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Transform Yourself From the Inside-Out and Look Your Best Naturally

Sunday, May 11, 2008 by: Charmaine D. Mercado
Tags: health transformation, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) At some point in our lives we have all suffered from physical insecurities, thanks to the unwitting comments of the people around us, our faulty habit of comparing ourselves to others, and mainstream media's rigid standards of beauty. Depending on our environment, upbringing, and self-image we have either acknowledged or denied our desire to look more attractive. The point is that physical appearance is a universal issue we all have dealt with, whether we have acted upon our desire to look better, have moved on peacefully through self-acceptance, or have scorned this wish as something shallow and embarrassing.

Technological progress sought to address the beauty question by coming up with gadgets and machines that at best changed things only on the surface for a temporary period of time, and at their worst merely pandered to human vanity, obscuring from man the true causes of his cosmetic complaints. But advances in research now point to natural solutions that could help one look better without drugs and artificial procedures. According to this new research, one can tremendously improve his or her appearance through superior health by way of a powerful cleansing diet. If you want a radical improvement in your appearance without going under the knife, then this diet is the answer to your prayers. The health benefits of this diet will make you feel so great you'll start looking it too.

Raw Food Magic

While beauty is relative because it's in the eye of the beholder, there are certain outward manifestations of it regardless of heredity, sex, age, or ethnicity. Rosy cheeks and lips, clear, sparkling eyes, strong, healthy hair, fresh, glowing skin, strong bones and teeth, and a well-developed physique -- such are the physical markers of radiant health. Emerging research has revealed that one kind of diet can help you attain the best of health, and through it, your best face yet: the raw food diet.

Aside from achieving excellent health, refined and enhanced physical features are just some of the wonderful perks one inevitably obtains through the raw diet. Long-time raw foodists even claim that the diet changed their eye color and helped them lose stubborn fat, warts, and cellulite for life. Some got cured of acne for good; others found their hair growing back and turning from gray back to its original color. But all have been told that they look younger than their real age.

Fresh, organic, nutrient-dense, and enzyme-rich raw foods can really boost anyone's self-confidence due to the dramatic physical improvements they bring about. And it's a different kind of self-confidence too, the one that feels honest in your bones because you know you didn't cheat. You jacked up your score in the attractiveness meter with discipline, proper knowledge, diligence, perseverance, and natural, nutrient-rich food, not with toxic chemical injections or cosmetic incisions, the a-little-more-here and a-little-less-there kind of artificial procedures. But the mind-blowing thing about the raw diet is that you will look as if you had a face lift or a tummy tuck. Go search the internet for before and after raw transformations for proof. Draw your inspiration from these people who succeeded with the raw food regimen. If they did it, then so can you. The internet is also replete with information on raw food to educate and excite you, not to mention free raw recipes to make your raw journey more fun and enjoyable.

The amazing bonus is that on raw food, a new inner self emerges too. Raw food will purify and transmute your old energy. You will feel lighter and it will be much easier for you to smile, and a smile makes any countenance more attractive. That is because raw food will not just heal you physically; it will also improve your mental, emotional, and spiritual states. People will sense that positive, ineffable 'something' that envelops your being. They won't be able to put a finger on it, but you'd know what that 'something' is: superior over-all health brought to you by the most nourishing foods on the planet.

The rate and degree of your natural make-over will depend on your toxicity level. If you are immunocompromised then your metamorphosis may take longer. Your body will utilize all the nutrients from raw food to heal your disease before it starts taking care of your stretch marks. The process may take longer for others, depending on the person's previous diet and general state of health. The important thing is to persevere. Bear in mind that all successful raw foodists underwent unpleasant, and sometimes unglamorous, detox symptoms. Allow your body to unload itself of old, impacted garbage. Give it time to recover its "old youthfulness," the one that you lost early on in life due to stress, poor diet, faulty thinking, and lack of motion. Educate yourself that you may understand how the body functions to help you stick to the raw diet in spite of the brief cycles of cleansing reactions. But be assured that in between the short periods of detox symptoms you will feel fabulous like you never did on your old cooked and toxic diet, like you never did in your entire life.

Why Raw?

Numerous studies reveal that cooking causes a big drop in a food's nutritional profile. Heating food beyond 118 degrees Fahrenheit kills off all the enzymes and decreases the amount of vitamins and minerals originally present in the food. To look your best you have to get the maximum amount of nutrients you could possibly get from any kind of food. Eating raw food is the obvious best solution to this, as all the nutrients in the food are undiminished and uncorrupted.

Raw food gives your body the "go" signal to do what it really has to. Eating cooked food will make the body use up its enzyme reserves. It takes three metabolic enzymes to produce one digestive enzyme. Those metabolic enzymes that were converted into digestive enzymes could have been used for detoxification, tissue growth and repair, and assimilation of nutrients, not to mention cell production, growth, and rejuvenation -- all the vital processes that would transform you inside out. Don't overtax your body with cooked food and toxic substances. Always carry enzyme supplements with you in case you have to eat cooked food. Just remember that to obtain impressive results, you'd have to be at least 70-80% raw.

The path to natural beauty actually begins in the gut. Yes, your physical transformation is largely hinged on bowel health, not on what you apply topically on your skin. While slathering your face with a fresh, crushed tomato or with your concoction of mashed banana, papaya, and honey will give you smooth, bright-looking skin in 10-20 minutes, natural topical treatments are, at best, only adjuncts to ingested super-nutrients from raw and super foods. You cannot have a healthy digestive system without consuming raw food. Nutrients and fiber found in raw food will loosen and absorb the mucus, grease, and impacted fecal matter in your gut, preparing them for elimination. A dirty digestive tract will not assimilate nutrients well. Moreover, filthy intestines provide a breeding ground for parasites, viruses, and unfriendly bacteria, which rob you of precious nutrients and toxify your body further with their own wastes.

There are other ways to kick out the bad guys from your system aside from following a high-raw and high-fiber diet. One is by taking an all-natural intestinal cleanse formula that would kill off the free-loading parasites squatting in your gut. Increasing the population of good bacteria through probiotic supplementation and consumption of unpasteurized fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, fermented seed and nut cheeses, miso, and natto. Enemas and colonics would also help scrape off stubborn waste matter that have accumulated throughout years of unhealthy eating, washing off the unfriendly organisms as well. Eating foods such as cayenne, ginger, garlic, onion, pineapple, cold-pressed coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, fresh aloe vera gel, and sesame seeds will also antagonize parasites, bacteria, and viruses.

Weight loss takes place when your body starts getting rid of old, un-expelled wastes. The digestive tract alone could be carrying around nine pounds of un-eliminated toxic matter! A lot of obese and overweight people have finally controlled their weight more easily without starvation and hang-ups through raw food. Unlike in other weight loss programs, the skin clings more closely to the bones, obviating the need to have loose flabby skin surgically removed. People who have weight problems also end up more satisfied on the raw food diet since it helps them lose weight more rapidly than any other program. It helps them overcome food cravings and addictions due to the detox process. They are also pleasantly surprised to find out that their favorite evil food actually has a healthy, all-raw version. They never have to count calories again because the enzymes enable the food to be properly metabolized and completely digested.

While going raw will initially lead to weight loss, those who want to gain weight can do so with raw food. Yes, with a few modifications it is possible to gain weight and build huge muscles on the raw diet. Some underweight women actually achieved their more ideal weight through raw food. Some scrawny guys even put on enormous muscle mass through raw food. If you're apprehensive about raw bodybuilding you can check out raw vegan bodybuilders such as Storm Talifero, Charlie Abel, and Stephen Arlin.

You can gain weight and do bodybuilding by increasing your intake of green vegetables, sprouts, raw fats such as those found in coconuts, durian, avocado, nuts, and seeds. A caveat, though: increasing your fat intake doesn't mean you should eat as much as you could. While raw fats can metabolize themselves, too much raw fats will slow down the blood flow and detox process. You can also gain weight by eating a combination of amazing superfoods every day such as raw cacao, unpasteurized honey, bee pollen, wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, blue-green algae, hemp seeds, goji berries, kelp, and acai. Super foods not only clean you up through their high antioxidant content; they also build you up with the best materials because they're great sources of high-quality amino acids.

The thing with raw foods is that, with the right adjustments, you can make them work to achieve your desired result, be it weight loss or weight gain. The beauty of the raw diet is that whether you lose or gain weight, you end up as a healthier individual due to all the intact nutrients working together to give you the best clean-up and remodeling job.

A List of Important Nutrients for a New Improved You

One of the greatest enemies of the human body is a group of noxious substances called free radicals. These are produced in the body from environmental toxins, additives, pesticides, and foods cooked in high temperature. Free radical damage is systemic, and it works its way from the inside out. It accelerates aging at the cellular level, resulting in wrinkles and a host of other aesthetic complaints.

Antioxidants are compounds that arrest and reverse free radical damage in the body, which, aside from faster aging, is a large contributing factor to serious diseases like cancer. Since oxidative damage takes place at the cellular level, the most commonsensical way to fight it is through super-nutrition via antioxidants found in raw food. Free radicals get inactivated through the abundant amounts of antioxidants present in raw fruits and vegetables. Think of the proverbial lemon juice sprinkled on browned, cut-up apples. Antioxidants do the same thing to us. They protect our cells from rapid oxidation. Antioxidants combat free radicals that eat up collagen and elastin, the fibrous materials that support skin structure, thus making the skin firmer, smoother, and softer, with a highly improved tone and texture. They are also powerful keys to longevity, no matter what recent studies have claimed.

Phytochemicals are natural biologically active compounds found in plant foods. They work synergistically with other nutrients and fiber found in fruits and vegetables to fight deadly diseases and to slow down the aging process. So far, more than 900 phytochemicals have been identified, and more shall be added to this list in the future. Phytochemicals have a lot to do with plant pigment, so generally, the brighter the color of the fruit or vegetable, the more phytochemicals and nutrients it contains. Phytochemicals have been known to have antioxidant properties, protecting us from disease and rejuvenating us inside-out.

Amino acids, otherwise known as the building blocks of protein, are greatly needed by the body to repair and form new cells, tissue, skin, hair, teeth, and bones.

The following is a list of nutrients needed by the body to build a healthier, better-looking you:

Glutathione is by far the most powerful antioxidant that can be produced by the human body. It detoxifies harmful substances so that they can be eliminated through the bile. This antioxidant has gotten so much popularity from its well-documented and scientifically-proven properties to reverse aging and promote a fairer complexion. Animal flesh contains the highest concentration of this very potent nutrient, but the rub is that you'd have to consume it raw since glutathione is an antioxidant enzyme. The other natural and more palatable raw sources of this antioxidant are spinach, broccoli, walnuts, tomatoes, carrots, grapefruit, asparagus, garlic, avocado, purslane, squash, okra, walnuts, potatoes, and apples. Glutamine, cystine, glutamic acid, and glycine are also needed by the liver to manufacture optimum levels of glutathione. One can also opt to take glutathione supplements that are widely available in the market today.

Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an anti-aging enzyme that scavenges for free radicals with revitalizing and protective properties. SOD can be found in broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and most green vegetables, as well as in superfoods such as barley grass and wheat grass.

Catalase is another antioxidant enzyme that is needed by the body to put free radical activities in check. Leeks, onion, broccoli, bananas, parsnip, zucchini, spinach, carrots, radish, cucumbers, cherries, red cabbage, apricot, and cherries are good sources of catalase.

Coenzyme Q10, a potent anti-aging nutrient, plays an important role in tissue oxygenation. Get your dose of this antioxidant from spinach, peanuts, and fish.

Vitamin A is an antioxidant vitamin that regulates oil balance in the skin and helps prevent and treat acne, psoriasis, and eczema. It is necessary for growth of new cells and helps lessen the appearance of wrinkles. It can be obtained from carrots, egg yolks, dark leafy greens, parsley, arugula, mangoes, watermelon, nettle leaves, watercress, and sweet potatoes. Super foods such as chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass, and kelp also have high concentrations of vitamin A.

Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, forms the basis of healthy skin, hair, and nail cells. Biotin is abundant in nuts, soybeans, egg yolks, swiss chard, fish, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cabbage, onion, almonds, cucumber, cauliflower, and carrots.

Vitamin C is needed by the body to maintain healthy skin, bones, teeth, and gums. This vitamin is invaluable in the replacement and generation of tissue. Best food sources of this toxin-neutralizing antioxidant are citrus fruits, acerola berries, strawberries, rosehips, broccoli, parsley, nettles, and superfoods such as acai, goji berries, camu-camu, and raw cacao.

Vitamin D promotes the use and assimilation of calcium and magnesium for healthy bones and teeth. Very few foods contain enough amounts of this vitamin so exposure to sunlight is needed to help the body create its own vitamin D. Mushrooms, salmon, cod, and certain types of milk fortified with vitamin D are some food sources of this vitamin.

Vitamin E has been known to diminish the appearance of fine lines on the face, repair connective tissue, and, along with vitamin C, increase your skin's protection against sun damage. It also protects vitamins A and C from destruction. Food sources of this powerful antioxidant are goji berries, nuts, berries, green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, wheat germ, soy, and vegetable oils such as olive oil.

Calcium is needed by the body to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Spinach, broccoli, kale, lima beans, apples, bananas, oranges, blackberries, kiwifruit, tomatoes, sardines, dairy, peas, soy products, salmon, seaweed, artichoke, kale, avocado, peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, cashew, pistachio, sunflower seeds, strawberries, lemons, and grapes all have ample amounts of calcium.

Copper works in conjunction with zinc and vitamin C to produce elastin. Kiwifruit, apples, lima beans, artichoke, avocado, broccoli, bananas, carrots, cauliflower, cantaloupe, grapes, and cucumber all contain copper.

Magnesium is necessary for the production of new cells and for healthy bones and teeth. Good sources of this mineral are raw cacao, kelp, kiwi, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, avocado, summer squash, artichoke, spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, almonds, corn, potatoes, peas, kale, and cashew.

Phosphorous promotes healthy teeth and bones and is needed for the acid-alkaline balance in the body. Kiwi, tomatoes, blackberries, asparagus, mushrooms, lima beans, bananas, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, peanuts, walnuts, potatoes, kale, avocado, artichoke, lime, cantaloupe, strawberries, and oranges all contain phosphorus.

Silicon increases bone, skin, hair, and nail strength. It improves wrinkles, skin thickness, skeletal health, and teeth formation. High-silicon content foods include bell pepper, cucumber (with skin), spinach, tomatoes, apples, strawberries, oranges, beets, carrots, radish, romaine lettuce, burdock root, marjoram, and horsetail, which is considered by natural health experts as a super herb.

Sulfur is required by the body for collagen production and maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and nails. Sulfur can be found in broccoli, kale, pumpkin seeds, asparagus, hemp seeds, garlic, onion, watercress, and red peppers. If you feel hard-pressed to eat a lot of natural foods to keep your sulfur levels optimal, you might want to consider taking the supplement MSM or methylsulfonylmethane, which contains high amounts of sulfur per gram.

Selenium enables the body to efficiently use oxygen. This mineral helps maintain healthy skin due to its high protein component. Brazil nuts, mushrooms, onion, garlic, asparagus, tomatoes, broccoli, whole grains, parsley, blackstrap molasses, wheat germ, sesame seeds, poultry, fish and eggs are especially high in selenium.

Zinc maintains and builds healthy collagen, assists in wound and tissue healing, and prevents the formation of stretch marks. Good zinc sources include pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts, parsley, wheat germ, oatmeal, and eggs.

Essential fatty acids prevent skin dryness and inflammation as well as the formation of white heads and black heads. The body needs EFAs but cannot manufacture it; it is therefore important to get your omega fatty acids from food. Ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids are found in flaxseed, flax oil, safflower oil, evening primrose oil, and cold-water fish such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon. Omega 6 fats on the other hand can be found in sunflower seeds and oil, olives and olive oil, safflower and soybean oil. Fats provide lubrication to the skin and joints, and having dry, flaky skin is a good tell-tale sign of EFA deficiency.

Chlorophyll is an excellent blood builder and purifier. This phytochemical produces in the body an unfavorable environment for bad bacteria. It draws out toxins stored in cells and tissue, dumping them into the bloodstream for proper elimination. Chlorophyll is also highly alkalinizing. Get the benefits of this powerful cleanser by eating green leafy vegetables and seaweeds, and superfoods such as chlorella, wheat grass, spirulina, and barley grass.

Carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, are pigments responsible for the colors of many orange, yellow, red, and green fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are known to slow down the aging process. Get your beta-carotene from orange and golden-colored fruits and vegetables such as mangoes, papaya, apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and the superfood goji berry. Green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli are also great sources of beta-carotene. Lutein can be obtained by eating green vegetables such as kale, collards, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, and brussels sprouts. The highest amount of anti-aging and cancer-fighting lycopene can be found in raw sun-dried tomatoes, then in cooked tomato products such as tomato sauce and paste, followed by fresh, raw tomatoes. Watermelon, red peppers, and pink grapefruit also have significant amounts of lycopene.

Bioflavonoids are known to have chelating properties, binding to toxins and eliminating them safely out of the body. Like other antioxidants they have the ability to neutralize highly unstable and reactive molecules that are responsible for premature aging. They also help treat varicose veins, bleeding gums, bruises, and hemorrhoids. Get your medley of primary bioflavonoids such as rutin, resveratrol, hesperidin, quercetin, and anthocyanins from buckwheat groats and leaves, rosehips, broccoli, citrus fruits (lemon, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines) berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries), papaya, cantaloupe, cucumber, garlic, onion, cherries, plums, apples, tomatoes, kiwifruit, grapes, red wine, and green tea.

Pycnogenol is known to be fifty times more powerful than vitamin E and twenty times more effective than vitamin C. Pine bark and grape seeds are high in pycnogenol.

Alpha-lipoic acid increases the power of other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. This antioxidant is naturally present in peas, swiss chard, collards, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes.

Alanine is an amino acid that aids in the development of skin, hair, and scalp. Like zinc and sulfur alanine speeds up wound healing. Alanine is available in apples, avocado, almonds, olives, and cucumber.

Arginine aids in the healing and repair of skin and connective tissue. It facilitates weight loss by helping your body increase muscle mass. Arginine is important in the formation of new bone and collagen. Dietary sources of this amino acid are cacao, carob, hemp seeds, celery, coconut, peanuts, wheat germ, soy, dairy, walnuts, almonds, cucumber, sunflower seeds, beets, and oats.

Aspartic acid helps build healthy bones and teeth. Find it in almonds, grapefruit, hemp seeds, lemon, sprouts, cucumber, and apples.

Cystine contains sulfur, a mineral that helps build strong nails, healthy skin and hair. It promotes skin elasticity and assists in the production of collagen. This amino acid is very important in detoxification because it destroys free radicals and binds to heavy metals so that they can be safely eliminated from the body. Poultry, egg yolks, red peppers, apples, yogurt, alfalfa, garlic, onion, hazel nuts, broccoli, brussels sprouts, oats, wheat germ, and cucumber all contain cystine.

Glutamine plays the biggest role in the body's metabolic processes among all the other amino acids. It is therefore no coincidence that glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. This amino acid is also a precursor of glutathione, one of the much-raved antioxidants in the world of both conventional medicine and natural health. Glutamine prevents muscle loss, making it a vital nutrient among bodybuilders. Glutamine food sources include spinach, beans, parsley, dairy products, and fish.

Glycine is needed by the body to build proteins and other amino acids, repair damaged tissue, and accelerate healing processes. Glycine can be found in fish, dairy, almonds, okra, figs, raspberries, lemon, oranges, and beans.

Lysine aids in building muscle mass, tissue repair, and collagen formation. Deficiency symptoms of lysine include hair loss, bloodshot eyes, and retarded growth. Increase your lysine intake by consuming lima beans, dairy products, fish, potatoes, yeast, soy products, and eggs.

Methionine is an essential amino acid that contains a high amount of sulfur, the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. This amino acid is vital in collagen formation and in building strong hair. Like glutathione, methionine is also a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and detoxifies the body from heavy metals. Get your dose of methionine by consuming more garlic, dairy, onions, fish, soybeans, lentils, and other seeds.

Proline helps in the breakdown of fats. Coconut, avocado, almonds, olives, and cucumber are good sources of proline.

Phenylalanine helps the body get rid of waste matter. Cacao, tomatoes, pineapple, cucumber, apples, carrots, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, millet, sweet potatoes, avocado, spinach, corn, millet, green peas, chards, and potatoes are all phenylalanine-rich foods.

Serine is needed for muscle growth and tissue detox. Eat pineapple, papaya, apples, cucumber, and radishes, which all contain serine.

Tryptophan helps the body generate new cells and tissue. Get your tryptophan from peanuts, soy, dairy, celery, beets, fennel, carrots, spring beans, fish, eggs, and oats.

Threonine is also an essential amino acid that plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, muscle tissue, and elastin. Soy, chickpeas, lentils, wheat germ, fish, egg yolks, flaxseed, and peanuts are all rich in threonine.

Tyrosine affects hair color, tissue, and cell growth. Apricots, cucumbers, bananas, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, green pepper, strawberries, fish, oats, avocado, and sesame seeds all contain tyrosine.

Valine, an essential amino acid, is needed by the body for proper muscle metabolism and tissue repair. Valine can be found in mushrooms, dairy, peanuts, soy, and grains.

Additional Tips for a More Successful Natural Make-over

1. A certain step you can take to have a dramatic improvement in appearance in a matter of days is by fasting. When you fast your body re-allocates its energies from digestion to detoxification more than it does on a regular high-raw or all-raw diet. You may opt for a cleanse that is either milder or stronger, like the one that removes a lot of fiber from the food to further accelerate the body's cleansing rate. There are several kinds of fasting that you can do: water fast, lemonade fast (or the master cleanse), mono-meal fast, juice fast, and the juice feast. The difference between the juice fast and the juice feast is in the amount of juices you can consume. In the former you can only drink a limited number of servings, while the latter would require you to drink at least 1 gallon of juice everyday. Whichever fasting program you choose has to be 100% raw. It is good to do your own research and to consult an expert on fasting to help you decide the type and duration of the fast that is right for you.

2. Intensify your body's inside-out make-over by detoxifying your mind. Raw food and natural beauty guru David Wolfe put it so eloquently in an old but currently unavailable interview published online: "True beauty comes from the inside out. It emerges from proper thinking, as well as proper nutrition, and exercise. Thoughts -- positive or negative -- etch themselves in the face and record themselves in the character of the individual... The habitual presence of high and noble thoughts polishes the face, defines the stature, and builds the countenance. High purpose and genuine enthusiasm create an immaculate beauty. Thoughts alone can overwhelm the influence of clothing and cosmetics." Negative thoughts and emotions acidify the system. Unfired food will eventually alter your thought patterns and emotional make-up for the better, but you can also diffuse them with the help of exercise, acupressure, or any activity that you enjoy doing. Such activities will trigger the release of feel-good chemicals that would facilitate your mental make-over.

3. Opt for a low-sugar and low-sodium diet. Say no to highly-processed foods and refined sugars. Foods with high glycemic indices promote insulin secretion. High levels of this hormone in the body leads to premature aging, breaking down collagen along the way, the fibrous protein responsible for your skin's firmness and contour. A high-sodium diet on the other hand causes weight gain, cellulite, dark eye circles, and water retention.

4. Improve your circulation through regular exercise, massage, acupressure, and dry skin brushing prior to taking a bath. These will all improve both blood flow and lymphatic drainage. By stimulating the lymphatic system metabolic wastes and toxins trapped in the lymphatic fluid move more easily to the bloodstream, allowing them to be eliminated from the body. Also, daily dry skin brushing with a natural brush will help remove cellulite and reveal softer, smoother skin.

5. Sweating is a good way to get rid of toxins through the skin, the body's largest organ of elimination. Work up a sweat by doing your favorite aerobic exercise or by going to a sauna for a pampering detox treatment.

6. Steer away from deep-fried food. Plant oils subjected to high temperature get oxidized. Oxidized fats inside the body cause free radicals to proliferate, so choose wisely when you eat outside, and be extra wary because some restaurants don't change their oil to cut down costs and keep using oxidized oil over and over again. Barbecued, charred, and broiled food will also result in increased free radical activity in the body.

7. Consider hiring a raw food coach to help you personalize your new healthy diet. He or she can guide you in making the right food choices by asking you questions about your family history, previous diet, and the goals that you want to achieve through the raw diet. A raw food coach can also give you the encouragement and support you'll need as you step on the marvelous but often-misunderstood world of raw food. He or she will help you plan strategies to maximize results and give you advice to overcome problems and issues that you might have on the raw diet. Attend raw food seminars and potlucks not just to immerse yourself in the world of raw food but also to meet people like you who want to improve all aspects of their life through superior nutrition.

8. Minimize your consumption of meat if you still feel that you must eat animal flesh. Raw or cooked, animal flesh is acidifying. Acidosis leads to accelerated aging. Raw animal flesh contains parasites, and cooked meat encourages the growth of worms through putrefaction in the intestines. Avoid unhealthy animal fat such as those found in red meat. That bacon or pancheta may look so tempting to you but if the human body stores its metabolic wastes and toxins in the fat cells then guess where the animal's poisons are found.

9. Quit smoking. Smoking will give you dark lips, crow's feet, wrinkles, a sallow complexion, and dark eye circles. Smoking will also exhaust your vitamin C supply due to increased oxidative stress.

10. Learn to relax and let go of tension. Physical stress and lack of sleep force the body to work much harder and disrupt hormonal activities. Weight gain, hair loss, wrinkles, gray hair, oily skin, dark eye circles, dandruff, murky skin tone, acne, dry skin, eye bags, and a haggard appearance are all side effects of having too much stress in your life. Fight stress through exercise, deep breathing, and a healthy diet. Try to connect with others and with that part of yourself that needs to be acknowledged, appreciated, and cared for.

11. Control your alcohol intake. Liquor burdens the liver and therefore interrupts the detox process. Red wine may be considered raw and may have a lot of antioxidants, but alcohol is alcohol and would still have to pass through the liver.

12. Drink plenty of water. Water not only helps flush out toxins and helps promote weigh loss; it is also needed by all the nutrients to do what they're supposed to. The body's metabolic processes rely on water to be carried out smoothly. Water hydrates tissue and cells. It fights off cellulite, dry skin, constipation, and edema brought about by a high-sodium diet.

13. Get yourself your own aloe vera plant. Aloe vera is a wonder plant that can heal wounds, burns, infections, and lacerations. It contains around 200 phytonutrients as well as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and essential fats. Aloe has properties that can restore tissue. It also boosts the potentiality of antioxidants. The quality of aloe tends to deteriorate upon exposure to air, so mix the gel last to your favorite raw smoothie or juice with a spoon and consume immediately.

14. Some foods have greater antioxidant power than the others, so you may want to include them in your diet on a more regular basis. This is determined by ORAC values, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. ORAC measures the in-vitro ability of foods to destroy free radicals. Studies reveal that antioxidants found in foods raise the antioxidant power of the blood. Raw cacao has the most phenomenal ORAC value. All other super foods, as well as prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, kale, spinach, strawberries, raspberries, Brussels sprouts, plums, oranges, red grapes and alfalfa sprouts, fare very well in ORAC assays. Among the nuts, pecan, pistachio, and almonds have the highest ORAC ratings.

15. Coffee has been reported to cause wrinkles in spite of all its publicity as a high-antioxidant drink. Coffee beans are roasted even before you "cook" them in your cup with hot water, which goes to mean that coffee has a greatly-reduced antioxidant capacity. If you eat a mainly raw diet, which provides more octane than heat-treated caffeine, then you wouldn't need coffee. Super foods will also provide a lot more energy than your daily caffeine fix.

16. Go natural as often and as much as you can. Toxins from your creams, lotions, make-up, perfume, shampoo, soap, and additive-laden foods will convert into free radicals once they have entered the gut or bloodstream. Anything carcinogenic will lead to free radical damage.

John Robert Powers said that beauty is every woman's birthright. A rejoinder to this is that beauty is everyone's birthright, male or female, young or old, black or white. The concept of radiant health has made us rethink the traditional idea of physical attractiveness. The raw food philosophy teaches that beauty is everyone's privilege no matter where the person is coming from, since anyone can attain outstanding health by eating more raw food and by adopting positive lifestyle changes. If one really thinks about it, health, happiness, and beauty are truly inseparable from each other. Enjoy the journey to a healthier, happier, and better-looking you!

References:

Phytochemicals: Another Reason To Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables. N.d. (www.tonytantillo.com/reference/phyto.html) .

Calbom, Cherie, and Keane, Maureen. Juicing for Life. Health Harmony 2004.

Kenton, Leslie and Susannah. Raw Energy. Century Publishing 1984.

Mc Bride, Judy. Can Foods Forestall Aging? March 16 2007.
(http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/feb99/...) .

Moffat, Denice. Amino Acids. 2006. (http://www.naturalhealthtechniques.com/) .

Antioxidant List And Best Bet Foods. 2006. (http://www.naturalhealthtechniques.com) .

Petrosino, Steven. Dietary Sources of Glutathione. N.d. (http://www.nutritionadvisor.com/glutathione_...) .

Rose, Natalia. The Raw Food Detox Diet. Regan 2005.

Wolfe, David. The Latest Word on Raw Food: Raw Chocolate! N.d. (http://www.sunfood.com/b2c/ecom/ecomEnduser/...)

Three Age-Defying Secrets of the Beauty Diet. N.d.
(http://www.davidwolfe.com/Articles/Secretsof...)

About the author

Charmaine D. Mercado is a freelance writer who is passionate about natural health, nutrition and well-being.

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