With so many germs and diseases floating around these days, it seems almost everyone is searching for ways to give their immune system a much-needed boost, which includes trading all the processed, fat-infused foods Americans are known for overindulging in for greener pastures. But besides forgoing your weekly McDonald’s run in favor of a more leafy approach, a raw food diet, which consists of ingesting plant foods in their most natural uncooked and unprocessed state, is one fabulous way to provide essential nutrients to your body. It’s also a great way to drop a few of those unwanted pounds, but keep in mind that it isn’t your typical diet and requires way more effort than simply skipping carbs for a few weeks at a time. It’s a lifestyle—and one that isn’t for the veggie weary—as 75% of its contents are usually made up of fruits and vegetables alone (seaweed, sprouts, sprouted seeds, whole grains, beans, dried fruits, nuts—you get the gist of it). It doesn’t contain a drop of alcohol, caffeine or refined sugar either. Consider it a daily detox for your system (and the ultimate test of your discipline).
To further complicate things, a food dehydrator, which can run you about $225, is necessary to prepare such raw foods at a temperature of about 118 degrees, so as not to sacrifice the essential enzymes and vitamins that cooking at higher temperatures supposedly destroys. So if you are one of the dedicated raw foodies that follow this strict regimen but want to go out and grab a quick bite to eat, where on earth can you find a restaurant that will prevent you from falling off the wagon, so to speak?
San Francisco, naturally. One of the most health-conscious, green-savvy places in the country, the Bay Area boasts one of the largest selections of fresh, organic, and raw foods available through 100% meat-free supermarkets, local farmer’s markets, juice bars and restaurants (the San Francisco/Berkeley area has 5 raw food restaurants and several juice bars, to date). For those who associate the luxury of eating toxin-free food with a high price tag, shopping at a farmer’s market is often cheaper than your local grocery store, plus you can buy in bulk if you wish so it’s really a win-win situation for your well-being and your wallet.
Being a vegetarian in a world full of carnivores can often be difficult and I have long faced ridicule for the lack of fatty beef in my diet, especially since a large majority of the population really doesn’t think about, nor do they care, where their food comes from and what unsanitary, possibly detrimental conditions it may have been exposed prior to finding itself nestled safely in their shopping carts. So if you find yourself in need of a little push in the raw direction, tap into one of the several Raw Food Support Groups available in the area as well. Your body will thank you for it later.