The Benefits of Raw Foods

Alyson Ostenaa
Owner, Ecopolitan restaurant

I first heard about raw foods two years ago from a friend. He had attended dinner parties in Colorado that served entire meals of fresh, raw, vegan foods. He told me about delicious appetizers, entrees, sauces, salads and desserts prepared without cooking. The chef used blenders, dehydrators (set at low temperature) and innovative cutting techniques. At the time, it sounded interesting to me, but not too appealing.

Then, on a trip to California, I picked up the book Raw: The Uncook Book by Juliano. I was amazed and enticed by what could be done with raw fruits, vegetables and seeds!

I returned home with the book and began preparing some recipes, and even sprouted some regular old lentils and chickpeas. It was exciting; the recipes were fantastic! The innovative combinations of ingredients created rich, full flavors and filling meals. Also, a mini kitchen garden of sprouts was both practical and rewarding to grow.

This was a great discovery. I had been vegan for two years, but had focused mainly on cooked grains and vegetables. Learning more about raw foods made me ponder why I was buying fresh, organic, whole foods and then destroying all their enzymes and many other nutrients by cooking them. Also, I was relying too much on packaged foods, producing more landfill waste than I liked.

For me, any step away from this made sense. I began buying mostly produce, nuts and seeds, spices, fresh herbs, dried fruits and a few unpasteurized, vegan ingredients in recyclable containers. Whenever possible, I purchased organic bulk foods. Raw food can be a huge part of a sustainable lifestyle, promoting stewardship of the earth’s environment and ecology, although most people in the worldwide raw food community emphasize the amazing health benefits of this truly natural diet. I’ve met many people who have used it to overcome a large variety of health conditions such as fibromyalgia, indigestion, Candida, cancer, fatigue, headaches, eczema, obesity, ADD and MS. Also, raw food is a great prevention measure. So, why wait ’til it hurts?

All of these amazing benefits from one simple idea — to eat foods in a natural, raw state, as nature intended. And using any of the several raw recipe books, we can enjoy social dining and entertaining and revel in the sight of our children and relatives gobbling delicious pates, yummy sauces, invigorating smoothies, nutritious fresh juices, zucchini fettuccini, raw pizza, raw burritos and banana coconut cream pie with a crust of dates and almonds!

Raw Foods

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