Whether or not you support the idea of an exclusively raw diet, there are health benefits waiting for anyone who is able to start incorporating more raw food into their diet on a daily basis. Raw foodism centers on eating uncooked food – or food that is cooked at a temperature no higher than 104 – 115 degrees – that is also unprocessed. Most commonly, this food is organic or wild.
Most raw foodists eat varying types of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and sprouted whole grains. Some raw foodists also eat eggs, meat, non-pasteurized dairy products, and fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, or kefir. Many doctors and advocates of the raw diet believe that raw foods, which are also referred to as “living” foods, contain natural enzymes that are critical for overall health. They believe that these enzymes are often destroyed through the process of cooking and that heating above a certain temperature will also result in the production of toxins. Raw foodists also commonly believe that raw foods contain higher levels of nutrients and antioxidants.
If this idea resonates with you, great! If it doesn’t, fear not – your health will still benefit from the mild incorporation of more raw foods into your diet, even if you don’t feel up to giving up your cooked foods. If you’d like to start bringing more raw food into your diet, stock your pantry with these powerhouse raw ingredients to help get you started.
Lemon Juice. Lemon juice is incredibly versatile, packed with vitamin C, and can spritz up a meal like nobody’s business. When eating raw, you’ll be able to use lemon juice in your drinks, in your salad dressings, and so much more.
Cacao Nibs. These little treats will help you to make chocolate-flavored raw goodies, like raw chocolate brownies, bliss balls, shakes, and more.
Raw nuts. I cannot overstate the tremendous role raw nuts play in a raw diet, or even in a single raw meal. You can blend raw nuts together to create delicious raw desserts, like raspberry cheesecake. You can use raw cashews to make seriously decadent “cheeses” and spreads that resemble goat cheese (and others) in texture and flavor. Or you can simply munch on raw nuts or toss them in with a salad for quick-fix.
Dates. Dates are an amazing raw ingredient and integral to some of the most delicious raw recipes I know of – especially the sweet ones, like raw brownies. A few dates can go a long way when acting as natural sweeteners, so be sure to store them well between raw food creations.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. Raw apple cider vinegar is filled with health benefits and is great when simply added to water, but it’s also a wonderful raw staple to have around for dressings, marinades, and more.