What do Demi Moore, Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman, Donna Karan, and Venus Williams all have in common? They all swear by a raw-food diet. Yes that’s right, raw. Forget frying, roasting, steaming, or any form of cooking, because this way of eating is all about keeping food in its most natural, raw state. “When you eat raw, you are eating food in its most natural form,” says Carly Rothman, the healthy foodie and fitness fanatic behind LeanLivingGirl.com. “This means you reap the maximum rewards of all its nutritional value, which would otherwise get damaged and lessened when heated or cooked. Sticking to a raw, vegan diet is not for everyone, but if it suits your needs and, most importantly, your body’s needs, it’s an incredibly healthy and natural way to live.”
The health benefits behind the raw diet are pretty impressive, and experts believe it helps with everything from weight management and increased energy levels to preventing headaches, fatigue, high blood pressure, and the development of many chronic diseases and diabetes. Why? Because the enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from foods aren’t damaged in the heating/cooking process. “Enzymes are basically known to be the catalysts to every metabolic reaction in the body, from digestion and immune function to cellular regeneration and building muscle. When you don’t consume enzymatic-rich food (that is raw food), your body can become depleted of its own natural enzymes, which is essentially the aging and degeneration process,” explains Kristin Fraser, Raw Chef and Holistic Nutritionist at Essentially UAE. These enzymes and nutrients are responsible for keeping our bodies in tiptop shape and are involved in growth, repair, and maintenance. Cooking fruits and vegetables over 46°C destroys much of the goodness, denying our bodies the full health potential of what we eat.
The vegan part of the diet rids it of all animal products and by-products, including meat, eggs, dairy, and all forms of seafood, which, considering you’re already eating raw, isn’t as hard as it sounds. “The science linking the overconsumption of animal-based foods and some of our most debilitating illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, is on the rise. The longest-living cultures on the planet eat a predominantly plant-based diet,” Fraser tells us. “It’s important to look at the nutritional science that shows a direct correlation between the amount of plant-based foods consumed and the reduction of illness and disease. Conclusion: Eat more plants!”
Worried you won’t be getting enough protein? You needn’t, because plants can pack a serious protein punch. “Just check out athlete Dominick Thompson if you need an example of a plant-based powerhouse. He’s predominantly raw and 100 percent vegan,” says Fraser. “Animal-based sources of protein are known to produce excess IGF-1 in the body, a cancer-promoting hormone, whereas plant-based sources are known to lower this hormone. I have yet to meet someone who didn’t feel better after incorporating more plant-based foods into their diet. The bottom line is that plant-based sources of protein, including spirulina, quinoa, lentils, beans, and even chia, are all high-quality forms of protein. They leave your body in a more alkaline state with less havoc on the liver as opposed to animal proteins.”
Although there are more and more healthy-dining options cropping up in the UAE, it’s still not easy to find good-quality raw/vegan food easily, which is why Essentially’s new ‘Raw Vegan Food Delivery Service’ is bringing a new edge to the health food scene in Dubai. Famed for its organic cold-pressed juices, Essentially has opened its kitchen doors to cooking (or should we say not cooking?) and now offers raw, vegan, nutrient-dense meals that are delivered to your door every morning.
Each day, you’re treated to at least two organic cold-pressed juices, a nut ‘mylk’, snacks, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a menu that’s bursting with colors and flavors. Think: scones with cashew cream cheese or chia puddings for breakfast, curried vegetables with red-pepper cream sauce or lemon-sage parsnip “pasta” for lunch, dinners of raw zucchini lasagna and falafel-mushroom burgers, and snacks of coconut-lemon balls and raw brownies (yes, you can have your cake and eat it too). Everything is raw (aside form the occasional doses of chickpeas and quinoa, which are cooked), organic, vegan, fresh, and so delicious that you won’t miss your afternoon biscuit or morning croissant. Promise.
After just five days, Savoir Flair’s Beauty Editor felt like a lighter, brighter, more energized version of herself, and every single meal was so tasty and filling she could hardly believe that the ingredients were so simple and healthy. If you’re looking to go vegan or raw, or to start adding more plant-based foods to your diet, this is the perfect place to start.
To try the raw-vegan meals for yourself, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (+971) 4 889 5753.
Deliveries take place between 5 and 8 a.m., from Sunday to Thursday, and start from AED 239/SAR 244 per day depending on the duration of your plan.