This week at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I am learning about the health benefits of eating raw food. Cooking is thought to denature the enzymes naturally present in food.
Did you know that the idea of raw foods as a dietary health treatment was first developed in Switzerland? It was! Medical doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner invented muesli. After recovering from jaundice while eating raw apples he conducted experiments into the effects on human health of raw vegetables. In November 1897, he opened a sanatorium in Zurich called “Vital Force,” named after a “key term from the German lifestyle reform movement which states that people should pattern their lives after the logic determined by nature”. It is still treating patients today.
Here are some of the key benefits to eating raw fruits and veggies:
1. Digestive enzymes in raw foods (such as amylases, proteases, and lipases) aid digestion.
2. Raw foods have higher nutrient values than foods which have been cooked.
3. Raw foods such as fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and raw-foodists believe they can help to stifle signs of aging. (Check out book “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
4. Raw food provide our bodies with living water.
Rhubarb is an essential part of summer. I can remember picking rhubarb fresh from the garden when I was a child– we would eat the rhubarb like “Fun-dip” by dipping it in sugar. Now, today I would not recommend the sugar, but all the same- make sure you get your sweet rhubarb fix while it is in season. Natural sweeteners from fruits and veggies will help us to maintain our insulin levels and maintain energy levels throughout the day.
Below is a great recipe using sweet strawberries, honey & rhubarb—try for a healthy sweet treat while giving your body the benefits rhubarb offers: calcium (healthy bones), lutein (great eyes & skin), vitamin K (non-sticky blood), and antioxidants (prevent disease).
Rawberry Rhubarb Pie
1/3 rounded cup sliced rhubarb
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 Tbsp raw honey
1/2 cup raw almonds
5-6 pitted dates, chopped
pinch sea salt (optional)
Thinly slice rhubarb and strawberries. Place in a bowl and drizzle with honey. Stir well, loosening any honey that has adhered to the bowl. Set aside.
In a food processor, grind almonds into a flour. Add a pinch of sea salt if desired. Coarsely chop dates and add. Pulse to mix. The crust mixture will be crumbly.
Press crust into the bottom of two ramekin dishes or one 4 inch pie dish. Top with strawberry-rhubarb filling–use discretion with the amount of juice you include as it can saturate thinner crusts if left to sit.
Serve promptly … for breakfast even!
If preparing to serve later, add strawberry-rhubarb filling just before serving. Crust will keep in the fridge for several days, prepared strawberries are best within a day.
Makes 1-2 servings.