This is an article written by Heather Dube’ for On Fitness magazine May/June 2012 issue Clean Nutrition Report sold at Barnes N Noble & Whole Foods Market retailers worldwide.
It cannot be reproduced, copied or reused without express written permission of the author & publication. Back issues are available for purchase on the On Fitness magazine website.
A raw foods primer
Raw Foodism is the practice of consuming uncooked, unprocessed, organic foods as the majority of your diet. This group suggests your diet should be 51% or more of raw foods in order to obtain the internal health benefits available.
The interest in raw foods is picking up traction, but we need to delve deeper into its approach to discuss how it’s best applied for optimal fat loss, fitness & energy.
Raw Foods, or “living foods”, are nutrient-dense foods that are not cooked and remain in their natural state. They may possess one or all of these qualities: digestive enzymes and cultures, active living seeds, sprouted, or roots.
The raw food may continue to grow and microorganisms within it are still living. Raw foods examples are vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, raw non-pasteurized/homogenized dairy, sprouted grains, and proteins (meat, fish and eggs).
Additional raw foods that might be included for their extraordinary health properties include seaweed, sprouts, super foods, herbs, and fermented foods.
In raw foods approach, food production remains utmost priority. The food has to stay within its natural state undenatured, unpasteurized, unhomogenized, and how it is prepared and cooked is even considered.
Why raw foods matter: digestion, metabolism & alkalinity
Raw foods as a concept is rooted in optimal energy production in the human body. They offer significantly more human body energy production potential through much greater nutrient bioavailability, digestion, absorption and delivery.
When foods remain in a natural nutrient-dense state and their preparation is considered so that heat is not allowed to destroy their nutrient composition and enzymatic properties, they offer incomparable health benefits.
Digestive enzymes are a key piece to including raw foods in your diet. Most people show signs of enzyme depletion by age thirty in the human lifespan. This occurs as our stomach HCL (hydrochloric acid) production naturally declines with age.
The pancreas also shows diminished ability as we age to produce essential digestive enzymes. Your body cannot compensate with enough enzymes to make up the difference, if the food you consume doesn’t have the enzymes needed.
Things that detract from food enzyme bioavailability are those discussed here in this article – poor quality related to production, processing, and cooking.
Coaches, trainers or fitness goers will often recommend taking an enzyme supplement to assist in digestion, yet if you’re still eating processed, refined, non-organic foods, this is a failed approach. The enzymes need to come from the food.
Reason being, you’re still eating pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, bleaches, flavorings, colorings, GMOs, denatured foods, starches, fillers, and so on. All of these negate enzymatic food properties.
Raw foods provide the GI tract with natural digestive enzymes that generate a strong, healthy immune system, better health, digestive & metabolic function. They help produce alkalinity in the body and improve cellular turnover.
Additionally, raw foods with an emphasis on deep greens assist in lowering toxic load of the body. A digestive enzyme supplement will never touch the sum of the above results, and what that translates into fat loss and fitness potential.
Raw foods for a fat loss & fitness lifestyle
I am by no way suggesting that this is or is not how to eat. However, I am suggesting it is an area of human body health, optimal energy production and metabolic potential most in the fitness industry have yet to consider.
In fact, most fitness goers, personal trainers and athletes in the industry fail sorely on very basic vegetable consumption daily, although they never forget eggs, meat, rice and oats. Yet they leave a huge gaping nutrient and enzymatic hole in their diet.
When my husband Damian Dubé and I began integrating more raw foods into our fitness-based nutrition approach in 2008, we experienced notable health, immunity, youth, energy and increased metabolic benefits.
It is critical though to consider how to do this effectively while managing your other fitness and body goals because you cannot just consume any raw foods; the nutrition details need to be configured even still.
Here are our E3 Energy Evolved™ 6 Raw Foods Tips for Improved Natural Healing, Fat Loss & Fitness to get you started:
- Recognize this is a high fiber approach that can overtax your GI tract. Start slow, allowing your GI tract to adjust over time. This is often why competitors going on an immediate vegetable increase on their diet complain of bloating, flatulence and painful GI stress. Too much too soon overwhelms your system and can also lead to energetic fatigue of the body.
- As always in nutrition, emphasize quality in production for your best result.
- Be wary of the raw meats due to bacteria, as well as high glycemic-load raw foods which will over store calories.
- Try fermented foods like sauerkraut for the digestive benefits.
- For every cooked vegetable serving you have, match it with a raw vegetable serving.
- Stick with mother natures raw over packaged. Don’t assume because a food product has a “raw” label on it that it is raw. Many companies have recognized the buying trend and are jumping on the bandwagon to make money. Raw is raw as defined above only. If the label notes any processing was involved, or synthetics are included, it is simply not raw.
Author: Heather Dubé, HHC, AADP, ACSM CWC, NASM CPT, NC Cand. & BA Psychology, is a Functional Nutrition Practitioner, US National-Level Natural NPC Figure Bodybuilding Competitor & Contributing Expert Magazine Writer with 24 years experience, and Co-Founder of the e3 Energy Evolved™ System.
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