As a raw foodist, I maintain a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, greens and superfoods, juices, smoothies, fermented foods, and sprouts of all varieties. Being a raw foodist has become less of a diet and rather a complete revolution and way of life for me. I have gone through tremendous transformations and severe, BUT SPECTACULAR changes throughout my journey, and my passion is to share my experiences and knowledge with all who show an interest in feeling a true sense of physical and emotional well being
I revel in raw and living foods and believe that through diet and lifestyle changes, we have the power to change those things in our lives that are far from great and make the greatest of things even greater, hence, “All Good Things Are Wild and Free……,” and Raw! There are so many fantastic foods, and I am going to discuss 10 foods that I consider to be the healthiest.
Green Foods and drinks are essential in the diet, including cereal grasses and microalgae. From wheatgrass (my favorite!) to spirulina, green foods are packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, chlorophyll, enzymes, alkalinity, antioxidants, protein, antioxidants, nucleic acids, and fatty acids. Green foods have cleansing qualities, (lymph, blood, cells) and restore proper balance throughout the body, as well as balancing pH. Cancer and disease can only survive in an acidic environment, and therefore introducing green foods into your diet will maintain a more alkaline environment and ward off cancers and diseases. Green foods also boost immunity, prevent disease, and reduce inflammation, and in my opinion, are essential nutritional champions! (226)
Number 2 on my top 10 list is Sea Veggies and Seweeds. “There is practically no group of plants on the planet richer in nutrients, minerals, and trace minerals.” (235) So therefore, seaweeds are full of essential minerals, as well as vitamins, amino acids, calcium, iodine, and iron. Seaweed is an amazing food for cancer prevention, possessing polysaccharides that have anti-tumor/anti-cancer properties. Environmental hazards can be warded off by consuming seaweed as well. Seaweed detoxifies the body of pollution, toxins, and even radiation. Teeth and bones are also helped with seaweed due to high levels of fluorine, which also acts as an immunity booster. (236) And seaweeds are very easy to prepare! Soaked and rehydrated, you can add essential, healthy oils (sesame, olive) and seasonings and you have amazing nutrition and a delicious meal. My favorite seaweeds are arame, hijiki, and dulse, but truly all seaweeds are nutritious, mineral and vitamin packed, and delicious.
Number 3 is apples. “An apple a day keeps the Dr. away!” Apples are full of fiber, antioxidants and a flavanoid called quercetin, which has been shown to prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells, colon cancer cells, and reduce the risk of lung cancer. (93) Apples have the second highest level of antioxidant activity of any other commonly consumed fruit in the US, as well as phenolic compounds, offering flavanoids with exceptional healing qualities. (93) Apples are also excellent for cardiovascular health, diabetes prevention, and bone health. Boron, found in apples, is very beneficial for osteoporosis and arthritis. (94) It is imperative to be choosy when buying apples however, as they are in the top 12 foods most contaminated with pesticides. Buy organic and always wash and scrub before eating. ( 95) I buy fruit and vegetable wash and clean all of my produce with this in order to be sure that I am avoiding pesticides and other threats at all costs.
Coconut is my number 4. I love coconut and all of it’s awesome attributes. The coconut is known as the “Tree of Life,” and you will soon see why. From the water to the milk to coconut oil, and the yummy meat too, this is a food that boasts good health and satisfaction all around. The water in Young Thai coconuts is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. Comparable to human plasma, it has and can been a donor replacement and has saved many lives in third world countries through the coconut IV. Coconut water contains lauric acid, giving it similar nutritional value to a human mother’s milk, as well as offering antiviral and antimicrobial properties. (108)
Full of natural sugars, vitamins, and essential amounts of sodium, coconut water replenishes lost fluids and energy from activity and/or dehydration. High in potassium and chloride, coconut water is a natural and delicious energy booster! Coconut is full of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and heart healthy fat. It has also been shown to prevent heart disease, colon cancer, digestive problems, obesity, and atherosclerosis. (pg107) Coconut has essential fatty acids and saturated fats which are easy to metabolize, aid in immunity, and play a key role in health. Capric acid is also found in coconuts, giving antibacterial effects and aiding in candida and bacterial infections. MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides), also found in coconut oil, aids in weight loss, cystic fibroids, cachexia, AIDS, childhood epilepsy, and STDs.
Number 5, Fermented Foods, are absolutely amazing. Fermentation promotes health through the production of probiotics and good intestinal flora. (229) Lactobacillus, healthy bacteria, are essential for maintaining a healthy intestinal tract, proper digestion, and excellent immunity. Also good for heart health and inflammation, fermented foods should be a part of everyones diet. Kimchi, sauerkrauts, Kombucha, miso and nato from fermented soy, and the list goes on…., fermented foods have antioxidants, high levels of vitamins and minerals (C, B, calcium, potassium, and iron), amino acids, and dietary fiber. (230)
Sprouts are number 6. “Sprouts are one of the most complete and nutritional foods on the planet.” They are rich in enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, and phytochemicals. (238) Sprouts are loaded with phytonutrients, cancer-fighting compounds, protective chemicals (indole-3-carbinole), and sulphoraphane, an enzyme production increaser which fights free radicals and carcinogens. Saponins, found in alfalfa sprouts, offer antibiotic and antimicrobial properties, cancer prevention, and an immune boost. Careful consideration should be taken when consuming sprouts, as non-organic sprouts are often sanitized with chlorine to attempt to kill bacteria. Therefore, organic sprouts should only be consumed. Because sprouts may harbor some bacteria, those people who have an extremely compromised immune system may want to limit intake. (239) Overall, sprouts are a must as vitamins, minerals, and protein content increases immensely when a seed or nut is sprouted and sprouts are a sure nutrient rich dietary essential.
Almonds are number 7! Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts eaten in their raw state and as butter and even almond milk. I will note that it is imperative to eat almonds and any nut in it’s raw state, preserving the enzymes and keeping the nut alive rather than roasted and “dead.” I use the analogy that if you were to place a raw almond in the ground next to a roasted one, eventually the raw almond would sprout and grow, where the roasted almond would decay and waste away suggesting that in it’s raw state, an almond maintains essential nutrients and “life” and is most nutritious. I also suggest soaking almonds for a few hours or even better, over night before consuming, as this germinates the nut and activates the enzymes (essentially bringing the nut to life). Almonds are packed with monounsaturated fat, a healthy fat that boasts cholesterol reduction and heart disease and cancer prevention. Packed with protein and dietary fiber, almonds are a great and satisfying food. In addition, almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, as well as an essential amino acid arginine which protects the heart and arteries. Almonds have also been shown to reduce body fat and promote weight loss when eaten in moderation. A great treat on salads, added to stir frys or other meals, and blended with water to make milk which can replace dairy milk for cereals and recipes, almonds are a smart, nutritious, and delicious immune boosting food. (147-148)
Berries of all kinds are my number 8 top foods! Blueberries are excellent for the brain and memory. An anti-aging food, blueberries are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory characteristics, protecting against aging and aiding neurons communication in the brain. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, arthritis, and even diabetes can be prevented by adding blueberries to the diet, especially due to the polyphenols which help to maintain and build new neurons. ORAC, or oxygen radical absorbance capacity, is a rating system for antioxidant power in foods. (102) Blueberries have ranked highest, loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals, and pterostilbene, which lower lipids and regulates fatty acid metabolism and fats in the bloodstream preventing arterial plaquing. Cancer you ask? Blueberries have amazing cancer fighting qualities too due to their ability to produce a particular flavanoid that inhibits a cancer promoting enzyme. (102) Raspberries are full of fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K for bones. (137) Full of anti-tumor Ellagic acid, raspberries have been shown to aid in cell death of cancer cells and protect and build new healthy cells. Memorial Sloan-Kettering has also done studies which have shown that Ellagic acid has amazing antiviral and antibacterial properties. (138) As with blueberries, raspberries also have anti-inflammatory qualities due to anthocyanins which inhibit cyclooxygenase compounds that signal pain, inflammation, and ultimately arthritis. Isn’t it a better choice to eat raspberries rather than taking pharmaceutical drugs that utilize man-made substances that mimic anthocyanins but deliver unpleasant and even deadly side effects?!?
And strawberries! Cancer protecting along with other berries, strawberries and blackberries as well contain Ellagic acid also, reducing tumor growth and carcinogenic effects. Strawberries also are brain food and protect nerve cells, and anthocyanins are also abundant in strawberries delivering natural anti-inflammatory qualities. So Hooray for Berries! (Please note that like apples, strawberries are ranked high on pesticide contamination, so it is important to buy organic and wash thoroughly.) (139)
Kale, Kale, and more Kale-a star green for sure and my number 9 top food! Kale has an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of 1770, ranking #1 among all vegetables, fighting cell damaging free radicals with essential antioxidants and phytochemicals. (46) Kale is excellent for fighting cancer, loaded with cancer fighting indoles and sulforaphane. A great way to release sulforaphane is through blending kale, which triggers the liver to remove free radicals and other DNA damage causing chemicals. (46) This is where one of my favorite treats comes in to play, the Green Smoothie! Fruit, like berries, kale, and coconut water blended up is an awesome nutritional treat that should be added to everyone’s daily diet! And as if that’s not enough, kale is full of vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K, beta-carotine, lutein and zeaxanthin, protein and fiber. This is precisely why I believe that greens are essential in the diet and also play a key role in protein replacement for vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists like myself. Kale can be massaged with olive oil, lemon, and apple cider vinegar, which allows for un-cooking and maintaining essential enzymes and nutrients for a delicious and nutritious salad!
Number 10 on my list is water, the liquid of life essential for every metabolic process in the body. Our bodies are 83% water; muscles 75%, brain 74%, and bones 22%. (268) Water is the body’s flusher, removing toxins and waste and aiding in digestion and absorption of vitamins and nutrients. Although I retrieve water from my high intake of fruit and vegetables, water is still essential and hydration is the most important thing to focus on when it comes to wellness. Hydration promotes good circulation, healthy skin, proper metabolism, lubrication for joints and muscles, energy, and low risk for coronary heart disease. (269) Cells rely on water to function, so the more the merrier, especially if you are active and are prone to water loss and dehydration. It is crucial that we drink “good” water, meaning water that is purified and free of chemicals, pollutants, and environmental hazards. Water is more often than not contaminated, loaded with high levels of dangerous toxicity, so it is imperative to filter and purify water and steer clear of tap to maintain water safety.
Although there are so many more favorites in my list, these are my top 10! I could honestly go on forever listing foods and all of their amazing qualities. Please enjoy my above suggestions and as always, remember, “All Good Things Are Wild and Free,…..and RAW!”
Bowden, Johnny (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Massachussetts: Fair Winds Press.
What is this Raw Food all about?
Raw foodism entails eating food in a form as close to its natural state as possible, steering clear of cooking or heating foods so as to preserve nutrients and enzymes crucial to health and disease prevention. Cooking destroys these vital nutrients and proteins in foods and actually replaces them with harmful carcinogens, mutagens, and free-radicals (disease-causers). In addition, cooking and heating foods destroys food enzymes which are only maintained in foods when in the raw state. The life-sustaining partnership of food enzymes and metabolic enzymes (within the body) enables our bodies to fully and effectively metabolize what we intake, a process that converts food nutrients into energy.
When high temperatures destroy or “kill” food enzymes, our food no longer contains these elements essential for optimal metabolic processes. Therefore our internal organs become fatigued, as they now have two duties to perform rather than their sole responsibility for creating metabolic enzymes within the body. They must work harder to produce the missing food enzymes (which were not made available in the cooked foods) as well, and this creates incredible stress on the entire body including the lymphatic, metabolic, and immune system. In addition, enzymes are full of life and energy, but when the body lacks adequate enzymes, energy is jeopardized and the body becomes more susceptible to chronic disease and toxicity. This is precisely why it is imperative to incorporate more raw and living foods into the diet. Additional supplements and therapies may be necessary to ensure digestive health, detoxification, and wellness throughout the body.
Raw Foods help to maintain an on-going cleanse throughout the body, internally and externally. Raw and Living Foods not only produce a feeling of vitality and energy, but they also boost the immune system, aid in healing, exude clear and vibrant skin, hair, eyes, and nails, and deter chronic diseases and illnesses which have become all too familiar and prevalent in today’s society. With the many chronic diseases and conditions that haunt our society which include heart disease, cancer, immune disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, candida issues, female diseases and diorders, and hormonal imbalances, it’s time take a stance to prevent and restore and live healthy and lives with a holistic approach to wellness.