Nine reasons to go RAW, and simple ways to include raw food into your diet

Looking for reasons to go raw this New Year? Make your New Years Resolution to, “go raw”. Here are nine good reasons to make this dietary transition. These are all reasons I have learned along the way and have experienced myself first hand. Additionally I would like to note, this is really not a “diet”. It’s a food philosophy. It’s not something temporary as a means to loose weight, this is about how you look at food.

Raw Tacos

Raw BBQ Tacos, my favorite, easy to make raw meal.

  1. Live a more vibrant life. I say this because to say “live longer” conflicts with my religious beliefs that our days are already numbered. But we can take good care of ourselves while we are here and live a healthy enjoyable lifestyle.
  2. Cardiovascular health – Greens contain chlorophyll, which improves oxygen uptake, thus increasing your VO2 Max. This is amazing news to any athlete, as it boosts energy levels, increases endurance and reduces recovery times.
  3. Less sick days – Since going green over a year and a half ago I have only been ill once. Sure there were days I wasn’t feeling great, but I have only had a cold once, and I know exactly how I got it too. Eating green improves your immune system, thus warding off the attacks of virus’.
  4. More energy – Back when I was eating the SAD (Standard American Diet) I would always get really tired and sluggish about an hour after lunch. I would often times have to go for a second round of coffee (which for me was another 3 cups) just to stay awake. Eating green will require less energy to digest your food, thus giving you more energy to go throughout your day and be more productive. In fact, you won’t even need to depend on coffee if you chose to give that up, as your body will naturally be more energized.
  5. Less sleep – Eating a nutrient rich diet will require less sleep. I am fully functional on six hours of sleep. This isn’t much different from when I was not eating raw foods, but the main difference now is I am actually functional and I don’t need coffee to keep myself going.
  6. Reduce Stress – Eating a nutrient rich diet also leads to less stress on the body. It also affects mental stress as well. When the body isn’t adequately nourished it becomes stressed, thus accumulating additional body fat. The less stressed we are the better our bodies and mind can function.
  7. Reduce the risk of cancer – Eating pure, whole foods greatly reduces your risk of cancer. I have read numerous articles about people’s cancer going away through raw foods. Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy Cancer is a prime example. Eating raw foods also reduces your chances of diseases in general. Today’s modern diet is a major cause of obesity and chronic disease in our society.  Take diabetes for example: simply changing ones diet will cure one of this disease, but most are unwilling to take on the challenge. They would rather be addicted to medication. (please note I say this knowing that there may be some situations where that is not the case and medications are a must)
  8. Maintain weight – Through eating raw foods it is much easier to maintain a healthy weight. When I first went raw I dropped 10 lbs FAST, but since then  have maintained that weight and have only fluctuated within a couple of pounds. I have yet to drop below 170, and usually stay around 173 – I am 6′ tall.
  9. Eating high amounts of raw food leads to healthier looking skin. That makes perfect sense – cut out greasy foods it’s only natural that your skin will begin to look better. I had some friends from Austin that commented on how great my skin looked after not seeing them for two months, and I had just started introducing raw foods into my diet the last time I had seen them.

Ready to take the plunge yet? Well, it’s easier than you think. You don’t even have to become 100% raw, I’m not. You will get many of these health benefits just from switching to a 50% raw diet. But the more raw foods you include into your diet the better. I always feel better when I am eating more raw foods.

They key to making it work for you is starting simple. I recommend starting with nutritious smoothies every morning, then begin working in fruits and other raw snacks (such as nuts, seeds and flax crackers) throughout your day and eating smaller cooked meals for lunch and dinner. Then, start phasing salads into your diet until you are having a large filling salad every day. At this point you will be eating 66% of your diet raw.

After that you can start phasing in “raw meals” made from cookbooks and the plethora of raw food web sites and blogs on the internet. I tend to have one or two “raw meals” a week, sometimes more. So, about 75% of my diet is raw. 50% is about the lowest it will ever go and that only happens when I forgot my salad for lunch or I go out of town.

Many of the raw cookbooks out there portray “raw gourmet” recipes that are difficult and time consuming to make. There are lots of blogs out there the offer simpler recipes that don’t require lots of prep time. A few of my favorite blogs for simple recipes are RawDawg Rory, Rawmazing, and Julie’s Raw Ambition.

Once you start eating more raw foods I suggest you purchase digestive enzymes to take for those times you do eat cooked foods. It will help you digest your food more easily.  You will quickly begin to notice the difference in how your body digests food. When you eat raw foods you will find yourself feeling much better afterward, as your stomach will not be churning trying to process a bunch of crap.

Also, expect to experience detox symptoms. This can come in a variety of ways, for me, it was strong headaches (but not migraine strength) for nearly a month. My system was getting rid of lots of toxins. I was also giving up coffee cold turkey at the time as well. I have sense then though allowed myself to have coffee a couple times a week. But detox is a good thing. If you are starting to go raw and experience this, just know you are doing something good for your body.

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