Why is a raw diet beneficial? After hearing Alicia Silverstone and Oprah discuss raw vegetables and the resulting odorless poop, I must admit I was a little curious about it too.
A friend of mine joked disgustedly one day that people treat their dogs better than their children. She may have had a point there. We explored a variety of sites dedicated to dog health, including several sites that admonished people to finally stop being lazy and feed their dogs a raw diet. Better overall health for your dog and no more doggy odors, the site reproached the lazy dog owners. Besides wondering if dogs really cared for organic biscuits (I don’t know about you, but I know my dog isn’t very discriminating), it did cause me to wonder if there was some benefit to a raw diet. If dogs lose their “doggy odors”, would a raw diet do the same for humans?
Why is a raw diet beneficial? After hearing Oprah and Alicia Silverstone discuss raw vegetables and the resulting odorless poop, I must admit I was a little curious. Alicia went totally vegan and I wasn’t sure I was up for that, but I wanted to know how a raw diet would benefit me. The first thing I discovered was that a raw diet is most associated with cleansing the body. Cooking food usually kills the enzymes in food. Enzymes are used by the body to break down foods and help the body process minerals and nutrients. Might that mean that, without proper enzymes, much of the food leaving me is unprocessed? If that were the case, then many of the vitamins and nutrients I am hoping to consume also leave my body without being absorbed properly.
Indeed, a diet rich in raw foods is a diet more replete with nutrients, as cooking often destroys the vitamins and minerals available in our foods. This is why steaming has so often been recommended, rather than straight out cooking. We literally boil away the nutrients.
Raw food does not need to mean meatless. What is recommended is high quality meat sources, like salmon or poultry and other richer sources of protein. Unbelievably, cacao “itself is about 19% protein.” Far more interesting is the research from Dr. John Livesey, Scientific Officer for the Department of Endocrinology at Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand. Dr. Livesey speaks of a study of group of men. One third consumed no cacao, one third consumed a moderate amount, and one third consumed about 4.2 grams per day. “The most remarkable finding of the study was that the one third of men who consuming the largest amounts of cocoa had a 45 to 50% lower death rate than did the one third who consumed no cocoa.” His research specifically indicated the darker variety. In raw diets, the unprocessed versions, like cacao nibs are largely recommended (http://healthyfoodrawdiet.com/cacao/cacao-nibs).
I discovered that I do pretty well. I eat better than I thought and stepping it up a bit wouldn’t be as difficult as I thought. I have begun to make some of these changes, though not as drastically as Ms. Silverstone. I have noticed an improvement in my energy levels and mood. A raw diet still affords me many of the foods I love. Ironically, what’s better for my health also tends to be better for my wallet as well, as processed foods tend to cost more anyway.
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Flavonoids are a type of antioxidants, a “superfood” http://www.healthyfoodrawdiet.com/cacao