This edition of Hood Health 101 addresses the importance of raw fruits and veggies in our dialy dietary regimen
Summer time is a great time to begin to incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables into your diet for added nutritional value. I know many people who would choose to have a salad full of greens, fruits and seeds instead of a buffalo, double cheese burger with bacon on top aqnd those will probably be the people who will say, “But what about the protein?”, not realizing that a salad can be packed with protein rich foods such as spinach, broccoli, raisins, avocado, raspberries, almonds and more. There are no essential nutrients in dairy, meat, legumes or grains that are not found in vegetables, nuts, seeds or fruits. What are raw Foods? Raw foods are foods that are whole, unrefined, plant-based foods that are eaten without heating them up to high temperatures or steaming. Why would anyone want to do that? Raw Foodists and those who support a raw food diet have made many claims regarding the benefits of eating whole foods. Here are some…
1. Increased energy
2. Lower blood pressure
3. Lower risk of disease such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes
4. The vitamins and minerals in the foods are natural and easy for the body to process and are not “enriched” or “fortified” with vitamins and minerals being added to them.
5. The digestive system can break down foods, get nutrients and clean itself out faster and easier than if there were meats and cooked foods in it.
6. The immune system gets a break since it can recognize food that is natural and it won’t go into attack mode because it considers whatever you ate to be “foreign”.
Lately, there has been a popular meme on social media that shows a refrigerator full of raw meats and one full of colorful fruits and vegetables. The question attached to the picture says, “You are what you eat. Is your refrigerator a morgue or a garden?” It had me thinking about how many of us eat and the dietary habits that we have. It also reminded me of an article I once read. The article discussed a chemical called hypoxanthine which is a chemical stimulant found in meat, that is supposed to make a person feel energized and is addictive since it’s structure is so similar to caffeine. Some people say that when you avoid meat or eliminate it from your diet, the withdrawal symptoms make you feel like you may not be getting enough nutrients without the meat. There is so much meat around us all the time. You can walk to the bodega and get meat. You can go to the grocery store and see all kinds of meat to choose from. You can hit up any fast food restaurant and get some meat. Meat is everywhere but, so are fruits and vegetables.
Unfortunately, the meat that is mostly available is laced with hormones preservatives and other chemicals. So, not only are we eating the meat itself, we are eating the chemicals, hormones and preservatives that is in it. Now, I don’t think it is a good idea to just go cold turkey, letting meat go and knowing that meat could actually be addictive, I wouldn’t dare ask you all to stop eating it. Instead, I think it is a better idea to suggest that you incorporate more whole, raw foods into your diet on a regular basis. We know that this may be something new for you, but I think it may be worth a try. For breakfast, instead of having a bacon, egg and cheese bagel, try to have some fruit salad, and maybe some granola to go with it. Instead of having, cooked carrots for dinner, why not eat them raw? One easy way to sneak raw fruits and vegetables into your diet is to drink them in juices and smoothies. You can either make them yourself or get them at locations that sell them like local health food stores or smoothie shops. They can actually be delicious. I think Ol’ Dirty was on to something. This may seem like it is an unreachable task, but just remember; there are lots of creative ways to try to incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables into your diet. Remember, we should be striving to “Eat to Live” like Elijah Muhammad said and not “Live to Eat”.
SciHonor Devotion, CD, CPD, CCCE, CMA, CWSP is a contributing writer
to the Hood Health Handbook set. She is a Labor Doula, Postpartum
Doula, Childbirth Educator, Homebirth Midwife Assistant and Womb Sauna
Practitioner who serves women and girls in her community through
workshop, ceremony and rites of passage. She is also Co-Owner of
Queen’s Quisine: Vegetarian and Vegan Catering Company and can be
contacted at www.facebook.com/EarthDoulas / SciHonor17@gmail.com /