Living foods and raw foods and juicing
Regularly eating so-called ‘living foods’ and raw foods (uncooked foods with the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients still intact that cooking would otherwise destroy or alter), and drinking fresh juices, are two of the best ways of supporting your health and immunity.
Ideal ingredients for this dietary approach are natural whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, sprouted grains, nuts and seeds (preferably organic).
And by ‘fresh’ juice, this means juice that you make yourself from whole food ingredients – not the sort of bottled juice you buy at the supermarket, that has been heated up (perhaps as many as 2 or 3 times) and has therefore had many of the essential enzymes and micro-nutrients destroyed.
Unlike juice concentrate and other bottled juices (which have often been transported long-distance and spent time on the supermarket shelf or in their refrigerators, and have therefore lost a lot of their nutritional content), fresh juices pack a much more potent punch – as do raw and living foods.
Cost and Time factors
A spell in a health farm, a visit to the spa, a detox program or even growing your own living foods are all excellent ways to give your body the occasional boost. However, because of the cost and time involved, their benefits are often short-lived and unsustainable.
With our fast-paced lives, the demands placed on our time with jobs, family commitments and social activities and the fact that so much of our food is now processed, shipped over long distances and exposed to chemicals, everyone knows that it is getting harder and harder to have what can truly be called ‘a balanced diet’, containing all of the vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and other nutrients that our bodies need on a daily basis.
Additionally, many people (and often children) dislike the taste of fruit and vegetables, making it even harder to meet their nutritional needs. Similarly, vegetarians and vegans face a daily challenge, because of their restricted diets.
What’s the answer?
In an ideal world, you would be able to get all of the nutrients you need on a daily basis from the food you buy at the supermarket or, even better, through living and raw foods grown yourself under organic conditions, eaten in either a raw or juiced form. Unfortunately, these are simply not realistic options for most of us.
Similarly, juicing can be messy, time-consuming and expensive; not least because of the quantities of fruit and vegetables required if doing it on a daily basis and to access the desired level of nutrients.
This is one reason why so many people are turning to food-based daily shakes for extra support (whether taken on their own, or added to fresh juices as ‘boosters’). Particularly popular are those of the organic, dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan varieties.
Where these shakes contain dried food powders, they are often far more concentrated than in whole food form, making it easier to consume higher levels of nutrients from these foods without having to eat them whole and in huge quantities. In many cases, such powders are also nutrients-fortified (contain added vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre), offering additional dietary support.
As they can be prepared quickly and easily, and drunk in one go, they are also ideal for those with a busy schedule (and perhaps tend to skip meals), as well as those who dislike the taste of fruit and veg.
Meal shakes will also often contain ingredients of a more exotic variety, which would perhaps be difficult to source fresh. For example, wheatgrass, barley grass and acai berries.
Use these shakes to access high-quality fruit, vegetable, herbal, plant-based and other nutrients every day, in conjunction with your normal healthy and balanced diet.