Yoga & Raw Food
So your curiosity has brought you to read my article about raw food here today. In gratitude, I’ll do my best to make it a little different than other articles you may have read about raw food. Everyone pretty much agrees that some amount of raw food in our diet is basically essential for optimum health, but why? I’ll also give some useful tips to for bringing a healthy serving of living goodness into yourself.
Increasing awareness of self… through Yoga… and raw food. Know that this article isn’t going to be very much about nutrition. While that is a very useful area of knowledge I would rather make this more interesting than just saying such and such raw food item has such and such nutrients good for x.
In fact, let’s just briefly get a little bit of debate regarding nutrition of raw oand cooked food out of the way…
The quantity and quality of nutrition that is bio-available, that is… able to be accessed by your body, within your foods differs between raw and cooked food and amongst foods in individual cases. Here are some examples.
- Cooking vegetables breaks down plants’ naturally tougher cell walls making some nutrients more accessible.
- Heat damages certain nutrients decreasing their abundance in the food, such as antioxidants in high heat or frying.
- Boiling or steaming leaches nutrients out decreasing their abundance.
- Some foods absolutely require cooking to be digestable while others may become unbalancing to the body if cooked
As you can see, speaking purely nutritionally, there are instances where raw seems better and cooked seems better depending on the specific food in question. Some would argue the foods that HAVE to be cooked we shouldn’t be eating anyway because there are not wild animals cooking out there. In some cases a cooked food seems better for more accessible nutrition but more challenging for the digestive tract and body pH . When it comes to this debate I do think it’s more about proportion of the serving relative to the meal rather than decide you will or will not eat a certain thing ever again. A lot of people say cooked tomatoes are very acidic for you body(not good) yet lycopene is much more accessible after cooking. So…? When you have cooked tomato sauce on pizza or spaghetti get some alkalizing greens too! Balance is always the key. Gauge how much how your body can handle and still feel fresh and light. Most people could eat a half a pound of fresh spinach and feel great…but if you did the same thing with tomato sauce you probably wouldn’t feel so nice.
Oh, and what about the enzymes argument? Well, it seems that nutritionally there is no evidence backing up that you should eat food raw because you need it’s enzymes to do some digestive chemistry….But! ….And now here’s where I get all Yogic.
Yoga practice, we could say, is anything that increases our awareness of the relationships in the phenomenal world, or our experiences of them, and further, harbors us in a sense of being which is yet beyond these phenomenon, being the seer of them. You are alive. And, whatever the definition of “alive” is, we all pretty much agree that plants and animals are alive too. We could also say living things carry a lot of information. They are also carrying out life processes even as they get chewed up and slide down your esophagus. They have bio-electromagnetic fields, and Prana, the cosmically manifest intelligent life energy. Consider that raw foods are not better merely because they “have greater nutritional value(not in all cases) and enzymes(not validated)” but because these things in their living, vibrating forms, inform our physiology on a.) how to best digest and assimilate their vital elements, and b.) what living things do and of what are they made. Those enzymes could be indicators. This is the yoga practice of eating. Chewing thoroughly, tasting it, and studying the living taste, every nuance and subtlety of it. That information is revealing to the nature of the web of life on the Earth and your own physiology. Try everything you can and really taste it, as a single raw entree at least once.(with exceptions… I mean you Thai chili!) Ok, just a little lick…
We all have unique metabolic signatures and accumulated specialization to eating certain foods. Because of this, I don’t recommend anyone to any specific diet. Instead, if you’re interested to incorporate more raw food to your diet, simply experiment and shift around your habitual food habit with these tips. They can also be a great way to prepare for going on a raw food fast or a yoga and raw food retreat.
Useful tips for Raw Wisdom
- When you are cooking a meal with vegetables, snack on each veggie raw as you prepare your main meal.
- Be observant. Try snacking on a certain veggie in both raw and cooked forms on different occasions and note your bodies reaction.
- At least once a day eat a pile of raw green stuff. It could be an all raw salad with some other veggies, or just a favorite leaf, kale, bak choy, spinach, etc.
- Get organic. The nutritional value could be 4x higher(which is what it should be) compared to mass produced and chemically tended crops.
- Find a not too sweet, agreeable fruit to eat as a size-able snack. My favorites, half a small watermelon, bananas all afternoon, or just sitting down with a bag full of oranges or toting apples around with me.
- Wash your produce with a natural rinse like this one that removes dirt, bacteria, and chemicals.
There is something undeniably present in living food that’s not in cooked food. It’s in you right now and it’s driving the creative impetus. It doesn’t mean we should give up the taste-tacular wonders of our culinary achievements, which by the way are being quickly reproduced by ingenious raw food chefs like Boris Lauser who will be co-hosting the Yoga and Raw Food Retreat with Kosta at Vikasa Yoga next February.
It does mean though that we can “commune with life energy”, “imbibe prana through living food” and so on, and that it’s empowering. Final words. Fruit Meal. Veggie Meal. Every day.
About our Author
George Anthony is a yoga teacher and modern mystic that travels the world training teachers, likes diving into self expanding experiences, and loves to share good energy with all people. He’s the director of Sajeeva Yoga School, musician, artist, novice acrobat, acroyogi, cook, handstand master, and philosopher. Join the vibes! – www.sajeevayoga.com