Raw foods diets seem to be all the rage nowadays. Pick up any trendy magazine and you’re likely to find an article touting the benefits of following a raw foods diet. From increased energy to weight loss to improved digestion to the fountain of youth; the benefits of becoming a raw foodie sound almost too good to be true.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering exactly what it means to “go raw,” and how one makes the radical transition to a raw foods diet.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) – high in refined sugar and flour, processed foods, artificial food additives, unhealthy fats, and soda – is toxic to the body and makes us more vulnerable to disease. The SAD can cause the body’s major channels of elimination – the bowels, skin, kidneys, lymphatic system, and lungs – to become congested and overworked, eventually leading to fatigue, weight gain, depressed immunity, and disease.

Conversely, raw foods like fresh vegetables and fruits contain life force energy from the sun that can help the body to detoxify and heal itself. Packaged foods – even supplements – simply can’t compete with the health benefits of fresh, raw foods. Raw foods actually help to pull toxic waste matter out of the cells. After years of poor eating habits, slowing incorporating raw foods into your diet can help to remove the toxins from your body so that you can experience long-term, vibrant health. It’s critical to drink lots of water, exercise regularly, and consume adequate fiber to keep the bowels moving during a period of detoxification. This will help to ensure that the “garbage” swept up inside the body will be picked up and hauled away.

You may not realize that detoxification causes stress on the body. Therefore, a period of detoxification calls for a high-nutrient, antioxidant-rich diet to counteract the increased levels of oxidative stress. Consuming lots of raw plant foods every day will provide you with nature’s essential elements for optimum health.

There are myriad reasons for choosing to follow a raw foods diet:

Weight management – Raw foods enable most people to eat plenty of delicious food and still achieve or maintain an ideal weight. Raw foods contain so much fiber that they fill you up faster than do many cooked foods. Imagine never counting calories again!

Nutrient shortcut – Cooking food destroys so many nutrients that you have to eat more in order to get the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Raw vegetables and fruits are jammed packed with vital nutrients. Always opt for organic foods when possible.

Energy boost – Most people find that raw foods are quicker and easier to digest than cooked foods, which gives you more energy for other things in life besides digestion!

More fruits and veggies – A raw foods diet makes it easy to consume more than the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Enhanced immunity – Consuming more raw foods can help to strengthen the immune system. A raw diet can help to reverse chronic disease and slow the aging process.

Mental and emotional clarity – The detoxification that goes along with a raw foods diet can help you to be clearer mentally and more centered emotionally.

A prettier planet – Less land and energy are required to produce plant foods than are required to produce animal products.

It’s important to make the transition to a raw foods diet slowly in order to minimize the symptoms of any detox reaction you might experience. Herring’s Law of Cure states that, “all cure starts from within out, from the head down, and in the reverse order as the symptoms appeared.” In other words, sometimes we need to get sick in order to get well. A detox reaction typically kicks in within a few months of beginning a raw foods diet. Signs of detox can include fatigue, coated tongue, cold or flulike symptoms, muscle soreness, low libido, bad breath, body odor, depression, nausea, skin breakouts, diarrhea, and irritability. The good news is that most people feel revitalized and invigorated after the detox reaction has passed.

Transition to a raw foods diet gradually by eliminating processed foods, while increasing fresh fruit and vegetables. Next, make one meal per day raw, then two, and so on. It’s important to note that a 100 percent raw diet is not right for everyone. In many cases it’s healthy to consume some cooked foods to prevent an intense detox reaction, as well as to support pleasure and emotional satisfaction.

Until next time, make every bite count!