Getting high quality raw food for college students can sometimes be difficult if not impossible. Living on campus, often without a kitchen to prepare food makes it even more difficult to consider a lifestyle high in fresh plant foods. It seems far easier to rely on a meal plan provided by the college, or on pre-prepared meals that you can pop into the microwave and eat quickly.
So, what are raw foods and why should you eat them? Raw foods include items such as delicious fruits, empowering vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. These foods are eaten in their natural state. That means no cooking, boiling, steaming, etc. However, while you shouldn’t be heat processing them, you can still dry, roll, juice, blend, freeze, soak, and even sprout raw foods and gain healthy benefits. While it may seem odd at first, you can benefit far more from raw foods than through cooking them. This is without even going into a raw food only diet.
Raw foods help increase your energy levels. This means more time in the day for writing papers or hanging out with friends. This also means feeling better in the mornings, making it easier to greet the day for those annoying 8 am classes, while also preventing you from needing more sleep than usual to operate. Raw foods also contain nutrients that the body desperately needs, such as magnesium and potassium, that you may not get from your typical conventional diet.
Raw foods, and eating healthier overall, can also mean improved skin appearance, and they aid with weight loss. If you’re having body issues and are concerned with how you look, you’ll start to feel some changes once you switch to a healthier lifestyle. Clear skin, more energy, losing weight thinking more clearly! Another benefit is the prevention of many possible diseases in the future. These include diabetes, heart attacks, and even kidney disease.
While living at college, you may think it’s difficult to meet all your nutritional needs, especially if you lack a kitchen to work with. Depending on cafeteria meals can only get you so far, as those types of meals tend to be mass produced to feed the most amount of people they can. And while microwave meals may be easy to prepare, they are by no means the way to a healthier life, and use of the microwave contributes more radiation to your environment and to the food it contains.
So, what can you do to start? While ideally a pure raw food diet would be best, not everyone can set that goal initially. Eating more raw foods instead of processed ones is a great way to begin. Instead of stocking up on chips and other unhealthy snack foods, try to stock up on delicious fruits and greens to munch on. Try to keep them out in the open where you’ll see them, as this will make you more likely to eat them instead of any junk food you may have stocked. Try to get the junk food out of your dorm room if your roommate will cooperate.
Also, if you’re allowed to have it in your dorm, pick up a blender or food processor. This kitchen equipment will give you access to making delicious smoothies, soups, and prepared raw foods with fruits and vegetables.
While it may seem easier to continue eating junk food or pre-packaged meals, it won’t be long now before your body starts to see the negative consequences from this type of diet. By making the change now, not only will you feel better overall, you’ll also prevent potential diseases and have the energy to live a long and healthy life!
Fuhrman, J. (2012). Eat to live: the amazing nutrient-rich program for fast and sustained weight loss. New York: Little, Brown and Co.
Weight Loss, Detox or Health – The Benefits of Raw Food Diet Are Many… (n.d.). Retrieved May 01, 2017, from http://www.thebestofrawfood.com/benefits-of-raw-food-diet.html
Key, T. J., Davey, G. K., & Appleby, P. N. (1999). Health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society,58(02), 271-275.
Written by David Jasinski, Ramapo College Intern to Karen Ranzi, M.A.