The Power of Raw Food

QUESTION: I WANT TO INCLUDE MORE RAW FOOD IN MY DIET. CAN IT HELP ME STAY LEAN AND BUILD MORE MUSCLE?

—BRANDON G., SAN FRANCISCO, CA

While going 100% raw (which means steering clear of any food heated to about 115° or more) can be daunting, you can certainly benefit from including more uncooked foods in your training diet. For starters, loading up on raw fruits and vegetables will flood your body with a larger dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can improve muscle recovery and strength. Most raw veggies are also low in calories and high in fiber, which can be a boon to guys trying to slim down.

More good news for your six-pack: Harvard scientists recently determined that cooking increases the amount of energy your body absorbs from food. That’s because cooking food performs some of the digestion for you, so your body doesn’t expend as much energy in the digestive process. If you’re looking to cut weight, the total amount of calories gleaned from raw spinach or beef tartare could very well be less than from the same portion of cooked spinach or hamburger.

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You don’t have to shut of your stove permanently if you’re trying to reap the benefts of raw foods. Instead, simply look for opportunities to work more raw foods into your diet. Mix berries into your oatmeal and raw almonds into your Greek yogurt. Use large leafy greens, like collards or Swiss chard for “sandwiches.” Raw salsas can gussy up chicken, and grated raw kohlrabi or zucchini makes a good base for meat sauce in lieu of starchy pasta. You can even elevate convenience items like frozen pizza by adding raw vegetables.

BRANDON’S OLD DIET

Breakfast
3 whole eggs
2 slices wholewheat toast
2 tbsp peanut butter

Snack
1 cup vanilla yogurt

Lunch
1 cup brown rice
Chicken wrap with:
1 large whole-wheat tortilla
8 oz cooked shredded chicken
1/2 cup jarred salsa
1 oz grated cheddar cheese

Pre-Workout Snack
Protein shake with:
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Post-Workout Snack
Protein shake with:
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 cup low-fat milk
1 banana

Dinner
8 oz salmon fillet
2 cups steamed
broccoli
2 tsp extra-virgin
olive oil
2 sweet potatoes

2,791 calories
218g protein
259g carbs
100g fat

BRANDON’S NEW DIET

Breakfast
3 whole eggs
1 cup oats with:
1/2 cup fresh
blueberries
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tbsp sunflower seeds

Snack
1/2 cup baby carrots
1 cup plain, low-fat
Greek yogurt with:
2 tbsp raw almonds

Lunch
1 cup quinoa
Lettuce wraps with:
3 large leafy greens
8 oz cooked, shredded chicken
1 tomato, chopped
½ avocado, chopped
1 oz shredded, raw milk cheese

Pre-Workout Snack
1 cup water with:
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 banana
Post-Workout Snack
Protein shake with:
1 cup low-fat milk
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 cup frozen mixed berries

Dinner
2 sweet potatoes
Salmon salsa ceviche:
8 oz sushi-grade salmon (marinated in citrus juice)
1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1 small chopped red bell pepper
1 sliced scallion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp extra-virgin

2,874 calories
225g protein
248g carbs
115g fat

READ
6,000lbs of Food on 1/10th Acre

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