Spring is filled with a sense of fresh, new life, much like raw foods can be to our health. Raw, living plant-based foods contain many more enzymes than cooked foods that help with the absorption of nutrients and the entire digestive process. Most are all extremely alkalizing to the body, which can help us prevent unnecessary inflammation from our diets, and treat current inflammation in the body caused by other factors like stress or physical activity. Though all whole, plant-based foods (cooked or raw) are more alkalizing than animal-based foods, some people find raw foods to be more healing to the digestive tract due to their high alkaline nature and easy to assimilate vitamins and minerals.
During the spring and summer, it’s easy to eat more raw foods since the body naturally craves cooler foods like fresh fruits, veggies, juices and smoothies. But in the winter, when we tend to crave hot foods, we often forget to include enough raw foods in our diet, leaving us with not-so-great digestion or feeling slightly sluggish by January and February.
There’s no better time than now to give your body a pre-spring tune up to help you transition into eating more raw foods. As the climates start to change, so do our bodies. Just like our sleep habits must change with daylight savings time, so must our menus to accommodate the warmer months. Eating more raw foods as the seasons change can also help give you back some energy, which can take a nosedive when we’re all stuck inside and tend to cozy up with more hot dishes, too much coffee, and heavier comfort foods. Raw, fresh foods can also improve circulation and lymphatic function, helping you feel better overall. You needn’t give up all cooked foods to get the benefits, just work these easy tips into your day to ease into spring (and then summer) with more raw, fresh foods. You’re going to feel great!
1. Blend a Different Breakfast
Hot bowls of porridge are amazing and certainly can be healthy for you, but put up your cooking pot for just a week and see how this one change makes you feel. Instead of a cooked dish, make a raw food smoothie instead. Use the best ingredients which include: raw nut milk as the base, along with leafy greens, veggies, raw nuts and seeds, raw plant-based protein powders, fruits, and superfoods. Not only does this save time, but there’s less dishes to wash, it’s an easy way to fit more than one serving of veggies into your day, and it will give your body easy to digest foods that provide vitamins A, C, E, K, and even B vitamins and protein too.
Try any of our smoothie recipes to get started!
2. Include One Raw Ingredient at Meals and Snacks
Another easy way to work more raw foods into your day, is to just add them to your existing meals. If you’re having a vegan wrap, soup, or sandwich, just add a whole piece of fruit or a side of raw veggies like carrots, cukes, grape tomatoes, etc. This is an easy way to get in more raw nutrition without even thinking about it. If you’re making a salad, then half the work is done for you. An Easy Avocado Salad, Rainbow Salad, or Miso Sesame Kale BOWLed over are all great ideas. See more raw recipes here.
3. Try One New Food Each Week
One way to get excited about eating more raw, healthy foods, is to try one out each week. As you pick up your weekly groceries, opt for a new fruit, veggie, or green you’ve never had before. This is easy to do with seasonal produce popping up each month, and will keep you inspired to try new recipes, and give you a variety of nutrients. Work these into snacks, salads, smoothies, raw sandwiches, or however else you like.
4. Skip the Heavy Foods and Lighten Things Up
Heavy foods with rich sauces that have processed ingredients tend to weigh us down, so go for foods that are raw, naturally lighter and come with no additives and preservatives. Aside from salads and smoothies, this concept might include a batch of lightly cooked quinoa with raw veggies (and even some cooked veggies), such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and fruits like tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini. Make a raw dipping sauce to help with satiety,or a raw vegan dressing. The healthy fats will also help your body absorb the nutrients from the raw fruits and veggies as an added bonus.
5. Challenge Yourself to One Raw Day Each Week
Another way to give yourself more raw nutrition, is to schedule one day where you eat raw foods in place of cooked foods. Don’t worry; you won’t go hungry! This is to give your body the experience of eating all raw so you can experience the energy and help you feel more inspired to continue doing so. The idea is to base your day off as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Doing this may help you be more likely to choose these same raw dishes throughout the week, even if you don’t go full on raw all day long. Note the changes, experiment with raw recipes, and have fun with it!
A balance of cooked and raw foods both have their place in the diet, just like the body has a natural need for both warm and cool seasons. The idea is to transition with the seasons, choose seasonal foods during this time, and allow your body to let you know what it needs as you do.
What’s your favorite raw food recipes?
Lead Image Source: Nadiya Maximova/Flickr