You don’t have to go completely raw to experience the benefits of raw food. See what raw can do for you and try this sun seed nori roll recipe, too!
As the desire to eat healthier and more nutritiously grows, numberless diet options are shoved out to the public, leaving it hard for consumers to decide what is healthy. All these options make it difficult to decide what our diets should consist of and warp our ideas of healthy eating habits. One particular diet growing in popularity is the raw food diet.
Misinformation and lack of knowledge add to confusion about the effectiveness of certain diets. The raw food diet is a perfect example of such confusion, as there are many different opinions around this “diet.” In my opinion, we don’t need to restrict ourselves to raw food, but it should make up a large portion of what we eat in a day to make sure we are getting an adequate amount of nutrients!
Raw food is unprocessed, natural, whole food in its purest form. Not cooking it means the food remains as nutritionally dense as possible and still contains natural enzymes. You tend to lose a significant portion of a food’s nutritional value as it heats up. So if you are only eating cooked foods, your body will end up craving more so that it can achieve the same nutritional value that you would get from a raw meal.
Including raw foods in your meals helps:
- Shift your body from an acidic state to a more alkaline state by consuming alkaline rich foods (basically your body is more balanced)
- Add proteins to your diet through the amino acids found in leafy greens
- Prevent hormones, drugs, chemicals, or antibiotics from going into your food (keep it organic!)
- Reverse and slow down the process of aging due to a high content of enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
- Breakdown fats through the fat enzyme lipase
- Lower cholesterol
- Promote healthy joints, bones, and nerves
- Rid your body of poisons through detoxification
Raw and Not
If you look into your cupboard, you will surely find some pantry items you assume are raw, but may not be. Below we compare food items with similar functions that differ in being raw or not.
- Honey, for non-vegans, is one of the best raw, all-natural sweeteners you can use. Refined sweeteners, white sugars, and high fructose corn syrup are not only cooked but highly processed—stay away from them!
- Apple cider vinegar is raw and contains powerful antioxidants that help in the breakdown of cholesterol formation. In comparison, although balsamic vinegar is great in certain recipes, it is not raw as it is boiled down before being fermented and aged. I tend to use apple cider vinegar in more of my recipes to reap the benefits of this naturally raw liquid (it goes great in a homemade salad dressing)!
- Beans are great when cooked, but did you know that there are many legumes, lentils, and beans you can eat raw by sprouting them? Sprouted mung beans and chickpeas are some of the best to use in salads, dips, wraps, or sandwiches.
It is always important to do a bit of research because delving into new diets or eating habits to ensure you’re getting the most out of it. This doesn’t mean you have to stay away from cooked foods, but you must understand when cooked or raw food is a better choice!
Eating raw is definitely beneficial to leading a healthy lifestyle. To be most successful in eating raw, it is important to combine other cooked plant-based foods. Raw food preparation can be time consuming, so by incorporating different raw recipes into your regular routine you will experience all of the benefits yet still be efficient with your time.
Here’s a yummy raw food recipe to get you started. Be sure to use raw nori to make nori rolls. It doesn’t work if you buy the toasted kind. They make a great appetizer at a party and are extremely colourful, so make sure you load yours up with different veggies all the time! Sunflower seeds are loaded with iron, fiber, and protein. Once soaked, sunflower seeds are very easy to blend into a dip or spread. Serve with raw veggies or crackers, or top a sandwich for a “tuna” like texture and flavor.
Sun Seed Nori Rolls
10 full servings
What’s in It?
- 4 to 6 sheets raw nori
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 2 small beets, shredded
- ½ cucumber, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Handful sprouts (mung, sunflower, or pea shoots)
The Seed Spread:
- 1 cup sunflower seeds soaked 10–12 hours
- 1 cup almonds soaked 10–12 hours
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon kelp or dulse granules
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
How It’s Made:
Place all the spread ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender until uniform. You can leave it chunky or you can smooth it out by adding a touch of water or blending it longer, but it should not be runny.
Lay one nori sheet flat on a clean, dry surface.
Spread about ¼ cup of seed spread on the nori sheet (you can fill it in to the edges if you want).
Place your veggies down in a relatively thin row, horizontally near the bottom of the sheet.
Begin to roll. Lift the bottom edge closest to you, wrap over all the veggies, hold tight, and continue to roll it all the way up. Seal it with extra seed spread or some water if the spread doesn’t go to the edges.
Cut the rolls. Start in the center of the roll and cut down the center of each half until you have 6–8 pieces. Serve them up with some raw veggies and enjoy! The nori rolls will last one day in the fridge.