Try raw food if Eskom fails you

With the unpredictable power supply from Eskom, it might be a good idea to consider aspects of a practical raw food diet for those days when the stove refuses to do anything electrical and the gas canister has done its last sputter.

With the unpredictable power supply from Eskom, it might be a good idea to consider aspects of a practical raw food diet for those days when the stove refuses to do anything electrical and the gas canister has done its last sputter.

The raw food diet is based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweed.

Heating food above 116 degrees Fahrenheit is believed to destroy enzymes in food that help in digestion and absorption. Cooking is also thought to diminish food's nutritional value and "life force".

Typically, at least 75percent of the diet must be raw.

What are the benefits of the raw food diet?

Proponents of the diet believe it has numerous health benefits, including increased energy, improved skin appearance, better digestion, weight loss, and reduced risk of heart disease.

The raw food diet contains fewer trans fats and saturated fat than the typical Western diet. It is also low in sodium and high in potassium, magnesium, folate, fibre and health-promoting plant chemicals called phytochemicals.

These properties are associated with a reduced risk of diseases such as heart ailments, diabetes, and cancer.

For example, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consumption of a raw food diet lowered plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.

What are the guidelines?

1. What can I eat?

Unprocessed, preferably organic whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, legumes, dried fruit, seaweed, unprocessed organic or natural foods, fresh fruit juice, vegetables, purified water, and young coconut milk.

At least three quarters of food consumed should not be heated over 116 degrees F.

2. What cooking techniques are used?

Specific cooking techniques make foods more digestible and add variety to the diet, including sprouting seeds, grains, and beans, juicing fruit and vegetables, soaking nuts and dried fruit, and blending.

3. What equipment can I use?

l A dehydrator, a piece of equipment that blows air through food at a temperature of less than 116 degrees F.

l A good-quality juice extractor for juicing fruit and vegetables.

l A blender, food processor, or chopper to save time.

l Large glass containers to soak and sprout seeds, grains, and beans.

l Mason jars for storing sprouts and other food.

Side effects

Some people experience a detoxification reaction when they start the raw food diet, especially if their previous diet was rich in meat, sugar, and caffeine.

Mild headaches, nausea, and cravings can occur and usually last for several days.

Precautions

The raw food diet might not be appropriate for certain people, such as children, pregnant or nursing women, people with anemia, and people at risk of osteoporosis.

Considerable time, energy and commitment is needed to be healthy on the raw food diet. Many of the foods are made from scratch. Some ingredients may be hard to find, such as rejuvelac, the fermented liquid drained from sprouted grains, sprouted flour, date sugar, young coconut milk, carob powder and Celtic sea salt.

Certain nutritional deficiencies can occur on the raw food diet, including calcium, iron, protein, calories, and B12.

Critics of the raw food diet say while it's true that some enzymes are inactivated when food is heated, it doesn't matter because the body uses its own enzymes for digestion. In addition, cooking makes certain phytochemicals easier to absorb, such as beta-carotene. - About.com

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