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Raw food diet in its 'natural state'

Steven Lilley

The raw diet has received a lot of attention from celebrities and health conscious people recently. But what actually constitutes a “raw” diet? Is it the temperature? It may just be a few simple changes that will not alter your lifestyle, just your health.

This week on "Take Care," Yuri Elkaim talks about what it really means to be on a raw diet. Elkaim is a registered holistic nutritionist, fitness expert and health coach, as well as a former professional soccer player. He currently writes a fitness blog at U.S. News and World Report.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Yuri Elkaim.

Many who live a raw-diet lifestyle have extensive rules on how and what to eat. But according Yuri Elkaim, it is very simple.

“It’s all about incorporating more raw foods into your diet,” he said, not necessarily about eating all raw foods.

Elkaim says eating more raw foods has many benefits, first and foremost being the food you’re eating is “closest to its natural state.”

“Pick(ing) an apple of the tree and eating it then is the ideal scenario because that is when it’s freshest.”

Eating foods with no preparation is the best because the foods have a “natural vibrancy foods in a box may not have,” said Elkhaim.

One of the major benefits to eating foods raw is their water content.

“Most of us need more water,” Elkaim said.

But that does not mean every food should go uncooked; Elkaim believes whatever is going to make someone eat their vegetables is most important.

“If you’re incorporating more plant foods into your diet, then you’re winning.”

He continues to say many of our favorite vegetables may need to be cooked to be eaten regularly.

“Vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are naturally cruciferous, tough vegetables and if you eat them raw all the time, that can become discomforting digestively.”

Steaming vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli and adding lemon, which adds flavor, and butter, which “helps absorb the fat-soluble vitamins from the vegetables” is an easy fix without sacrificing taste.

While there’s a bit of a stigma around the raw food diet – some people think it’s too hard to follow or may be a little crazy to eat so much raw food -- Elkaim believes just going in your fridge and making simple switches will make a huge difference. He recommends switching foods that need to be cooked to be enjoyed with foods that are yummy in their natural state, could make a huge difference in your diet.