Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, said the genius Leonardo Da Vinci. It seems that health experts and fitness enthusiast have taken note of his words, popularising the no-frills raw diet. It is believed that raw diet helps boost health and cut down weight. “A growing number of health conscious people are taking to this form of diet across the world. Many are embracing it here in India, owing to its multiple benefits. I think it’s one of the best diet forms to follow. You don’t have to really restrict yourself from eating your favourite food items,” says nutritionist Tripti Tandon.
What is Raw Diet?
For the uninitiated, raw diet consists of food which is not cooked beyond 48 degrees Celsius. Also, it shouldn’t be either refined, chemically processed, canned or treated with pesticides. Some might confuse raw diet with veganism, but these are two distinct diets. Raw diet includes fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as non-processed dairy and animal products. Grains and legumes are also considered a part of this diet, but usually have to be soaked or sprouted before one eats them.
Raw diet preserves the enzymes derived from food. Cooking food above 48 degrees Celsius kills some of the natural enzymes in food, so the body overworks itself by having to produce more of its own enzymes, exhausting its energy. As you go on increasing the heat, heat-sensitive nutrients are also lost. Raw diet is believed to be healthier, as it keeps the enzymes and nutrients intact.
Benefits of Raw Diet
According to health experts and nutritionists, people who follow the raw food observe benefits such as weight loss, improved vitality, increased energy, improvement to chronic diseases and improved overall health.
“Raw diet also helps in detoxification of your body, clearing up allergies, boosting energy, immunity and memory, and cutting down blood pressure. It also helps in arthritis and in reducing diabetes risks. It also brings down weight as most of the food items included in the diet are low in calories, fat, and sodium, and high in fibre. Raw foods also help alkalise the body, reduce acidity and bring down inflammation,” says nutritionist Kavita Devgan.
Raw diet also helps cut down on plastic. “Raw diet reduces our use of packaged and processed foods such as breads, bottled condiments, cereals, crackers, cheese, refined oils and processed meats, bringing down our plastic consumption,” says Devgan.
How good is raw diet for you?
Don’t blindly follow the trend without seeking expert guidance, says Devgan. Experts also believe that, this diet form, just like any other dietary form can have its own side effects. “The challenge for anyone on a raw food diet is getting enough protein, vitamin B12 and iron, as these nutrients are typically found in foods that can’t be eaten raw, such as beans, whole grains, and lean proteins. One may run low on many essential nutrients, and may need to take vitamin supplements to make up for any gaps in your diet. So before you switch over to this diet, make sure to check with your dietician,” she says.
Ingredients: 1 cup soaked cashews (soaked overnight), 3/4 cup coconut flour, 2 tbsp turbinado sugar, 2 tbsp cardamom powder, 2- 3 tbsp rose water, 1 tbsp saffron powder
Instructions: Blend all the ingredients in a blender and then hand roll them into round balls. You can decorate them with fruit pieces.
Ingredients: 1 handful walnuts, 1 handful cashews, 2 tbsp raw cacao powder, 1 tbsp coconut Sugar, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp vanilla essence
Instructions: Roughly chop the nuts with a knife and then grind to a fine powder consistency with rest of all the ingredients. Roll them into balls and they are ready to eat!
Raw Taco Gorilla Wrap
Ingredients: 1 cup soaked walnuts, 1 cup finely shredded Cauliflower, 3-5 soaked sun-dried tomatoes (for umami flavor), 3 tsp cumin powder, 2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne powder 2-3 tsp home-made salsa (have used pineapple-pepper salsa) and salt to taste
Instructions: Add all the ingredients (except the salsa) in a grinder and grind to a coarse consistency. This becomes the filling for the wrap. Take one collard green with the dark edge facing down on your cutting board. Trim off the stem and up about two inches into the leaf. Place about ¼–1/3 cup of the nut meat mixture in the middle of the leaf. Top with some salsa. To assemble, roll up burrito style. Fold one of the long ends in, and then both the end pieces, and then the other long way, tucking in firmly. Place with the folded edge down on your cutting board, and slice firmly into two pieces on the diagonal.
Ingredients: 2 tbsp soaked chia seeds, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp pure maple syrup, 1/4 tbsp himalayan salt and 2 cups water/coconut water
Instructions: Soak chia seeds in water for about 2-3 hours as it’s easily digestible and also the nutrients are completely absorbed by the body. Blend all these ingredients in a high- powdered blender like Vitamix and enjoy!
Recipes are taken from www.jeevalifestyle.com, as written by Akshata Sheelvant — an online consultant for Digestive Health, Preventative Lifestyle, Weight Management.
CUCUMBER NOODLES IN PEANUT SAUCE
INGREDIENTS: 2 medium cucumbers, 1 small bunch bok choy, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp tamari, juice of 1/2 lime, 3 tbsp of water, 1/2 tbsp chili oil (+ more for extra heat!) 1/2 tbsp sea salt, cilantro and chopped peanuts to garnish
Instructions: In a small mixing bowl combine peanut butter, maple syrup, tamari, lime juice, sea salt, water and chili oil. chill in refrigerator while you prepare the noodles. Chop bok choy into thin slivers, chop cilantro and peanuts for garnish. Peel cumbers and run through a spiralizer (or julienne them if you prefer!). Squeeze as much liquid out of the cucumber noodles as possible, and combine with boy choy in a large bowl. Add peanut sauce, a bit at a time, to cucumber noodles and bok choy (add more water to the sauce if needed, use more of less peanut sauce to taste). Serve immediately garnished with cilantro and chopped peanuts.