You probably know that popular foods like meat, milk, cheese, and pastries are not healthy and that our natural diet is made up of 100% raw foods.
But what about popular ingredients within the raw food movement, foods like raw cacao and nutritional yeast? Should these foods be included in a healthy raw food diet?
And what defines a “healthy” raw food anyway?!
Check out this simple 3-prong test you can apply to any food to determine if it’s healthy or not:
#1: It Must Be Health Promoting
This is an easy one. Everyone, raw foodist or not, chooses healthy foods based upon the health promoting factors they possess.
By this rule alone, it would seem that many foods that we eat are health promoting.
Take hot peppers like jalapenos and habaneros for example. Known for being high in vitamins A, K, and C, anti-inflammatory, and aiding in weight loss, it would seem that these spicy specimens are a very healthy food.
Until you apply rule number two…
#2: It Must Be Non-Toxic
What does it mean for a food to be toxic? According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a toxin is:
“a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation”
So it’s a poison. It’s a food that is NOT good for you and something that your body will fight to eliminate it.
You can tell the toxicity of a certain food by the way your body reacts to it. Digestive upset (e.g. stomach pain, diarrhea, etc.), a runny nose, jitteriness, and headaches are common reactions to unfavorable to food.
Given this rule, it becomes clear that many foods believed to be healthy are actually not.
Let’s return to the hot peppers example. You may think these foods are healthy because they are full of vitamins, anti-inflammatory, aid in weight loss, etc.
However, what is your body’s reaction when you eat one?
Your mouth and throat burn, your eyes tear up, and your body temperature increases. These are all signs that your body is attempting to eliminate a toxin.
In this case, it’s trying to neutralize and eliminate the chemical compound capsaicin present in the pepper.
#3: It Must Be Whole
What do I mean by whole? I mean a truly raw food that is completely unprocessed. It is still in its natural, untampered with state.
A banana is a whole food. A head of romaine lettuce is a whole food. A just-picked macadamia nut is a whole food.
This rule knocks out all of the so-called raw and healthy processed foods.
Like oil, for instance.
Given the first two rules, oils such as the beloved cold-pressed olive oil seem like a healthy food. They’re a good source of omega 3’s (rule #1) and seem to digest well in the body with no noticeable negative side effects (rule #2).
But is olive oil a whole food?
It certainly was when it was just an olive. But after being processed, having its fiber removed, and packaged into a bottle, it’s no longer anywhere close to whole.
At that point, it’s nothing but 100% fiberless fat.
Does Your Raw Food Diet Pass the Test?
So if you want to know if a particular food is healthy, you need to ask three questions:
- Is it health promoting?
- Is it non-toxic?
- Is it whole?
By focusing on foods that are full of health promoting factors, non-toxic, AND in their whole state, you will set yourself up for raw food success with a healthy, age-defying diet.
Which foods are these? Why, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, of course! 🙂
Go raw and be fit,