What is raw and living food? 
It is any uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains with the enzymes in tact.  Note that it does not include raw fish, raw eggs, raw milk or raw meat.  Usually food at temperatures above 115 degrees is considered “cooked” or no longer living because the enzymes have been destroyed.

Why should I consider eating a raw living food diet? 
The benefits are many.  By ingesting enzymes in our food, we do not deplete the body’s enzymes.  We have an enzyme “bank account” within the body, so to speak.  If we do not make regular deposits to this account by eating external enzymes that are found in raw foods and we continue to eat cooked foods that use up our internal enzyme supply, we become more susceptible to aging, disease and premature death.  Also, whole, ripe, raw, organic plant foods in their natural state keep the body more alkaline, rather than acidic.  An overly acidic body leads to chronic inflammation and disease.  Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (SAD!) of high-protein flesh foods, high sugar, high fat and low complex carbohydrates is acid forming.  By eliminating acid-producing foods and eating a diet that is high in raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted nuts, seeds and grains, the body begins the shift from an acid state to a more alkaline state.  Many people, after switching to a raw living diet, easily lose weight, have improved digestion and feel more energetic.  A raw living foods diet keeps the body running at peak performance, helps organs to functions optimally and keeps joints “open” and the body more flexible (especially good for yoga practitioners!)

What might a typical day’s raw living foods menu look like? 
This will vary greatly depending on preferences, but many raw fooders start their day with fruit or a green smoothie, and then consume buckwheat cereal with almond milk, one or two large leafy green salads a day, a "wrap" made with a nut pate rolled in a nori sheet (almost like sushi), pasta made from zucchini, avocado soup and perhaps raw chocolate truffles! The possibilities are endless!

Will I need special appliances and equipment to prepare raw living foods? 
Some individuals joke about getting rid of their stove and microwave, but at first you will be using a food processor, a blender, and a good set of knives.  Later, after seeing the great results, a spiral slicer (to make pasta from veggies), several large jars with sprouting lids to germinate and sprout nuts, grains and seeds, a juicer and a dehydrator may actually take the place of the stove!  Your cupboards and refrigerator will be overflowing with all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables and jars and bags of nuts, seeds and grains (rather than cans and cardboard packages)

How do I get started? 
Learn more by searching the internet, reading a raw book or two (I'd recommend Raw Family by the Boutenkos to start), and attending any support groups in your local area (Meet-Ups, vegan potlucks).  Two other great opportunities each year are as follows:   www.vegetariansummerfest.org and www.thewoodstockfruitfestival.com.  Or attend one of my workshops.  Contact me at eileen@raw4yoga.com.