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Raw Foods Are Hot and Cold

Ayurvedic advice on finding the right foods for you.

By YJ Staff

A raw foods diet will tend to increase mental clarity, provided that it does not weaken the digestive fire. Those with strong digestion will usually do well, both mentally and physically, on a raw foods diet, while anyone whose power of digestion is weak to begin with will tend to do poorly, says ayurveda">Ayurvedic physician Robert Svoboda.

"Raw foods, though full of benevolent enzymes, are generally 'cold' in potency, meaning that overall they require more energy for digestion than does cooked food, which though less 'vital' than raw food is more easily assimilated," he says. "Raw salads are less appealing to most people in winter than in summer because of this 'cold' potency."

Svoboda adds that "cold" is one of vata's salient attributes, and vata people generally have an "uneven" digestive fire; one day they can eat a horse, but the next they are back to selective grazing.

"The average vata person can assimilate cooked food more readily than raw food, and does not find it easy to thrive on a raw diet," he says. "Many vata types who dive directly from a more conventional diet into a raw diet end up bouncing back to their previous fare. Others begin to accumulate excess vata, and eventually develop some sort of vata aggravation." He adds, though, that many vatas who make the shift slowly eventually learn to flourish on raw foods, particularly those who live in a warm, supportive environment.

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