willPower RAW food

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.

Tracy Vicente

Tracy is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Level 3 willPower & grace® instructor, and a contributor to the willPower for girlPower!® program. She is a full-time Advertising Art & Design instructor and shares the willPower programs with faculty, staff, and students. Tracy is certified in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. With a dominantly raw, plant-based diet, she hopes to help those seeking optimal performance and vibrant health.


  1. Natalie Almonte
    Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 at 9:54 pm ·

    This is very informative information and it really inspires me. I have always struggled to eat healthier and to live a lifestyle with excercise in it everyday. I would really appreciate your help as to where i can purchase affordable organic foods, especially veggies.

  2. Tracy
    Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 at 5:49 am ·

    I am messaging you Natalie :-)

  3. Natalie Almonte
    Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 at 6:35 am ·

    Thank you so very much

  4. Kim Harring
    Friday, September 21st, 2012 at 7:28 am ·

    Right there with you Tracy!
    Ever since I watched Hungry For Change, I am an full time juicer! Most defiantly a believer in eating food in its purest state. I juice every morning, and always make enough for the afternoon.
    My morning juice has equal parts fruit to veggie, but in the afternoon it’s more veggie bast. You mentioned sugars in fruit, should I be concerned with how much is in my juice?

  5. Jennifer Schumacher
    Friday, September 21st, 2012 at 8:28 am ·

    Hey Kim,
    When you make enough juice in the morning for the afternoon… does it still taste the same?
    I am interested about the sugar as well – I try not to eat any sugar after noon.

  6. Tracy
    Friday, September 21st, 2012 at 10:02 am ·

    Not all fruits are created equal. For example, pineapple is higher in sugar and the glycemic index as compared to say apples and could cause an issue for some who might be more sensitive to sugar. I keep most of my sugar calories for earlier in the day as well , we need that energy earlier :-) I mentioned to use more veggies since there is so much more nutrition in them. Besides, eating the fruit is awesome, I would rather eat them whole as compared to eating celery and beets.. which I can honestly say I would not eat but know their nutritional benefits.

  7. Kim Harring
    Sunday, September 23rd, 2012 at 7:12 am ·

    Jen-yes my juice in afternoon taste just as good. If it goes longer than afternoon I do then see a difference in flavor. My afternoon juice has a full scoop of Superfood powder from Sprouts. The powder has so many other micro-nutrients I am not able to get- extra stuff like wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa grass, etc. good stuff!

  8. Jenn DeLuccia
    Jenn DeLuccia
    Monday, September 24th, 2012 at 5:40 pm ·

    Hey Tracy. I once read that it’s good to buy frozen organic fruits and veggies because they are frozen right before they turn ripe which allows for more nutrients. Have you ever heard that? Is it true?

  9. Jennifer Schumacher
    Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 10:12 pm ·

    Thanks for the info… we have a VitaMix and I haven’t used it for juice yet, but it’s time to make a CHANGE :)

  10. Tracy
    Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 at 5:58 am ·

    Hey Jenn. It is true. If organic produce is frozen at its peak of ripeness it has been studied to potentially have more nutrients than produce that is potentially over ripe. I admit in off seasons I use a lot of frozen organic berries in my smoothies :-) I would rather use frozen organic than raw conventional for sure.