"Raw Foods" is a popular phrase these days that is often misunderstood, yet represents a powerful, grass roots health movement.

Some people shun the idea, not knowing what it means. Others embrace the idea, not knowing what it means. And that's no wonder, since there are many different interpretations of what it means to be on a raw food diet.

Personally, I advocate a plant-based raw food diet. In other words, I suggest eating green leafy vegetables, sea vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds, and fruit. I like to help people to make the right choices for them, even when they are different from my own personal choices.

I was first introduced to the Raw Foods Lifestyle about 30 years ago, when I attended a workshop with Dr. Gabriel Cousens. I was impressed both with him and his message. Soon after, I started a 100% raw food lifestyle, which I maintained for six months. My main difficulties were social. I loved how I felt, but with demands in my career, I ate fewer and fewer raw foods.

About 8 years ago, I recommitted myself to a raw food lifestyle. I realized that a very important ingredient was missing in my earlier experience: information. So I studied, read books, watched DVDs, listened to CDs, attended lectures, and have enrolled in a variety of courses. Overall, I maintain about 95% of my meals as raw foods.

You'll have your own set of reasons to eat more raw foods. A goal to "eat more raw foods" is a very worthy one. You can drop the percentages if they don't work for you. It's very easy to fail with a plan to eat raw foods 100% of the time.

You don't need any reasons to be hard on yourself. It's far more important to find compelling reasons to consume more raw foods than to set an unattainable goal. Here are a few of the many benefits, from which I hope you can find at least one compelling reason to start or maintain this way of eating.

7 Benefits for Raw Plant Food Consumption

1. Your body assimilates more nutrients from raw foods than the cooked or otherwise processed alternatives.

2. You digest raw foods more completely because they contain the proper enzymes. This helps to keep your immune system strong instead of depleting the limited number of digestive enzymes you were born with.

3. You naturally eat less. You don't have to MAKE yourself eat less, you just naturally do. The reason is that raw foods are packed with nutrients that your body can use, so your hunger is not triggered as often. Eating cooked food often leads to overeating because of the smaller amount of nutrients.

4. Your body stabilizes itself. People who are too thin become stronger and more filled out; those who are too heavy become stronger and slimmer. Obstructions and toxins that collect in the body from eating cooked food clear themselves out with proper nutrients.

5. You feel more energized and vital. Raw foods not only boost your personal energy, they rejuvenate all the cells in your body.

6. You decline less as you age when you eat nutrient-rich unprocessed foods. You still age by the calendar, but raw foods keep you vital as you grow older.

7. The last reason is the best: You are better physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And, yes, everyone else knows it, because you glow.

And the list can go on, because there are many more benefits. You'll have your own list, but these 7 provide a starting place.

As soon as you feed your body what it needs, your health improves. If you transition too quickly from a highly processed diet to mostly or totally raw eating, you might experience some symptoms that make it seem as if you're getting worse, but this is a temporary phenomenon. If that happens, remind yourself that it's simply your body detoxifying. Breathe deeply, drink lots of good water, and persevere.

Whole foods that are high in fiber and water abolish constipation, revitalize your cells, and activate your circulatory system. Toxins release more easily from wherever they have accumulated in your body. When toxins release, adverse physical conditions begin to reverse themselves.

I don't know how long your journey will take as you move from a devitalized state with cooked foods to a healthy state with raw foods. But I do know that your journey begins with a single step.

My suggestion is: Make the choice joyfully and then proceed at a steady pace. The speed does not matter as much as the direction with a positive attitude.

Author's Bio: 

By B. Joy Preston, Raw Food Specialist from Joyful Choices for Health, where we support you in your decision to consume more raw and living foods. We provide information, suggest books, and answer your questions. Please visit us at http://www.joyfulchoices.com