What to Eat for Optimum Nutrition
When you start transitioning to a raw food diet, knowing what to eat is quite simple… A variety of whole plant foods as they're grown! Be adventurous and try new varieties and combinations, but also be sure to follow these eating guidelines to ensure you meet all of your nutritional requirements:
- A great first step is to simply ADD MORE fresh fruit, vegetables, and sprouts to your diet.
- Keep in mind that it's equally as important what you leave out as what you put in. See FOODS TO AVOID
- BEGIN YOUR DAY with a large glass of warm lemon water (the juice of 1/2 lemon in warm water) as soon as you rise. This is alkalizing and very good for the liver to aid in the elimination of toxins.
- MAKE ENZYME RICH, NUTRITIONALLY POTENT GREENS A LARGE PORTION OF YOUR DIET - Such as spinach, kale, silverbeet (swiss chard), lettuce and collard greens. These are the most cleansing, energising, and health giving foods in the vegetable kingdom. Where all vegetables specialise in certain groups of nutrients, kale actually contains almost every nutrient that's found in all other vegetables! A great way to get more greens into your diet is to make plenty of green salads, green smoothies and green juices.
- CHLORELLA AND SPIRULINA are micro-algae that offer a stunning array of health benefits. Chlorella is an excellent source of iron and minerals as well as being a complete protein containing all the B group vitamins, it is also incredibly detoxifying and is known to eliminate heavy metals such as mercury from the body within weeks. Spirulina's pre digested protein provides building material soon after ingestion, without the health risks and energy-draining side effects of meat protein and commercial protein powders.
- EAT A WIDE VARIETY of fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits and vegetables.
- Be sure to include all the COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW to get a full spectrum of nutrients.
- Consume a variety of RAW NUTS (Preferably soaked or activated) in moderation.
- Include SPROUTS and SPROUTED LENTILS.
- Include SEEDS especially those that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed (freshly ground & kept refrigerated), chia, and hemp seed. You can sprinkle them on meals, salads, raw muesli... these will give you very high quality sources of protein, omegas 3, 6 & 9, soluble and insoluble fibre, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium and much more.
- Choose GLUTEN FREE grains and seeds such as quinoa, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat.
- DRINK PURIFIED WATER - Other than the obvious health risks associated with fluoride in our water supply, the addition of chlorine not only kills the bacteria in the water supply but when we drink it, it also kills much of the vital bacteria in our gut that we need for healthy digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
- B12 AND VITAMIN D - As with any diet, vegans need to be careful to monitor that all of their nutritional needs are being met. Whilst we don’t otherwise promote the use of supplements, an exception is vitamin B12 and vitamin D - if you're not getting enough sun, the rest of our nutrients can all be easily obtained through a varied wholefood plant based diet.
- B12 - is made from a microorganism found in organic soil and on the lower foliage of plants, but due to the use of fungicides in modern day commercial farming practices that leave our soils lifeless and depleted as well as our standards of hygiene and practice of over washing everything, we miss out on what would once have been transferred to us in our diets long ago. Even some animals raised for consumption are becoming deficient and have to be supplemented. Although we may get some of the microbe from eating plenty of organically grown fresh produce that isn't being over washed, there is no guarantee you will get an adequate amount to avoid deficiency so it's not worth taking the risk in our opinion as B12 deficiency can lead to serious health issues. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian or omnivore it is important to monitor your levels as B12 deficiency occurs regardless of diet, including those over 50 who have been eating meat all of their lives. Although it is far from our natural ideal, in our opinion the best form of B12 available to us today is to supplement with a Methylcobalamin sublingual spray.
- Vitamin D - If you aren't getting enough sunshine, it's important to supplement with vitamin D, whilst a supplement can never compare to the natural vitamin D we get from the sun a good quality supplement source is Vitashine Vegan Vitamin D3.
- PRO-BIOTICS - Until you have built up decent levels of gut bacteria through feeding the good bacteria with loads of cellulose fibre from greens, fruits & vegetables, it's a good idea to consider taking a good quality vegan pro biotic to replenish and promote the growth of some of the beneficial intestinal microflora. This can help to relieve bloating and digestive issues.
- RAW FERMENTED FOODS - We encourage everyone to start eating more raw fermented foods because of their tremendous health benefits. Raw cultured foods provide easy to digest nourishment that is rich in enzymes and rich in probiotics… the friendly bacteria that we need for healthy digestion grow in the vegetables and seeds during the culturing process, transforming the food into pre-digested, easily assimilated nourishment.
- SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF FERMENTED FOODS:
- High in enzymes;
- A rich source of vitamin c;
- Improved digestion;
- Helps to alleviate candida;
- Supports colon health;
- Re-introduces friendly bacteria;
- Helps to prevent constipation;
- Prevents decay in food products and in the bowels;
- Strengthens the acidity in the stomach (people’s hydrochloric acid decreases with age, which is why it becomes harder to digest);
- Promotes longevity
- Helps with anemia, arteriosclerosis, asthma, gout, polyps, ulcers, worms and more.
COCONUT - Coconut water is 'natures gatorade' as it's packed full of electrolytes and minerals - calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, but in their completely natural form. It also contains zinc, manganese, selenium, iodine, sulfur, boron, molybdenum, ascorbic acid and B-group vitamins.
- Coconut water was even used for blood transfusions in the second world war because of its close similarity to plasma. And some doctors today even recommend fresh coconut water for rehydration to patients.
- Coconut oil has been shown to help Alzheimer's sufferers.
- Coconut oil contains short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is claimed by some experts to be a healthy form of saturated fat as opposed to trans fat. Trans fatty acid consumption is linked with heart disease and increased cholesterol levels. Our body metabolises MCFA's in the liver, immediately converting it into energy (fuel for the brain and muscle function) rather than it being stored as fat. The healthy fats include lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid which contain antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral properties to boost the immune system. Lauric acid contains the highest concentration of MCFA fatty acids, approximately 75 per cent. The body converts this fat into monolaurin which is claimed to help heal viruses such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori and candida.
- A study reported in the Journal of Nutrition found that coconut oil boosts metabolism. Researchers found that participants who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil per day burned more kilojoules than those who consumed less. A speedy metabolism helps boost the body's immune system and keep weight off.
- As with all food we believe coconut is best eaten as a whole food, the water and/or flesh, which can also be blended into coconut milk or made into coconut yogurt. Coconut oil is not a whole food but it does appear to have some significant nutritional benefits, so we choose to have it in moderation from time to time in recipes, whilst monitoring that our fats and oils intake remains below 15-20% of calories as we believe a low-fat vegan diet is the optimum for our health.
* PLEASE NOTE - what we share comes from our own experiences and the knowledge that we have accumulated through years of study of raw food and our Certification in Plant Based Nutrition. As we don’t have any qualification in conventional medicine the information that we share does not take the place of diagnosis, treatment or advice given to you by your medical practitioner.