Thursday, February 14, 2013

Article # 304. The Raw Food Revolution

There is nothing new about raw food diets, but the popularity of this trend that originated in the fashionable neighbourhoods of Asian countries and Europe has escalated immensely in the recent years. So what is the raw food buzz all about? In short, it is consuming foods that have been exposed to minimal or no processing, flames and oven temperatures that destroy natural enzymes present in foods. It doesn’t mean surviving on raw fruits and vegetables but you can choose from a large variety of dishes ranging from pastas to pies that have been prepared by using slow cooking techniques like dehydration. Raw foodists who believe in eating ‘living food’ that is organic, unprocessed and uncooked make vegetarians and vegans look outdated in the healthy eating hierarchy.
The raw food phenomenon caught on because of its back to nature premise; which gets rid of the extra sugars, sodium and fat found abundantly in processed foods and replaces that with foods that have their natural nutrients and enzymes intact. Those who have embraced raw food diets are reported to have experienced effective weight loss, better immunity, improved digestion, and increased energy levels although not all of these outcomes are scientifically substantiated.  But weight loss is almost a certainty because raw foods generally have fewer calories and are enzyme-rich leading to better food breakdown and less fat storage in the body. In fact raw foodism has gone from being another diet fad to an alternate lifestyle choice!
Inspite of the obvious health benefits, many nutritionists have their inhibitions about a ‘raw only’ diet because this doesn’t allow the body to access all the calories present in food and can lead to strength and muscle loss over extended periods.  Therefore, instead on going on an all-out raw food diet, you are better off gradually increasing the emphasis on raw foods in your diet. If you are worried about being stuck with limited and unappetizing food, you will be surprised at how sophisticated raw food cooking has become with anything from burgers to dim sums made possible. To get a slice of the raw food trend just cook at home from one of the several available cookbooks. However, beware that home cooking some raw style food can be cumbersome with preparation time going into days. Here is a sample recipe option to try at home:
Avocado Lime Soup
  • 2 avocados
  • 3/4 of a medium cucumber
  • 1 stalk celery
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1 cup water (if wanting warm soup use hot water)
- Blend all ingredients
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh sour cream and chopped chives


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