Your whole food, plant-based life.

Why Eat Raw

Why Eat Raw

Food sustains us,… Yet what we eat may affect our risk for several of the leading causes of death for Americans, notably, coronary heart disease, stroke, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, and some types of cancer. These disorders together now account for more than two-thirds of all deaths in the United States.” -former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop

It is estimated that 60% of disease is caused by the SAD diet (Standard American Diet). If food is the culprit, I believe that food can be the answer. As we become mindful about what we eat, we can start to make choices that promote our health over illness. Food is consumed for nutrition but it is also consumed for pleasure. What happens if we learn how to satisfy our pleasure receptors with healthy food? Our lives improve.

veggies

What do our bodies need to eat raw?

What are the building blocks that our bodies need to function? Enzymes, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, protein, essential fats and fiber. These are all provided by our food and are involved in growth, repair and maintenance of the body. Let’s take a quick look at each of these and what they do for you.

Enzymes

Enzymes convert the food we eat into chemical structures that can pass though the membranes of the cells lining the digestive tract and into the blood stream. Their job doesn’t end there. Enzymes are the living proteins that direct the life force into our biochemical and metabolic processes. They help transform and store energy, make active hormones, dissolve fiber and prevent clotting. They have anti-inflammatory effects. Enzymes help balance and restore the immune system, and heal many diseases. Enzymes even help repair our DNA and our RNA.

When we cook food, we destroy many of the enzymes that help us naturally digest it.

Vitamins

Without vitamins our cells would not function properly and thus our organs would suffer and eventually we would no longer be able to survive. Vitamins help regulate metabolism, help convert fat and carbohydrates into energy, and assist in forming bone and tissue. Guess what happens when you cook food? You got it, a large percentage of the vitamins are destroyed.

Viktoras Kulvinskas in his book, Survival into the 21st Century, estimates that the overall nutrient destruction is as high as 80%. Tests have shown that we will lose 50% of the B vitamins while B1 and B12 can lose up to 96%. 97% of folic acid is destroyed as well as 70-80 % of vitamin C.

Minerals

Seventeen of the thirty elements known to be essential to life are metals. Mineral deficiencies cause disease in humans. Minerals also have a synergistic relationship with vitamins. They help each other help us. When foods are cooked, many of the minerals are destroyed, or altered, rendering them useless and also unable to assist our friends the vitamins.

Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are what give fruits and vegetables their color. Phytos protect the body and fight disease. They also fight cancer and help your heart. Phytonutrient are at leading edge of research on nutrition. They provide medicine for cell health. And once again, Phytonutrients in freshly harvested plant foods can be destroyed or removed by cooking.

Why Eat Raw?

It just starts to make sense. If cooking destroys the vital and essential nutrients that we need to stay healthy, eating our food raw does the opposite. It provides us with what we need for our health and well being. I know from experience that when I am eating at least 80% raw, I have more energy, more mental focus, and all of the pesky things that irritate me on a daily basis, like acid reflux and my daily aches and pains, dissipate. I also know that I am feeding my body what it needs to thrive, not just survive.






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125 Comments

  1. Sara wrote on May 3, 2010

    “It is estimated that 60% of disease is caused by the SAD diet (Standard American Diet).”

    From where, exactly, did you get this statistic? Is there some sort of study I can see? And where did the acronym/name SAD diet come from?
    Also, doesn’t dehydrating food take just as much of the nutrients out of it as heating it to cook it does? If you dehydrate it, isn’t that a form of cooking? Doesn’t that make the food NOT raw?
    I am a little confused about some aspects of your diet. Thanks for enlightening me!

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on May 3, 2010

      You might want to read some of the articles on the site. Dehydrating isn’t the same as cooking, as we keep the temp under 116, keeping all the enzymes vitamins and minerals in tack. The quote came from C. Everett Koop, the former surgeon general of the United States, as for SAD, it is a common expression. Google it. Many of your questions will best be answered if you actually read the site. 🙂

      Reply
  2. tim wrote on April 30, 2010

    @ Jerry I actually just started eating a 100% raw food diet after years of horrible digestive problems. I researched a lot of information online and after trying tons of other things I read a book called “The Raw Secrets: The Raw Vegan Diet in the Real World …:”. It talks about food combining and Shelton actually. The book had great reviews and although I am still feeling very sick (my digestive symptoms are even worse than usual which I was warned about in the book as a symptom of detox that should dissipate shortly) after only a week, I am hopeful that my symptoms will begin to improve. Already I have more energy and wake up about an hour earlier than usual way before my alarm goes off. Anyways, you may be able to find some more info you are looking for in this book and it is only like 10 bucks on Amazon.

    Reply
  3. Cari wrote on April 26, 2010

    Thanks for the great breakdown!
    To address some of the comments, the way I see it – we all need to get a wide variety of veggies and fruits in daily. Eat your rainbow.
    Of course it is way more complicated than that but generally speaking – many of us could improve our health so much by doing just that. I started by adding green smoothies, then green juices, more salads, then eliminating meat (chicken, fish, and grass feed red meat because I learned how contaminated they are and how hard it is on our environment and my body to digest).
    The proof is in the pudding! =) I added greens, eliminated animal products = I feel better than I’ve felt in years. I suggest people try adding green smoothies/juices and salads for a month and see how you feel.
    Thanks for the website Susan! Love it!

    Reply
  4. Jerry wrote on April 25, 2010

    Susan, I have to echo Brit and say that this site and the information and recipes you have put together are really awesome. I have been raw for about two months now, but not as completely as I would like. I am currently living in the Philippines and have plenty of raw fruit and vegetables available, but the only additions I have are rolled oats from the local store and processed honey (neither of which are raw, but as close as I can currently get). That’s how I came across your site. I was looking for recipes on how to make due with what I do have.

    I guess the question I have, though, has to do with food combining. As I have researched eating raw and such, I have also read about how certain types of foods don’t combine well when eaten together. One site I found had “Nine Rules for Proper Food Combining” By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton. It talked about how eating certain foods together can cause the body distress. Is this something you have heard about? And if so, do you know of any new research into this area? Dr. Shelton wrote his information back in the 1950’s, though that doesn’t negate the truth of the information. He also wrote a book called “Food Combining Made Easy” which I am only part way through.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on April 25, 2010

      Jerry, thanks for the kind words. Honestly, I have not delved much into food combining. Simply by eating raw, I feel I have eliminated many of the issues that I, personally had. I am curious if when Dr Shelton devised his rules, he was talking about cooked food. Also, the rules are pretty stringent. But if this is something that speaks to you, learn more about it.

      Reply
  5. brit wrote on April 16, 2010

    Hi,

    First, Id like to say that I am very impressed with this site and all the recipes. You have done an amazing job at making raw more accessible and informative to people. But I was wondering if it is ok to eat any meat at all. And how do you feel about organic meats?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on April 17, 2010

      Brit: Personally I don’t eat meat. But I am not here to tell you whether you should or shouldn’t. That is a personal decision.

      Reply
  6. Sarah wrote on March 15, 2010

    Hi, I’m a college student and love some of the recipes on this site, but I do feel the need to correct an erroneous statement. Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions in our cells (you got many of the functions right), and they basically carry out all the reactions needed to make humans live. The part that you may have wrong, however, is that our supply is exhaustible. Our DNA codes for all the enzymes that we need, and our cells synthesize them (remember, enzymes are just special proteins) out of amino acids (which are the components of all proteins). What we need from our food are the 8 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make, and our digestive systems are designed to break *all* the protein we eat down into amino acids. This means that even if you eat enzymes, unless the enzyme is designed to work inside your digestive tract (and can pass through your stomach’s acid without being broken down), it will not reach the cells that need it. It’s component parts (amino acids) will, however, and your cells will put them back together into exactly what your body needs, which may or may not be the enzyme or other protein that you ate in the first place.
    To make sure you get all the amino acids you need (without eating meat), I’d reccommend eating a good variety of plant foods, as most plants are missing at least one or two. Try mixing legumes and grains.

    Reply
  7. Davy wrote on February 26, 2010

    I have nothing against eating raw – but does it have to be all-or-nothing? Many important foods nutrients are only accessible to humans by cooking. Also, the method of cooking can have an additive or negative affect on food. Some foods certainly should be eaten raw for maximum benefit, but others are better for you cooked.

    Reply
    • Susan wrote on February 27, 2010

      Of course it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you read further into the site, you will realize that I promote eating as much raw as you can, not being 100% and having no judgment if you are not 100%. I promote doing what you can to replace foods that are not healthy with foods that are healthy. We are inclusive here, not exclusive.

      Reply

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