You probably know that a 100% raw food diet is AWESOME when it comes to weight loss, nutrition, enjoyability, and simplicity.
However, there may be reasons why you can’t (or don’t want to) eat all raw foods all the time.
Perhaps you live in a cold climate and do not have access to enough fruits and veggies year-round.
Perhaps you can’t afford a varied diet of all raw produce.
Or maybe you just have no desire to go all-raw and would like to include some cooked foods in your diet.
No matter what the reason, there is a way to include some cooked foods on a raw food diet and still experience dramatic health results.
Here’s how you do it.
Eat Mostly Raw
Sorry to rain on your parade, but I did say some cooked foods. You can’t expect to see dramatic health improvements eating cooked foods all day with an apple or a small salad thrown in.
The majority of your calories should ideally come from raw foods. And when I say raw, I don’t mean so-called raw products like nut bars and chocolate truffles. Nor do I mean complicated gourmet raw recipes full of fat and salt.
I mean fresh produce, specifically fruit and easy-to-digest vegetable matter like spinach and celery.
Eat the Right Cooked Foods
Not all cooked foods are created equal.
As I discussed earlier this week, there are many cooked foods that are just empty calories (e.g. french fries), but there are several others that really aren’t so bad at all (e.g. steamed potatoes).
Let’s start with the empty calorie group:
First and foremost, you want to avoid heavily processed foods. I’m sure you know what I mean, but I’ve included a few examples in case you remain blissfully unaware.
- Breakfast cereals
- Corn dogs
- Frozen waffles
For the most part, if it comes in a box, bag, can, or jar, stay away!
Second, you want to avoid animal products:
- Meat (e.g. chicken, beef, and fish)
- Dairy (e.g. milk, butter, and cheese)
At the very least, remove all dairy from your diet and eat minimal amounts of grass-fed, organic, minimally processed meat and eggs.
Sorry Southerners, no fried chicken or BBQ allowed.
Now for the foods you want to focus on: carbohydrates.
Besides the fruit and vegetable varieties that can be eaten raw, cooking your food provides a few more options. These include:
- Squashes (e.g. butternut, acorn, and turban squash)
- Roots & tubers (e.g. potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and beets)
- Grains (e.g. brown rice, oats, quinoa, and millet)*
- Legumes (e.g. garbanzo beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils)
*It’s best to stick with gluten-free grains and pseudograins such as the ones listed above.
You want to process your cooked carbs as minimally as possible, enough to cook and soften the food to make it edible and that’s it.
Not only will your food retain more nutrients, but less acrylamides (cancer-causing chemicals) will be produced as well.
Choose steaming over boiling since nutrients in the food are leached into the cooking water when boiled (or use the water if you can).
Just like with a 100% raw food diet, you want to keep your diet low in fat, around 10% of total calories overtime. Notably, this means limiting high-fat foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, and oils.
You can use a food log resource like cronometer help you keep track of your calories and overall fat intake.
Salt should be used sparingly or not at all. Stick with healthier alternatives like lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs and celery powder to add a bit of extra flavor to your foods.
Putting it All Together
Here’s an example to show you what a healthy mostly raw food day would look like:
Breakfast – As much sweet fruit as you like (along with greens if you want)
Lunch – As much sweet fruit as you like (along with greens if you want)
Dinner – A large raw salad followed by (or along with) a cooked meal of steamed wild rice, sweet potato, and broccoli.
The amount is up to you, since it should be tailored to your caloric needs. You should feel full and satisfied after each meal.
If you find that you are still hungry after dinner, the best options are to add another fruit meal between your lunch and dinner meals or add some fruit to your raw salad to up the caloric intake.
Otherwise, you can add more rice, sweet potato, beans, or other relatively high-calorie starch to fill you up. Just remember to keep your fat intake low, your carbohydrate intake high, and to get the majority of your calories from raw, sweet fruit.
Go (mostly) raw and be fit,
P.S. Looking for healthy raw recipes to get you through breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Check out my low fat raw vegan recipe e-book:
“Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes”
Delicious and Healthy Raw Vegan Favorites for Every Meal
At least, that’s what some raw foodists believe. They honestly think that all cooked foods are “dead” and lead to serious harm in the body if ingested.
I’ve even heard one raw foodist say that fire was man’s most destructive discovery specifically because it led to the cooking of our foods.
Utter silliness! But before I show you why, let’s get one thing straight…
A Fast Food French Fry is Not the Same as a Steamed Potato
Just like sugar, all cooked food is not created equal in terms of nutritional loss and detriment to the body. A spectrum definitely exists.
For instance, let’s look at the french fry. It’s simply a bit of potato fried in oil and sprinkled with salt, yet it’s one of the unhealthiest foods you can eat.
First, french fries are full of fat. McDonald’s fries contain about 45% of total calories from fat!
Second, french fries are fried (duh!) at around 335 degrees fahrenheit. Besides destroying a great deal of nutrients, cooking at high temperatures produces acrylamides (a toxin known to cause cancer), especially in complex carbohydrates (e.g. potatoes).
And some fast food fries are actually cooked twice, such as McDonald’s which are fried once at the factory, frozen, and then fried again in the restaurant.
Ooh yes, I’d love a second helping of cancer!
Third, french fries are covered in salt. A medium fry from McDonald’s (just four ounces) contains 270 mg of sodium.
Fourth, french fries are high in calories. McD’s medium fry contains 380 calories in a teeny tiny four ounce package.
Now let’s look at the steamed potato.
First, potatoes (without any extra oil) are very low in fat with about 2% of total calories.
Second, because the potato is cooked at a lower temperature (212 degrees F), more nutrients are retained and very little acrylamide is produced.
Third, potatoes are low in sodium, at around 16 mg per four ounces (the same size as a McD’s medium fry).
Finally, potatoes are relatively low in calories. Four ounces of potato contains about 88 calories, less than one-fourth of the amount in a medium fry.
Steamed potatoes are inarguably better for you than french fries. They are more nutritious and lower in fat, salt, and calories than their fried and salted cousins.
This is just one comparison, but I think the point is pretty clear. All cooked foods are not the same.
Once a Day is Not the Same as Once a Month
In addition to what cooked foods you eat, the state of your health also depends upon how often you eat them. Eating a medium french fry from McDonald’s every night is NOT the same as having one once per month.
Put another way…
1460 ounces of fried salty potato per year (one medium fry per day) cannot compare to 48 ounces per year (one medium fry per month). The former would result in several health complications while the latter would have a very limited overall effect on your health.
Pretty obvious, right?
How to Eat Cooked Foods and Still Experience Vibrant Health
There’s no doubt that you can lead a very healthy lifestyle eating cooked foods. You simply need to make sure that the majority of your intake comes from raw foods and that you focus on the right kinds of cooked foods.
Which cooked foods are the “right” ones, you ask? Check out this article:
How to Eat a (Mostly) Raw Food Diet
Go raw and be fit,
P.S. Looking to get off cooked foods for good? I hear ya. Not only is a 100% raw food diet the healthiest, but it’s also a lot easier in many ways.
I mean, what’s easier than peeling a few bananas, slicing up some mangoes, or prepping a few veggies for a big salad?
But saying bye-bye to cooked foods can be impossible to accomplish when you have crazy cravings.
You can stay raw for a short period of time, but then cravings start to crop up, they get worse, and then you’re bingeing on all your unhealthy cooked food favorites again.
I used to struggle this way too, but not anymore. And to help other cooked food fanatics, I decided to create my cravings-crushing program…
“How to Conquer Your Cooked Food Cravings Once and for All”
A Guide for Destroying Cravings on a Raw Food Diet
To learn more and purchase your copy today, visit the link below:
So you want to go raw and do it the right way. You know that you need to focus on fruit, but you’ve also learned that savory meals full of greens are important too. You also know that these mineral-rich veggies don’t need any salt.
Now here’s the big problem. You love salt and you hate greens! In fact, the ONLY time you’ll eat a salad is when it’s drenched in salt!
To make things even worse, all the tasty savory raw food recipes out there are full of fat and salt!
What to do?
All you need is to learn how to enjoy salt-free raw food recipes. And I’ve got 3 tips for you today that will help you do just that.
Tip #1: Stop Eating Salt
Or at least limit your consumption to 1/2 a teaspoon per day or less. Any salt at all—be it table salt, sea salt, or even salty condiments like Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and Nama Shoyu—irritates your taste buds and dulls them to the truly delicious, so-not-bland taste of wholesome produce.
And luckily, it doesn’t take long for your tastebuds to adjust. Soon after you severely limit your salt intake, you’ll finally be able to fully enjoy the flavors of fresh foods.
Tip #2: Start Eating Ripe Foods
If your fruits and veggies taste incredibly bland and/or unappetizing, you’re likely eating them unripe. While this isn’t typically an issue with vegetable matter like greens, carrots, and the like that are ready to eat when you purchase them, it is an issue with fruit.
Take bananas, for instance. Most people are taught that bananas are best when they are yellow and starchy, but this is not when they are fully ripe.
Bananas are ripe when they are completely yellow and covered in brown spots. They should be soft, sweet, and not at all starchy tasting.
The tomato (yes, it’s a fruit) is a perfect example since it’s so commonly used in savory raw dishes. Most people eat tomatoes when they are hard, dry, and acidic. This is also wrong.
Tomatoes should be sweet, slightly acidic (depending upon the cultivar) and soft to slightly firm. Even so-called canning tomatoes are pretty darned delicious when ripened properly!
If you want to get the most flavor (and nutrition, too!) out of your savory raw recipes, you have to start with fresh produce that is ripe and tasty.
Tip #3: Follow the Four Food Flavors
All great chefs know that in order to create delicious dishes, four flavor components must be represented: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.
And raw recipes are no different. Missing out on even one of these flavors could make your dish taste off, bland, or incomplete.
Luckily, it’s easy to hit all four of these flavor notes using all raw and healthy ingredients. For instance, mangoes and dates are sweet, celery and tomatoes are salty, lemon juice and oranges are sour, and spinach and cilantro are bitter.
One of my most favorite savory dishes is a salad made of romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, pistachios, lemon juice, and celery powder. While this may sound rather bland and boring without any salt and spices, it’s actually extremely delicious.
That’s because all four flavors are represented:
- cherry tomatoes
- lemon juice
Yep, it’s that simple.
Get in That Kitchen…
…and start “cooking” up some healthy and tasty raw food dishes!
Start with your favorite perfectly ripe raw ingredients, follow the four food flavors and you’ll be amazed at what tasty salt-free savory fare you can create.
Oh, and one bonus tip before I go…
Don’t forget about fat! Fatty raw foods like avocados, nuts and seeds are excellent for adding more flavor AND texture to your savory dishes.
But remember, a little fat goes a long way.
Go raw, stick it to salt, and be fit,
P.S. Looking for more health and wellness insight from a raw food veteran? You’ve got to check out Frederic Patenaude’s recently released book…
Raw Food Controversies
How to Avoid Common Mistakes That May Sabotage Your Health
Not only will you hear all about Frederic’s own fascinating raw food journey, but you’ll learn exactly what it takes to adopt a healthy and sustainable raw food diet.
Frederic also addresses your burning questions, including how to ensure healthy decay-free teeth, how to get enough omega 3 fatty acids, and whether or not you must eat meat and dairy to be healthy.
Raw Food Controversies is a definite must-read for anyone interested in going raw the right way. You can learn more and purchase your copy at the link below:
==> Raw Food Controversies
Post Updated Last: 4/3/2013
I’ve received quite a few emails over the last few days regarding my recent article on salt.
The main concern seems to be:
What about sea salt? Doesn’t it contain less sodium and more trace minerals, making it a healthier alternative to regular table salt?
Let’s have a look:
Sea Salt Contains Less Sodium Chloride
This may be true for some sea salt brands, but not for the majority of them.
Most sea salts actually do not contain any less sodium chloride than regular table salt, which contains around 99% NaCl!
Himalayan salt, while not evaporated from seawater, is another heavily-marketed “healthy” salt. And yet even Himalayan salt contains about 98% (perhaps as low as 95%) sodium chloride.
Celtic sea salt contains the lowest amount at around 84% sodium chloride.
The bottom line? All extracted sodium chloride, including sea salt, is comprised of mostly sodium chloride.
Sea Salt is Full of Trace Minerals
It’s true that sea salt does contain trace minerals while table salt does not. But what’s most important here is quantity.
As I said above, sea salt contains about 98-99% sodium chloride. That leaves a measly 1-2% for trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, and sulfur.
Even if you were to add a whole heaping teaspoon of salt to a meal (please don’t ever do this!), you would still only receive negligible amounts of minerals.
You would literally have to consume a massive amount of the stuff to receive any meaningful amount of these minerals, which means consuming massive amounts of sodium chloride right along with it.
Wouldn’t it be much safer, healthier, and more efficient to get your minerals from whole foods?
Fruits and Veggies Win Again!
You do not need to consume table salt, sea salt, or any other form of extracted sodium chloride to be healthy. In fact, it’s best to avoid salt completely.
You can get all the minerals you need, in the forms, quantities, and combinations that you need them, simply by consuming a healthy diet of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Go raw and be fit,
P.S. While the best raw food diet is predominated by fruit, you must also consume tender greens like romaine, spinach, and celery if you want to thrive on raw foods. Ideally, this means consuming 2-6% of your calories from greens.
I know that doesn’t sound like much, but let me put it into perspective for you. If you eat 2000 calories per day, 40 of those calories should come from greens to meet the 2% minimum.
40 calories of red leaf lettuce is about 9 ounces, or just under an entire head!
Personally, I eat much more than this (typically between 12-16 oz. per salad, not including other ingredients like tomatoes, cucumber, etc.) just about every night for dinner in a big salad. Or I just eat the greens plain with some fruit, taking a bite of fruit, then a bite of greens, then fruit, then greens, and so on.
And I eat it all without any salt, spices, or other unhealthy condiments.
I know, I know, I know! That’s far too much food and far too bland without salt and spices!
Don’t worry, fellow raw foodist Roger Haeske’s got the solution…
These “stews” are full of greens and deliciousness, yet completely salt-free and low-fat! They’re absolutely perfect if you’re new to raw and can’t yet stomach the thought (or sight!) of a super big salt-free salad.
And if you can, then just do what I do and make a double batch!
==> Savory Veggie Stews
There is no reason, other than taste, to consume salt. And that includes ANY sodium chloride, such as table salt, kosher salt, sea salt, Celtic sea salt, Himalayan salt, fleur de sel, etc.
Because salt is not a health food.
Many people do not believe this because it seems that we can eat sooo much salt and still live to tell the tale.
Just look at the United States. The average American consumes 3,466 milligrams of salt each day and while our health is anything but lively, we still live to be almost 80 years old on average!
But that does not mean salt is healthy. Here’s the proof:
Salt Makes You Thirsty
What happens after just one bite of a salty meal like popcorn, pizza, or Chinese take-out? You get terribly thirsty.
Okay, pretty obvious. But this thirst is actually telling you something very important.
It’s a sign that your body is doing everything it can to get rid of the irritant, namely by creating thirst so that you’ll drink something (hopefully water and not cola) to dilute the substance you’ve just ingested.
When you ingest salt, the delicate sodium/potassium balance is thrown out of whack. To compensate for the extra sodium in your blood, water molecules move from your cells into the bloodstream via osmosis in an attempt to restore balance. This leaves a water deficit in the cells, aka dehydration.
Dehydration is never a good thing and is why your body calls out for more water. If you ever feel thirsty, it is because you are dehydrated. Salt is dehydrating.
Salt Makes You Sweat
So what happens after a few more bites of that salty dish? You get seriously sweaty.
Another no-brainer, but do you know the reason? It’s because in addition to the liver and kidneys, your skin is a major source of detoxification. In other words, sweating is simply another way for your body to eliminate the salt.
Don’t believe me? Eat a salty meal and then taste your sweat. Pretty salty, eh? Now you know why.
And yes, when you give up salt for good, your sweat will no longer taste like a salt lick. Definitely a plus!
Salt Makes You Burn
And in more ways than one! Not only does salt in an open wound hurt like a you-know-what, but it also burns your tongue.
Contrary to popular belief, salt does not “enhance” the flavor of the foods you eat. What it does is chemically irritate your taste buds. This makes them more sensitive to the food, ultimately dulling your sense of taste.
This is why chronic salt users need more and more and more salt added to their foods to receive the same flavor hit that they used to receive from lower doses.
Salt Makes You Vomit
Okay Swayze, now you’re talking crazy. I just ate an entire dish of salted peanuts and I don’t feel the urge to upchuck one bit. Explain yourself!
“Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”
I’m sure you’ve heard that bit of poetry before, but do you know what it’s referencing? It’s the vast and mighty ocean.
Why not a drop to drink? Because at around 3.5% dissolved salts, seawater is extremely salty! Drink enough of the stuff and you will vomit it up.
Similar to the urge to drink water after a salty meal, the urge to vomit after consuming an even heavier dose of salt is your body’s attempt at getting rid of the stuff. When ingested, heavy amounts of salt water induce retching by irritating your gastrointestinal tract.
Your stomach contracts and you vomit.
And while unpleasant, vomiting is a life-saving reaction. If you were to keep this large amount of salt in your body without access to any pure water, you would become extremely dehydrated, your kidneys would shut down, and you would die.
Salt Makes You…Dead!
Yep, salt’s a killer too. And not just for those crazy enough to sample the salty sea.
As I said, Americans consume 3,466 mg of sodium a day (the government recommends 1,500-2300 mg, or 1/2-1 teaspoon). This seriously unhealthy practice has been linked to big killers such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and (no surprise here) kidney disease.
But We Need Sodium!
Yes, we do. Sodium is absolutely vital for regulating body fluids and maintaining your muscular and nervous systems.
We also need chloride, as it is necessary for regulating body fluids and forming stomach acids.
What we don’t need is salt. So then where do we get our sodium?
From fresh produce, of course!
Our sodium and chloride needs are very small.In fact, pretty much any diet sufficient in calories will provide enough sodium, even a diet predominated by fresh fruits and vegetables.
But the best part?
Tangerines won’t make you thirsty, strawberries won’t make you sweat, bananas won’t burn ya, peaches won’t make you puke, and cantaloupes certainly won’t kill you.
You may go a little fruit-happy, but consider it a good thing.
But I love Salt!
I know, giving up salt is hard. By far the easiest way to reduce your intake is to limit or even avoid processed foods like chips and pastries. Even so-called healthy packaged foods like soups are often brimming with salt, along with the neurotoxin MSG. Just giving up these foods will lower your sodium intake significantly.
From there, you can work on using less salt in your recipes. A really great healthy and delicious salt substitute is celery salt. Seriously, if you haven’t tried it, you really need to. It’s so good!
If you just can’t bare to part with salt, that’s okay. Just be sure to keep your daily intake below 1500 mg per day (1/2 tsp = 1000 mg).
Go raw and be fit,
P.S. Think raw foods only taste good with a little (make it a lot) of salt and other condiments? You’ve got it all wrong! In fact, raw foods only taste good WITHOUT salt and spices!
I know, you’re skeptical. You’ve tried simple raw food recipes and everything just tastes bland to you.
Ah yes, but you’ve never tried these recipes…
“Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes”
Delicious and Healthy Raw Vegan Favorites for Every Meal
Every single recipe in Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes is salt-free and delicious. And if you don’t think so, no worries! I offer a 30-day full refund, no questions asked.
To learn more about the book and order your copy, click below:
Post Updated: 4/3/2013