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Raw and Living Foods

Welcome to Raw & Living Foods! If we’ve not met, my name is Dr. Trish Murray and I am a physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. It is my passion to educate you on the tools to achieve optimal health! I am here as a facilitator and a support system to assist you in any way I can, whether it be from guiding you to make informed decisions about your health or helping you identify and remove any limitations that may be in the way of achieving your goals!

The Raw and Living Foods Diet is a lifestyle choice that promotes eating food in their natural, unaltered state. A food is considered “raw” as long as it has not been processed, refined, pasteurized, or heated over essentially 104°F. You see, it is believed that the processing and heating of food reduce its nutritional value and makes it less available for our bodies to use as fuel. In contrast, raw foods are also expressed as living foods due to their intact living enzymes that otherwise would be killed off in the cooking process. Instead, this diet implements different means of preparation, such as blending, juicing, dehydrating, sprouting, and soaking.

There are so many delicious foods included in the Raw and Living Foods Diet. I am going to read out, at this time, a list for you to contemplate. But, of course, when I provide lists of things or resources we always go ahead and post them in our Discover Health Facebook Group for people to be able to utilize. If you are not already a member of our Discover Health Facebook Group, then all you need to do is simply go to Facebook and go to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook page and simply request to join the group.

Now, this list of foods that you can contemplate are obviously things like:

  • fresh fruits
  • raw vegetables
  • raw nuts and seeds
  • raw grains and legumes (soaked and sprouted)
  • dried fruits
  • nut milks (almond milk, coconut milk, etc.)
  • cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil
  • fermented foods
  • sea vegetables and algae (like seaweed)
  • edible flowers

Some people also choose to include raw dairy, eggs, meat, and fish, but these options are a matter of preference as well as availability and, of course, a big portion of it is concerned around safety.

The foods to avoid when going on a raw diet include:

  • cooked fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats
  • roasted nuts and seeds
  • refined oils, sugars, and flours
  • baked goods
  • pasteurized dairy
  • coffee
  • alcohol
  • processed snacks

These foods are commonly a massive part of our daily diets, but to know the power in removing them and the benefits of transitioning to a raw lifestyle make it all worth the change!

Everyone can benefit from a raw diet! The process of cooking foods denatures valuable digestive enzymes we use in our bodies. This leads to cooked foods often being more difficult for our body to digest optimally, causes physical stress on the body in order to be able to digest it properly, and costs more energy to sustain ourselves and our being. Beneficial nutrients like antioxidants and vitamins are lost in cooked foods transforming our once-nutrient-dense food into subpar nutrition.

Raw foods, however, provide nutrients, efficient energy expenditure, and a balanced gut, as what we feed our microbiome (the bugs that live within us that we live in synergy with) determines which organisms live in our ecosystem. This is important for everyone, but people that suffer from any of the following will especially benefit:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • bone issues
  • kidney disease
  • gallstones
  • food allergies
  • fatigue
  • joint pain
  • frequent headaches
  • autoimmune diseases
  • hormonal imbalances
  • pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)

That’s a pretty extensive list, and it’s not even an exhaustive list! Absolutely, a raw food diet and getting the optimal enzymes would benefit just about everyone.

The benefits of implementing a raw foods diet are plentiful! Some benefits include:

  • decreasing inflammation
  • improving digestion
  • increasing natural energy
  • clearing skin imperfections
  • maintaining a healthy body weight
  • preventing nutrient deficiencies
  • lowering the number of antinutrients in your diet
  • providing high content of nutrients and phytochemicals
  • preventing many diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer)
  • adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle

These are only a handful of the many benefits of how the raw food lifestyle can benefit you, and I will also be highlighting a few of these in more detail as we go along.

Folks, the most important thing out there in the chronic disease world is to decrease inflammation in order to prevent the ability of diseases to take place in the first place. They’re two of the most important relationships with the raw food diet and your health. This has always been true, but especially now during the COVID-19 global pandemic we must take responsibility for our health by decreasing inflammation so that we can optimize our immune system function and protect ourselves.

Research has found that inflammation is at the root of almost every health condition, but inflammation is not always, remember, a bad thing. Our immune system does it because it is a role is to defend our bodies, remove harmful invaders, and aid in this healing process. You’ve got to realize, there are two different kinds of inflammation. One is acute inflammation and the other is chronic inflammation.

Acute inflammation begins quickly and also subsides rather quickly, or once the problem is resolved, such as if you step off a curb, roll your ankle, and sprain your ankle you’re going to get immediate swelling and pain and redness maybe and warmth in that joint. You’re going to see it and feel it. Over seven to ten days, it’s going to start to resolve and within a couple of weeks it should be back to normal. That is acute inflammation and a normal healing response of the body and the immune system. However, [click_to_tweet tweet=”chronic inflammation is often a result of a poor diet since the body is continually struggling to eliminate the insubstantial nourishment.” quote=”chronic inflammation is often a result of a poor diet since the body is continually struggling to eliminate the insubstantial nourishment.”]

How does disease evolve from inflammation, you ask? Folks, disease is inflammation! Chronic inflammation has been linked to all of the following diseases:

  • heart disease
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • diabetes
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Crohn’s disease (IBD)
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • lupus
  • osteoporosis
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • cancer
  • and many, many more

Raw and livings foods are packed with nutrients! When we eat food that is more bioavailable to us or easier for our bodies to digest, we end up satiated without depleting our energy reserve as raw foods are inherently healthier than the processed alternatives and offer the best balance of water, fiber, and nutrients your body needs. Let’s go over and talk in a little bit more detail about some of the major nutrients that we get from raw foods that you may not get as optimally once you cook and heat them.

1 – Fiber

Fiber is an indigestible component of plant foods. We do not digest fiber. It helps to populate the gut with the beneficial bacteria, it helps to lower cholesterol, it helps to regulates our blood sugar, and it helps to prevent constipation. Fiber is one of the best examples of the symbiotic relationship between us and the microbes or the bugs that live in our gut. We actually are not able to digest fiber. The bugs or microbes that live in our colon digest fiber”] for us and when they do, they produce what are called short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). These SCFA are the nutrients that feed the cells of our own gut lining. So, this example shows that we need our microbiome to digest certain foods for us and to feed the cells that line our colon. Therefore, if you want your gut to function optimally you must ingest fiber.

2 – Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are plant chemicals that contain disease-preventing compounds. Some examples include chlorophyll, beta-carotene, and lycopene. The prefix “phyto-” means plant, so these are nutrients that come from different colored plants to protect them from germs, fungi, insects, and other threats. Folks, [click_to_tweet tweet=”there are thousands of different phytonutrients and there are different ones in different colored fruits and vegetables. This is why you want to be sure you eat all the colors of the rainbow in fruits and vegetables as much as you possibly can.” quote=”there are thousands of different phytonutrients and there are different ones in different colored fruits and vegetables. This is why you want to be sure you eat all the colors of the rainbow in fruits and vegetables as much as you possibly can.”]I try and eat every color of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) of fruits and vegetables, at least one serving of every color every single day of my life so that I get as many phytonutrients as a I can. If they protect the plant, they’re then also going to protect you! 

3 – Antioxidants

We’ve all heard the term “antioxidants,” but what the heck are they? What are antioxidants? Antioxidants neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals and stress on the cells of your body. Free radicals are formed when any chemical is being broken down or detoxified by your body. We all produce hormones; we all produce chemicals in our body, and we take chemicals into our body from the outside world. Our body must detoxify them and break them down. Part of breaking chemicals apart is that they are positively charged or oxidized and can cause increased degeneration, aging, or inflammation in the body. Antioxidants are negatively charged chemicals, and what they do is they bind to those positively charged free radicals and therefore neutralize them. This will slow or even eliminate the degenerative process, aging, and of course inflammation. 

4 – Vitamin and Minerals

Raw and living foods are full of vitamin and minerals, often with a high nutrient-per-calorie ratio.”]They are abundant and bioavailable and provide us with a vast amount of the A, Bs, Cs of all the vitamins. I don’t know about you, but I would rather get as much of my vitamins and minerals from real food rather than having to take supplements consistently all the time. Now, don’t get me wrong – I take quite a few supplements in my day and every day of my life, but remember they are meant to be supplemental to our diet and not eating the typical American diet or cooked foods and subpar nutrient foods and then expecting those supplements to do all the work. That’s not the right thinking.

The raw food lifestyle is an environmentally conscious decision for many other reasons. It’s a very eco-friendly diet. Almost a third of the global carbon footprint is attributed to the food we eat but taking a stand on committing to eating raw foods significantly decreases our carbon footprint impact. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the fossil fuel input for the production of one calorie of animal protein is ten times larger than the input needed for a calorie of plant protein. That adds up pretty quickly!

Furthermore, raw foods will rarely come in unnecessary packaging like cans, wrappers, plastic, or Styrofoam. This reduction in garbage makes a huge contribution to the integrity of our Earth. Less waste, whether it be energy waste or packaging waste, is produced when implementing a raw foods lifestyle. This is something that is of utmost importance and all of us must be mindful for our kids and grandkids. 

Adopting a raw and living foods lifestyle usually requires quite a bit of change for the average person. Here are some tips that will make for a smoother transition. First and foremost, folks, after listening to this if you’re going to make some changes, make small, sustainable changes. We never recommend going from A to Z in one step. It takes time and life is a journey. Transitions are a journey. Another recommendation is trying to fill half your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables. Next, lightly cook foods (less than 100°F) when you want to heat them or warm them up. Experiment with steaming, light slow cooking, juicing, and sprouting. Begin to focus on quality when phasing out cooked, animal products. Practice moderation; this is definitely not all-or-nothing! You can live a lifestyle that is a mixture of raw and living foods and cooked foods. Replace all refined grains and sugars with healthier alternatives. Please swap out and stop ingesting hydrogenated oils for healthier oils like cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil. Hydrogenated oils are essentially, folks, a poison. Try to grow some food on your own and have a garden! Plan ahead with an arsenal of recipes and places to get fresh foods. Keep it simple and make sure to include a lot of variety. Again, remember color and all the colors of the rainbow. Learn to listen to your body’s needs. And start where you are! Wherever you are, it’s the best place to start! Up next, I will be sharing tons of resources to get you inspired, confident, and excited to start your journey on raw foodism.

Before I do that, I want to give a discussion here and talk about soaking and sprouting. This is extremely important because, you see, eating seeds and nuts and beans – all of those are essentially seeds. Seeds are the babies of plants and determine the continuance of their species. Of course, they need to protect themselves! Seeds and nuts and beans that are all basically different kinds of seeds contain toxins. They contain things that are called lectins. They contain (as you see on this slide) phytic acid, and they contain anti-nutrients. All of these chemicals or things that are on the outside of the seed are meant to protect them against predators. These natural toxins that exist as a coating around the seed or the nut or the bean exist in order to protect them and they can inhibit absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc. These inhibitors can neutralize our own precious enzymes in the digestive tract. As you can see on this slide, the way to get rid of these toxins (phytic acids, lectins, and protective antinutrients) is to soak seeds before you eat them. When you soak them, it will break down the coating that is protective to the seedling. You are starting the process when you soak seeds of the germination process. The germination process of first soaking and then sprouting of germination:

  • produces vitamin C
  • increases vitamin B content (especially B2, B5, and B6)
  • increases vitamin A (carotene) eightfold
  • increases fiber that’s available to you, the iron, and the protein
  • sprouting neutralizes phytic acid in the coating and the lectins in the grains, legumes, and seeds
  • enzymes that help digestion are produced during the germination process

How do you do this? How do you soak and then how do you sprout? Let’s talk about soaking first because that’s the first thing you want to do. When you buy raw nuts, bean, or any type of raw grain, you’re going to put them in a glass bowl or a half-gallon canning jar, for example. Then you’re going to cover them with twice as much filtered water as the amount of nuts and seeds or beans you have in your container. You’ll also want to add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or a half tablespoon of salt for every two cups of nuts, seeds, or beans that you’ve put in your container. The point of that is also to help break down that coating of phytic acid. Then you basically just wait and let your legumes, grains, and seeds soak for an appropriate amount of time.

What’s the appropriate amount of time? That depends, guys, on the type of nut or seed or bean or legume or grain that you’re soaking. That information, if I started listing that off of a million different things, you’d never remember. Look up and Google, you know a wonderful thing, “how long do I need to soak cashews in order to break down the phytic acid?” Or “how long do you need to soak cashews?” It’s 2 – 2.5 hours. The other thing that’s interesting is that cashews do not sprout. When we talk about soaking and sprouting, there are certain nuts that do not sprout. Cashews are an example, and you would soak them for 2 – 2.5 hours and not expect them to sprout. Pecans you want to soak from 4 – 6 hours, and they also do not sprout. However, almonds, another example, you would soak from 8 – 10 hours and it will take them as many as 12 hours to start the sprouting process. Almonds do sprout. Again, you can Google this. You can search on the web for soaking and sprouting and how long does it take for black beans or almonds or cashews or any type of grain. You can figure it out!

When you’ve soaked something for the appropriate amount of time, here is where you can choose to stop your journey and continue down another path towards eating it because you’ve eliminated the phytic acid and broken down that coating. Once you’ve soaked them, you can dehydrate them in a dehydrator or you could dehydrate them overnight in an oven or during the day for anywhere from…it usually takes to dry them out and dehydrate them at the lowest setting your oven will go for maybe eight or ten hours until they are completely dry. Nuts, once you’ve soaked them, can be made into nut milk. Recipes later I’ll be listing off…you’ll hear about cashew cheese or cashew milk that can be made at home using cashews that you’ve soaked.

Beans also as soon as you’ve soaked them for the appropriate amount of time based on the type of bean can be cooked right away after that. They’ll take less time to cook, of course, after you’ve soaked them.

Now, the next question is if you’ve soaked something and you do want to sprout it. In order to sprout it, it takes longer. What you want to do is place anything you’ve soaked whether it be beans, grains, seeds, nuts and you’re going to place them in a jar and put what’s called a sprouting lid on the jar. What does that mean? A sprouting lid is one that has holes in it, and it looks like a filter, if you will, at the top of the jar rather than a closed top. It has holes in it. You usually will put it on an angle face down in your dish rack because you want to allow the excess water to drain off and also air can circulate throughout the bottle and the jar throughout the day. Then you’re going to rinse at least twice a day, but maybe several times a day. You’re going to put water in the jar, rinse it out, and then put it upside down and rinse it out again. Again, how long does it take to sprout different types of things? Again, you can look this up online. Lentils, for example, will take anywhere from twelve hours to three days to start to sprout. They can sprout to at least an eighth of an inch long. You’ll see this white or green tail coming off the seed. Broccoli, to compare, takes as many as four to six days to sprout and they will grow as many as a one to two-inch-long sprouts once they’ve germinated and started sprouting. I hope that helps about the concept of being able to soak and sprout nuts and seeds and grains and beans.

Juicing is a great way to get a concentrated amount of plant nutrients and to be creative in the kitchen! With juicing you are essentially removing all fibrous materials, leaving only the liquid of the fruits and vegetables. Juicing can be done with a specific kitchen appliance called a juicer, or it can also be done using a typical blender and then using cheese cloth, for example, to separate the fiber from the juice. There are many different delicious juice blends to try. Two examples are just to list it off so you can hear it, again we will put this in our Discover Health Facebook Group tomorrow. You can take one orange, one cup of strawberries, two kale leaves, three carrots, one peeled banana, throw it all in the juicer and get an amazing blend. Another example is to take three stalks of celery, half a large cucumber, one green apple, and one pear. You notice, you can do quite a mixture of different fruits and vegetables to get amazing options for juicing.

Honestly, for me though I prefer smoothies because I also get the fiber in my diet with these.  With blending you get all the pulp and fiber that bulks up the produce in the first place. This can help you feel fuller and improve your digestive health.

I have actually created a Smoothie Video Course that takes you through many different options for making smoothies. It’s a series of five different videos, and I start out with the most basic concept of let’s say a fruit, a protein powder, and almond or coconut milk. But by the fourth video you will be amazed by how many things are on the countertop that I am demonstrating that you can use as ingredient options from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, herbs, and even supplements. I personally drink a smoothie for breakfast most days and find it sustains me throughout a busy morning for as much as six or seven hours without feeling hungry or needing any snack to keep me going. You can get my smoothie course in the shop of my website at

There are so many smoothie options out there as far as recipes. Of course, you can also Google that and find out. We do have a list of different recipes with connections to different websites such as a mango and hemp smoothie or a chocolate and blueberry zucchini smoothie or a super kale shake or a turmeric ginger smoothie. If any of these sounds good, again make sure that you check out our Discover Health Facebook Group tomorrow and we will be listing all of those links for you.

You are not limited to starting your day with a juice or a smoothie. There are so many other options. Here are some great alternative breakfast ideas to consider. Chia pudding is something that you can make. If you take chia seeds and you put them into a glass canning jar and simply add coconut milk or almond milk and keep shaking it until the chai seeds stop sinking, they’re going to start soaking up all the liquid and within a few hours being in the refrigerator it turns into a pudding. It’s delicious!

Another option are acai bowls. Acai is a berry with very high antioxidants and low sugar content. You usually purchase this either as a power or you can purchase it as a frozen pulp of the berry. This berry is a very delicate berry so it’s not like you would eat it like a blueberry raw. You usually buy it as a frozen pulp or as a powder or as even a supplement in a capsule. Especially if you buy it as the frozen pulp, an acai bowl is as thick and creamy in consistency as yogurt and is the base of the acai bowl. Then you can layer it with other things like strawberries, roots, hemp, etc. Of course, another option for breakfast could be granola or fruit salad.

Something I’ve learned about in preparing this presentation for you tonight is called banana “ice cream.” I’ve started making it since I’ve been planning this talk. What I’ve learned you do is you take a couple (2 – 3) bananas that are quite ripe, and you put them in your freezer. Then you take those frozen bananas and you put them in your blender or your food processor until they become the texture of soft ice cream. If you add a little fat such as nut butter or full thickness coconut milk, it starts to taste unbelievable delicious and like a soft serve ice cream!

Another option is no-bake cookies. If you simply Google “no-bake cookies” they are usually in the vegan world and you will learn a ton about how to make no-bake cookies. They usually do involve dehydrating so either using a dehydrator or using the lowest temperature your oven will possibly go to.

Another option, of course, is a raw banana bread. This is typically a mix of bananas, flax, nuts, dates, and other fruits and veggies in a food processor then poured into a pan and either dehydrated at the lowest possible temperature of your oven. These are all possibilities. We’re not done yet! Raw protein bars; any protein bar that is made without baking can be made with dehydrated fruit, nut butters and ground up nuts, dates, etc. Again, you could be Googling these things or go to Pinterest and look up “raw protein bars.” I’ve made these many times by buying dehydrated fruits, nuts, and seeds and breaking them up, adding a nut butter, and shaping them by making them into a mold. Another is raw porridge. Soak buckwheat and almonds, for example, and then throw this in your food processor with cinnamon, fruit, and tahini. Process for a few seconds and “voilà” – you have raw porridge to eat with a spoon for breakfast. Obviously, the other thing for breakfast options is to eat salads. Salads aren’t just for lunch and dinner, folks. You can shift your thinking that breakfast can only be one type of food or another. Get creative with it! To search these different concepts, again, check out vegan recipe sites or Pinterest.

Salads on a raw and living foods diet are going to be a staple, but they do not need to be boring. I can list off some inspiration of some delicious salad names, and again these will all have links tomorrow on our Discover Health Facebook Page. Rainbow slaw with sweet tahini dressing; arugula, fennel, and citrus salad; superfood kale garden salad; kale cucumber Caesar salad; quinoa, cauliflower, and cranberry salad with cashew miso dressing; and then Pad Thai salad. If any of these are sounding interesting and your mouth is watering, please go to our Discover Health Facebook Group page and check these out tomorrow. Some more recipes to get your taste buds watered up if you haven’t eaten yet tonight or if you want to learn more about these. Sun-dried tomato raw hummus (if you haven’t made hummus before it’s so easy to make and it’s delicious), lentil and walnut tacos, raw lasagna with cashew cheese (remember I talked earlier about soaking cashews and then you can make your own cashew cheese), portobello mushroom with cashew cheese is another cashew cheese option, raw sushi rolls, kelp noodle pesto, summer vegetable soup, sun-dried tomato and corn chowder, you can even learn how to make raw savory crackers. Again, tomorrow on our Discover Health Facebook Group we’re going to list all the resources we used to create this talk as well as all of these different recipes and I haven’t even read all of them off. If you’re someone out there that is either already eating a raw diet for a big percentage of your lifestyle – that’s awesome! If you’re looking for new recipes, you may want to check that out. If you’re someone who really is new to this and has never really understood what a raw diet is like and you’d like to try it and learn some recipes and some new ideas, please make sure to check out all the resources.

I know that I just shared a ton of information with you and it may be a bit overwhelming. That’s okay, especially if it’s new. Healthy eating is a staple of a high-quality lifestyle, and it is something to put time and energy into as the side effects include more energy, a higher quality of life, protection against diseases, and feeling great!

If you feel like you need support on incorporating more raw and living foods into your diet, We are here to help! Actually, Health Coach Trish from our office, Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, will be starting a new Healthy Nutrition Class next week starting next Monday August 24. There will be a small in-person class for only a maximum of six participants with, of course, appropriate social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there will also be an online zoom version of the class as well. The live class will be starting on Monday and be for five Mondays, and that timeslot will be from 4:00 – 5:00 PM EST. The online version of the class will be 7:00 – 8:00 PM EST. If you’re local and you want to be in the local class, we already have four or five signed up so there are not many spots left so call us immediately. If you’re interested in the online class there’s not a restriction of how many people can take it, but a number of people are already signed up. If you’re interested in either version, just email or call our office at 603-447-3112.

Thank you for taking the time to experience this program on raw and living foods. I love sharing this topic with people who are eager to amplify their health. This group was just awesome! If you have any further questions or any questions at all, please I hope you’ve been posting them in the chat box. If you come up with questions later, even after we’re done this evening, please realize that you can post them at Discover Health Facebook Group or you can also email them to that same email address . Our coach, Health Coach Trish, is in charge of overseeing those emails and she brings any of them to me and we discuss them and then we respond.

We’ll see you next month on the next webinar! I’m in the process of creating the whole next years’ worth of topics. We’re also going to be starting to promote more and more our Discover Health Movement Membership. I think next month’s we’ve planned to do something on the pelvic floor, and I’m going to have Jim Chaput with me who is an Applied Movement Neurology Master. He has also done a study on pelvis floor dysfunction with folks based on his modality. If you want to hear both of us speak on pelvic floor dysfunction or you have friends who have problems with that, then be sure not to miss next month’s webinar.

Take care, everybody!

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