Raw food for whole wellbeing by Denise Leicester
Having recently attended a raw food retreat, I feel a renewed sense of dedication to – and respect for – the importance of nurturing wellness and beauty from the inside out. No matter how ‘healthy’ we purport or aspire to be, we all need gentle reminders and personal experiences to kick-start the ever-rolling ball of change – and the endless physical and spiritual benefits this can bring. Raw foods refer to uncooked, unprocessed, organic (and often wild) f oods. So much more than just fruit and vegetables, a raw food diet incorporates a delicious combination of nuts, seeds and sprouted whole grains, with non-vegans adding non-pasteurised dairy products.
In addition to having greater nutritional value and higher natural life energy than their cooked equivalents, raw foods also contain enzymes that are known to aid digestion – many of which are degraded and even destroyed by cooking temperatures above 40°C/104°F. Raw foods also retain a higher degree of phytonutrients, which function as antioxidants and neutralise free radicals, in turn, helping to protect against cell damage that could lead to disease.
If you’ve ever done a juice cleanse and experienced that inexplicable surge of wellbeing, you’ll appreciate how powerful the tangible benefits of raw food can be: hydrated dewy skin, increased mental clarity and improved sleep and energy levels. Eating raw is also a great way to align more closely with nature – savouring food as nature intended, reducing energy consumption and packaging – as well as embarking on an internal cleanse with nourishing morsels that help restore inner balance and bring natural healing.
Try eating at least one raw meal a day to begin with and take note of how you feel.* It takes time to break the ‘cooked’ food habits of a lifetime, but with persistence, it shouldn’t be too long before you start seeing noticeable improvements.
*If you suffer from IBS or any other gastrointestinal disorder, don’t forget to take things slowly and listen to your body. While some raw foods can help ease symptoms, others may exacerbate them. As with everything done in
the name of ‘health’, the only ‘right way’ is the way that works for you.
Combining the benefits of organic products on the outside with raw food on the inside can lead to outstanding results, from a feeling of a more ‘alive’ body to skin that glows with vitality. I like matching the skin-boosting properties of my favourite body creams with a Raw Beauty Smoothie of blended avocado, frozen strawberries, coconut milk, dates, hemp seeds and goji berries. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the quantities: a few additional dates for a sweeter version or more hemp seeds for extra nuttiness and protein. Delicious.