It's summertime. It's hot. You have NO desire to cook. OK, maybe that's me right now? While I love cooking, sometimes you just want something super easy and light to eat. You don't have to eat only salad-I promise! Eating raw foods aren't only easy to prepare (some can be complex but they don't have to be), they also help you to retain much of the nutrient levels found in the plants. Many enzymes and phytonutrients in plants get destroyed or diminished by the cooking process. When you consume plants in their raw form, you can more easily absorb these nutrients. There are exceptions, but raw foods have powerful healing benefits.
Raw foods contain much more water than cooked. This is good when you're exposed to high amounts of heat during the summer months. You don't have to just drink your water, you can eat it too! Water contents in your veggies and fruits drop dramatically once we cook them. By eating veggies and fruits raw, you hold on to the nutrients typically lost in the cooking process. If you've ever looks at water left over from the cooking process, you can visibly see the leaching of nutrients from the food into the water. Don't lose these! Try to incorporate raw foods into your diet on a regular basis. Definitely every day, if not multiple times a day. You don't have to become a raw foodist to benefit. Just keep adding more raw foods into your diet. You'll feel more full as well. The satiety provided by the fiber and water content will provide you nutrient dense foods that are not as calorie dense.
Sprouts are some of my favorite additions to foods to add extra beauty and protein, while being lower in calories than seeds and nuts. Growing your own is very easy, inexpensive, and the taste so much better!! If you'd like to know how to grow your own, check out my blog post on growing sprouts.
When eating raw, many of your foods work together to provide multiple benefits. If you notice the list below, there is great cross over. Great raw foods to try:
For protein: sprouts (ex. alfalfa, mung, lentil, broccoli, sunflower), nuts, seeds (ex. chia, flax, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin), leafy greens
For calcium: leafy greens, broccoli, sesame seeds
Iron: fresh herbs like basil, parsley, seeds, dark leafy greens, and broccoli
For a great lunch or light dinner, try incorporating a combo of raw and cooked foods. Here's my summer hand-roll. Packed with whatever veggies you have on hand and are in season, this recipe requires VERY little time, is nutrient dense, and low in calories.
A Moroccan massaged kale salad:
And more raw recipes....
Happy eating! Step away from the stove a little and enjoy summer's bounty!!
-Jessica of www.gardenfreshfoodie.com