If you’ve read about raw food diets, seen the pictures of all the pretty food and heard about the amazing health benefits of incorporating raw food into your every day routine, you may be thinking it’s time you give it a try.
If that’s the case, here are 5 things to do to ensure your diet is successful and tasty:
- Get the right equipment – Not only will you need to make a lot of changes yourself to adopt a raw food diet, but you will also need to make a lot of changes in your kitchen. Your traditional cooking methods, such as steaming, baking, grilling and boiling, are no longer part of your cooking repertoire, and will need to be replaced with alternatives that ensure you are adopting the raw food methodologies. It will be worth it for you to invest in a good blender, good food processor and a spirlizer. The first two allow you to make heaps of raw desserts and snacks, endless numbers of smoothie bowls and drinkable health in a cup, as well as sauces, dips, and of course, banana ice cream! The spiralizer will be key for getting your pasta fix, as you will be able to spirlize zucchini, sweet potatoes, beetroot and even apples in your quest to make healthy, raw meals.
- Start sprouting – Sprouted foods, such as alfalfa seeds, sprouted chickpeas, sprouted buckwheat and sprouted greens are essentially plants in their very young, nutrient dense form. They contain heaps of enzymes, as the plant is getting ready to grow into a large healthy product, and help you to ensure you meet your daily vitamin and mineral needs. Sprouts are easy to do, and better yet, only take a few days. Simply soak your seed or legume of choice overnight in a jar, then drain the water, rinse and cover the top with a paper towel or cheesecloth. Leave out of direct sunlight, rinse daily and watch your little seeds start to sprout!
- Always be soaking – Whether it is nuts, legumes or seeds, soaking has many benefits and is essenitla for a healthy, raw food diet. Soaking nuts and seeds helps them release phytic acid, which when consumed can hinder the body’t ability to abosorb nutirents from the nuts and seeds. Soaking also means the ingredients are softer, so things like chickpeas can be blended into hummus, and cashews can be made into fermented cashew cheese or cheesecake. You can also of course, just eat the freshly soaked ingredients as a great, healthy snack. If you don’t like them being softer due to the soaking, after you soak them, dehydrate the nuts and seeds for 8-12 hours until crunchy again!
- Dehydrate – If you are looking to eat a raw diet, invest in a dehydrator and start playing around with dehydrating different foods and making different snacks. You can dehydrate plain ingredients, like apples for apple chips, or berries for dried fruit, but you can also do everything from making crackers to making bread to creating fruit leather! Since food shrinks a lot when it is dehydrated, losing water, but not nutritional value or caloric value, it’s a great way to get a nutrient dense snack and ensure you are consuming adeuqte calories. ON the same note, it’s easy to consume more of the dried version of an item than you would the cooked version, so be sure not to overeat.
- Learn how to ferment your foods – Fermented foods contain heaps of healthy bacteria and are incredibly important for gut health. The healthy bacteria in our gut promote good digestion and elimination, produce B vitamins, aid in detoxification, improve liver health and ensure there is no room available for bad bacteria to proliferate within the gut. While you can buy fermented foods, making your own, simply using salt, a jar and a bit of time, is a much cheaper alternative and enures there is no added sugar or preservatives. Start with sauerkraut and simply massage salt into chopped cabbage until it is soft and wilty. Press into a large jar, concealing all the cabbage below the salty water, and then leave it to ferment for 3-7 days.