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Raw Energy: Finding better protein sources in a raw diet
By Brenda Richter
A healthy or neutral pH for your body is about 7.5. Most people are too acidic, which prevents their immune system from functioning at its best.
When your body’s pH drops, the likelihood of ailments, including colds, illness, disease, body aches and pains, and other symptoms, sharply increases.
The food you eat has a direct effect on your pH, and by incorporating a greater portion of alkaline-forming foods into your diet, you can increase the pH level in your body (making it more alkaline). Note, exercise helps to release acidosis.
The costs of acidity are profound and often goes undetected, since our bodies are equipped with a natural buffering system. Acidosis is often a factor in fatigue, impaired sleep, stress, loss of lean muscle and increased body fat. Acid-forming foods are the primary cause of an overly acidic system. Disease (a.k.a. “dis-ease”) cannot survive in an alkaline environment.
Meat, dairy, coffee, prescription drugs, stress, pollution, refined flour, processed foods, alcohol and soft drinks are highly acid-forming. Cooking foods not only decreases nutrient value, but also increases acidosis because of the carcinogens created when cooked, quite noteworthy for grilled items.
If you choose to eat meat, select organic and/or active wildlife animals vs. non-organic or sedentary animals. Did you know bison reach speeds of 35 mph? I was surprised those huge animals go that fast!
Our culture has a bias toward high-protein foods. Other cultures around the world eat less protein. Animal protein is highly acidic, and studies show people that get 70 percent of their protein from animal products have major health difficulties compared to those who get just 5 percent of their protein that way. They also have 17 times the death rate from heart disease and five times the likelihood of dying from breast cancer.
There is a strong correlation between animal protein and several kinds of cancer, particularly breast, thyroid, prostate, pancreatic, stomach, ovarian, endometrial and colon. Although there may be some nutrients in animal-based foods even after cooking them, when you consider the high volume of health risks in cancer, the high levels of acidity, the added stress and energy levels required to digest and extract those nutrients, in addition to the longer time it takes to break those animal proteins, it may not be worth the risks.
Vegetables carry all the amino acids (the building blocks of protein) the body needs. Green, leafy vegetables are particularly high in protein, at about 50 percent protein. Vegetables and fruits taken together have about 15 percent of their calories as protein. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) reccommends only slightly higher than that (at 20 percent). Keep in mind that the RDA must build in a cushion to assume people won’t absorb all the protein they’re eating, especially for cooked protein. But you absorb more when you eat protein from raw sources.
Consider the strongest animals in the world — like the gorilla and the elephant — eat no meat, but live on grass and leaves. Expert research suggests we need only 25 grams, just 1 ounce, of protein a day. The average American eating meat, eggs and dairy gets 75 to 125 grams a day, three to five times more than we actually need.
Raw foods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, (particularly green, leafy vegetables) and natural fats have an alkalizing effect, once digested.
Sunflower sprouts are rich in protein, vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients, which help protect against disease. They are also higher in chlorophyll than any macro green, increasing the number of red blood cells that deliver oxygen to our cells, and have amazing detoxification properties. Benefits include blood purification, cancer prevention, improved circulation and strengthened immune system. Note: You can grow your own sunflower greens — as demonstrated in my “Light & Healthy Living” class.
Chlorella is a green, single-celled, freshwater-grown algae and is one of the highest sources of chlorophyll in the world. It boasts amazing concentrations of protein, vitamins, minerals and those precious trace-minerals. Chlorella at 60 percent protein has 12 times more digestible protein than beef! This helps balance blood sugar levels and wards off hunger and carb/sugar cravings.
Protein also provides sustainable energy, so you won’t experience those mid-afternoon cravings and binges. Its rich chlorophyll content increases the number of red blood cells in your body, which help deliver oxygen to your cells. The more oxygen to your cells, the more nutrients will be absorbed, and the more energy you will have.
Chlorophyll also boosts immune function, reduces inflammation and promotes alkalinity. The more alkaline your body, the healthier and more vibrant you will look and feel.
Finding a happy balance between the food you eat, feeling satisfied and being alkaline doesn’t have to be a challenge. Raw foods is more than vegetable sticks and green, leafy salads — many deliciously enjoy enticing entrees and desserts like lasagna, barbecue chips and chocolate mousse, all created raw and vegan. Learn more and attend a “Why Raw?” talk or take a raw foods class. See www.myrawenergy.com or e-mail me at email@example.com.
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 Aug. 14-20, 2013, issue