Spring is great time to incorporate more raw foods into your life. Not only are they cleansing and detoxifying for the body; fresh greens, sprouts, and new roots arecoming into season! It's an easy way to get in touch with your local environment and feel connected to the planet. (More on that tomorrow!) The energy we receive from raw foods nicely complements the reenergizing happening everywhere else in our lives: why not match pace with the weather and keep ourselves energetically supported from inside-out?
Raw foods provide intact vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (undamaged by heat or radiation). These are water-soluble and easily assimilated into the body, packing a powerful nutritional punch! Because they're easy for our body to utilize, raw foods decrease the risk of toxic buildup from metabolic processes, which are more common with the consumption of cooked foods, meat, and dairy. When we eat a meal that is more than 50% cooked, our white blood cell count increases, as though the body detects an invader and wants to defend the system. When we eat a meal that is more than 50% raw, this immune response doesn't happen. Wacky, no? Help regulate your immune system's functioning by giving it a bit of a break - it's as easy as including more raw elements!
*Bonus: raw foods = no cooking = no burning = less scrubbing of dishes
Here are five easy ideas to incorporate more raw foods into your life:
- Juicing: whether with a juicer or blender, combine your favourite fruits and vegetables in liquid form. For the best spring-cleaning results, use celery as the base. It's highly alkalizing, which helps move blood pH towards neutral. Heavy, wintery food like meats and oils tend to cause the blood to become acidic. Acidic blood has been linked to a number of diseases, so give that system a little flush out with alkalizing leaves and stems.
- Fresh herbs: incorporate in-season fresh herbs into your cooking or use as garnish. The chlorophyll acts as a natural deodorizer and cleanser, a little like a non-chemical Mr. Clean for your intestinal tract. Chlorophyll can be found in dark and bright green veggies.
- Spice it up: incorporating spices into your food (cinnamon or turmeric are great examples) help prevent 'rusting' of cells as we get more and more exposure to sunlight in the spring. Their antioxidant properties help protect against unstable 'oxidant' substances that we come in contact with (or that are produced inside our systems). Oxidants cause our cells to deteriorate (think rusting, or when apples turn brown); the presence of antioxidants in our bodies, oxidants will borrow/ donate electrons to these instead, sparing our tissues. That's why it's important to replenish your antioxidant stores, which many raw foods provide! You can also try adding kidney or black beans to soup; berries and brightly-coloured fruits to breakfast; or having a walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or hazelnuts as a snack.)
- Raw veggies instead of rice: serve stir-fries or other cooked foods over a bed of shredded cucumber, carrots, kale, and zucchini. Check out my massaged kale recipe for a simple way to do this!
- Try seaweed: this nutritional marvel is super easy to incorporate into many types of meals. Consider adding a piece of kombu when cooking beans, add kelp or chlorella to a smoothie, or toss some hijiki or wakame into a salad. These are great sources of vitamin D, B12, and iron, which strengthen bones, blood, and muscles (all essential as we start moving more as the weather warms up).
Happy spring eating! Coming up next: ayurveda for spring... seasonal eating at its finest!
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