Papaya by katstan.
photo credit

Previous steps:

If our nation is anything it is a pasteurized nation. Heat it up, kill what’s beneficial in order to make it uniform and "safe". You’ll now see pasteurized egg shells in the supermarket right along side of the pasteurized milk and juice.

The saddest part is that the eggs and the milk that they are pasteurizing do pose a threat. When it comes from factory farmed animals the rates of salmonella and e. coli are much higher than those animals that are raised properly. Pasteurizing these foods is simply putting a band-aid on a much, much bigger wound.

But we all know that raw foods are good for us. Enzymes and friendly bacteria make raw food beneficial to our digestive system. When I eat a large salad with my meal or drink a glass of kombucha I notice a difference in how I feel afterward. Lighter is a good way to describe it.

Beyond Fruits and Vegetables

We all know that fresh fruits and vegetables carry the enzymes and friendly bacteria from the soil that we need. But we can go beyond carrot sticks and apples. In fact we must if we are going to seek to eat a diet that is 50% raw or more like some suggest.

  • Raw Dairy. This is the first place to start. Raw dairy is infinitely superior to it’s pasteurized cousin. When milk is raw it contains all of the enzymes necessary to digest the casein and lactose that so many have trouble with. It is also higher in vitamins and minerals due to the loss of nutrients in the pasteurization process. The friendly bacteria it contains are akin to probiotics and help the digestive system keep moving rather than blocking it as pasteurized dairy can do. Resource: find real milk in your area here.
  • Lacto-Fermented Vegetables. These little guys are storehouses of enzymes, probiotics, and micronutrients. Learning to love naturally fermented pickles, sauerkraut, cortido, and salsa has made such a difference in our family. Not only are the health benefits great, but using this as a method of food preservation requires much less energy and seems more sustainable in the long run.
  • Cultured Dairy. Culturing dairy (raw or pasteurized) into kefir, yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk increases both the nutrients and the enzymes, not to mention adding more friendly bacteria. They are also delicious and so useful in the kitchen. Resource: find yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk starters here.
  • Lacto-Fermented Beverages. These are a great alternative to sodas or juice. Kombucha, water kefir, and beet kvass are the most commonly known. I wrote more about my adventures with kombucha last year. Resource: find water kefir grains and kombucha scobys here.
  • Raw Nuts and Seeds. Raw nuts are difficult to digest, but with a soaking they can be easy on the belly and still contain enzymes. I use the salt brine soaking method found here and then dehydrate on a low temperature in order to preserve the enzymes of the raw nuts and seeds.
  • Raw Eggs, Fish and Meat. This is less common in our area of the world than in others. Sushi and steak tartare of examples of the delicacy that can be raw animal foods. I have yet to venture into this realm, but do sneak in raw egg yolks when possible. Smoothies and homemade egg nog are good ways to get in raw egg yolks. Raw egg whites are controversial as they have been shown to have anti nutrients and I am not sure how I feel about them at this point.

I definitely have further to go on this step, especially during these dark days of winter. But I do notice a big difference when I am eating more raw foods.

How about you… How important do you think raw foods are? How do you get more of them in?