This season the RAW FOOD diet is all the rage.
The raw food diet consists mostly of raw foods and very little if not no cooked foods. It’s very popular at the moment and I do like aspects of the diet – anything which encourages more use of fresh vegetables and fruits should be applauded and high fived.
You see, there’s another side to raw foods. Cooking actually makes some nutrients in food more bio-available than if you consume them raw. So, a strict raw-only diet can actually lack certain nutrients. I also worry when I see people eliminating foods from their diet, it sets alarm bells off for me. Variety is the key to optimum nutrition and anything that reduced variety is limiting the number of nutrients one can consume each day. As well as this, many of the raw food desserts are not what they seem.
I see so many desserts also labelled as ‘Raw Chocolate Healthy Slice’ which holds the illusion that it is healthy because it is raw. Though many of these recipes are in fact very high in calories and fat.
So, let me introduce you to someone who will also give you another perspective on the raw food diet. Her name is Amy – Chinese Herbalist, an Acupuncturist, and she has something to share with you.
Cooked food is amazing.
With all the global love for raw food right now you’d be forgiven for assuming that cooked food is second rate. So we need to have a little chat. I want to share with you the reasons why Chinese Medicine today advocates the consumption of warming and cooked food, just has it has done for thousands of years.
Cooked food is easier to digest.
In Chinese Medicine we see digestion as a two part process. Firstly, food is warmed via our digestive fire, and then, and only then, can it be effectively broken down into its useable parts.
The digestive fire that warms up our food internally requires a lot of energy – energy which Chinese Medicine considers finite.
In Chinese Medicine our finite energy is distributed across all body systems according to where it’s most needed.
Consuming foods that have already been cooked is less demanding on our digestive fire, so less energy is required for amazing digestion. This has the lovely flow on affect that there is more energy to perform other necessary tasks throughout the body – building a fabulous immune system, buffering stress loads, you name it!
Eating a large amount of complicated, raw, cold food on a regular basis means that our digestion uses up a large portion of our overall body energy, depriving other bodily functions in the process.
This doesn’t mean raw food and cold drinks are completely off the cards. Thankfully, Chinese Medicine believes in everything in moderation. You don’t need to stew every apple and you can still have smoothies, but it’s best to do so mindfully, and in moderation. See how those things make you feel afterwards. Entertain the idea of lightly steaming, stewing, boiling and roasting.
Like so many aspects of our health, it’s about finding the balance that works best for you and your unique body system.
A gentle word about breakfast:
Warming foods are particularly important in the morning because just like the rest of our body, our digestive system is just waking up.
Cereal with cold milk or a smoothie made from refrigerated ingredients can be considered as shocking to your digestive process inside as a freezing cold shower would be to your outside! It’s best to start the day with a glass of warm water to gently wake your digestion up, and perhaps even add a squeeze of lemon.
BREAKFAST RECIPE BY AMY (Serves 1)
Here’s my quick and easy go-to warming breakfast. It shows your digestion some love. The recipe is a base to which you can add whatever you have on hand that takes your fancy and is in season, so feel free to get creative! Cinnamon and cloves are added for their ability to warm and support digestion.
To a pot on the stove add:
- 1 apple (peel if non-organic, sliced)
- 1 stick rhubarb (cut into 2cm sections)
- 2 handfuls raw buckwheat grouts (rinsed), available from health food store
- OR, 2 handfuls of cooked quinoa
- 2-3 cloves
- cinnamon (to your heart’s content)
- Cover with a few cm water and simmer until the apple and buckwheat soften.
- If using cooked quinoa, simply add the cooked quinoa once the apple has softened.
- Drain the water off with a strainer, remove the cloves and slide all the goodies into a bowl.
- Top with which ever milk works for you, a little warm water, and dress it up! Perhaps with a handful of pecans, walnuts, almond butter, pepitas, berries, chia seeds, sultanas, dates, cacao nibs, kiwi fruit.
Talk to Amy
Amy O’Brien is a Chinese Herbalist and Acupuncturist, and the creator of Fabulous Health in West Perth. She is passionate about facilitating big and beautiful change by assisting lovely folks on their way towards full and vibrant health.
Amy has recently launched her website and blog to allow curious health seekers access to well educated information about how to maintain and grow towards fabulous health.
health+wellness blog: www.fabuloushealth.com.au