For optimum health, a plant based diet can’t be beat. Research suggests that it can help ward off Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as promote weight loss. It isn’t hard to eat a plant based diet either. Today there are so many vegan alternatives for just about any non vegan food out there- and they are delicious! More and more restaurants are serving vegan options and there are many completely vegan restaurants out there too!
The raw food diet takes it a step further. Nothing is cooked or even heated above 118 degrees. Heating destroys the foods nutrients and natural enzymes, which is bad because enzymes boost digestion and fight chronic disease.
The raw food diet is vegan, sugar free and naturally gluten free. The nutritional perks- most of what you eat will be high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Fruits and vegetables are lower in calories which makes it easy to lose weight. Also the boost in enzymes means your body doesn’t have to work so hard to digest your food, so it can get to work on healing your body.
The thing is, you don’t have to go 100% raw to benefit from the diet. You can eat one completely raw vegan meal a day and have amazing benefits. For that one meal you are giving your body a break from having to work so hard. You are increasing the amount of fruits and veggies that you are consuming daily- which is always a good thing. You will naturally be consuming less calories, more fiber, and more nutrients for that meal, also a good thing.
So how do you add one raw vegan meal to your daily diet? The easiest way is a green smoothie for breakfast. Breakfast is the easiest meal to do go raw vegan. Most everyone loves a smoothie, and done right you will wont even taste the greens. One of my favorite smoothies is my Cherry Power Green smoothie. It makes 2 quarts or you can half the recipe, I like to drink 2 qts of green smoothie per day- breakfast and lunch. The calories for one quart is 320 calories, it has 10 grams of fiber and 14.3 grams of protein and that is without the addition of a protein powder. It is also fat free. If you find you need a bit of fat you can add a half of an avocado or the meat of one Young Thai coconut.
This smoothie will boost your energy and will flood your body with nutrients. I know some of you will say that you absolutely hate smoothies. Ok, I have got you covered. How about a fruit platter? Or make your raw meal at lunch with a huge salad. For those of you who work and eat out at lunch- one of my favorites is to go to Q’doba and get the taco salad in a bowl- just lettuce, lots of pico de gallo, guacamole, with onions and cilantro. Or hit the salad bar at Whole Foods, anywhere you can get a good salad, and ask for avocado because you will need a bit of fat to help sustain you.
You can increase your one raw meal by making all of your snacks fresh veggies or fruit and start dinner with a nice salad.
I promise, you will notice a difference in the first week.
Debra’s Cherry Power Green Smoothie
Makes 2 qts.
2 ripe bananas
2 cups frozen cherries
3-4 cups of frozen Earthbound Organics Power Greens (from Costco- I just chuck the whole bag into the freezer)
1 lemon- washed and quartered (leave peel on for added nutritive benefits)
1 inch piece of ginger
2 tbsps Spirulina powder (I get mine from StarWest Botanicals)
enough water to blend it all up.
Pour into quart sized canning jars. I make 2 green smoothies the night before and put in the fridge so that I have a quick breakfast in the morning.
Article and Recipe by Raw Chef Debra Garner
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