Raw eating is a huge part of the clean eating movement, and you know that when A-listers like Gwyneth Paltrow embrace it, there’s going to be an army of health-conscious individuals considering giving a raw food diet a go.
It’s also something that fits in quite naturally with the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, not a huge leap from a lot of our daily meals. So what exactly are the rules and benefits of raw eating?
The basics of raw eating
The thrust of a raw food diet is that it’s rich in uncooked vegetables, grains and fruits, seeds, nuts and soaked or sprouted beans. “Uncooked” food means not heated to temperatures above 46°C.
This is because Rawists follow a system that says raising food above this temperature destroys essential enzymes, which makes it more difficult to digest and reduces its nutrient levels.
A dehydrator can be used to help create foods such as breads and crackers, and filtered water must be used for drinking and food prep, to make sure you’re not potentially absorbing any nasty toxins.
It’s thought that even going just 75% raw could result in dramatic improvements in your vitality, and even just incorporating more raw foods into your diet could have a positive effect on health.
Start the day the raw way
Smoothies are the easiest way to pack in a nutrient-rich meal as an early win each day, and, when you’re time-poor, they can be prepped at home and wolfed down while you’re on the go.Use nut milks as a base and add in veggie protein powders to pack an extra nutritional punch. Get started with this breakfast smoothie from Deliciously Ella or try our Manuka, Turmeric and Ginger Overnight Oats recipe for a heartier raw breakfast.
Snack attackSo snacking raw is a no-brainer. Nuts, seeds, fruits and berries are all easy go-tos. Protein balls are also a handy way of eating raw on the go.
Apart from the obvious salads, a raw food diet can consist of raw twists on your favourite dishes.
Try carrot or courgette veggie noodles made with a spiralizer, with a fresh ginger, lime and coconut milk and nut butter sauce.
Experiment with collard green or cabbage leaf vegan wraps, stuffed with beans, your favourite veggies and a salsa dressing.
Make raw “rice” by pulsing nuts, parsnips, cauliflower or carrots in a food processor, season, and use to make veggie sushi rolls.
Raw soups are a great way of cramming in the nutrients. Try blitzing tomatoes, red pepper, carrots, dates, chipotle, tahini and lime juice in a blender, season and garnish with thinly sliced celery and add a drizzle of chilli oil.
Phase it in
Eating a fully raw food diet can be quite a change, depending on what your diet was like before, and you might find it easier to ease into it instead of going fully raw all in one go.
This is most easily done by picking one day a week where you eat completely raw. You can then increase that by a day at a time gradually.
Like anything, the more you practise it, the easier it becomes to follow a raw food diet, and soon you’ll be wondering why you didn’t go raw, and reap the benefits sooner!