Why eat more RAW plant based foods?
There are so many benefits to a big raw salad, juicing, fresh smoothies, or simply eating an apple or orange. High temperatures (above 118 degrees) destroy the enzymes and nutrients in food. This will cause your body to produce the digestive enzymes, creating stress on your body (think of that post-Thanksgiving coma). Wouldn’t you rather have extra energy for daily activities, and workout recovery instead needing extra energy to digest food? As you age, enzyme production reduces dramatically, lowering your digestion tolerance. Most modern processed foods have low enzyme content, as well as “foreign” ingredients which create even more digestion and absorption challenges. Raw plant based foods carry so many benefits to our digestive health. Besides the nutrients we readily absorb, the enzymes are present for easy digestion. Add some fresh sprouts to your salad instead of cooked beans or legumes and you have reduced gas production during digestion (expelled in sprouting process) and the nutritional benefits skyrocket, not to mention fiber content sweeps out toxins during digestion, making us even healthier. Sometimes it’s easier to grab a quick, unhealthy snack – but when you start using your self-control to use food for fuel, your body will feel like it’s received an overhaul.
Chlorophyll is plant’s blood. It synthesizes energy and it prized for its ability to cleanse our blood. It is linked to red blood cell production which means more oxygen in your blood, yielding more energy. Eating chlorophyll-rich foods align with regular exercise and you will build a biologically younger body. Chlorophyll is present in a lot of plant based foods, especially leafy greens.
When pulp is extracted during the juicing process, you’ll remove much of the fiber-rich properties of fruits and veggies, BUT you gain nutrients and antioxidants though juicing, which is ideal if you are interested in cleansing and wanting to drench your cells in nutrition. Celery, cucumber, leafy greens such as kale, chard and spinach, carrot, beet, lemon, ginger and herbs like parsley are juicing ingredients. Think of this as your “nutritional insurance” instead of always turning to powdered and dried supplements. Focus more on juicing vegetables and add a bit of lemon, ginger and mint to take the edge off while giving a cleansing and soothing effect. Juicing also makes your skin glow! Be advised: fruit juice has a high sugar content which can affect the liver and insulin response in comparison to eating a whole fruit with fiber intact. Also – be careful with some juicers, its speed can actually heat up what you are juicing and not extract enough pulp. In the long run it is good to research a good low RPM masticating or triturating juicer which has an auger that grinds like our teeth, extracting the most pulp (good for juicing greens) For optimal nutritional benefits, drink the juice within 24 hours.
Smoothies leave the fiber in, and it can be used as a snack or even as a small meal (I like to have a big smoothie as the start to my day) It is recommended to use a more powerful blender (I use the Blendtec® HP3A with the 4″ blade, but a Vitamix® is great too). This blender is one of the BEST investments I have made due to its many uses.
My liquid insurance for the day starts with a fruit and veggie smoothie. This is one of my favorites:
- 1 cup blueberries and/or raspberries
- 1 kiwi
- 1 peeled lemon (sometimes I leave a little bit of pith and peel on)
- 5+ leaves of kale, stems removed
Organic produce contains up to 10x the nutrients or more than conventional and you eliminate the worry of chemicals or genetically modified produce. You have one body, your best accessory. Invest in organic as much as you can. It is worth the investment.