Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Natural - Raw Foods

Raw food by contrast is replete with everything that enabled it to sprout and grow in the first place - life force, enzymes, water, oxygen, hormones, vitamins and minerals and so much more besides. Untouched, untainted, raw food is quite literally honest food - what you see is what you get. No hidden ingredients, nothing messed around with, just pure delicious fresh live food that we are designed to eat - living food for living bodies. And the good news for you is this: when you start dabbling with more raw food, you don't just understand this conceptually, you actually start to "get it" and also helps for your skin care, experientially as your whole body cheers, shifts up a gear and the concept of what real food, health and nutrition is really all about starts to take on a whole new meaning.

What foods are raw?

Apricot kernels and Cacao Liquor these are some types of raw and organic certified food.

Ionic Angstrom Molybdenum and Iron WaterOz Mineral Water.
WaterOz Mineral Waters are made by a highly technical process that turns pure minerals into a Ionic/Water Soluble solution. The water used for the suspension is drawn from a subterranean spring for purification and processed by reverse osmosis then treated with ozone gas before the mineral solution is added to produce the finished product.

To give you a brief overview of what raw food means in real terms, here's a list of the 20 different raw food groups:
  1. Fresh fruits
  2. Vegetables
  3. Salad vegetables
  4. Leafy green vegetables
  5. Herbs and wild greens
  6. Nuts
  7. Dried fruits
  8. Beans - pulses and legumes (sprouted)
  9. Grains (sprouted)
  10. Seeds - Sprouting seeds
  11. Indoor greens
  12. Vegetable seeds (sprouted)
  13. Edible flowers
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Sea vegetables
  16. Algaes
  17. Oils
  18. Stimulants (e.g. chilli, ginger, onion)
  19. Spices
  20. Superfoods -Flavourings and natural sweeteners (e.g. agave nectar, stevia).

How to keep it interesting?
When you're new to raw food it's easy to assume that salads, soups and smoothies is as good as it gets when you're watching the clock. While it's true that the more elaborate recipes often do take more time and energy, there are always short cuts and whipping up a delicious dressing, dip or even a nut "cheese" or veggie pate takes literally seconds and can totally transform a meal!
As mentioned before, the raw food journey never ends, but it does get increasingly rewarding and exciting! Not only is there a whole new world of food and drink waiting for you (which is growing fast), but raw food tends to attract some pretty amazing people and takes you on an exciting adventure in terms of getting more in touch with your body and your whole self generally.

Identifying organic food

Processed organic food usually contains only organic ingredients. If non-organic ingredients are present, at least a certain percentage of the food's total plant and animal ingredients must be organic (95% in the United States, Canada, and Australia) and any non-organically produced ingredients are subject to various agricultural requirements. Foods claiming to be organic must be free of artificial food additives, and are often processed with fewer artificial methods, materials and conditions, such as chemical ripening, food irradiation, and genetically modified ingredients. Pesticides are allowed so long as they are not synthetic.

Early consumers interested in organic food would look for non-chemically treated,non-use of unapproved pesticides, fresh or minimally processed food. They mostly had to buy directly from growers: "Know your farmer, know your food" was the motto. Personal definitions of what constituted "organic" were developed through firsthand experience: by talking to farmers, seeing farm conditions, and farming activities. Small farms grew vegetables (and raised livestock) using organic farming practices, with or without certification, and the individual consumer monitored. As demand for organic foods continued to increase, high volume sales through mass outlets such as supermarkets rapidly replaced the direct farmer connection. Today there is no limit to organic farm sizes and many large corporate farms currently have an organic division. However, for supermarket consumers, food production is not easily observable, and product labeling, like "certified organic", is relied on. Government regulations and third-party inspectors are looked to for assurance.

Nutritional value and taste of Raw and Organic Foods
In April 2009, results from Quality Low Input Food (QLIF), a 5-year integrated study funded by the European Commission, confirmed that "the quality of crops and livestock products from organic and conventional farming systems differs considerably."

Specifically, results from a QLIF project studying the effects of organic and low-input farming on crop and livestock nutritional quality "showed that organic food production methods resulted in some case:

  • Higher levels of nutritionally desirable compounds (e.g., vitamins/antioxidants and poly-unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 and CLA)
  • Lower levels of nutritionally undesirable compounds such as heavy metals, mycotoxins, pesticide residues and glyco-alkaloids in a range of crops and/or milk.
  • A lower risk of faecal Salmonella shedding in pigs." but also showed no significant difference between traditionally grown foods on other studies.

The QLIF study also concludes that "further and more detailed studies are required to provide proof for positive health impacts of organic diets on human and animal health."Alternatively, according to the UK's Food Standards Agency, "Consumers may choose to buy organic fruit, vegetables and meat because they believe them to be more nutritious than other food. However, the balance of current scientific evidence does not support this view." A 12-month systematic review commissioned by the FSA in 2009 and conducted at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine based on 50 years' worth of collected evidence concluded that "there is no good evidence that consumption of organic food is beneficial to health in relation to nutrient content."Other studies have found no proof that organic food offers greater nutritional values, more consumer safety or any distinguishable difference in taste.

Regarding taste, a 2001 study concluded that organic apples were sweeter by blind taste test. Firmness of the apples was also rated higher than those grown conventionally. Limited use of food preservatives may cause faster spoilage of organic foods. Such foods in the stores, on the other hand, are guaranteed of not having been stored for extended amounts of time, still being high in decaying nutrients that food preservatives fail to preserve. Organic food may also potentially have higher amounts of natural biotoxins, like solanine in potatoes, as to compensate for the lack of externally applied fungicides and herbicides etc. However, in current studies, there have been no indications of difference in amounts of natural biotoxins between organic and conventional foods.

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