Raw Food (or “Living Food”) is based on raw vegan food which has not been cooked, heated or baked in a temperature exceeding 48°C (115°F). Foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts, grains and legumes (all sprouted too), dried fruit, sea vegetables and fresh juices.
We know of outstanding figures from history who survived on raw food diet (Hippocrates, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rousseau, Tolstoy, Ghandy, Bernard Show and many others). We also know of the Essenes, who lived 2000 years ago and ate a raw food diet, and even baked their bread and crackers in the sun.
In the U.S. and in Europe there is a growing interest in raw food, and movie stars like Demi Moore, Uma Thurman and others live on raw food. It has simply become a trendy diet, also called Living Food.
There are 4 categories which characterize raw and living food:
Fundamental food to humans is not something based on refined white sugar and white flour, cow’s milk (which is intended for calves), processed foods which contain food additives such as colors, taste enhancers and preservatives, but – raw vegan food. The sun is the energy source for all plants, and we get this energy by eating raw fruits and vegetables.
In nature all animals, except man, consume raw food. Had we been abandoned on an island, we should be able to survive on fruits, vegetables, green leaves and sea weeds.
Raw food also connects us with the soil on the one hand, and turns us into more spiritual and intuitive human beings, on the other hand. A healing food is food grown organically, or food which grows wild in nature (e.g. herbal remedies).
When we cook our food, we kill or denature enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Enzymes are catalysts which are involved in all vital functions in our cells.
There are 3 kinds of enzymes:
1) Metabolic enzymes – responsible for all metabolic activities.
2) Digestive enzymes which are made in the stomach, saliva, pancreas, duodenum, liver, etc. and they aid in digestion of the food.
3) Food enzymes: these enzymes exist only in raw, uncooked food.
Raw and living food is rich in enzymes and, therefore, is of a great importance in preventing digestive disorders or various diseases and deficiencies. The distinction made between raw food and cooked food is similar to that made between “living” food and “dead” food.
Even though cooked food gives us a feeling of fullness, it does not nourish us the way raw food does. That is the reason why we tend to eat big quantities of cooked food and become overweight.
Furthermore, after eating cooked food, there is an increase in white blood cell count to 2 or 3 times as much (this is called leucocytosis). The process of cooking, baking, frying, grilling, etc creates carcinogens in food.
Proteins, for instance, become denatured – most of the minerals are not available to the body and are rejected by it. As a result, they may attach themselves to saturated fats and to cholesterol in the blood stream, and cause plaque and blockages.
Dr. Gabriel Cousens, in his book Conscious Eating, says:
“Ammonia, which is a breakdown product of a high-flesh food diet, is directly toxic to the system. It has been found to create free radicals damage and cross linking (a process associated with skin wrinkles and aging, as well as depletes the body’s energy). On the other hand, by including in our diet sprouted grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, we can retard the process of aging.
The writers Susan & Leslie Kenton claim in their book “The Raw Food Energy” that an enzyme called superoxidase dismutase (SOD) which is found amply on fresh fruits and vegetables (as well as in wheat grass juice), retards formation of free radicals such as superoxidase and others.
All functions in our body need enzymatic activity: an eye-blink, moving of a limb, sleep, eating, digesting, breathing, walking, etc.
When we cook food in a temperature exceeding 48°C (115°) we destroy all food enzymes, and our body needs more enzymes to break down the food. Dr. Edward Howell developed this theory of enzymes (in his book Enzyme Nutrition). He explained that when our body is busy breaking down the food and producing enzymes for digestion, it weakens the immune system, and it is too busy to produce enzymes for other vital activities such as detoxifying, healing and rejuvenating the body. If this situation lasts for a long time, one can develop diseases, among which are: digestive problems, constipation, IBS, age spots, fatigue, skin problems, memory decline, mood swings, allergies, candida, hypoglycemia, growths and cysts, sinusitis, etc
As we age, we lose a considerable amount of enzymes, and thus we develop different ailments. Young adults, for instance have as much as 30 times more enzymes than old adults.
Raw living food is alkaline, while cooked food is considered acidic. Acidity surplus in the body can cause diseases. Disease will exist in an acidic body. Nuts and seeds, even though they are considered healthy, are somewhat acidic (especially when eaten in great quantities and when heated or roasted). One should therefore consume them with great care. Almonds are the most alkaline of all nuts. Quinoa, millet and amaranth are the most alkaline of all grains.
When the body is too acidic, there are backup systems which start operating in the body by releasing minerals, or ammonia. These systems overwork themselves to maintain a balance. When this kind of a situation lasts for months and years, the systems get weakened and it is harder for them to fight diseases.
An acidic diet is a diet rich in animal protein (meat, chicken, eggs,, fish, dairy), white flour and white sugar, baked stuff, pasta, breads, cakes, most of the cooked grains, most of cooked legumes, most nuts, candy, carbonated drinks, coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, chemicals in food, preservatives and synthetic vitamins.
Another point worth mentioning: all fruits and vegetables should be picked when ripe. Any fruit or vegetable which is not picked ripe is acidic to the body.
Heated oils are harmful, especially because they turn into free radicals and carcinogens (as described in the book “Diet, Nutrition and Cancer” which was written by the US Committee on Diet, Nutrition and Cancer, National Research Council).
It is important not to combine starchy food with protein, not to combine fruits and vegetables, to separate acid fruits and sweet fruits. Actually fruits should be eaten by themselves. The reason for this is that each food group needs different digestive enzymes and a different digestive environment. For instance, if we eat melon, which digests in 30 minutes, after the end of a meat meal, we will have gas and feel bloated, and unaerobic bacteria will start breaking down the fermented food. It is also not advisable to drink while you eat. One should drink an hour before or an hour after the meal.
Maintaining Optimal Weight
The advantages of raw food: besides enzymes, vitamins and minerals, is that one experiences weight reduction, and maintains a steady weight, elevated energy, improved digestion, less sleep, improved general feeling, a better looking skin. One accumulates less body fat and less risks for cardio-vascular disease, less chronic diseases, and affinity to nature and longevity.
Wheat Grass Juice
Wheat grass juice is an important component in a raw food diet. Wheat grass juice contains 70% chlorophyll; it is rich in enzymes, has wonderful therapeutic properties, and helps the body in cleansing and rejuvenating. It is good both for external and internal usage. It causes cancer cells a process which is called apoptosis (suicidal of cancer cells), it lowers blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, increases iron level in the blood, increases energy, it is anti viral and anti-bacterial, rich in A, C, D, K vitamins as well as B17, beta carotene and more.
How to transition to Raw Food
A better was is to start adding to our natural diet different food items, such as:
1) Fresh juices, especially green juices (cucumber, celery, dark green leaves, cilantro, 1q4 lemon, ginger)
2) Start off your lunch or dinner with a big salad. Add to that seeds or nuts.
3) Have seeds and nuts as an alternative to snack. Alternately, have a fruit.
4) Start eliminating from your diet: processed foods, starchy foods, animal based foods, fatty foods.
5) It is recommended to transition to a raw food diet gradually.
6) You may experience a healing crisis as a result of the transitioning to raw food such as: a headache, bad breath, gas, etc. The reason for that is the formation of toxins which are coming out from years of consuming processed foods.
The salt we consume
In conclusion, a few sentences concerning the salt that we use (taken from the book “Hooked on Raw” by Rhio). Sea salt is refined in a process by which it is heated to 2000 °F. Then the minerals get separated and the salt itself crystallizes. It is then separated into small crystals. During this process, an anti-caking agent is added to it, which changes its color to purple. In order to maintain an esthetic look of the salt, it is bleached, and then glucose, talcum and aluminum silicate as well as other agents are added to it.
The finished product is 97.5% NaCl with no trace minerals. This salt is poisonous to the body. On the other hand, natural salt such as Atlantic salt or Celtic salt or Himalayan salt is dried naturally in the sun and contains many minerals.