Nutrition in the Raw
By Nicole Ellis
Photos by Samantha Benedict
The word juice means different things to different people. The “juice-heads” in Jersey aren’t the same juicers who work with Barry Bonds or Lance Armstrong. And those juicers are completely different than the juicers shopping at Whole Foods. The more common and accepted juicer is the kind that extracts nutrients from raw fruits and veggies. Not everyone who juices is a rawist, but juicing is a huge aspect to eating raw.
Beans, fruits, seaweed, sprouts, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables are among the types of foods rawist eat. Rawism, or eating raw, leaves food in its environmental state. The fruits, veggies, and grains are considered raw if they’re cooked under 115 degrees. Most people who practice eating raw stick to a vegan diet, but there’s also rawists who eat animal products. A sashimi dinner is the perfect example. Raw foodists, who eat animal products believe that eating foods above this temperature makes the food lose its nutritional value and can harm the body.
“I started this [raw food] diet because I feel like it is the only thing that makes sense in this world,” Novalee Truesdell, a raw foodist of six years, explains. “Plants grow naturally as a pure food source and yet we turn to all this processed, chemically altered nonsense that confuses and screws our poor bodies up!”
Truesdell stuck with her raw diet because she saw her body change. Her depression went away, her energy level rose and her body remains slender and lean. “People saw there is a certain glow about me that they can’t quite put their finger on,” Truesdell says.
Some commonly known benefits to eating raw include: weight management, clear skin and hair, decreased food cravings, increased energy, and mental clarity.
David Hinkle went raw for one hundred days to lose weight. “Honestly, it just seemed kind of easy to me,” Hinkle says about making the decision to swap processed food for a clean diet. “I did a raw juice fast for seventy days, then a break, then another thirty [days] for a total of one hundred and six pounds lost.”
During his fast, Hinkle consumed nothing but raw juice, regular water, and coconut water. “A key component of the success of juice fasting, and not eating, is hydration,”
Hinkle explains. He recommends drinking lots of water, up to two gallons a day, to help suppress the hunger and accelerate the weight loss process.
Hinkle and Truesdell found that juicing is the key to staying trim. “I love juicing and make a green juice every single day which I crave until I have [it],” Truesdell shared about her secret to keeping her body lean. “You can just feel the fresh, raw, liquid fruits and vegetables, seeping into your body.” She eats almost any fruit and vegetable she can get her hands on.
The two things rawist need to keep an eye out for are contaminated food and low levels of certain vitamins. Food poisoning doesn’t only occur in meat, it can affect raw produce like lettuce, melon, spouts, and berries. The American Dietetic Association advises checking iron, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iodine, vitamin B-12, and protein levels to ensure they’re not too low.
The positives definitely outweigh the negatives in terms of potential benefits, according to rawists. Some people believe eating raw can cure chronic illnesses like cancer. Others think the lifestyle change can help aid problems like asthma. Truesdell has a friend who cured her own asthma, chronic fatigue, and sinusitis, just by eating raw.
Cecilia Kinzie changed her eating habits when she was twenty-two. Her health problems were causing her to become depressed, but after a conversation about raw food with a friend, Kinzie went out and bought a raw cookbook and never turned back. She’s been raw for over ten years and has never felt better. Kinzie has her own website and has written her own book, Raw Food Starter Guide, that’s downloadable for free online.
Jumpstarting a raw diet might be as easy as visiting The Juice Shop. Located on Union Street and Buchanan, The Juice Shop started out as a delivery service, but its popularity grew, allowing them to open a store in 2009 where people can visit them face-to-face. “We have a lot of people who come on a regular basis,” said Lina Gulick, co-owner of Juice Shop, “but we also have people stopping by who never experienced juicing before.”
Their juices are made on a hydraulic press, which “gently and completely extracts all of the vital nutrients in the most optimal method possible,” Gulick explains. The pure nutrients are one hundred percent organic and start at $9.
Is juicing a trend or has it always been an “in” thing? “We have definitely seen an increase in the general interest in juicing since we started,” said Gulick. Juicing has been around for over a century, but its popularity and accessibility has made it a phenomenon. “When it comes down to the basics, the benefits of juicing are so profound that people tend to stick with it.”
Some people use the raw diet as a way to lose weight, others use it as a way to rid medical problems, and some people just want to make a lifestyle change. Eating raw provides many benefits, but not all carnivores will want to dabble in the semi-strict diet. Although, it seems that once people go raw, they don’t go back.
Novalee’s Morning Pick-me-up Smoothie
Fresh or frozen fruits blended with fresh leafy greens like kale, chard, parsley or dandelion, and chia seed powder
David’s Go-to Juice
Half bunch of kale, half a cucumber, one granny smith apple, two carrots, half a lemon, and a small hunk of ginger