Go Raw! Health Benefits & How To Get Started From a Raw Food Expert-Recipe Included

Priscilla Magnusen, raw food expert and teacher shares some valuable information with us about going raw.

How does going Raw or adding in more raw food to your diet affect your overall health?
When you eat a raw and living food diet you are feeding your body and your cells the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that cooking destroys. The act of heating food over approximately 112 degrees Fahrenheit destroys enzymes in food.

Our food choices have a cumulative effect on our body, and whether we are conscious of it or not, what we eat affects our mental and emotional health, just as much as our physical health. People who eat raw food invariably experience improved physical health and mental wellbeing, more energy, weight loss, detoxification, and a stronger immune system. I’ve personally witnessed people heal themselves of diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease, IBS, arthritis, allergies, candida, depression, and fibromyalgia.

How is eating Raw good for the planet?
Eating raw naturally lends itself to living in harmony with Mother Earth. You are avoiding packaged or processed foods, so you are not creating any waste or products to be disposed of in landfills. We hardly produce any trash in my home and the leftover food we don’t eat or “drink” goes directly into our compost bin. Those willing to eat organic will be doing even more to support our planet. Conventional produce is grown with pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, and other chemicals that are toxic to the environment.

In addition, you’ll likely eat very little, if any, animal products, which have an incredible impact on the planet. A plant-based diet requires 300 gallons of water a day, while a meat filled diet requires over 4,000 gallons per day. Animal feces produced in factory farms is the largest source of airborne methane, which causes global warming. Meat eating also contributes to pollution in lakes and rivers due to run-off from factory farms, and an increase in fossil fuels used to raise animals for food.

What is the easiest way for someone to start incorporating more Raw Food?
Gradually! Keep it simple by trying one or two new fruits or veggies every week. You’ll be surprised by the unbelievable amount of food choices. Raw Guru David Wolfe has stated that we could taste something new everyday for the rest of our lives and still not come close to trying 1% of what’s available to us on earth!

In addition, pick up a recipe book for beginners. One of my favorites is Raw Food Made Easy, by Jennifer Cornbleet. This book focuses on dishes that can be made in just a few minutes; with the use of equipment you most likely already have in your kitchen.

When eating raw in the winter, is it harder to still eat local and seasonal?
Yes, but I find it easier than it used to be. Many farmers markets are open year round and CSAs (community supported agriculture) typically offer winter shares. My CSA provides all sorts of root vegetables, winter squash, citrus fruits, and winter leafy greens.

Winter is a good time to be a little adventurous. Leafy greens make a great base for a winter salad and the sweetness of sliced oranges can offset the bitterness of the greens.ย  Fennel, leeks, shallots and onions are also great in salads. I love making slaws from carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi and other winter veggies.

When having to consider raw, local, and seasonal, you must do what works best for you and your priorities. I’ve made a commitment to eat locally and seasonally whenever possible, so in those circumstances where I have to make a choice, I normally choose local and seasonal over raw. I never overcook my food, but will make a soup, stew, or lightly steam veggies if I feel I need to diversify my diet a bit during the winter.

How do you help people transition into eating more raw and where can they find you?
I provide individual coaching sessions and I teach a series of classes, the most popular being a Beginners Guide to Raw Foods. This class is designed for those new to the raw food lifestyle. For more information please visit: blissfulrebelchick

Share a simple raw recipe with us to help us get started.

Raw Fennel Salad

2 cups fennel, shaved
ยผ cup fennel fronds
ยฝ lemon, juiced
1 Tablespoon of parsley
2 Tablespoon of olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped almonds (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste

-Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, and fennel fronds.
-Season to taste with salt and pepper.
-Gently toss all ingredients with the shaved fennel and chill for at least 30 minutes.
-Serves 2

Photo Credit: Trellina at Flickr for Creative Commons

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