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Friday, August 8, 2014

What the Heck is the Raw Food Diet?

Have you heard of the raw food diet? It's become a popular trend in the foodie world and has taken hold with health buffs. As people are beginning to recognize the health benefits it's gaining more mainstream attention. We spoke with Audrey Wong, a raw foods expert from Living Lotus and had her explain what a raw food diet really means and the associated health benefits. She even gave us a delicious recipe to try- a natural & homemade alternative to chocolate milk!

Understanding the Raw Food Diet
Contributed by Audrey Wong

Let’s talk about raw.  When you hear the words  “raw food” what comes to mind?  What should come to mind is clean, unprocessed, nutrient dense, efficient eating.
Raw food consists of unprocessed plant based foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius).  Plant based foods are vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
There is no cooking in the traditional sense in raw food.  The food dehydrator, blender, juicer, food processor, fridge and freezer are used to make delicious meals t fit for the whole family.
Raw food is not raw meat, raw milk, raw seafood, a cult or just salad.
So why would one want to only eat plants?

Here are 5 benefits of incorporating more raw food into your diet:

·      Weight loss
     Free of cholesterol & trans fats, the fats that are consumed are all   healthy fats.  Coconut oil, which is used in many recipes, speeds up your metabolism.

·      High in antioxidants, fibre, and phytochemicals
    Antioxidants neutralize free radicals – this helps you look younger, fight off disease and improve blood flow. Phytochemicals are the plant's immune system, when consumed they aid in supporting optimal health.                                                

·      Better results through process of elimination
    Eating this way cuts out anything processed. You are avoiding refined sugar, empty calories and refined carbohydrates to name a few. The five most acid forming foods are eliminated.
·     Gluten
·     Dairy
·     Sugar
·     Meat
·     Alcohol

·      As a result, this aids your digestive system. This is beneficial because your digestive system is directly related to your immune system.
      Lowers Insilin Growth Factor 1
IGF-1 is a growth hormone that promotes the growth of cells. Our bodies need a lot of this hormone while we are growing. Once we’re done growing, this growth hormone will keep dividing cells                                in the body. It facilitates the change of normal cells into cancer cells and also helps angiogenesis (blood flow to tumors). Due to the low essential amino acid content of plant-based proteins, this decreases                      IGF-1 activity and halts cancer induction.

·      Good fat
Fats and oils are very important to our health.  Our brain is 60% fat. It is needed for the cells that make up the myelin sheath (protective layer around the communicating neurons in our body). Some good fats sources from a raw food diet are:
·    Avocado
·   Coconut oil
·   Nuts
·   Seeds
You don’t have to be a raw foodist to enjoy all the benefits. Changing your eating habits is about the individual. It’s important to define your goals according to your comfort level. It may be adding one raw meal a day, for others it may be one raw meal a month. What matters is that you do the best for your situation.

Here's a great recipe that's fast & simple to try. It's a great alternative to the chocolate milk you find in stores that's full of sugar & chemicals

 Chocolate Hemp Milk 

Makes 2 glasses

1/3 Cup hemp seeds
2 ¾ Cup Water
¼ Cup Date soak water (see directions below)
3 medjool Dates
2 Tbsp Cacao powder (raw, unheated)
1/4 Tsp Vanilla bean powder
Pinch Himalayan crystal salt
1Tbsp coconut oil

1. Cut open the dates to de pit and check for mold growing inside (this is very important).
2. Presoak your dates in 1/4 cup warm filtered water for 30 minutes. Reserve the water to use in this recipe
3. Place hemp seeds, water, dates, date soak water, cacao powder, vanilla bean powder, and salt in blender and blend until smooth.
4. Taste test and add more ingredients to taste. If you like it a little sweeter, add one date at a time to taste.
4. Slowly stream in coconut oil while blender is running.

You can also experiment with other flavours you like by by omitting the cacao and adding any fruit (think strawberry or blueberry, tis the season)

This will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
Some settling will occur after you store it in the fridge so give it a stir or a shake before drinking.

A note about the ingredients- Be sure to buy the raw hemp seeds (as opposed to the roasted), you will get a lot more nutrition from them. Same goes for the cacao powder. You want raw, unroasted. 

Health Benefits:

Hemp- High in plant based, easily assimilated protein and a good source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids.
Dates – High in beta d glucan fibre - it slows the release of sugar & cholesterol into your blood stream – no sugar spikes here!
Cacao – Raw cacao powder - High in antioxidants
Vanilla bean powder – Trace amounts of minerals in the whole bean
Himalayan crystal salt – Contains 82 minerals.

About Audrey: Audrey is the founder of Living Lotus, a nutrition and food company committed to providing plant- based desserts that are free from gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and soy. The company also offers food workshops and information for anyone interested in making their lives healthier through diet.

A huge thank you to Audrey for contributing this article & recipe! 
To find out more about Audrey and her passion about raw food, visit the Living Lotus website.
You can also find Living Lotus on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram  

If you re interested in learning more about raw foods, check out these upcoming workshops offered by Living Lotus.
This workshop series will teach you how to make delicious raw, plant based food free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar and also teach you about the nutritional properties of each in ingredient in order to make health sweet.

September 13 Desserts The Right Way - Learn 5 recipes & try them too.
In this 3 hour lecture style workshop, you will learn 5 recipes, tips and tricks to preparing raw desserts.
Registration closes September 7th

September 27 Superlicious Superfoods - Boost Your Energy
Quick and easy ways to boost your nutrition. Learn about 6 super foods and how to incorporate them into your daily life. 6 yummy recipes.
Registration closes September 21

November 1 No Nuts, Just Yum: Decadent Desserts Without Nuts
Very much like desserts the right way, but the nut free version.  Gluten free, dairy-free, no refined sugar. Don’t worry, it’s still yum. 
Registration closes October 26

November 15 Nut Milk and Nut Cheese: Dairy Doesn’t Live Here
Delicious dairy alternatives to incorporate into you life. 
Registration closes November 9

Logo & chocolate hemp milk photo courtesy of Audrey Wong, Living Lotus
Top Image Source: Good Food Clinic

August posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique