Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

Eat it Raw!

on November 8, 2011
This post was first published in June but a friend recently asked for my green smoothie recipe so I thought I would share, this is part 1 of 2. Tomorrow you will find out more about great stuff that you can put in a blender.  (no- it doesn’t include tequila or rum!)
Daughter Rachel and I along with the Festival Foods Registered Dietitian, Stephanie, recently attended a Raw Food Class at a local clinic.  I run into people in the store who eat only raw food and it always seemed interesting to me so I wanted to learn more.  I also need to eat more veggies and hoped this would give me some ways to do that.  I was a little concerned when we were given a disclaimer that the Clinic/hospital does not endorse this way of eating, but in reading further, they do not approve of raw milk.  Raw milk (unpasteurized) is very controversial and is illegal to sell in Wisconsin but they did not discuss it in this class.
What is a Raw Food Diet and Why do it?
 On the raw food diet, you never eat anything that has been heated above 118 degrees.  Cooking is thought to denature the enzymes naturally present in food. According to the instructor, enzymes are the life force of a food, helping us to digest food and absorb nutrients. If we over consume cooked food, our bodies are forced to work harder by producing more enzymes. Over time, a lack of enzymes from food is thought to lead to digestive problems, nutrient deficiency, accelerated aging, and weight gain.  It seems to make sense but there are also some drawbacks.

One of the main concerns people have with the raw food diet is the risk of nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. For example, one study found that people on raw food diets have higher levels of homocysteine and lower HDL cholesterol levels, due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Both are risk factors for heart disease. Supplementing with a multivitamin may help prevent nutritional deficiencies. Eating a variety of foods may also help.

If you decide to try it, you should ease into the program, maybe 50% raw food to start and find a balance.  Our instructor was not completely “raw” but it is a big portion of her diet.  To me, it looks like alot of work but I will incorporate a few things and have already started on the Green Smoothies.  I am not a big green vegetable eater so when they brought out the samples I was a little scared.  But, I have to admit, it was really good and now I have been making these at home. 

DISCLAIMER:  I am NOT a fan of most vegetables, particularly those that are dark green.  If I can drink this (and enjoy it)  you can too.

There are lots of great reasons to give the Green Smoothie a try, too numerous to mention here, but it is helping me get my 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and has curbed my need for sugar.  I have one after a workout and then after work instead of eating chips, marshmallows, or anything else I could get my hands on!  One blender full makes about 4 servings, keep leftovers covered in the frig for no more than 2 days. 

So far I have tried:
1 bunch Kale
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
1 cup strawberries, washed with stems on
1 cup water
BLEND until desired consistency.  Yes- it is GREEN but trust me, it is better than it looks.

Another one that I like:
4 peaches, pitted
2 handfuls of spinach leaves
 1 cup water

If you would like more recipes or to find out more about the Green Smoothie, click HERE. And, yes, it really is THIS green.  Trust me, it tastes great. 

All in all, this was a very interesting class and a new way of thinking about how we prepare our food and how it affects our body and health.  I don’t think I will ever go completely raw or vegetarian, but the smoothies are a good way to make some changes.

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