Raw Foods: For Those Searching for a Healthy, Holistic Way of Eating.
Mar 03, 2012 04:24PM
By Beth Davis
While the raw food lifestyle is by no means mainstream, it is certainly gaining momentum for those searching for a healthy, holistic way of eating.
Raw foods are referred to as “living” and consist of minimally processed fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains and legumes. The plant-based cuisine is prepared at 118 degrees or lower, which helps it retain its nutritional value (raw food advocates say foods cooked above that temperature will lose enzymes, nutrients, minerals and vitamins).
Sarah Stout, a raw food gourmet chef and owner of Reinventing Wellness, says it’s a common misconception that the cuisine is tasteless and lacks the nutrients bodies need. “A lot of people turn to salad, not realizing that it is so much more than that,” she explains. “Think cheeses made out of nuts and seeds, pasta made with vegetables, pasta sauces, mock Fettuccine Alfredo and ice cream made with nuts and coconut—the list is endless.”
Stout even offers raw foods certification classes for beginners to advanced levels. The classes give participants the opportunity to interact and sample the delicious food offerings, and better understand the concepts, techniques and equipment needed.
As a nutritionist and naturopathic physician, Stout says though the benefits of raw foods are plentiful, she does not advocate a 100 percent raw diet. “There is always room for malnutrition if not done in a healthy manner. I feel it’s more important to eat seasonally and perhaps 80-85 percent raw. Most importantly, I recommend always working with a qualified professional.”
Indy resident, Maria Renner, has experienced the benefits of a raw food diet firsthand. Inspired to eat raw for 30 days, she began her journey in January (with the help of a raw food chef) and has undergone what she calls “a complete transformation.”
She lost 25 pounds, but she gained a whole new appreciation for food. “I have become more mindful about what I eat and where it comes from—it has changed my relationship with food.”
But, that’s just the beginning. Renner says she has more energy, mental clarity and even clearer skin. Plus, she feels “more balanced, steady, peaceful and calm.” It’s a feeling she doesn’t want to go away. She intends to stick with the raw food lifestyle, and do what she can to help spread the word.
Renner and Stout both mention the importance of a strong emotional support system. “It is so easy to quit if you don’t have a supportive framework around you,” notes Stout.
For those interested in raw food but not willing to make the commitment, Stout suggests starting out slow. “The average person already eats 25 percent raw a day. Start by adding a salad a day, or taking fresh fruit or vegetables for a snack instead of a granola bar. It is a great way try new things, while incorporating more raw foods in your daily diet.”