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Raw Food, Cooked Food: Which is Better?
Ayurveda emphasizes right diet as the foundation of all healing therapies. Food is the first and the most important aspect of health. The question of raw food versus cooked food is often raised.
Raw Food, Cooked Food- We need both.
Ayurveda generally recommends raw food for detoxification but not for long term health maintenance.
The reason being is that often the “agni” or digestive fire is not strong enough to digest a lot of raw food. This is particularly important in those who are sick or those with a Vata constitution, who usually have a weak or variable digestive power. People with a Kapha constitution, i.e. a slow metabolism and sluggish digestion, are often debilitated by too much raw food as well.
Raw foods increase the air and ether elements in both mind and body. Cooked foods are better for increasing the earth and water elements, the Kapha components, and also increase the Pitta elements (fire).
Raw foods promote our more subtle sensitivities of mind, they increase our prana. A raw diet is part of a traditional yogi diet and is used to do exactly this – increase the prana. Raw foods are nutrient rich, full of enzymes, vitamins and minerals and definitely have their place in our diet.
However for most of us, we simply do not have the digestive fire to handle a raw food diet for long periods of time.
Cooked foods tend to be easier to digest and often good nutrition is not so much what we eat, but what we can digest.
My answer is to eat lightly steamed vegetables (how I interpret cooked), but always with an edible garnish such as coriander, parsley, rocket greens or sprouts. Eat at least 30% or more raw foods, drink fresh vegetable juice, eat tree-ripened fruit and utilize spices to enhance digestion.
Listen to your body.
In winter you will probably crave warmer foods such as soup, and in summer you are likely to crave more raw foods such as salads.
As the body becomes cleaner, so will your ability to digest more raw foods, and you will find that your energy, clarity and health will all improve.