Want to try a healthier diet? Try going on a raw food diet
JIM URICK staff artist
Going on a raw food diet means more than subsisting on crudite for every meal.
Try banana smoothies, kale salads topped with sun-dried tomato tapenade and fresh hummus, all uncooked and all as fresh as possible.
"It's the oldest method of preparing food in history, lots of laying food to dry in the sun before fire was invented," said Jennifer Holmes, a longtime vegetarian who has been on a raw food diet for about two years. "The health of our ancestors is unparalleled, compared to what we have today."
Holmes, who works at Peggy's Natural Foods in Stuart and runs a monthly workshop on raw food, said the concept of raw foodism is simple: buy produce seasonally and locally and keep it as close to its natural state as possible.
Food considered raw has not been heated above 115 degrees, because cooking and overprocessing food for packaging removes nutrition and dietary enzymes the body needs to smoothly digest food.
Once a dish is prepared, it's only good for about 12 to 24 hours, and about a month if frozen.
There are a number of health benefits to going raw, including increased energy, weight loss, better skin and better digestion.
"I have never spoken to, read about or seen anyone who has incorporated raw and not seen a significant change," Holmes said.
You don't have to go 100 percent raw all at once, she said. Even adding fresh, raw foods whenever possible to a conventional diet is beneficial.
"Removing one thing the body has to work really hard to digest is freeing up a lot of the energy your body needs to work," she said.
Judy Tomasi, of Indiantown, recently started incorporating raw food into her diet to curb her diabetes. She was diagnosed with the chronic disease three years ago after a quadruple bypass and five heart attacks.
She found out about raw foodism while shopping at Peggy's for healthier food, through a magazine and several books on the subject available at the store.
Tomasi usually makes a raw food smoothie for breakfast, and has been eating more fruits and vegetables. Since she started, her blood sugar levels have dropped drastically and she hopes to cut down on her daily insulin shots. Her doctor is thrilled, she said.
"I have more energy, I sleep better," said Tomasi, 63. "I don't eat as much because I'm getting what I need in my food."