The Deal With Raw Food Diets

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raw foods

Photo: Aniphyo.com

From Gwyneth Paltrow to Amanda Seyfried, celebrities regularly tout the health and weight loss benefits of raw food diets.

Though I can't imagine giving up cooked food (pizza!), I am intrigued the more I hear. So I caught up with Ani Phyo, author of Ani's Raw Food Essentials (to be released in May), to talk about going raw.

What are the benefits of a raw food diet?

Raw foods are the healthiest way to eat. Each bite provides the highest nutrient values and places the least amount of stress on the body to digest, leaving more energy to heal, combat illness, rebuild, regenerate. Each ingredient is a super food -- no fillers, no chemicals, no empty calories.

Does it really mean NO cooked foods ever or are there variations?

Raw foods are never heated over 104 degrees. Yes, so never cooking, but dehydrating is okay.

I do tell people it's fine to heat up a raw soup, or cook a SunBurger in a pan because the food started from all whole foods -- no fillers, no chemicals, no toxins -- and though heating damages the enzymes, it's still better for you then say a frozen veggie patty that's been factory processed and packaged, warehoused, shipped, stored at grocery, then at your home.

Tips for beginning a raw foods diet?

Take it slowly. Consider your routine, lifestyle, travel, season, climate and environment to find what works for you. We are all unique and need unique solutions.

I work with people and have them drink a giant protein smoothie for breakfast first, then they can have their eggs and bacon. They will only eat half usually because the nutrient-rich shake fills them up. They end up eating less and less cooked food, and more and more raw over time.

I have them note how they feel with more raw foods. They will feel lighter and have more energy, more mental clarity and focus. Once we realize how good we can feel, we want to feel better and better.

After chatting with Ani, I looked up some raw food recipes and was surprised to find so many that I found appealing. While I don't think I could do an all-raw diet, I do think I can and will try to incorporate many more raw foods into my current diet.

Have you tried a raw food diet?

diets, eating healthy, general health, going green, healthy habits, natural health, weight loss