Got Raw Food? 50 Ways to Increase Enzymes In Your Diet

by Ann Marie Michaels on August 24, 2009

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raw food

I have a t-shirt that says, “The revolution will not be pasteurized”. On the back it says “Drink raw milk.” I wear it proudly because I believe so strongly in the health benefits of drinking raw, unpasteurized milk. (You can get one from the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund — click here.)

Pasteurization: Killing Bugs in Pathogenic Milk

When I learned about the history of milk, I was surprised to find out that pasteurization began as a way to kill pathogens (bad bacteria) in milk from unhealthy cows in some of America’s first factory farms. These were cows being fed a grain mash leftover from whiskey distilleries in the late 1800s. The milk was so tainted, it was blue. They had to add chalk to make it white. No wonder the infant mortality rate shot up to 50% in cities where the poor were feeding this milk to their infants. (Source: The Untold Story Of Milk by Dr. Ron Schmid)

Healthy cows on grass don’t produce milk that is rife with pathogens. So you don’t actually need to pasteurize it. But you do need to pasteurize milk that is pathogenic. Pasteurization makes the milk seem healthy — but it isn’t. It’s just full of dead pathogenic bugs.

Of course, it’s more convenient for industrial food processors to feed cows cheap corn and soybeans — and just pasteurize the milk. But it’s not healthy for them — or us. Did you know a cow being fed grain lives only an average of 3.5 years, compared to a cow on pasture, who lives almost 3 times that long? (Source:

For more on raw milk, read my Top 10 Reasons To Drink Raw Milk.

First Pasteurization, Now Ammonia

Milk isn’t the only thing being pasteurized these days. I ordered a can of tomato juice on an airplane recently and was dismayed to see the word PASTEURIZED on the label.

That’s nothing compared to this bit of shocking news… I just saw the new movie, Food Inc. last week. They interviewed a beef processor who, in an attempt to kill the e Coli bacteria, washes the beef with a mixture of ammonia and chlorine.

They said this ammonia-processed beef is in 70% of American restaurants. Bon appetit, eh?

Why Eat Raw Food?

Raw food is living food, and it’s teeming with good bacteria and rich in enzymes. We need probiotics and enzymes in our diet for good health.

What Are Enzymes?

According to Sally Fallon-Morell and Mary Enig, PhD, on the Weston A. Price Foundation website, “enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts in almost every biochemical process that takes place in the body”.

They write:

Enzyme research has revealed the importance of raw foods in the diet. The enzymes in raw food help start the process of digestion and reduce the body’s need to produce digestive enzymes. All enzymes are deactivated at a wet-heat temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit and a dry-heat temperature of about 150 degrees. It is one of those happy designs of nature that foods and liquids at 117 degrees can be touched without pain, but liquids over 118 degrees will burn. Thus, we have a built-in mechanism for determining whether or not the food we are eating still contains its enzyme content.

A diet composed exclusively of cooked food puts a severe strain on the pancreas, drawing down its reserves, so to speak. If the pancreas is constantly overstimulated to produce enzymes that ought to be in foods, the result over time will be inhibited function. Humans eating an enzyme-poor diet, comprised primarily of cooked food, use up a tremendous amount of their enzyme potential in the outpouring of secretions from the pancreas and other digestive organs. The result, according to the late Dr. Edward Howell, a noted pioneer in the field of enzyme research, is a shortened life span, illness and lowered resistance to stress of all types. He points out that humans and animals on a diet comprised largely of cooked food have enlarged pancreas organs while other glands and organs, notably the brain, actually shrink in size.

Whoa — shrunken brains. That’s reason enough to eat more raw foods. ;-)

Do You Have To Eat a 100% Raw Diet To Be Healthy?

No. It is not necessary to eat all of our foods raw. In fact, some foods need to be cooked in order to minimize anti-nutrients (leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, for example).

The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends that we incorporate raw foods into our meals, but they do not suggest we eat a totally raw diet. On their website, they elaborate on the role of enzymes in traditional diets:

Almost all traditional societies incorporate raw, enzyme-rich foods into their cuisines — not only vegetable foods but also raw animal proteins and fats in the form of raw dairy foods, raw fish and raw muscle and organ meats. These diets also traditionally include a certain amount of cultured or fermented foods, which have an enzyme content that is actually enhanced by the fermenting and culturing process.

In other words, sure, you could eat a whole lot of salad, but not everyone lives in places where they can get fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. There are so many other ways to get enzymes. I thought I’d write up a list to remind us of just some of the many ways to enjoy raw foods and increase enzymes in your diet.

50 Ways to Increase Enzymes In Your Diet

1. Fresh watermelon
2. Raw milk
3. Naturally fermented sauerkraut
4. Dried fruit (raisins, cherries, blueberries, bananas, dried at a low temperature)
5. Sushi
6. Oysters on the half shell (see my recipe)
7. Essene bread (a sprouted grain bread baked at a low temperature)
8. Raw honey mixed into yogurt
9. Beef tartare
10. Naturally fermented salsa (see my recipe)
11. Kefir (see my recipe)
12. Naturally fermented dill pickles or pickle relish
13. Caesar salad
14. Fresh coconut water
15. Raw butter on toast
16. Ceviche
17. Beet kvass
18. An apple (I guess this is why they say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”)
19. Sour cream
20. Kombucha (see my recipe)
21. Raw bean and seed sprouts, added to salads or eaten as a snack
22. Sprouted flour crackers (dried, not baked — see my recipe)
23. Kefir soda pop (see my recipe)
24. Soaked granola (dried, not baked — see my recipe)
25. Tuna tartare
26. Raw ice cream (made with raw cream and raw egg yolks)
27. Gazpacho
28. Fruit salad
29. Caviar
30. Raw almonds, soaked and dried (make sure they are real raw almonds, as many almonds are labeled raw but they are not)
31. Hamburgers, cooked medium rare
32. Hollandaise sauce made with raw egg yolks
33. Fresh tomato juice (made at home — most store-bought brands are pasteurized)
34. Banana split
35. Buttermilk ranch dressing (see my recipe)
36. Fresh carrot juice (made at home — most store-bought brands are pasteurized)
37. Raw egg yolks added to smoothies or milk shakes
38. Caprese salad
39. Pesto made with fresh basil, raw Parmesan, and raw pine nuts (soaked and dried)
40. Nicoise salad
41. Salmon roe (see my recipe for Deviled Eggs with Salmon Roe)
42. Mayonnaise made with raw egg yolks (see my recipe)
43. Fruit leather (dried at a low temperature)
44. Cantaloupe
45. Fresh guacamole
46. Steak, cooked medium rare
47. Tzatziki sauce (Greek yogurt cucumber dip)
48. Fresh wheatgrass juice
49. Sprouted seeds, nuts and beans added to a salad
50. Kefir smoothies

How We Eat

We don’t eat salads every day. Maybe a few times a week. But we’re lucky to live in California where we can get fresh local produce year-round, so it’s not hard to incorporate salads whenever we feel like it. I can grow lettuce in my backyard all year long.

Our family also consumes a lot of raw dairy, mainly in the form of milk and kefir. My husband doesn’t enjoy raw milk like I do, but he does like raw fish and raw meats. I try to make sure he gets sushi or raw oysters at least once a week. And I’ve been making soaked granola and sprouted flour crackers in my dehydrator. I also try to get him to drink kombucha and kefir soda pop, and we keep a lot of fresh fruits in the house.

Tips and Resources

Use a Dehydrator

I love-love-love my Excalibur dehydrator. This is my favorite appliance for making enzyme-rich foods. I use it for making crackers, granola, and drying fruits and soaked oatmeal and nuts and seeds at a low temperature — to keep the enzymes intact. See my resources page for where to buy.

Make or Buy Lacto-Fermented Foods

I also try to serve lacto-fermented foods with meals as often as possible. Some examples:

  • Serve lacto-fermented salsa and sour cream with tacos or nachos
  • Add raw fermented dressing to a salad
  • Make homemade mayonnaise with whey
  • Serve sauerkraut with soups, beans or hot dogs
  • Serve kombucha or kefir soda pop with the meal

Check out my resources page for sources of fermented foods and condiments, and for fermented food starter cultures like kombucha mushrooms and kefir grains.

What About You?

What are some of your favorite ways to increase enzymes in your diet and your family’s diet? Please share in the comments below.

This post is a part of the Natural Cures blog carnival at Hartke Is Online.

Photo credit: wEnDaLicious on Flickr
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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

tina August 24, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Ann Marie,

Are fermented veggies (and chutneys) more nutritionally dense than unfermented veggies?


cheeseslave August 24, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Tina – Yes!


Kara August 24, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Does anyone have a favorite brand of raw cheese to recommend? The two brands we have tried have been okay, but nothing special. We love the flavor of Kerrygold’s reserve cheddar, but of course it isn’t raw.


Betsy August 24, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Well, crap, I didn’t know that spinach and kale shouldn’t be eaten raw. I just a couple of weeks ago started drinking green smoothies with, of course, both those veggies.

On the flip side, I have a “milkshake” with raw milk, egg yolks, raw cocoa, maca and a little stevia for breakfast most mornings. I drink kombucha and water kefir daily. I make my own mayonnaise with whey. I eat dehydrated almonds. I’ve bought some seeds to sprout, but I keep forgetting about them. I guess I’m not doing too badly. ;)


Chiot's Run August 24, 2009 at 2:50 PM

I love that shirt, I think I may have to go buy one, perhaps I’ll buy one for the lady I buy my illegal raw milk from.

We drink raw milk and other fermented foods, we eat lots of raw foods from our garden. I guess all of my efforts to preserve food without as much energy usage via canning is really healthier as well. Dried pears are so much tastier than the canned ones.


Dana August 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

In 2007, the Almond Growers Board decreed that all almonds grown in the US would be treated with pastuerization up to 158º, irradiated or spayed with chemical treatments to kill all bacteria and yet since “all the industry” was doing this, it would be a “standard practice” and so would not have to say anything on the label, they could retain the raw label. All almonds grown in the USA have to be irradiated or treated, which is a far cry from being raw! I can’t find anything saying the decision was rescinded.

Dana D


cheeseslave August 24, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Yes, Dana that is true. It’s terrible that almonds can be labeled as raw but are not raw.

There are some places you can still get really, truly raw almonds. I have bought them from growers I trust at the farmer’s market.

Also, Organic Pastures ships truly raw almonds:


Dana August 24, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Wonderful! I’ve been wanting a place to get raw almonds but haven’t found anything but LivingNutz which I didn’t like.


Betsy August 24, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Dana, LivingNutz is where I got my last batch and I didn’t much care for them either. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

A friend has bought some from Nutnother for both of us. I’ll get my next batch from them if I like the nuts, otherwise I’ll try Organic Pastures.


tina August 24, 2009 at 7:15 PM

We drink raw milk and I’m making two kombucha mothers for the first time. I’m also hydrating water kefir grains that I got from Cultures for Health (via this website resources) for the first time. I’ll make water kefir soda soon! I’m fermenting carrots, cucs and zucchini -again my first try for those veggies. We also eat raw eggs.

I’m so frustrated about the raw almonds. I’ve soaked and dehydrated them a few times before I found out they weren’t raw. I was so cranky about it that I haven’t soaked nuts again. I just don’t know which nuts are truly raw. I can get spanish peanuts that are raw but their skins are still left on. Some of the nuts are blanched (it says so on the package.)

Should I get nuts that still in their shells?


Hillori August 25, 2009 at 10:18 AM

Can you tell me which size dehdrator you use for your family. I saw a couple on the Excaliber website and wasn’t sure what size would be best.


cheeseslave August 25, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Hillori –

It really depends what you are going to use it for. They are the same size in width and depth I believe, so they take up the same amount of room on the counter.

I ended up getting the 9-tray. I wanted the bigger one in case I needed to do bulk batches of fruit and tomatoes from the garden. Also when I soak and dry nuts, I prefer to do a LOT at one time. I also soak large amounts of oatmeal, and I like to dry it for granola and oatmeal cookies. I like to make huge batches at once.

Oh, and then there’s the sprouted flour crackers. Also love to make huge batches of those b/c they tend to go fast.

And beef jerky…

Yeah — so many things!

So… the 9-tray works better for us. We are only a family of 3, but I need all those trays!


Herbwifemama August 25, 2009 at 3:22 PM

This is slightly off topic, but if anyone knows, I know it will be you: I read ages ago that cows used to be fed whiskey mash, but I mentioned this to someone I know (an agricultural economist), and he said they still are. Is this true? I can’t imagine we’d still be doing this. Do the whiskey companies still have a deal with CAFOs?


cheeseslave August 25, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Yep – they are still doing it.

I didn’t know about this… your friend is right. Of course, corn and soy (esp. GM corn/soy) is arguably just as bad.

Nothing has really changed, has it? It’s just that now they pasteurize the milk.


tina August 25, 2009 at 4:39 PM

I just thought they were feeding cows GMO corn and soybeans…


Jen August 25, 2009 at 5:26 PM

YUCK! I about gagged a few times while reading that article about distillers mash being fed to feedlot cattle.


cheeseslave August 25, 2009 at 5:26 PM

I heard Sally Fallon Morell say in her talk that they feed them all kinds of other junk, too, like old baked goods.

Oh, yes here it is:

We have no sense of the sacredness of our animals today. Instead, we have an industrial system of agriculture that puts our dairy cows inside on cement all their lives and gives them foods that cows are not designed to eat—grain, soy, citrus peel cake and bakery waste. These modern cows produce huge amounts of watery milk which is very low in fat.


Amanda August 25, 2009 at 10:52 PM

What a great post. I made both gazpacho ( and raw salsa ( this week. It is great to hear the benefits of eating them :)


Allison November 15, 2009 at 7:28 PM

I have a Spiralizer and I use it to make zucchini noodles. I use zucchini cut into strips coated with olive oil and ground (soaked) pumpkin seeds and seasalt then dehydrated until the centers are soft. It tastes a lot like macaroni and cheese. I have made a million green smoothies with fruit, greens and water. I especially like stuffed ripe bell peppers. I used to be a raw food vegan. It became detrimental but I still eat some raw food.


lisa February 14, 2010 at 2:04 PM

do you ever worry about parasites in raw sushi?


olesea April 1, 2010 at 2:50 AM

24/08/2009 at 3:49 pm Permalink .Dana, LivingNutz is where I got my last batch and I didn’t much care for them either. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

A friend has bought some from Nutnother for both of us. I’ll get my next batch from them if I like the nuts

hi Betsy i have question for you:
so did you buy from almonds, do you like this almonds becouse i want to buy from them but i’m not sure…i cheked price is preaty cheap.Pleasee people sugest from where i could buy raw almonds?


Betsy April 2, 2010 at 9:42 PM


I did like the nuts from nutnother. When I next bought almonds, though, I got them from Organic Pastures.


Anna April 14, 2010 at 2:29 AM

What’s this in the comments about kale and spinach shouldn’t be eaten raw?? I eat them raw ALL the time and fresh kale just happens to be one of my all time favorite food! Torn up into tiny pieces, mashed up with an avocado and a dash of cayenne pepper and sometimes salt. Mm YUM!!! If they shouldn’t be eaten raw, I would like to know why?

Meanwhile, I definitely want to try fermenting food, having never done it before, and I know I will be coming back to this blog when I find a big glass bowl and some starter. This blog is a great, easy-to-read source of information, plus you make it sound simple to do as well! My confidence is boosted. Thanks!!!


Trevor Allen November 8, 2010 at 8:34 PM

After staying with a family in Sydney Australia where i had raw cows milk in Aug 2010 i am so nourished now with raw cows milk and focusing on and including more raw food for enzymes vitamins & lactic acid etc. I wish more of humanity have more faith in how millions of people in history survived from their cows and goats.:)


Anne @ digestive enzymes supplement April 7, 2011 at 6:04 AM

Fresh watermelon, fresh coconut water, an apple, fruit salad, and banana split are some of my family’s favorites. I’m glad that these are listed in the “50 Ways to Increase Enzymes In Your Diet”. I found this post very helpful. This is a very nice guide. Thanks for sharing.


Mary Jane Humes May 14, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Raw milk, fermented foods. some raw meat….. YES! Enjoyed what I read. I LOVE raw cow’s milk and raw butter and raw eggnog! To delicious and oh so good for you!

I devoted a whole space on my website to raw dairy. Check it out at

Always glad to connect to others who love raw milk and all of the other benefits of raw food.


LeahS July 20, 2011 at 9:49 AM

GREAT post! Such a good time of year to be enjoying the fresh bounty!


Joannie Cerullo January 20, 2012 at 4:55 AM

I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Great work!


fred March 16, 2013 at 3:34 AM

I totally disagree with this diet… Milk products and all that protein myth here just all wrong.


bette August 30, 2013 at 7:39 PM

I recently found out I have a low functioning pancreas and need Lipase supplementation. Unfortunately I moved from fruitful California to live in a state with Draconian laws about raw milk. You can’t even order raw milk, butter or cheese online and have it shipped here. I don’t eat red meat so getting enough enzymes is rough


Robin B September 7, 2013 at 1:31 AM

Why aren’t raw pineapple and papaya listed here??


Inna Malyk September 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

No only raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds is good!


Juanita R. Williams October 12, 2013 at 4:46 AM

Wow. Would love a newsletter suggesting ways to get the enzymes in my diet and sources for the raw foods. Any instructions on fermenting foods?


ted dudas December 4, 2013 at 11:20 AM

one word,,great.thats why I gave yu my well


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