Raw Energy: Eating raw can provide all the nutrients your body needs

By Brenda Richter

Anyone can experience improved levels of health and vitality by eating at least 50 percent raw foods, and increasing this percentage to, say, 75 percent or more, and the rewards are even more profound.

The raw food diet and lifestyle has been known to decrease body fat, boost energy without caffeine or sugar, enhance moods, diminish visible signs of aging, improve mental clarity, decrease or eliminate junk food cravings, improve sleep quality, reduce muscle soreness and work out recovery time, along with many other benefits. This way of life has allowed thousands of people to experience better levels of health, whether they were seeking to heal and regenerate from degenerative disease or improve and excel from a state of overall general good health.

Nutrition and food choices can account for about 80 percent of recovery time and play a vital role in overall health and well-being. I always used to experience muscle soreness from working out, and this would stick with me until after my “rest” day. By increasing raw foods in my diet and reducing or eliminating certain foods from my diet, I now experience essentially no muscle soreness, or very little. This allows me to do more and take on activities I used to avoid.

The combination of the right foods allows your body the opportunity to do what it does best, which is heal, regenerate and excel. Most people are too acidic, which prevents the immune system from functioning at its best. Therefore, you do not feel alert, energized, or simply fantastic!

There are many myths and misconceptions of a plant-based diet. For example: animal protein is the optimal source for building muscle; people need meat in their diet for a variety of nutrients; reducing or eliminating meat will make you feel weak or increase the risk of developing illness or osteoporosis.

Many do not realize all natural plant-based foods have all the amino acids (building blocks) of protein, vitamins and minerals your body needs. Our society has simply become biased toward an animal-based diet.

Eating clean, quality, whole foods, and raw plant-based foods can help you achieve many benefits, such as those listed above. Many think raw, plant-based foods mean only eating green salads, vegetable sticks, and whole fruits. Although these things are important, what many do not realize is one can create the common comfort foods like burgers, burritos, lasagna and decadent desserts without meat, dairy, butter, eggs, pasta, etc., simply by using fruits, vegetables, and natural fats like avocadoes or nuts and seeds. Best of all, they taste great with benefits!

To get started, it is not an all-or-nothing deal. Most people start out slowly by changing or incorporating one or two things in their diet. As you become acquainted and accustomed to increasing raw foods in your diet, you start to notice improvements and changes, which simply compels you to want to do more and experience more. More tips to come, stay posted or join me for a “Why Raw?” talk at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 18. Registration is through Rock Valley College. (Course No. HMC 803 RV. Call 815-921-3900.)

Brenda Richter is a graduate of Living Light Culinary Arts Institute, where she received her certification as a Raw Culinary Arts associate chef and instructor. She’s passionate about sharing the living foods lifestyle with others, and teaches raw culinary arts classes in the Rockford area.

From the Feb. 3-9, 2010 issue.

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