved digestion and improved overall health. The best part of a raw foods diet is you eat tons of vegetables and fruits, and our produce department is packed with many summer-fresh options.

Sprouted lentils and soaked raw almonds

A raw foods diet includes: all raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, sprouts, root vegetables and squashes, fresh herbs, raw spices and seaweeds. Key equipment to go with a raw foods diet is a dehydrator, a juicer and time to prepare it all.

Sounds extreme, I know, but it’s really very good and your body will love you for it. Don’t worry if you’re a snack-attacker because there are many ready-to-go raw foods for your snacks, like Brads Raw Kale Chips, Raw Revolution Bars or you can make your own raw foods trail mix. Below I’ve included a satisfying raw trail mix where all the ingredients can be found in our bulk foods or produce departments.

I started a 100% raw diet in March of this year and I feel great! After my trial period, I now eat about 75% raw foods because I can’t live without my cooked, yummy brown rice with tamari, and the occasional sweet potato fries. Most of my intake is based around lots of vegetables, fruits, smoothies and sprouted grains and seeds. Sprouting beans and seeds is easy and a great way to add more ‘alive’ nutrition to your diet.

All you need is sprouting beans, like mung or radish seeds, a few canning jars and mesh that you cut out to go into the lid. A helpful resource for learning more about sprouting techniques is ‘The Sprouting Book,’ by Ann Wigmore. I’ve had this book since the mid-1980s and it’s a well-worn treasure with all its water marks and dog-eared pages.

Eating a completely raw foods diet is not for everyone; however, you can still reap benefits by eating just a few raw meals a week. Hey, you might already be a raw foodie whenever you enjoy a salad, a piece of fruit or a handful of walnuts for a snack!

Here’s to modernized hippy food!

Bea’s Totally Rad Raw Trail Mix

  • 10 Medjool pitted dates, cut into ¼” pieces
  • 1 cup raw, shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons golden ground flax meal
  • 1 cup dried apricots, sliced into ¼” strips
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

Put diced Medjool dates in a medium bowl and sprinkle coconut and ground flax over them, gently toss dates in coconut and flax until dates are covered. Add remaining ingredients. Toss all until combined. Store in 12 half-cup containers or bags for on-the-go yum!

PS Raw Medjool dates are the bomb!

Makes 6 cups

Tags: raw foodraw

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