THE MYTHS AND FACTS OF RAW FOOD
By Rae Hadley
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
These are our watchwords. In fact, they are not just ours, these words were spoken around 430 BC by the Greek philosopher Hippocrates, often considered the Father of Medicine and the originator of the Hippocratic Oath. There are multiple reasons for its continued relevance: the first is that everyone on the planet needs nutrition to survive, the second is that when people are in a position to make choices about their food consumption they also make choices about whether they thrive or just survive.
Thirdly, the developing understanding of what we individually and globally do to our surroundings and our bodies creates levels of ease or dis-ease, depending on the specific circumstances. These ideas resonate as strongly now as they did thousands of years ago because they were, and continue to be, globally and individually relevant. Raw food as an aspect of healthier living has received many accolades over the years. It has also been held up to ridicule on occasion, so let’s debunk some of the myths that have surrounded it, and check out the reasons why a raw food diet might support you in developing a greater sense of holistic wholeness and wellness.
ON A RAW FOOD DIET, YOU CAN ONLY EAT UNCOOKED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.
No! Not true! What is true is that in order to benefit from a raw food diet, you should eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables, clean food and unprocessed food. All of these avoid added sugars and preservatives, keeping the food items as close to their natural, unmodified state as possible. There are also numerous options for seeds, sprouted grains, pulses and seeds, nuts and nut butters, seaweeds, juices－limiting these if eating is focused on managing sugar levels and cravings－as well as an array of fermented and ‘naturally processed’ foods such as cold pressed raw oils, miso, kimchee, and raw soy sauce－‘nama shoyu’.
Developing imaginative dishes － most of which are raw and some could be steamed － with such a variety of ingredients becomes easier with a little practise and conscious effort. The Visit Natural Detox Resort cafe, Wild Tribe, has its detox menu beautifully planned. Their nutrient-dense meals showcase raw, clean and unprocessed food at its best, and they also have gluten-free options. If you haven’t breakfasted on a revitalising juice or unprocessed, raw smoothie, you are truly missing out on one of the cleanest, most natural starts to the day.
YOU CAN ONLY EAT COLD RAW FOOD
Wrong! Warming certain foods offers the opportunity to benefit from a physically and emotionally soothing heat. Keeping the temperature below 104F will ensure that they are still at their optimum. Unfortunately, there is a common myth that cooking fruit and vegetables destroys all of the nutritional value. Whilst it is true that cooking these items far beyond necessity will ruin the best of them, certain foods, such as carrots, tomatoes, and spinach, benefit from being cooked.
Cooking can break down solid cellulose walls and making nutrients more accessible to our bodies. The loss of our fragile friend, vitamin C, is unavoidable if food is cooked, however with a balanced approach and eating a range of foods, that gap will quickly be filled. The Wild Tribe cafe has a multitude of ways to enjoy a healthy meal, even when on a detox, utilising the best nutrient-dense foods available:from soups to salads-and even steamed vegetable dishes. The range of tasty, unprocessed, raw and clean foods, is an imaginative and joyful feast. After eating clean, there is no longer a place for those pesky preservatives and processes in your diet.
Developing imaginative dishes － most of which are raw and some could be steamed－ with such a variety of ingredients becomes easier with a little practise and conscious effort. The Visit Natural Detox Resort cafe, Wild Tribe, has its detox menu beautifully planned. Their nutrient-dense meals showcase raw, clean and unprocessed food at its best, and they also have gluten-free options. If you haven’t breakfasted on a revitalising juice or unprocessed, raw smoothie, you are truly missing out on one of the cleanest, most natural starts to the day.
RAW MEANS I CAN EAT AS MUCH OF IT AS I WANT.
Sorry, no! I’m as sad as anyone that this is an ‘untruth’. To be able to eat the Wild Tribe ‘gluten-free, vegan, blueberry ‘cheesecake’ to my heart’s desire would be bliss. However, no.
Raw ingredients or snacks can be nutrient-dense and also, unfortunately, highly calorific. Nuts and nut butters. Fruits and fruit juices. The mighty avocado. All these items have a high fat or sugar calorific payload. The fats and sugars may be naturally occurring, but it is impossible to eat them without impunity. Consuming high quantities, without partaking in the necessary exercise to burn off the calories, will naturally lead to a gain in weight. However, following a natural, balanced approach will allow you to eat these delicious ingredients in a way that will reset your body’s expectation of what is sufficient, allowing enjoyment in health affirming quantities.