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Alive and raw

Bena Nakawuki

Sunday, June 15, 2014    

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This is the second in a two-part feature exploring the vast and juicy topic of raw and living foods.

FOOD and our food choices are very personal and emotive subjects. We are all different and have different tastes, requirements, health issues, and intentions.

A person does not have to eat 100 per cent raw and living foods all the time to experience the benefits. While this is awesome, it is not for everybody. However, a diet that is high in fresh, raw, vegan and living foods — especially organic — is an excellent way to fully benefit from the many phytonutrients, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and good fat offered. Also, as highlighted last week, you can expect to have a stronger immune system, feel more "alive" and energised, and experience greater mental clarity.

CASE STUDY

The China Study, which to date is one of the leading books on nutrition by T Colin Campbell and Thomas M Campbell II, examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products, including dairy, and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancers of the breast, prostate and bowel. The authors concluded that people who eat a whole-food, plant-based or vegan diet — avoiding all animal products and reducing their intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates — will escape, reduce or reverse the development of numerous diseases. This was found to be true in their study of the people who consumed a plant-based diet with a high amount of raw and living foods.

According to the writers, "eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0 mg is unhealthy".

FOOLED NOT FOOD

I encourage people all the time to eat more foods in their natural state — unprocessed, unrefined, whole, and without added chemicals, additives, flavour enhancers and the like. Can you tell how that food was grown, what tree it came from or how it was harvested? In modern society this is somewhat of a challenge.

A friend reminded me this week that our grandparents' generation consumed far more fresh produce in a week than most of us do in a month. Theirs was a time when most of the food they consumed was grown on property. But in the fast flurry of today's daily activities, who has the time to tend to tomatoes, cabbages, pumpkins, and various fruit trees? Sadly, with modern living also come "modern diseases" and common lifestyle challenges. We are now reaping what we have sown.

Anything that has come from a packet and was made in a factory, passed from one machine to the next, is not really food in my opinion. If we cannot recognise how it was made or even better, make it ourselves - then is it real food? For example, artificial sweeteners, margarine and soda are products that the average person would not be able to make at home. Therefore, can we really say these are food items? And more importantly, does the body recognise it as food?

If you would like to introduce more raw and living foods to your diet, I recommend going at a pace you find comfortable. Explore the various food groups, flavours and colours to see what you like best and what works for your body. Let the focus be more on nutrition as opposed to "percentage of raw". And lastly, have fun with your food, take a class, get creative, and enjoy sharing new dishes with your friends, family and colleagues.

10 TIPS TO GOING RAW

1. Opt for healthier snacks such as raw nuts and seeds, coconut jelly meat and sugar cane which are also very energising

2. Over the next month, try four new raw foods that you never imagined eating; for example a raw ackee dish, or a new "superfood" such as maca, Irish moss, spirulina.

3. Try a new smoothie this week. Take it to work with you.

4. Prepare your favourite raw dish and share with your loved ones.

5. Drink more water straight from the coconut.

6. Plant and harvest your own edible herbs and vegetables.

7. Attend a raw food class, event or retreat.

8. Shop at a local farmer's market such as Ujiima, every second and fourth Saturday at 22 Barbican Road in Kingston.

9. Eat at least five different varieties of the same fruit or vegetable.

10. Try some food from a raw food restaurant.

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