Is This The Way To Go ???? Going raw in the kitchen Like all things eco, there is green, greener and greenest. The absolute greenest palette around is the Raw Food diet. It’s a novel way to prepare food that is delicious but also lowers your energy consumption and ecological footprint. By Lee Schnaiberg Freed from cooking Many practitioners of ’uncooking’ swear that aside from it being the greenest way to eat, getting only raw food helps you shed pounds, look younger and feel great. So does the raw food diet mean you eat nothing but carrots, celery and salads? Hardly! Through the advanced technologies of blenders, food processors and dehydrators, not to mention sprouting and fermenting, this diet has as much - if not more - variety than cooked food. A quick perusal through the uncooking cookbooks reveals a menu rich in Mexican, Middle Eastern and Italian cuisines. It’s not uncommon to hear about raw pizzas, raw lasagna, as well as delectable raw cakes and pies. Raw role models It’s not just ecological but increasingly popular. From Montreal’s new Cru (translation: raw) to Victoria’s Mo:Le Restaurant, raw bistros are ’sprouting’ up everywhere. There are plenty of role models to follow. Supermodel Carl Alt has written several "uncookbooks," movies stars like Woody Harrelson and Alicia Silverstone have been telling people about it for years. Now mainstream actors and actresses have found it a great way to stay in shape; rockers like Bryan Adams and Bif Naked swear by it. SAD diet be gone While many people in the raw food movement tout its health aspects, they also like to poke a little fun at the rest of us, claiming we are eating SAD food (Standard American Diet). Our SAD diet is bereft of natural enzymes that help with digestion. Aid to digestion The concept of enzyme nutrition was developed by Dr. Edward Howell, who noticed an improvement in his patients with chronic diseases like tuberculosis after they were put on a diet of raw food. He started researching enzymes and found there was a significant loss in nutrition when food is cooked. Cooking kills Cooking food does kill most of the natural enzymes in food that act as a chemical catalyst to help with digestion. Take a carrot, for example. Eaten raw, that carrot will enter our digestive tract with its own enzymes intact, making it easily digested. Cooked, it is bereft of enzymes, so our body has to supply the necessary enzymes in order to digest that carrot. While we do have some reserves, our supply is finite and that means many of the nutrients don’t get properly absorbed. Raw Foodies believe that a diet of only cooked food depletes our body’s natural reserves so that by the time we reach out mid-thirties, it is harder to get the nutrients we need from our food. Raw is green Another benefit of the raw diet has to do with our carbon footprint. It’s estimated that over one third of the carbon dioxide worldwide is from our cooking. The 220- volet Western stove uses more electricity than the washer and dryer combined, while fuel for stoves in developing countries contributes to deforestation and destruction of the environment. Eating raw uses less energy. Reduce your garbage Packaging seems to instantly shrink as well. Gone are the plastic wrap, plastic trays, styrofoam plates, cardboard boxes and various types of bags. Your compost will grow in an equal-but-opposite rate as your garbage bag shrinks. Start off slow The Raw Food diet is a leap for the average person. Try a few dishes first and see how it goes. Don’t try and go completely raw. Living and Raw Foods has some excellent information on its website. The Complete Book of Raw Food includes 350 delicious recipes from the world's top raw food chefs. Once you’ve discovered the joy of uncooking, you may be happy going raw. Lee Schnaiberg is a green investigative researcher who is crazy enough to try the raw diet.