Welcome to a unique resource! Here you will find clear and credible answers to many of the questions most frequently asked about raw foods, vegan topics, plant-based eating, green living, and much more. This section will be continually expanding with compelling questions and answers, so check back often. Knowledge is power!
What does “going raw” mean?
If you’ve been interested in plant-based eating for long, you may be familiar with the raw foods movement. Though it sounds revolutionary, it’s really an age-old concept, with early advocates from Pythagoras and Leonardo de Vinci to Max Gerson and Ann Wigmore paving the way for many contemporary experts, such as Dr. Gabriel Cousins, David Wolfe, and Renée Loux-Underkoffler, among others. Definitions vary, but for our purposes here, going raw means building your diet around fresh, whole, unprocessed plant foods such as fruits and veggies, raw juices and smoothies, raw nuts and seeds, fresh nut and/or seed milk, as well as sprouted, cultured and fermented plant foods. From these incredibly nutritious, highly versatile basics you can create almost countless entrées, salads, meals, snacks, beverages, desserts, and more. Raw or “living” foods may make up to 100 percent of your diet, though a consumption of closer to 80 percent raw foods, often referred to as “high raw,” is generally more common.
Do I have to be vegan?
This question sometimes comes up for individuals on a journey to optimize their wellness, as well as those who are expanding their consciousness about food and the impact of their menu choices—not only on themselves, but also on the environment we share and our fellow creatures. It’s great to see people waking up to the notion that their well-being is largely within their own control, which is a very accurate and empowering mindset. Of course, no one has to be vegan, but there does often seem to be a natural progression in this direction when one becomes better informed about the vast array of benefits associated with a fully plant-based diet. I think our consciousness ideally changes first and the palate will follow, meaning that no matter what you have been accustomed to eating, you will learn to love fresh, whole foods simply by consuming them! Your tastes buds are surprisingly adaptable.
How will more raw foods benefit me?
If you think about it, the concept of eating primarily raw plant foods is really just an expansion on what we are told every day by mainstream health advocates, which is to eat more fruits and vegetables for optimal health and disease prevention. More Americans are transitioning to a diet centered on fresh produce now than ever before, largely due to the overwhelming evidence that has proliferated in recent decades on the many health benefits plant foods deliver. Raw plant foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and important digestive enzymes, many of which are damaged when food is processed at high temperatures. Proper raw food preparation techniques involve cleverly crafting foods without cooking them, which protects against nutrient loss. This means that along with explosive flavor in every bite, you receive a bounty of highly efficacious vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants that your cells need to function at peak levels. This can benefit you in many ways, including feeling better and more energized, looking fabulous, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing your risk of illness and disease over time.
How long will it take to feel better with a plant-based menu?
This will obviously vary for everyone. The healthier you have been eating prior to your menu upgrade, the smoother the transition will tend to be, and the faster you are likely to feel and see improvements in your energy, appearance, and overall well-being. If you have not focused on high-quality nutrition in recent years, it is best to be extra patient with this process. It makes sense to implement change in proportion to past habits. That means, for example, easing more gradually into raw juices, smoothies, and large daily salads if you are not used to them. If you are, you can simply increase them in your daily fare, crowding out less nutritious choices. Choosing the right pace for your own body system when implementing raw foods helps to minimize any discomfort you might otherwise experience from extreme, “cold turkey” diet changes. A comfortable transition will also typically help with compliance, meaning you are more likely to stick with it over time so that you obtain the results you seek and deserve—vibrant, radiant wellness! Rest assured that you are on the right path, and that you will soon manifest the positive changes you desire.
How can fresh, whole foods help with weight loss?
Most nutrition experts are likely to agree that fresh fruits and vegetables are our greatest allies in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. With few exceptions, fresh produce is naturally low in calories and brimming with nutrients and fiber. Other plant foods, such as raw nuts, seeds, beans and legumes, are rich in well-absorbed protein with zero added fats, cholesterol, or dubious additives. Because fresh plant foods are high in fiber, plus nutritious liquid volume, sometimes called “structured water,” they fill you up without filling you out. And while nuts and seeds are certainly more caloric, they are highly nourishing and extremely satiating (keeping you feeling full and satisfied for hours). As such, they play an important role in balanced raw food nutrition you can enjoy and thrive on for life. As you focus on this heroic nourishment and phase out processed, commercial food products, refined sugar, and animal-based items, you are likely to find that you naturally and comfortably trim down if needed, especially if you are also exercising on a regular basis. Trust in this journey. Plant-based cuisine is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle!
How does plant-based cuisine dovetail with the Paleo approach?
It is hard to avoid all the buzz in recent years about the Paleo dietary approach, which targets foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, including meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and fruit. Happily, thanks to evolution, not to mention common sense, we no longer have to grasp at any type of available food merely for survival. Rather, we can fully weigh the evidence and make intellectual decisions about the foods we choose to consume that support optimal health, cause no harm to other creatures, and are also highly sustainable—meaning that they can be consumed by large numbers of people over time without creating significant environmental damage. What diet style hits on all three elements of that winning trifecta? You guessed it, plant-based cuisine!