Start your day with a simple, raw breakfast salad.
For lunch try creamy raw zucchini soup with crushed pistachios.
Snack on guacamole and raw jalapeno corn chips.
Zucchini spaghetti and walnut meatballs make a hearty dinner.
Chia pudding and fresh fruit make a nourishing dessert.
It's Time for Spring Cleaning
When my iris are in bloom, and the weather starts to get warm, I feel like cleaning. There's something about this time of year that makes us clean out the garage, spray wash the driveway and spruce up our yards. The most important thing to cleanse, of course, is our body. After a winter of eating comfort foods and lower activity levels, a gentle body cleanse is a great way to get ready for summer.
Why Cleanse with Raw Food?
There are different ways people cleanse their bodies. Some go on a juice or water fast, some do it with the help of herbal supplements, others with colonic irrigation or other techniques. Each have some drawbacks.
Fasting is hard, especially for me. When I skip a meal my blood sugar drops, I get dizzy and unfocused and extremely grumpy! My husband and children will surely attest to that. Fasting for anyone can trigger severe detoxification reactions and should be done with the help and presence of a knowledgeable practitioner.
Herbal supplements can contain numerous ingredients and most people take them without a good understanding of what's in them. Looking at some of the more common herbal cleansing formulas on the market, I see a mixture of over 50 herbs. As you know, herbs can be strong medicine and combining that many of them is a bit worrisome for me.
Many people find colonic irrigation unpleasant and I certainly don't have to explain that. It is recommended by many experts, especially when undergoing severe detox from from chemotherapy or a lifetime of poor eating habits. This can certainly be done in conjunction with a raw food cleanse.
I find eating a diet of mostly raw food for a period of time to be the easiest, most gentle and certainly the most appealing of all the options. The advantages are:
* Eating mostly organic raw food for a period of time gives your body a break from adding to its toxic load.
* The high fiber of whole, raw foods is cleansing.
* The enzymes contained in raw foods help in their own digestion. This allows your body to spend the energy usually spent generating enzymes on doing other things, like healing and rebuilding.
* The numerous antioxidants and phytochemicals in raw fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables have the ability to prevent and combat many diseases.
* Eating and preparing meals from foods in their most natural state (versus eating processed foods out of a box) rebuilds a connection between you and the earth.
* A raw food diet allows many options for accomplishing these health benefits while enjoying delicious food.
Who Should Do This
Anyone who wants to improve their general health would benefit from eating a mostly raw food diet for a week, two weeks, three weeks or a month or more. Some people exclusively eat a raw food vegan diet but I believe you can achieve many of the health benefits of this food regimen without being 100% raw. (Read "Raw Food Diet - How Raw Do You Need To Be?").
If you are trying to lose weight, lower your cholesterol and triglycerides, prevent type 2 diabetes, improve your energy level, detoxify your body, get rid of heartburn or other gastrointestinal disorders, lighten your mood, or just improve your general health, you may want to try a raw food cleanse. Even if you can only do it for 10 or 20 days, you will see improvements. See how my friend Kannan significantly improved his health when he ate mostly raw food for 41 days.
When it starts to warm up in the spring, I eat at least half of my food raw and by summer, when my garden is flourishing, I eat around 70%. But once a year, sometime between May and July, I go on Raw Food Cleanse and I eat at least 90% raw food for one month. When I feel like eating a bit of cooked food, I eat brown rice, or a steamed grain.
How To Do It
For the next month eat mostly all raw food. I've listed some favorite raw food vegan recipes below for each meal of the day but there are many other raw food recipes on this blog in addition to those listed. If you are really craving some cooked food throughout this cleanse (especially in the beginning), eat some brown rice. If you eat a cooked meal for whatever reason, don't worry, just get back to raw food with the next meal.
This will not feel like a diet or fast. It will just seem like you are eating delicious, fresh, natural food.
So today or sometime over the next few months when the weather in your area starts to warm up and the farmer’s markets start to sell delicious, fresh produce, cleanse your body naturally and gently with a diet of raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and sprouted grains and legumes. Here are a few recipe ideas for each meal of the day:
My favorite breakfast is a simple smoothie. A few of my favorites include:
A Fruit Salad is always a great start to the day. Try
For a more hearty breakfast, try
Note that whenever a recipe calls for hemp milk or soy milk (which are not raw), you can always substitute any raw nut milk of your choice.
Lunch And Dinner
I'll combine these two meals since many of the recipes can be eaten for either meal.
Raw soups are usually pretty quick to prepare and surprisingly very filling. Some of my favorites raw soups are:
For colorful, healthful and delicious salads try:
For a hearty entree check out:
Snacks and appetizers are an important part of your day. These are recipes you'll still crave long after your raw food cleanse:
And of course there's dessert. I've always thought raw desserts are better than any others. Check out:
Some Mild Reactions
Depending on how much processed food you consume in your present diet, you may experience symptoms of mild detoxification. You might get a headache. Or, if you are not used to eating much fiber, you may get an upset stomach or experience some gas. Be sure to drink plenty of fresh water and eat some cooked brown rice to help settle your stomach. These will pass after a few days.
Pass This On
If you know anyone who really needs to take a first step to improve his or her health, pass this along. If you know anyone who is curious about raw food or is just starting to eat a raw food vegan diet and would like some good recipes, pass this along. If you know anyone who is battling obesity, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heartburn, depression, fatigue, and many other health issues, pass this along.
It is always wise to inform your doctor before you begin any new dietary program.