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Reasons why raw food is healthy for people

I was interested in raw food diets for people years before I thought about the benefits of raw food for dogs.

I chose to try feeding my dog raw food because I’m also trying to eat more raw food. I don’t see this as some sort of fad diet. I see it as a lifestyle change and a natural, healthy way of eating.

Real, live foods contain live enzymes that benefit our digestion, nutrient absorption and health. When food is heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit or so, these enzymes are destroyed.

Some people go as far as eating 100 percent raw food. That would be a diet of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, grain, legumes and maybe even some jerky.

There is no possible way I can maintain a 100 percent raw diet at this point in my life. I’ve tried 30-day raw food trials and failed. I love cooked food too much, and I also require a high amount of calories per day (about 3,700). When I try to eat 100 percent raw, I don’t get enough to eat. Although I’m sure there are athletes who thrive on a mostly raw diet, I do not have the time to prepare and eat all that food. It’s also expensive.

What I can do is try to eat 50 percent raw. I am definitely not there yet, but it’s a goal.

Some easy ways to eat more live foods are to make a large fruit/veggie smoothie or a salad with every meal. I also try to snack on fruits, veggies and raw nuts throughout the day. The more live foods I eat, the less interest I have in fatty and processed foods.

I became a vegetarian in August 2007. This was an extremely easy switch for me, and I’ve had no second thoughts. I still eat eggs and seafood and on rare occasions, venison.

I originally stopped eating meat for ethical reasons, as I am deeply disturbed by the way animals are raised for food in the United States. But lately I am more concerned with my own health than I am with the well-being of these animals. Their bodies are extremely unhealthy and unnatural, and I definitely don’t want to be eating toxic animals.

If someone wants to eat hamburger or chicken or pork, that’s fine. But I do believe it should be a conscious decision. Unfortunately, for most people, it is not.

People live their lives on autopilot and consume whatever is most easily obtained. Where that food came from is of little importance. Most of us are so far removed from the factory/slaughtering process that we forget ham comes from real pigs and hamburger comes from real cows.

That is where we are losing.

So before you worry too much about what your dog is eating or whether or not you should switch your dog to raw food, look at what you are feeding yourself.

Obviously I’ve been writing about raw dog food a lot lately – thanks for sticking around to read my posts.

Here’s an example of a raw smoothie I made for an afternoon snack yesterday:

1.5 C. water

1 banana

1 C. frozen strawberries

1/2 C. baby carrots

1 C. spinach

There’s no science to it. Just pour some water into the blender, add whatever fruits and vegetables you happen to have and blend. No need to add any sugar, yogurt, milk or ice cream. Don’t worry, you can’t taste the spinach.

Here are just a few more reasons to make a salad and buy a bunch of fruit:

Reasons for people to eat more raw food

1. Raw foods contain more vitamins and minerals.

Americans are deprived of vitamins and minerals because we eat mostly processed, nutrient-deficient foods like mini corndogs and white bread. You have the option to make better choices for yourself. For more info, I highly recommend the documentary “Food Matters.”

2. A raw food diet is friendlier to animals.

I don’t think this needs explaining. A good documentary to watch on this subject is “Food, Inc.” For a more disturbing take (one that makes me want to throw up, actually), check out PETA’s Meet Your Meat video. I purposely didn’t link to it, but you can easily find it.

3. Raw foods will give you healthier skin.

Your entire body will be healthier if you eat more live foods, including your skin. I am always worried about sun damage and skin cancer because I am blessed with freakishly white skin, and I’m outside all the time. If the antioxidants in raw foods will help my skin, I’m in!

4. Raw food will give you more energy and mental clarity.

People who eat 100 percent raw food swear they have more energy. And dog owners who feed their dogs raw swear their dogs have more energy. One of the reasons for this is because raw food is easy for the body to digest. That means more energy is left for the rest of the body and mind. Just make sure you are getting enough calories. If you’re not eating enough, you will not have a lot of energy. Quite the concept, I know 🙂

Keep in mind that if you switch from a highly processed diet to a mostly vegan or raw diet, you will likely experience a period of detox where your body will get rid of all that extra crap, and you will temporarily feel tired and/or sick.

5. Eating more raw food will help you lose weight.

When you eat raw food, you don’t have to worry about counting calories. You can never get enough fruit or vegetables. So eat up! The more raw food you eat, the less hungry you will be for fried and processed foods. Eventually, cravings for those foods will decrease and some cravings will go away. I no longer crave hamburgers, fries or chicken strips, for example.

My dog eats raw dog food – day 64 update

Note: This is week 10 of a 12-week raw food diet for dogs trial for my dog Ace. Stella & Chewy’s is sponsoring this trial by providing Ace with 90 days worth of pre-prepared raw food.

Ace has tried several kinds of Stella & Chewy’s frozen raw food and he’s done just fine with each one – chicken, beef and duck.

Energy

My main concern right now is my dog’s lack of energy, but this started before he began eating raw food.

So many dog owners claim their dogs have an increase in energy once they switch to raw.

Well, my dog is a complete pile. Like, all the time! Usually, he’s snoring. Loudly.

Weight

I don’t have a scale that works, but Ace looks like he’s lost a pound or two. I increased the amount of food he’s getting since he did not need to lose any weight. The recommended amount for a dog his size is 3 patties a day (24 ounces). I’ve increased it to 3.5 patties per day (28 ounces).

Ear infections

Ace is fighting off an ear infection, and of course that might be why he is low on energy at the moment. As I’ve said before, I don’t know if his ear infections are caused by allergies or not.

Eyes

Ace’s eyes are runny, especially in the mornings. I’m assuming this is allergy related – not sure if it’s something in the environment or his food.

Teeth/breath

A lot of dog owners say their dogs’ teeth begin to look whiter once they switch their dogs to raw food. Ace’s teeth definitely aren’t any whiter, but I do not give him raw bones to chew. I don’t brush his teeth, either. I plan to buy more bones for him or start brushing his teeth. Hopefully that will help his bad breath go away, too.

Lip smacking

Ace has been licking his lips and swallowing an awful lot. I’ve noticed this ever since I switched him to raw, and it seems odd to me. I realize dogs will lick their lips when they are feeling stressed, but I don’t think Ace is stressed. Even when he appears completely relaxed – like when he’s passed out on his bed – he seems to swallow and lick his lips a lot. I may mention this to his vet.

Skin/coat

Ace is scratching less. His coat is starting to look really shiny, and he just looks lean and muscular. He is one handsome boy!

Less poop!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the poop is small, kids! He poops less often, and it magically starts to disappear if I don’t pick it up right away! Ace has never had diarrhea or signs of an upset stomach while eating raw food except when he was on antibiotics for pneumonia. I am over my fear of Ace getting sick from bacteria in raw food. He’s a dog. Dogs are meant to eat a raw dog food diet.

My dog is always thirsty

The mutt is still drinking a normal amount of water without obsessing over drinking the entire bowl like he did when he ate dry food. I feel bad that his dry food was possibly keeping him dehydrated.

All in all, I’m happy with the raw food for Ace, and I’m happy with Stella & Chewy’s. I am worried about his lack of energy and the odd lick smacking behavior, so those are some things to watch in the next couple of weeks.

What about you? Do you eat a lot of raw food? Does your dog eat raw food?

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