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Are Dehydrated Foods Really That Good For You?

Posted Oct 04 2010 4:48pm

I’m writing this article sitting in the raw Chocolatree Cafe in Sedona. I’ve been in here every day that I’ve been in my two week stay in Sedona. I love the food, the community, the atmosphere and the beautiful garden out the back which is the perfect spot to sit and work. It’s these kind of establishments that to me are a perfect representation of the living food community.

The more I immerse myself in the living food and health scene in the United States, the more I discover what I do and don’t like about it – keeping in mind that there are definitely more things I love than what I don’t like.

What I’ve discovered over the past week or so is my dislike of dehydrated foods. I own a good quality dehydrator at home which I occasionally use when I’m organized enough. I don’t use it a lot partially because I’m so lazy and can’t be bothered waiting hours for food to dehydrate, but also partially because dehydrated foods just don’t seem that awesome to me.

Dehydrated foods can aggravate the vata dosha

In Ayurvedic medicine I’m predominantly vata. If you’re not familiar with Ayurvedic medicine, you can find out more and do an online test by clicking here .

Vata types are typically too dry already so we don’t want to eat too many dehydrated foods because it will just make our vata even worse. In Dr Gabriel Cousens book Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, Dr Cousens recommends vata types limit the amount of dehydrated foods consumed, and make sure they’re hydrated when consuming them. The hydration thing makes sense if you think about it. Food naturally contains a lot of water, just like our own bodies. Dehydration sucks all the water out of the food in the process of drying. It’s therefore a good idea to hydrate when eating dehydrated food to get the water back in again so you body doesn’t need to draw on its own resources. Just picture a heavily dehydrated cracker making its way down into your stomach. Doesn’t that intuitively seem like an easier ride with a bit of liquid to mush up with it?

And it’s not just the drying out of my body, it’s the aggravation of my vata that I want to avoid too. When I’m too vata I’m restless in my mind and restless in my body. I don’t sleep well and my mind races at a million miles a minute. I can also get very ungrounded which comes with a whole heap of fun side effects. It really is best for me to keep my vata down.

Dehydrated foods just don’t seem LIVE

Technically dehydrated foods are still raw but I don’t consider them live. I prefer not to consider myself a “high raw” eater because there’s a lot of raw food junk out there (says me eating a raw dehydrated chocolate chip cookie right now!). Instead I prefer to eat “high live foods”. It just seems so much better to me.

So when I eat dehydrated foods, while they’re still raw and are supposed to contain many of the enzymes, vitamins and minerals that the original plant source contained, to me it just doesn’t feel right. Think of a dehydrated cracker then picture all of the fresh ingredients that went into that cracker before it was mushed up and dehydrated. Hmm, vastly different in my opinion.

Now I’m not telling you that it’s bad to eat dehydrated foods because fresh is always better. What I am telling you is to think twice before you saturate what you eat every day with predominantly dehydrated raw food and/or raw “junk foods” because it’s not going to lead to the results you’re looking for. Just because something has the label “raw” on it doesn’t mean you can eat it all day and have the best health ever.

Earlier today I went to the biggest health food store in Sedona, New Frontiers, to stock up on some supplies. Many health stores here in the United States have a huge raw food section and New Frontiers is no exception. Unless refrigerated, this section includes piles of raw chocolates, superfoods and dehydrated goodies like crackers, breads, nuts, cookies, goodie balls, vegetable chips and sweet snack bars. Anything I guess you’d find in a traditional snack food isle but the healthier version. Now while these foods are great on occasion, they’re also often full of sugars (yes, even most natural sugars aren’t good in excess) and heavily dehydrated. Two things that are great every now and again but not optimal for your health to eat all day every day.

Also please consider that just because my body doesn’t go well with dehydrated foods doesn’t mean you fit into the same category as me. You may find that you can snack on dehydrated foods throughout the day without feeling like it’s not good for your body. In fact you may even thrive on them. All I suggest is that you make sure you’re hydrated and watch the amount of sugars you’re consuming.

There’s a lesson in every step of our journey and this week I’ve learned the lesson of raw versus living foods. I guess being put in a situation where I’ve been traveling and dehydrated foods are just so easy and accessible has shown me that my body much prefers fresh, water rich living foods. So much so that after a couple of days without a bowl of greens now I crave it. Now craving greens, who ever would have thought that was possible!?

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