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Healthy Suggestions for Traditional Holiday Meals

Food and Eating November 20, 2017

The holiday season is notorious for being the cause of weight gain. Depending on what report you read, many people gain anywhere from 10-15 lbs during Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Let’s face it, this time of year is also cold in many areas of the Northern Hemisphere and so we also tend to eat heavier meals in spite of the holiday fair. More alcohol drinking is also involved with the holidays and alcohol carries with it a lot of empty calories.

We all have traditional meals we can’t wait to eat during this time of year. There are certain dishes that just makes it feel like the season has begun. We look forward to the indulgence we may have deprived ourselves all year for these few occasions at the end of the year. But there are ways to make the holiday meals you love without breaking the scale.

Here are just a few suggestions on how you can have your cake and eat it too.

Greenbean casserole, a holiday American favorite is normally made with cream and/or cream of mushroom soup topped with crispy fried onions. That same casserole can be made without the cream replaced with low fat cheese like parmesan or a mixture of low fat cheeses simply mixed in with roasted green beans and tossed in when they are still warm. You will save calories and still maintain great taste.

Macaroni and Cheese is another decadent dish that usually contains pasta with multiple melted cheeses and baked. You can make a simple pasta dish with a light cream sauce like a low fat alfredo sauce instead of mixing in 4 or 5 cheeses. Top again with shredded parmesan to replace the saltiness and you’ve got yourself a healthier dish that is still decadent in flavor.

Desserts are a must-have during the holiday season and it is easy to create taste healthy desserts. Try putting out a dish of dried fruits like banana chips, raisins, apple chips, and dates. These dried fruit have the sugary taste you are seeking but the sugar is natural at least. Vegan desserts are also all over the internet and you can try making vegan cakes and pies that are packed with flavor but not the calories.

Cocktails are a huge culprit when it comes to weight gain. We tend to gather in homes during this season which may cause us to drink more because we are not driving. But cocktails can pack on the pounds. Try simple cocktails like wine spritzers, which are a little wine mixed with seltzer or sparkling water. They are pretty and will satisfy that holiday spirit everyone is looking for.

Whatever you decide to do to cut down on calories during the holiday season, remember, don’t drink and drive, cut down on your alcohol intake and don’t overstuff yourself. When you feel full, step away from the holiday table.

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10 Ways to Eat Peanut Butter Without Jelly

Food and Eating November 19, 2017

Peanut butter, particularly natural peanut butter without added sugars and salt, is a healthy food product and snack to have around. Peanut butter is loaded with protein soo much so, that just two tablespoons of peanut butter is a half serving of the daily recommended amount. It is also loaded with heart-healthy fats. It is difficult to find anyone who is not in love with peanut butter and jelly and many people do eat peanut butter right off the spoon. Unless you have peanut allergies, peanut butter is almost like a condiment that you should keep in your cabinets.

We offer you 10 delightful ways to enjoy the benefits of peanut butter without the jelly sandwich:

1. Coleslaw

Mix about a teaspoon of peanut butter with a simple store-bought Asian dressing and you have a great dressing for your homemade cabbage coleslaw.

2. Soups

Add peanut butter to your creamy soups that call for heavy cream. You can skip the heavy cream, and add a small scoop of peanut butter for an ethnic North African flavor.

3. A Parfait

Perfect for breakfast, a parfait of rolled oats, fruit, and peanut butter is a great, tasty, and healthy way to begin the day.

4. A Dip

Peanut butter is great as a dip for celery, carrots and apple slices. This is an easy snack to make morning, noon, or night, when you get the munchies for something delicious and healthy.

5. A Quesadilla

Bananas and peanut butter are a great combination of flavors. Slice a banana and spread some peanut butter on a warm tortilla, and wrap. You’ve got yourself a new Friday night movie snack full of protein and potassium.

6. A  Pancake Topping

Skip the sugary syrup and fatty butter, and spread peanut butter on top of your stack of pancakes instead. It’s warm and tasty and something a bit healthier than your average way of serving pancakes.

7. Brownies

Add peanut butter to your favorite brownie mix. You and your family will love the added flavor and creaminess that peaut butter adds to desserts.

8. Hummus

If you haven’t got tahini for your homemade hummus, use peanut butter instead. It has a similar taste just naturally a bit sweeter and spread on toasted flour tortillas as a dip.

9. Peanut Butter Energy Balls

These delicious enery balls can include many different ingredients, but the basics are peanut butter, honey, rolled oats and raisins or dates. Yumm.

10. Oatmeal

Place a dollop of peanut butter on top of a warm bowl of oatmeal in the mornings or evenings, whenever you enjoy your oatmeal. It is packed with heart-healthy fats and protein and makes for a perfect breakfast or nighttime snack.

Source: Dr. Oz 

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Simple Vegan Snacks

Food and Eating August 19, 2017

There is a lot of talk these days about how healthy a vegan diet can be, however, there are always two sides to a story, and many think that a vegan diet doesn’t hold enough protein and other nutrients we get from dairy and protein like fish and seafood. While the jury is still out about whether or not this type of diet is for everyone, most people do agree that it does have some healthy aspects, such as being basically sugarless and low fat.

One of America’s biggest health problems is the snack industry. Most snacks sold on the market today are addictive with too much salt, too much sugar, and little nutrition. But snacks don’t have to be unhealthy. They can provide vitamins and nutrients and be delicious too. Healthy snacks help us keep our energy going throughout the day and will keep us away from the company candy machine and the sugar laden sodas.

However, some people are intimidated by vegan cooking, which is understandable. Many vegan recipes call for a series of ingredients that many have never heard of. We will offer you some vegan snack options that are healthy, simple to make and taste scrumptious, all at the same time,

Trail Mix

Trail Mix can include a wide variety of ingredients; nuts, dried fruit, granola, healthy cereals, oats, and carob, a vegan substitute for chocolate. Coconut is also a great ingredient for trail mix recipes.

Seaweed Snacks

Seaweed snacks are becoming all the rage. There is roasted seaweed, salted seaweed, and wasabi flavored seaweed, to name just a few. These crunchy snacks are delicious and satify the craving for potato chips, which are far more saltier and oilier than seaweed.

Roasted Chick Peas or Garbanzo Beans

Two names for the same food is not uncommon. Chick Peas and garbanzo beans are the same foood depending upon the area in which you live. Regarless of what you call them they are full of flavor once you season them and roast them in the oven on low for a few minutes.

Baked Veggie Chips

This is a simple recipe you can cook at any time. Baked root vegetables make a hearty snack that curbs cravings and fills you up, and they taste good too. Try slicing parsnips, sweet potato, beet roots, and sunchokes, into really thin slices, season with a sea salt or Kosher salt and whatever flavorings you enjoy and bake on a low temperature for varyiing time frames. You don’t want to burn them, so keep an eye on them as they cook.


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5 of the Healthiest Foods You Can Buy in the Supermarket

Food and Eating August 6, 2017

The supermarket is not all bad by any means. Yes, there is a lot of junk food to catch your eye, but there are some foods that are really good for your health or at least much healthier than their original version. Even the big box stores are competing by providing customers with many healthier choices than they did just a decade ago. With more and more families having trouble with their budgets and are left feeling like healthy foods are only for the wealthy, there are now choices available that are much healthier for parents and kids. These choices are also affordable compared to your high-end luxury organic supermarkets. But what do you purchase to make your family the meals they really love but with a healthier twist? Sometimes, just one ingredient change will make a dish healthier than it was before.

Here are 5 of the healthiest foods you can buy right now in the supermarket. These will inspire you to take a closer look to see what your neighborhood supermarket is selling.

1. Halo Top

Halo Top Ice Cream boasts a list of healthy, clean, and natural ingredients. Though it takes the guilty pleasure out of eating ice cream in the middle of the night, its deliciousness makes up for all the fat and artificial ingredients it doesn’t have. Halo Top is high in fiber, low in calories and sugar, but still smooth and creamy. What more can you ask for from an ice cream?















2. New Pop

New Pop is the first skinless popcorn. What does that mean? You know those kernel pieces that get stuck in your teeth, well they won’t. They are not even there. This is a healthy popcorn snack, only 32 calories per cup. New Pop does have a small bit of fiber, but no oil, no salt, no fat. Is it good? Yes, it sure is. It comes in the original flavor, Hot and Sweet, and Sweet Cinnamon, plus no preservatives.















3. Arteasean Tea

Everyone is crazy about tea. In some cases on a hot day, a cold bottle of tea will trump coffee anytime. Arteasean Tea is a healthy version of bottled tea. Arteasean is a 5 calorie, ready to drink infusion. These teas have less than one gram of sugar and only uses non-GMO ingredients. There is a variety of these yummy and healthy teas; Matcha, watermelon and mint, and Oolong.
















4. Banza Penne made from Chickpeas

Pasta is always super popular for families. Kids love it. It’s so easy. Use a little sauce, a sprinkle of cheese, and some garlic bread and you’ve got a meal. Banza is a company that is taking all the bad things out of pasta and making it delicious and healthy. With the chickpea formula, Banza has twice the protein, four times the fiber and half the carbs, and it still tastes like pasta.















5. Cava Hummus

As long you stick with a small portion size, this hummus tastes great and is healthier than the original version. It’s high in protein and fiber, and it’s super filling, so you don’t need much of it. It is also a cholesterol-free snack.


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9 Refreshing and Creative Summer Watermelon Recipes

Food and Eating August 6, 2017

Watermelon is the ultimate summertime fruit. It reigns at picnics, is a great fruit to take to summer outings, and since summer will be over in a blink of an eye, there are some creative ways that you would never think of, to use watermelon. From desserts to savory dinners, this fruit has much more to offer than you think. One of the great things about watermelon is that though it does have a lot of flavor, its flavor is neutral enough that it can go with many other ingredients. From soups to sauces, we will show you a gallery of recipes that will make you think of watermelon in a new light. Summer recipes are plentiful but most fruit recipes are salads or drinks. Some of what we offer here can be made for filling lunches and dinners and watermelon is practically at 0 calories as well, so it makes a great ingredient for low-calorie desserts.

1. Sweet and Spicy Watermelon Curry

This recipe is gluten-free and quick and easy. It is also a no-waste recipe because it uses all of the watermelon.

2. Chilled Sweet Corn Soup

A watermelon soup can be delightful on hot days. It can easily be served at room temperature or chilled. This recipe is simple and delicious.

3. Watermelon Doughnuts

You can’t have a list of watermelon recipes without having a dessert. Watermelon doughnuts are light and fluffy, plus a vibrant pink to mimic the fruit. They are great for a summertime BBQ.

4. Watermelon and Baked Tofu Salad

This recipe is a flavorful summer salad with baked or fried tofu. The freshness of the watermelon cuts through the richness of the tofu perfectly. It is made with a basil-lime dressing.

5. Watermelon Tartare

A watermelon tartare will remind you of the savory version usually made with raw or very rare steak. Since a lot of people have a difficult time with raw meat, this is perfect for a summertime cocktail party.

6. Watermelon Banana Ice Cream

Two flavors that go perfectly together are watermelon’s freshness and banana’s rich and creamy flavor. This recipe of a watermelon and banana ice cream is genius for picnics, and after-dinner desserts. You can top this dessert with nuts or toppings of your choice.

7. Watermelon Gazpacho with Beet Noodles

This gazpacho is a refreshing new twist on the original recipe. With beet noodles added, you get a delicious and savory flavor added to the watermelon’s slight sweetness. You can make it thick or more like a soup. It is delectable either way.

8.Summer Watermelon Salad

Salads are great for hot days when no one feels like turning on the oven. This wonderful summer watermelon salad is great for the remainder of the summer or as an appetizer through Fall. Top with chia seeds if you like them or any crunchy seeds of your choice.

9. Watermelon Sashimi

If you like sushi, you’ll love this recipe. It is sashimi made with watermelon and rings of jalapeno, perfect food combination, cool and spicy. Put in the freezer for a colder treat at the end of a hot day or make these as the star of your next cocktail party.





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How to Cut Back On Your Salt Intake Without Hating Your Food

Food and Eating August 5, 2017

Salt, this white seasoning used to be so coveted it was used for trade in ancient times. Today, salt is still a popular seasoning and not only because it tastes good to those crave it, but it really does work to bring out the flavors in food. Though salt has its good points, it is also the culprit for many people who suffer from hypertension high blood pressure and can cause the body to hold on to excess water. Many doctors suggest that we cut down on our salt intake for better health and this can be difficult for many cultures in which salt is a staple. Totally cutting out salt altogether is highly difficult for many, so what can you do to cut back on your salt intake without hating the taste of your food?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Start cutting back slowly

You need to pay attention to how much salt you are putting on your food and when you see how much it is, cut back a little each day with every meal. Don’t try to go “cold turkey” as they say. You will only sabotage yourself and end up quitting your new health regime.

2. Place a measurement on how much salt you can eat each day

As you make your meals, limit yourself to a certain amount of salt for the total day and don’t go over that limit. In a short while, you will find that your taste buds will begin to adjust. You will begin to taste all the other flavors in your food.

3. Use lemon juice and fresh Parmesan cheese

Yes, both fresh lemon juice and fresh good quality Parmesan cheese can take the place of salt in your diet. Both food items also enhance flavor, which is really what everyone loves about salt but they just aren’t aware of it.

4. If you go out to eat, ask for some salt on the side

If the salt is on the side, you can clearly see how much you are eating. If you are in a restaurant where often they use quite a lot of salt for flavor, ask that your meal be made without salt if possible. Then you can add your own at the table.

5. Become a mustard lover

Try to skip the ketchup whenever you can. Most commercial brand ketchups contain a lot of sodium, whereas mustard is just as flavorful and contains a lot less sodium. When it comes to french fries, dip them in salad dressing. It really does add great flavor and helps you stay away from the salt shaker.

6. Make your own meals

The best thing to do is to make your own meals. Some people are addicted to takeout. It’s easy and quick but can also be unhealthy if you eat too much takeout. When you make your own food, you know what’s in it and what’s not. You can more easily track your sodium intake and control your health.


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4 Healthy Smoothie Bowl Recipes

Food and Eating July 31, 2017

Most people have heard of the smoothie bowl by now. It’s a pretty simple concept and the recipes are simple to make. The ingredients are endless; yogurts with berries, grapes, apples, pears, all kinds of greens from collards to spinach, which most people love because it has a milder taste than some other greens like kale, which is also great for a smoothie bowl. A smoothie bowl is just another way to have a smoothie for a meal. It’s often a bit thicker and of course, served in a bowl. Cereals can be added on top for a bit of crunch and texture to this smooth and creamy meal.

To make your smoothie bowl, all you need to do is use the same ingredients you love in your regular smoothies and simply add more yogurt, peanut butter, or any other richer ingredients for taste and thickness. And instead of a using a straw, you eat it with a spoon and that makes some people feel more satisfied and makes the smoothie feel more like a full meal. The smoothie bowl has become so popular because as long as you have certain ingredients like yogurt and nut milks or soy milk, you can add all different sorts of ingredients to it, and come up with a delicious meal, usually breakfast or lunch.

Here are 4 smoothie bowl ideas for you to try:

1. Acai Smoothie Bowl












For about 2 1/2 cups of smoothie, which is good for approximately two meals, you will need:

1 medium-sized banana

Approx. half a bag of frozen berries of your choice

A couple handfuls of frozen spinach

almond milk, almond butter, acai powder, ground flaxseed, maple syrup, a pinch of salt

Blend til smooth and top with desired ingredients

2. Peach Raspberry Bowl

Photographer Greg Dupree, Food Styling Torie Cox, Prop Styling Mindi Shapiro














Frozen raspberries

Frozen peaches

Plain whole milk yogurt

1 medium zucchini

ground flaxseed, raw honey, vanilla extract, pinch of salt, toppings of your choice

Blend til smooth and top with your favorite ingredients

3. Super Green Smoothie Bowl

Photographer Greg Dupree, Food Styling Torie Cox, Prop Styling Mindi Shapiro













Hempseed and bananas make this smoothie bowl rich and creamy, which also makes it very satisfying.


A ripe banana

Frozen spinach chopped

Fresh pineapple chopped into cubes

Kiwi Slices

Coconut water

hempseed, salt, fresh ginger, raw honey, blend until smooth

Decorate with toppings of your choice.

4. Berries and Banana Acai Bowl












Australian nutritionist, Lola Berry, came up with a smoothie bowl recipe that is packed with nutrients.


Frozen Banana

Frozen Blueberries

Unsweetened Acia Powder, Chia seeds, almond milk

Blend til smooth and top with your favorite ingredients


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5 Weight Loss Quick Fixes that Don’t Work

Food and Eating March 27, 2017

Weight loss is a huge issue no matter how you choose to tackle the problem. People also have weight loss issues for many different reasons. So there is no one -way to lose weight. Often a physician needs to be involved to see if there are any underlying health problems causing the weight gain or making the weight hard to lose. Many people still turn to quick fixes to help them rid themselves of the extra pounds because, let’s face it, it’s much easier to think that with a vitamin, a liquid fast, a few changes here and there, that the weight will quickly fall off.

But we must be aware of quick fixes, many of them can cost a lot of money, be unhealthy, and still fall down on the job. Standard weight loss usually happens successfully when we burn more calories than we consume. It is that simple, or difficult, depending on how you see it. Here are 5 weight loss quick fixes that we know don’t work. 

1. Liquid Diets

Very popular for decades, is the liquid diet. There are many different kinds of liquid diets created and sponsored by various doctors and weight loss gurus, but do they work? If you are faithful to what is really a “food fast”, and stick to your liquid regimen for the suggested amount of time, you will most likely lose weight, however, for most liquid dieters, the weight eases itself back on with a few extra pounds to get rid of the next time. The problem is that no one can stick with the extremely low calorie count that is required with a liquid diet. As soon as they begin to eat, even somewhat normally, the body cannot adjust and begins to gain weight.

2. Cleansing and Detoxing

There are many cleansing and detoxing products on the market today and most people try a few before they give them up completely. So why wouldn’t a good detox help you lose weight? Well, cleanses and detoxes do generate weight loss, quickly, but water is usually what is lost, not fat. Most people don’t know how much water we carry around on a daily basis, but once you begin a detox program, the first and easiest pounds to lose, is water weight. Once again, when you stop cleansing and detoxing, the weight begins to come back on once you go back to your regular way of eating.

3. Fat Burner Pills

The majority of fat burner pills work by using caffeine and caffeine definitely boosts the metabolism but no more so than drinking a few cups of coffee a day or diet cola. The pills are really unnecessary because there are many ways to consume caffeine. However, many of these products are linked to illnesses, irregular metabolism issues, plus liver damage. You end up burned out, unhealthy, and with your weight bouncing up and down.

4. Eating One Food Only

First of all, let us say that it is never healthy to consume one food only, all day, everyday. You cannot get all the vitamins and minerals you need from all the foods we normally eat in three meals a day, let alone eating only one food. This approach is unhealthy and cannot be maintained. Eventually after you’ve lost a few pounds you’re going to want to eat something else. Your body will begin to crave the normal variety of foods it should be eating and the weight will begin to come back. This just doesn’t work realistically.

5. Crash Diets

For the same reasons the other diets in this article don’t work, fad and crash dieting will allow you to lose some pounds quickly, however the weight will not stay off. No one can eat the same foods every day without eventually getting bored or having terrible cravings that they cannot resist. Crash diets usually last for a short period, like six weeks, and then after that they never have any healthy suggestions for the dieter to follow. Therefore the dieter begins eating the same way he or she ate before the crash diet, and then the pounds begin to creep back on, sometimes even more pounds than you lost previously.

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How to Grow Pineberries: The Strawberry that Tastes Like Pineapple and Bubblegum

Food and Eating February 28, 2017

If you’ve ever seen a pineberry, you may have thought to yourself that it was some sort of mutant strawberry. It may have drawn you to want to try it, or just the opposite. After all, strawberries are supposed to be either a deep shade of pink or dark red, depending on their maturity, but pineberries are white with hints of pink. It sounds like the description of a fashion show, but instead it is another one of nature’s miracles.

Are pineberries easy to grow, and if so, how do you grow this amazing looking fruit?

Don’t get confused, pineberries are actually strawberries, but are named after their unusual pineapple taste. So if you have any experience growing the average strawberry, then growing pineberries should not be complicated. If you have no experience in growing strawberries, we still believe that this tutorial will be helpful.

First, you must decide which type of pineberry you want to grow and if it is available in your area. There is the “White D”, “White Carolina”, and “White Pineberry”. The White D grows the largest berries of the three types, but even those berries are much smaller than your average strawberry. The best thing to do, though it may be expensive, is to purchase a starter kit for pineberries, because many gardeners have had a lot of trouble growing pineberries straight from their seeds. They may actually grow from seed, but many do not.

Purchase two or three starters and see how they flourish and if all goes well, you can always keep adding to your garden. The plants you order should be self pollinating. You don’t need to worry about cross pollination with regular strawberries. This cross pollination will not change the color or taste of the pineberry, and may even cause you to have a larger growth season.

Don’t be alarmed if your starters show up looking small and fragile, this is the norm when it comes to pineberries. Do your research before committing and see if pineberries and strawberries grow well in your area. There are many ways to find out all over the internet today and you can even find information in the online version of the Farmer’s Almanac. If you live in a cold climate, growing pineberries in a container and giving them shelter during extremely cold temperatures can still yield a good crop.

Growing pineberries in containers:

As long as your chosen container can hold at least a quart of soil, you should be successful growing your pineberry plants that way. Their root system is small so a container approximately 10 to 12 inches round and 8 inches deep, should be sufficient. The plants should not be over watered until they are soggy, but never allow them to get dry. Check the plants daily. The soil should always be moist.

Make certain that your soil is of good quality and made to grow strawberries. If you want to make your own soil, here is a simple recipe:

  • 10 parts sterile potting soil
  • 10 parts peat moss
  • 8 parts perlite
  • 4 parts compost
  • 1 part sand

Combine all the ingredients and then check the pH levels of the soil before planting. Since pineberries thrive in slightly acidic soil, your pH levels should be anywhere from 5.5 to 6.5. You can even use hanging containers inside the home, to grow your pineberries, as long as the plants are positioned to get 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. From late spring onward, make sure you feed the pineberry plants with a good quality liquid fertilizer. This is the best way to keep your pineberries healthy throughout the growing season. Enjoy!


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The Raw Food Diet for Beginners: Is it for You?

Food and Eating February 14, 2017

The Raw Foods ways of eating is not new. A raw foods diet has been in existence since the 1800’s. The diet itself may have looked a bit differently compared to today’s raw foodist way of eating, because this is a diet that depends upon what grows in and around the area. Of course, those who are proponents of this diet, say that it has great health benefits for our overall health and also promotes weight loss. Numerous health experts feel differently about a full-time raw foods diet.

Here we will engage in a short review of the pros and cons of being on a full-time raw foods diet:

A raw foods diet is a way of eating in which the participants eat nothing but raw fruits, vegetable, nut and seeds. Heat does not touch their food in any way. They may use dehydrators to make certain items like veggie chips or veggie jerkey meats, but that is normally the extent of their “cooking”. There is a lot of preparation needed for a healthy raw foods diet, such as mixing, chopping, and blending. The food processor is well-used in a raw foods kitchen.

The key question here though is, is a raw foods way of eating actually healthier for you than the traditional consumption of some raw and cooked foods together?

The very strong belief that raw foodists have that their diet is the healthiest way of eating, is still not reinforced by science.  Research presently shows that both raw and cooked foods have their own benefits.  Raw food proponents believe that once you add heat to food it destroys the natural enzymes which are responsible for the benefits we receive from the foods. Enzymes are crucial to our overall health and aid in digestion.

High cooking heat does tend to mutate the enzymes so that they begin to change shape, however, science has proven that enough enzymes do make it to the stomach, where raw or cooked, they still mutate. The body will produce more enzymes on its own to aid in digestion. Cooking certain foods do diminish some of its healthy benefits, but at the same time, cooking other foods, such as tomatoes, helps to increase those benefits.

To summarize: At present, unless you are already on a raw foods diet, then you must decide what is best for you and your family. There are pros and cons within the diet. You must do a lot of preparing of foods so that you always have something nutritious to eat, but you could also be missing out on some vital enzymes that are enhanced by cooking food with heat.

If you are considering the raw foods lifestyle, do your research and determine what your specific body needs to be healthy. Most experienced raw fooodists will tell you not to dive right in, but instead try a couple of raw dinners a week or do a whole couple of days of raw eating to see how your body takes to it, and then decide if you want to make a permanent change.




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