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Going Raw for Weight Loss

How many overweight wild antelope have you ever seen? What about morbidly obese zebras waddling around the savannah? Wild animals don’t deal with overweight or obesity issues. Wild animals don’t eat cooked or processed foods. They eat raw foods, in their natural state and maintain ideal body weight. The human body is designed to run on the clean fuel of raw foods as well, like all other animals. Through our experiments with cooking and processing foods, however, we have moved ever farther away from simplicity, towards the so-called ‘Franken-foods’ and we pay for it with our health. Our addictions to processed starches, refined sugars and greasy foods lead to widespread obesity, which we then try to ‘fix’ with yet more processed foods, chemical pills, powders and packet ‘diet’ foods.

Most people in the Western world are dealing with overweight/obesity issues. The consequences are enormous – from increased illness and medical costs, to ‘lost’ work days, family tensions and more. The obesity epidemic infiltrates all aspects of life. Not surprisingly, then, the weight loss market is one of the largest industries in the world and growing constantly. Bombarded with slimming plans, pills, powders, and pre-packaged, processed diet foods, slimmers fret about calories, fat grams, low-carb, no-carb and all number of issues. There are literally thousands of different diets available and a HUGE amount of conflicting information. It can be very confusing to decide how to lose weight.

In contrast, a raw food lifestyle is all about keeping it simple. Not about calorie counting or protein controlling – it’s about returning to natural, nutrient-rich foods, Choosing to simply include more raw foods daily, as part of a permanent lifestyle change, can help you lose weight, detox and enjoy much more energy,

The effects of going raw are well-documented. We look younger, hair and nails strengthen, skin gets clearer, pores tighten, eyes brighten, depression lifts, diseases heal and we feel energised. In addition to all these benefits, swift, sustainable weight loss is one of the primary effects of beginning a diet rich in raw foods.

This is a completely different approach to ‘dieting’. It’s not about how many calories something contains, the fat grams or the endorsements on the packaging. It’s about how it feels in your body – do you enjoy it, are you energised by it, are you feeling better?

The raw lifestyle is extremely cleansing. The body goes through an incredible transformation: toxins, including fats that have accumulated over years, are released through massive detox. The body always works towards health, so when it suddenly receives potent enzyme and nutrient rich food with which to clean and cure itself, it seizes the opportunity to become much healthier, very quickly. Eating more raw is the most natural, simple and rapid path to sustained weight loss available.

Most people, however, seem to look towards unsustainable ‘quick-fix’ solutions for weight loss such dieting, ‘miracle’ powders/pills or even surgery. These solutions rarely provide satisfactory results in the long run.

The truth is that diets don’t work. Often, people just lose excess water when dieting. They’re thrilled to see a lower number on the scales and soon revert back to previous habits. They then regain weight (and often extra), ending up in a ‘yo—yo’ dieting situation. So, how is going raw different? I don’t see this as a temporary patch-up solution, or a diet we go ‘on’, waiting to come ‘on’ again at some point; for me, it’s a genuinely effective and loving lifestyle choice. We adjust to a permanent new abundance of fresh, raw food, which cleanses the body, nourishes and sustains us.

This path doesn’t chain you to endless diet club sessions and expenditures, nor is it funding any multinational pharmaceutical company. There is no big business behind raw fruits and vegetable – it is just simple, natural and effective. The great news too is that you don’t have to eat 100%, completely raw to feel the benefits – just eating more raw than cooked food will begin your healing. If you can simultaneously remove the primary ‘nasties’ in your diet – processed starches, refined sugars, pasteurised dairy – your cleansing and weight loss will progress dramatically.

One definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Yet people come ‘off’ a diet, revert back to previous eating habits and are surprised to find they regain weight and feel the same as before. A KEY aspect to understand is that making committed changes to your lifestyle will bring about complete changes in your body and wellbeing.

You are what you eat. Did you ever wonder what that really means? The foods you eat literally make up your cells. Consider food as messages to your body’s cells for a moment. The optimal foods for your body are natural things it can easily recognise. Your body can ‘understand the message’ when you eat fresh watermelon for example much more easily than denatured, pre-packaged low-fat ready-meals. The body has to work much harder to ‘unpack’ the information in the ready meal. It likely contains any number of preservatives, stabilisers, processed starches, trans-fats and so on – things that simply don’t occur in nature. There may be all kinds of claims on the box about how it will help you slim down and gain energy, but those aren’t the messages your body receives. With cooked/processed foods, the body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, so it keeps asking for more, which ironically often leads to eating huge amounts of ‘empty’ foods, such as pasta, sweets and snack foods. When we eat mainly raw foods, the body gets what it needs: enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients – in a form that’s easily understandable and useable.

The same principle goes for trying to lose weight permanently and successfully using medicines/pills. The body doesn’t recognise such chemicals – they only complicate matters in the long run. In the short term they may raise your metabolism and help you burn some fat, but in the long term it is hard to even know what damage these chemicals may cause. Making long term, permanent changes to your food intake is the optimal way to natural weight loss, not ingesting chemical pills alongside a lifeless diet. As Hippocrates put it , ‘Let thy food be thy medicine’.

For most people, ‘going raw’ seems a huge change. I want to reemphasise that to see real and effective weight loss, there is no demand that you MUST be 100% raw, now or ever, or indeed do anything that doesn’t feel comfortable to you. Try starting with baby steps. Ultimately, the most important message here is to EAT MORE RAW – it doesn’t matter if you begin at 50, 60 or 70% raw, as long as you’re eating more raw than you used to, and more raw foods than dead, cooked foods.

In the beginning, especially if you’re coming from a junk food background, as I was, anything is an improvement as you’re moving away from processed foods towards more natural produce. People usually fear that to eat more raw means it’s all carrot sticks and apples from here on. That need not be the case at all. It’s possible to produce incredibly lavish raw meals, as gourmet as you like.

When dieting, people often feel deprived, as they’re calorie counting and weighing foods and these restrictions can feel very un-nurturing. As a result, when the diet ends, they often swing into binge eating. Eating raw can alleviate so much of the pattern.

Just go for it – try it out for a day or a week. The more raw foods you ingest compared to cooked, the more opportunity you have to release toxins/excess weight and regain health. The choice is yours, but the minimum level I suggest starting at is 50% raw (by weight, not volume of the food) and work up from there.

Remember, this is about long-term, realistic changes, not about ‘magic bullet’ solutions or being perfect at being raw, so take things at a pace that’s comfortable for you. Be aware that making a huge change from a very unhealthy diet to very high raw can be extremely demanding in terms of detox and you may experience a ‘healing crisis’ if you push too far, too fast. Your body stores many toxins in fatty tissue, so the faster the fat breaks down, the faster the toxins are released, and too many toxins released too quickly can cause discomfort. Be sure to incorporate colon cleansing to aid the elimination process. Going 100% raw has many health benefits, including a clearer system, increased assimilation and greater energy and I certainly recommend it in the long run, but in the beginning, it’s usually beneficial to take your transition gently.

You might find at first that you feel like eating soaked nuts constantly, along with three avocados a day. It’s OK, avocados won’t make you fat. Fats are an area where people tend to feel confusion and fear. Raw fats are completely different from cooked fats. Whereas cooked fats clog up the body with all kinds of toxins, raw fats such as those from avocados, coconuts, soaked nuts and seeds nourish the body, soften the skin and actually promote weight loss. This is because raw fats still have enzymes intact, especially lipase, which helps to break fat down, whereas with cooked/processed fats, the enzymes are mostly destroyed.

Something that really excites me about people going raw for weight loss is that it tends to foster exploration of many other aspects of themselves – not just the physical. Rather than it all just being a ‘weight issue’, people start to examine the emotional suppression underlying those excess pounds. They begin to unfold more and connect with hidden parts of themselves, reaching out to others for support. Far from being a “shallow” process of losing some fat/water, then reversing to old habits, this is about positive, real life changes. Working through these shifts may feel tough in the short term, but overall will leave you clearer and less likely to return to self-destructive patterns. I see going raw as an incredible path for natural weight loss and healing on all levels. If you want to experience genuine, lasting shifts in your health and vitality I say go for it – EAT MORE RAW – there’s nothing to lose but all that weight.