Based on our non-seasonal tropical forest origins adapted to today’s situation here is a summary of the raw food groups I recommend as a basis for optimal brain nutrition. This is expanded on in my book Food for Consciousness.
To sustain health long term I would say definitely eat 50% of your food raw. For an optimal state of well being I would say at least 80% In the book I also talk about which cooked foods are great to include and which to avoid.
Fruit – including tropical fruit such as mangoes, figs, papayas and bananas; berries and other fruit. We enjoy melons, apricots, apples and pears, cherries, kakis, grapes, currants, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, avocados, tomatoes, cucumber etc.
Seeds and Nuts – fruit is not dense enough to supply all our nutritional needs in our current state. And, in our optimal state, would we would be eating and digesting the seeds within fruit. Nuts and seeds give us dense nutrition. They should generally be soaked in water for a few hours before use to break down their growth inhibitors which interfere in digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Seeds are much more digestible than nuts which are best consumed in moderation. Hemp is a good staple; also sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hazels (filberts), walnuts, almonds, coconut, Siberian cedar nuts, macadamias, brazils and pecans contain beneficial nutrition. Chia seeds are a great source of omega 3′s and fibre.
Greens and vegetables – needed for minerals, chlorophyll and protein and various co-factors, they also alkalise the body in a way that is essential to counteract the acid-forming properties of most nuts and seeds and some other foods. Dark greens provide the most intense nutrition. In late winter and spring we wild green juice and wild greens with salad can be extremely revitalising. Grasses can be juiced too. Homegrown salad greens are the freshest. Sprouts such as alfalfa, radish, quinoa can provide fresh living greens, especially if you grow them yourself which is very quick and easy when you get the hang of it. Homegrown sprouts are a very economical way of getting high quality nutrition and life-force. Dried green superfoods such as barley grass and hemp leaf are also helpful. Root vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes are very nourishing.
Sea vegetables – provide iodine and trace minerals which are more abundant in the oceans than the land. Kelp is the richest in iodine. Sea spaghetti is a tasty ingredient for making appetising and interesting dishes.
Oils – we get fatty acids from nuts and seeds but to keep the correct balance between omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids flaxseed (linseed) oil is helpful. This oil is very unstable and needs to be kept sealed and cool. A flax oil that has not gone rancid is surprisingly pleasant to the taste. The omega 3 essential fatty acids from plant sources such as flax have to be converted inside us to provide EPA and DHA which the brain needs. Coconut oil helps this process but actually most people need to ingest EPA and DHA directly. We recommend purified fish oil or marine phytoplankton or other supplements for those who do not want to eat fish products. Click here to read more.
Raw dairy – we have found these foods, in moderate quantities very helpful in enabling us to eat entirely raw foods and maintain excellent health. The main point is the need for most people for nutritional components found in raw animal-sourced fats so if you don’t eat raw dairy it is wise to think where you obtain these nutrients. You can choose from raw goats and cows milk, goats’ and cows’ butter, sheep or goats’ yoghurt, kefir, unpasteurised, cheese and sometimes raw (carefully selected organic, free-range) egg yolks. They could be seen as a substitute for the large amount of insect matter we would consume if we gathered our food in the wild. They are a vital source of vitamins D and retinol (vitamin A), fat-soluble vitamins which are difficult to obtain in sufficient quantities and in an assimilable form from elsewhere. In temperate latitudes for much of the year, the sun does not rise high enough to give us the UVB light our skin needs to make sufficient vitamin D. B12 needs also to come from animal sources – plant sourced B12 is not the form humans need and can even get in the way of proper B12 absorption. We suspect there are also subtle factors in animal products that we do not fully understand yet. We have found ethical sources of these products. Click here for a list of Raw Dairy Suppliers on the Food for Consciousness site.
Fermented foods – provide probiotics and B vitamins and can be revolutionary in our health. They include coconut and milk kefirs, kombucha, cultured vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchee, miso and seed cheeses. Kefir is probably the most powerful probiotic known. For more information about kefir click here.
Medicinal mushrooms – reishi and shitake have become well known. Also chaga, lion’s mane, shitake, tremella etc all boost the immune system and have many other health enhancing qualities.
Flowers – the precursors to fruit are delicious embellishment to our diets. Edible flowers include borage, nasturtiums, honeysuckle, rose petals, evening primrose and many more – many flowers are edible especially if the fruits are.
Superfoods and Supplements- due to poor quality of soil (including organic because of long term soil erosion), fruit being picked unripe, storage and the fact that the human gut is not working at its best, we need all the help we can get. This is the case whether eating cooked or raw food. We obtain extra minerals, vitamins and healthy mood enhancing compounds from superfoods and supplements and also take MSM, viatmin D3 and iodine. Aloe vera contains some invaluable elements; the fresh gel is ideal and the plants are easy to grow on a window sill. It can be applied to the skin. Superfoods take nutrition to another level of evolution. Goji berries, raw cacao, maca, bee pollen, algae and barleygrass, purple corn, algaroba, rosehip, vanilla, noni, suma, shilajit and royal jelly are some favourites. In terms of supplements, the list goes on but these ones feel important to mention: uibiquinol is highly recommended for those over 40, progesterone cream for women and melatonin is beneficial for many people.
Tonic Herbs – well worth looking into, some of our favourites are he shou wu and rhodiola.
Water – of course- our main constituent – it is well known now that we should drink plenty of good water – clean fresh spring water is the ideal. It does not need to be drunk alone – it is an excellent carrier for other supernutrition in the form of teas, elixirs, juices, smoothies etc.
Earthing – last in this list, but not least, in order to function sanely and healthily as human animals we need a connection to the source of our physical life, the Earth itself. It is important to spend time in nature and go barefoot, but when this is not possible we can maintain an electrical connection with the Earth through the use of ‘grounding’ devices such as earthing sheets and mats.