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Going Raw...why its not just about eating cold food! Part 1

Jan 16, 2016

Over the last ten days I have been assisting Kate Magic: the most experienced raw food promoter in Europe,  at a raw food retreat on a tiny island off Malta called Gozo. Kate has over 20 years experience of raw eating and raised her three lovely sons on a raw diet. As this way of eating probably sounds like a foreign language, I thought it would make a great Blog Post.

For those not in the know, ‘eating raw’ can sound like a very foreign deprivation diet. In reality this is quite the contrary and raw food has opened my eyes and many others to eating amazing and exciting healthy foods.

“Listen to your body…you are your own body”  Kate Magic

There are many benefits of incorporating raw food into our daily eating rituals. To be raw or to eat raw doesn’t mean that you must only limit yourself to cold food or live in LA (quite to the surprise of a therapist we met last week that insisted on touching Kate to see if she felt cold!). Eating in this way was defined really well in a radio programme I was listening to before Christmas, which summarised the perfect diet as: “eat less, mainly plants”. Simple really.

If we want to be truly healthy, we need to be kind to our own body and give it the respect it deserves. If that is not something you have done for the majority of your life then a bit of patience could be in order. You see it takes seven years for all of the cells in our bodies to renew and so to truly detoxify, this is the period of time you will need to give the body the love it needs to be healthful.

Our body is made up of billions of cells and within this matrix are thousands of enzymes that allow our body to do the jobs it needs to do! As we get older, we lose the ability to manufacture our own enzymes and so, in time our body starts to age. This is where the raw food part comes in. By eating a proportion (or all if that’s what you choose to do) of food which has been heated to no more than 42°C we can consume these enzymes from plants allowing our bodies to function at an optimum level for much longer. For those of you who would like to appear younger, this is the true secret to youthfulness!

 

So how can you incorporate more raw plant based food into your diet? 

NUTRIENT DENSITY

“Don’t get hooked on raw…get hooked on nutrients”  Kate Magic

Consuming a proportion of nutrient dense, raw plants in your daily diet is a great start. The most nutritious plants are green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and chard. It’s an easy trap to fall into to overdose on fruit thinking that this is the healthiest thing you can eat. Fruit is high in nutrients and it is very cleansing but it is also high in sugar and very easy for the body to break down taking about 20 minutes to digest. This may result in a sugar crash and a craving for more. The sugar and acid contained in a lot of fruit is also pretty bad for our teeth and gums so it's best to stick to one portion of fruit per day. 

Another temptation is to live off nuts, especially if you choose to be completely plant based. Nuts are really satisfying and they help us to feel full but they also contain enzyme inhibitors making them difficult for the body to digest. If you think about the journey a nut or seed has to go through, this might make a bit more sense. Nuts and seeds were designed to be ingested by birds and animals and then to be pooped out the other end intact, so that a plant can grow. Nuts are best eaten having been soaked for a period of time: nuts for 4-8 hours and seeds for 2-4 hours. This reactivates the enzymes within the seed. Blend with water to make delicious nut milks or with cauliflower to make incredible cauliflower rice!

Eating raw can provide an injection of alkalinity that your body requires to balance out acidity caused by our hectic lifestyles. Sprouts and indoor greens are an especially easy way to boost the nutrient content of your diet. Most seeds can be sprouted (there are many videos online to show you how) and are a great addition to a soup, salad or blended into a dip. 

Sea vegetables, yes you’re right, I do mean seaweed, are very high in iodine and many other nutrients. This may seem incredibly foreign to start, but soaked and marinated brings an amazing depth of flavour to a salad or sauce. Raw nori sheets are also really easy to find and combined with cauliflower rice can make amazing sushi! 

 

Fermented vegetables are very popular at the moment, even if they do remind you of something your grandmother might have concocted.  What’s the deal? Well our bodies’ are host to billions of foreign bacteria, both good and bad. There is over 1kg in your gut alone! You need the correct balance of good bacteria to keep any bad bacteria in check. Fermented food and drinks contain this good bacteria allowing you to maintain an even balance. If you haven’t tried fermented foods before, try exploring sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kefir. They are quite potent so you really don’t need very much. A tablespoon of sauerkraut to accompany a meal is all you need!

Greens powders are another way of consuming alkaline boosting nutrients even if they do taste like pond water! Look out for powders that contain wheatgrass and barleygrass as these are the most alkaline and can help to balance out blood acidity brought about by our hectic lifestyles. Spiralina, chlorella and Klamath Lake algae are some of the most nutrient dense. Chlorella is a fantastic addition for athletes as it contains growth factor helping to repair and built, it takes oxygen to where it is needed within the body and provides our cells with energy. It is also a tool to help us remove harmful toxins from our bodies as it chelates to harmful pesticides and excretes them from the body. Look out for good blends of greens powders: Amazing Grass, Sunwarrior and Phil Richards all sell blends that actually taste nice! Try blending Phil Richards Mint choc Greens with ice and unsweetened almond milk for a refreshing shake.

A really simple way to get more nutrients into your day is through a refreshing green juice. This may sound intimidating at first but give it a try and you will feel hydrated, revitalized and energised. Incorporating a greens juice into your day allows you to absorb all the beneficial nutrients in bulk without making your body do all the hard work! The average person uses 80% of their energy in digestion so this is an easy way to great nutrient hit! Many green drinks on the market contain a lot of fruit: apple, kiwi, mango etc. Try keeping it veg based, adding a touch of alkaline fruit sweetness: lime, lemon or grapefruit.

You don’t need a fancy juicer to make a greens juice if you know you are going to drink it straight away, a blender is a great way to make lots of juice really quickly.

INGREDIENTS

1 Cucumber

½ head celery

½ grapefruit, peeled

1 cm ginger root

1 handful greens: spinach, kale, lettuce etc

METHOD

Put the soft veg into the blender first: cucumber and grapefruit and blend to a soup consistency

Add all other ingredients, a few at a time and blend until liquid. If you do not own a high-speed blender, you may need to add some water to help the process along.

Strain through a sieve, nut bag or some muslin (even a clean tea towel will do the trick) into a large bowl

Squeeze all the juice out until you have just a handful of dry pulp left in the bag. The pulp actually makes really great dog food!

Pour into glasses and drink straight away.

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