Eat a Raw Food Diet and Look Younger
By Susan O’Brien
What is this RAW FOOD diet all about and how can it make me look younger? The RAW FOOD diet is rapidly becoming the most talked about diet in America. What is it all about and how can we incorporate this lifestyle into our lives with out countless hours of dehydration and food preparation? There is also a shroud of “out-there” surrounding the raw food movement. “If I only eat raw will I stop shaving my armpits and join a commune”? “Will I become that annoying evangelist who never gets invited to a dinner party because I only talk about raw food and how it makes you super human”?
Here is my real life, real mom experience with the Raw Food Diet and how I walked away from 9 months of being 99% raw to become a total fan of raw food AND someone you still might want to invite to a dinner party (I hope).
First the Cleanse: It all started when I was turning 40 and wanted to do something for ME. NOT my kids, my husband or my 3 animals. But ME! I first started with the Master Cleanse. Which if you have never done a cleanse, I highly recommend that you research one that works for you. The Master Cleanse is a great one (the Master Cleanse is a yellow pamphlet that can be purchased at most Whole Foods Markets - it is always best to consult your doctor before doing a cleanse). I personally love the Master Cleanse because you don’t eat anything for several days. You just drink lemonade made with fresh lemons and maple syrup. When your body doesn’t have to digest food it can start to flush toxins and repair cellar damage. It was strange how after the first day or two you stop being hungry and you cannot believe how great you will sleep during this time.
Years of ingesting toxins from pesticides, environmental toxins that we absorb from the air we breath, as well as the chemicals that leach into our skin from sun screens and topical creams are stored in our fat cells. Doing a cleanse will allow you to burn off these old fat cells and flush out these stored toxins. Not to mention, you will loose weight, which is for most the number one reason for doing a cleanse!
After the Master Cleanse, it was time to eat again so I decided to eat only raw foods. The Raw Food Diet is comprised of only raw fruits, vegetables and raw nuts and seeds. It is vegan and gluten free, which is also a nice added benefit.
Living raw foods are loaded with digestive enzymes and co-factors that help us more quickly absorb the nutrients from our foods higher up in the gastric region rather than relying on the pancreas to manufacture these enzymes for us. When we rely solely on the pancreas to offer up our digestive enzymes our food sits for a longer time in our stomach and intestines waiting for these enzymes to take effect, which then causes the stomach to store this food longer and create more stomach acid.
When we flood our bodies with living enzymes at the moment we begin chewing our food, we absorb our nutrients quicker and more efficiently which de-stresses the pancreas by allowing it to produce enzymes for other important metabolic functions. When we cook foods above 118 degrees the vitamins & minerals in our foods are still prevalent but these vital enzymes and co-factors needed to absorb them are destroyed.
When you eat more raw foods you will quickly notice less fullness after meals, increased energy, faster emptying of the stomach, decreased gas and more regular bowel habits. The greatest of all benefits of the Raw Foods Diet is you will shed pounds rapidly.
Once my ideal body weight was achieved I began to incorporate more cooked foods back into my diet in the way of steamed veggies first, and then I moved to raw fish and eventually a meal of cooked seafood once or twice a week.
The whole process I just described creates an environment in the body that decreases the amount of stress on the body, which in turns slows the aging process and makes you look and feel younger! Another added benefit is most food allergies begin to dissipate because most food allergies are caused by an inability to manufacture the enzymes needed to absorb foods. That is why so many people are allergic to dairy. Those who are allergic to dairy don’t produce lactase and when they ingest pasteurized dairy (which is heated above 118 and void of any digestive enzymes) they can’t digest dairy at all.
Here are some easy ways to incorporate more raw foods into your regime:
- Eat only raw nuts and nut butters rather than roasted.
- Eat raw veggies with every meal.
- Make every meal at least 50-70% raw.
- Add raw fruit/veggie smoothies into your daily ritual.
- Learn about all the wonderful raw superfoods and how to add them into your daily regime.
- Begin to juice greens and add this to your daily intake.
- If you’re making a fruit based smoothie throw in a handful of spinach for greens.
- Explore the different raw food snacking options now available at most Whole Foods Markets and other natural retailers. You will be amazed at how flavorful and satisfying these foods can be. (check out our line of raw snacks at www.hailmerry.com)
- Raw desserts are so yummy and not off limits on a raw food diet. They kept me “in the game” and were so delicious.
Here are a few things to avoid:
Don’t over eat nuts & seeds, which a lot of new raw foodist do in the beginning to replace meat and dairy. Just remember that nuts are extremely healing but our livers can only digest one handful of nuts at a time
Eat your fruits don’t drink them! Raw foodist tend to over juice. Raw fruit juices are too carb/sugar loading. Sugar highs from over juicing can throw our thyroid and adrenal functioning out of balance.
Don’t freak out about the perceived lack of protein – Dark Leafy greens and nuts are loaded with protein. Plant based protein is also more easily digestible and you don’t need as many grams of plant protein to maintain muscle. You would be surprised at how many pro athletes are thriving on a vegan diet!
Here is my favorite raw salad dressing recipe that kept me in the raw food game in the beginning. I put this dressing on everything!
Raw Ranch Dressing
½ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Celtic Sea Salt
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 cup whole, raw macadamia nuts
1/3 cup cold-pressed olive oil
Blend all of the ingredients until very smooth. Add water to achieve desired consistency. Pour over chopped salad of choice.