Is 100% Raw Healthy?

Garden at Hillhouse 021


Over the years my diet has evolved and changed as I have, transitioning from mostly vegetarian to full vegetarian (following ayurvedic principles) to vegan to vegan raw foodie to mostly raw for more than 2 decades now. What I have learned from my experience is that being 100% raw is not necessarily the healthiest.

Lets take for example those living in northern climates where you need warm heavy foods to keep the body functioning and balanced in the cold, it is not practical or healthy to be eating only raw foods in these conditions and in fact it puts undue stress on the body which eventually, overtime leads to breakdown of  health. Raw foods are not local at this time of year which increases the environmental footprint as they are shipped from warmer climates. We are meant to eat foods that grow in the part of the world we live. Our ancestors didn’t have foods shipped from all over the world, they stored foods they could in cold cellars, canned and fermented vegetables to last the winter months and some hunted.

There are people who live mostly on fruit which is not practical either unless you are living in the jungle. The more I have evolved and experimented with what works for my body in the climate I live, I understand the importance of eating seasonal and local as much as possible. Having met a number of raw foodies and fruitarians  over the years the one thing that stands out is that many of those living in the colder regions look weak and unhealthy, they don’t really vibrate and glow like you would expect, of course there are other factors here other than diet, like stress, lifestyle habits, sleep, and overall self care.

Food trends pop up, gain momentum, becoming  the next fad, the latest way to be healthy, trendy, lose weight etc. In my opinion eating is a personal thing, we are all so different, our bodies have different needs and this is why I believe the healthiest diet is listening to your body and feeding it what it needs…it will tell you once you clean it out and get rid of addictions and toxins becoming more sensitive to it’s signals.

The raw food diet is notorious for glowing skin and anti ageing which it definitely does contribute to but when do we cross the line and start wearing the system down with diets that are impractical given our location on the earth and our constitution. It puts a great stress on the system to be eating cold foods during the winter for example, we need to be eating roasted roots, grounding, warming foods when it is cold and wet to support health and to keep the Doshas balanced.

My raw diet was mainly raw vegetables, lots of celery, cilantro, cucumbers, tomato, parsley, beets, cabbage, dandelion, kale and other greens, fermented vegetables, daily avocado, nuts, seeds, sprouts, fermented nut cheeses, coconut oil, EVOO, super foods and herbs like chlorella, maca, E3Live, turmeric, chaga, cocao and very little fruit, sour apples, grapefruit and berries every so often. In addition I consume a lot of water.  Many raw foodies who eat too many sugary fruits like bananas for example, a fruit that is high in sugar and starches and has very little water content are creating imbalance in the system and may not be getting adequate plant protein. They may also be taking too many protein powders that are not healthy, I believe in eating whole foods. The exception would be pure hemp protein on the days its needed, not everyday.

When I was 100% raw for 2 years I started to notice during the 2nd year that my system was developing an imbalance, cold and damp and could not generate enough heat to be comfortable.

From my experience, I now follow a diet that is an amalgamation of raw food and ayurveda,  this makes the most sense for my body and I feel better. In the winter I am eating a balance of cooked plant foods like roots and kale, ferments like cabbage and other vegetables,  raw greens like parsley, celery, cabbage (like a slaw- easier to digest), red lentils, seeds, nuts, oils mentioned above, ghee, coconut kefir, quinoa, and basmati, superfoods in particular chlorella for its warming and blood building affects on the body, herbs and  spices like turmeric, cumin seed, cayenne black pepper etc.

In summer my diet leans toward 100% raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts superfoods/herbs  with sour fruits and berries.  This feels like a perfect balance.

Eating is a personal thing, we are all so different our bodies have different needs and the healthiest diet is listening to your body and feeding it what it needs. The 5000 year old system of Ayurveda makes the most sense,  it considers the individual holistically according to constitution, eating to support the balance of the Doshas- of body mind and spirit.


Copywrite Anicca Brandt 2014

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