Tomorrow, July 11, is International Raw Food Day, so we caught up with Bena Nakawuki, owner of The Lotus Line of Natural Health Products and Services, to get some advice of the benefits of adopting this lifestyle. The passionate raw veganista and entrepreneur also offers training, consulting and coaching in this area, with a strong focus on raw food nutrition. She is also an alum of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean.
How long have you been a raw vegan and what prompted you to adopt this diet?
I have been a vegan for almost 11 years and on a high raw vegan diet for roughly nine years. Before living in Jamaica, I lived in London. The move to a tropical climate was quite an adjustment to say the least! I found that I functioned less optimally – both mentally and physically – when I ate a heavy, cooked, meat-based diet. The heat combined with this kind of diet was constantly depleting my energy. I began to be more drawn to lighter, juicier, plant-based foods as a substitute, and in turn my body responded positively. The difference was like night and day. I felt and looked so much better and had far more energy for everything! Fast forward to 2015, I can’t remember when I was last sick or visited the “doctor,” which for me is motivation enough to continue!
What are the main benefits of eating ‘raw?’
I also like to use the terms “living foods” or “live foods.” Many people are turned off by the words “raw foods”; they somehow connote raw fish, raw meat, raw yam, etc. It’s really all about eating fresh foods in the whole natural state, alive and un-cooked. Put simply, a raw food diet consists of uncooked fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains/beans/lentils. Foods that have been “cooked” by the sun. Add to this natural herbs, spices, super foods, sea vegetables and healthy fats and oils. And if these foods are organic, then we take the quality to an even higher level! This is raw foods in a nut shell (pun intended) – of course there are more, but these are the main. Foods heated in excess of 112 degrees Fahrenheit lose most of their nutritional value (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc). Just as important is that they lose their enzymes and the living water contained within them. Therefore, if we eat more raw foods, we can expect many if not all of the following benefits:
- More energy
- Reduced cases of chronic lifestyle diseases
- Faster healing
- Decrease in blood sugar disorders
- Less colds, flus and sinus issues
- Better colon function
- Weight loss/weight management
- Better sleep
- Better digestion
- Better hydration
- More alkaline
- Better moods
- Balanced hormones
- Increased libido
- Energy conservation (less electricity and stove)
- Slows down the aging process
- Look and feel better
What are some of your favourite fruits and vegetable?
Foods that I love and cannot imagine living without include:
- Coconuts (all stages and forms… water, jelly, oil, etc)
- Spirulina (super food/algae)
I literally have these every day!