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Times of the Islands Magazine

Eating in the Raw - The possible health benefits of uncooked vegetables, fruits and grains

Jun 25, 2015 09:18AM ● By Cory Batelaan
The possible health benefits of uncooked vegetables, fruits and grains

By Ann Marie O’Phelan

We all know what raw foods are. They’re the foods that you find in the produce aisle—fresh from the ground or off the trees. A raw-foods diet is based on the idea that cooking food, or even heating it, destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes. This is viewed by raw-foods advocates as problematic because enzymes can boost digestion and fight chronic disease.

According to Cristina Cohl, a holistic nutritionist and raw-foods chef/personal chef, a raw-foods diet helps with even more than that. “With a raw-foods diet, you will enjoy greater vitality because food gets digested easily and in less time (24-36 hours as opposed to 48-100 hours for cooked foods), your memory and concentration can become sharper, your eyes and skin will become brighter and clearer, and the diet can help normalize your weight without food restrictions,” says Cohl, who adds that the list goes on from there.

Raw chocolate torte fruit  edible flowers 2Cohl started her raw-foods diet for health reasons and found that the selections of raw foods wasn’t all that great, so she started making her own—kale salads, zucchini noodles and pesto dishes, protein balls made with raw chai vanilla and even raw chocolate tortes with fresh fruit and edible flowers. Cohl now sells some of her dehydrated fruits, kale, crackers, granola and assorted raw protein balls at Mother Earth Natural Foods in the Cape Coral and Estero locations.

Cohl is never too far away from her dehydrator and her blender, where she often supplements her raw foods with concentrated herbs, vitamins and super foods such as blueberries and kale. “This helps even more to stay healthy, prevent disease and slow down mental and physical aging,” adds Cohl, who offers raw-foods diet classes and workshops.

Shoppers can find a selection of raw foods at local grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farm stands. Mother Earth offers fresh and organic produce, along with raw powdered protein drinks and raw vitamins. Mother Earth also has a selection of grains such as oats, barley and wild rice, along with nuts and seeds such as sesame and flax, all of which can be incorporated into raw-foods diets.

Karen Sharpe, the manager of Mother Earth in Cape Coral, sees indications that the raw-foods diet is catching on. “We just had two people in this morning who were looking for help with their raw-foods diets,” she says, explaining that the customers had heard that a raw-foods diet could help aid and cure many ailments such as arthritis and diabetes.

Although some experts might disagree, raw-foods diet followers have no intention of turning up the heat any time soon.



Cristina Cohl, holistic nutritionist and raw-foods chef/personal chef 239-560-8123,

Mother Earth Natural Foods 1631 Del Prado Blvd., #408, Cape Coral 239-574-6333

4600 Summerlin Road, C10, Fort Myers 239-939-0990

1521 McGregor Blvd., #7, Fort Myers 239-489-3377

21740 S. Tamiami Trail, Estero 239-676-1342

Ann Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident who loves all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are readily available year round.