What is Raw?

Many people will have heard of the Raw Food movement but could you explain it? Because it turns familiar cooking on its head few people really understand the philosophy of the . Why would anyone want to eat uncooked food?

Enid Taylor, who is the founder of Taymount Lifestyle Clinic, sent us an article explaining just why. So, what is the Raw Food Diet? Is it just another fad or is there more to it than that? Read on…

When I first told my sister I was eating a 100% raw diet, she pulled a face of disgust. “How do you eat things like chicken raw?” She asked. Hmm, even I pulled a face at that thought!

We have strayed so far from what human beings were biologically designed to eat, that we fail to see the natural attraction of eating the right way. We try and drag our current “normal” ideas of eating into the raw framework and it doesn’t fit.

No animal is born with a frying pan or barbecue! You don’t see a gorilla with a griller! We are the only species on the planet who cooks its food. No animal in the wild suffers from the degenerative diseases that we do. Our domestic pets get as sick as we do and we feed them cooked foodsi. Kind of proves a point really?

Natural, fresh, living foods have enzymes in them which are active biological elements that make living changes (growth and function) possible. Once food is heated above 40°C all those enzymes die and the food becomes inert (dead). Eating cooked, inert foods attracts the attention of our immune system and our digestive tract is flooded with white blood cells (the soldiers of our immunity army) – a reaction called “digestive leukocytosis”. This means that the body has reacted to the cooked foods as if they are invading foreign bodies. This would also explain why so many conditions of the bowel are immunity related – like IBS, Crohn’s and food sensitivities and allergies.

This has very serious implications for cancer prevention; we all have the potential to manufacture cancer cells each and every time any one of our billions of cells divides and recreates itself – a process taking place continuously in our bodies, every moment we are alive. Sometimes the cell replication process makes a mistake and a mutant cell is born. This cell would then replicate itself and produce a tumour if it was not recognised early on by the immunity army and eaten up – Pacman-like – by the white blood cells (a process called phagocytosis).

If our immunity army is fully occupied with taking out the rubbish from the digestive system, then we are left defenceless against these life-threatening cellular mistakes. This is how cancer starts. Fill the body with dead, immune-system provoking processed “foods” and you are asking far too much from your immune system to keep you safe.

So when we eat fresh, living organic foods, we are allowing all of our systems to function the way they were designed to and we are not putting heavy work loads on the immunity and detoxification systems. It gives the body the nutrition it needs without the hard work. This means that changing to a raw, living foods diet can have far-reaching effects on your body, your health and your energy levels.

Among the rapidly growing range of books written by devotees of a raw and living foods diet, there are many stories and case histories of remarkable recoveries from serious and life-threatening diseases and conditions. Certainly when you start eating a high percentage raw diet, you can expect many niggling and unpleasant chronic conditions to disappear, such as constipation, IBS, eczema, asthma, acne, to name just a few. More serious illnesses like diabetes and even cancer have been successfully treated with a 100% diet in many documented cases. You will age more slowly. Skin glows, eyes sparkle and there is a zest and passion for life that cannot be bought in a tin.

The Hippocrates Health Institute in Floridaii is just one of several health clinics where you can go and learn how to incorporate fresh, living foods into your daily life and these establishments are regularly curing cancer and other terminal illnesses with such an approach.

Cleanliness inside is just part of the picture, we also need to stop using chemical preparations in our cosmetics and toiletries as the body absorbs nearly everything that is placed on the skin. This was not realised when some of the formulations for toiletries were established decades ago. Now that we are aware of the skin as a transport mechanism for substances like nicotine and hormones, it makes sense to avoid putting poisonous chemicals on our hair and skin if we want to be healthy.

An excellent example of the remarkable healing effects of raw food eating can be found in Victoria Boutenko’s booksiii: 12 Steps to Raw Food, or Raw Family. She has recently published books on Green Smoothies which are the staple of a healthy fresh diet and can bring marvellous health benefits just by adding them to your existing diet. She describes how we are 99.4% identical in DNA to chimpanzees and they eat 55% green leaves, 45% fruit and 10% seeds, pith, bark and a few incidental insects (more by mistake than on purpose!).

Fresh, organic produce comes complete with natural soil-based micro-organisms which help to strengthen our bowel flora and natural immunity. So if we eat the same proportion of greens, fruits and nuts/seeds as chimpanzees, we will be as healthy and energetic as our Darwinian cousins!

So get real, get raw, get healthy! Start eating the way your body was meant to be fed – eat like a chimpanzee (but don’t start swinging from the trees on the way to work!).

References and Further Reading:
ii Hippocrates Institute:
http://www.hippocratesinst.org/
iii Victoria Boutenko has her own family website listing all her books at:
http://www.rawfamily.com/
You can also buy them online at Amazon.co.uk/com
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Who needs folic acid? Mums to be plus you and me

‘Women, everywhere, should take folic acid.’ That’s the advice of the Scottish Spina Bifida Association if you’re of childbearing age.

Most mums to be know that folic acid is important for a baby’s development in the womb. However the charity is concerned that unplanned pregnancies have led to double the number of children born with spina bifida this year.

The word ‘folate’ comes from the Latin for leaf so it’s not surprising that you can get a lot of the vitamin naturally from leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, peas, chickpeas and brown rice.  Other good sources of this essential folate are fortified cereals, liver and yeast but women planning pregnancies need to have 400mg a day, which is best guaranteed by taking folic acid in form.

Part of the problem is that women will often wait until their next period to see if they are pregnant but a baby’s spine develops during the first four weeks of pregnancy. Hence the logic that if you are sexually active then it’s wise to up your folate consumption.

Something to be careful of is that it’s easy to destroy folates if you cook your food for too long. And the vitamin does not stay in your system so you need a regular intake.

But it’s not even just all women who can benefit from folic acid, absolutely everyone should. Folates, vitamin D and calcium are all particularly helpful in fighting bowel cancer. They reduce the polyps – growths in the intestines which are believed to lead to the cancer. Since it’s one of the most common cancers everyone should be aware of how the right diet can help.