The Best Coffees in the World

When considering the best coffees in the world, I went to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) for research. They are the organization that sets the quality standards for specialty coffee, which the public calls “gourmet” coffee. All specialty coffees use arabica beans. The other category of is the robusta bean, which is of inferior taste quality to arabica. Within these categories, there are several varieties of bean. Arabica beans are grown at a higher altitude than robusta.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world and is graded in a similar manner as wine. This event is called a “cupping” and has a set of strict standards. Winning a cupping is very prestigious and has a direct effect on the prices a coffee grower can get for his crop.

History of these “cupping” winners has shown that three areas of the world produce the most winners. Interestingly, these regions have a very similar latitude when looking at the world map. The three regions are Ethiopia, Sumatra and Panama.

Ethiopian/Kenyan Coffee (Africa)

Ethiopian coffee is aromatic, highly flavorful, and also known to be some of the best coffees in the world. It is also the origin of all coffee. The Ethiopian people have a legend that says that a goat herder discovered Ethiopian coffee around 850 AD. This legend claims that the goat herder noticed that his sheep were very excited and nearly dancing after eating red berries from a tree. The legend of the founder goes on to say that the herder sampled the red berries for himself and took some of the berries home to his wife who insisted that he take them to the monks. The monks supposedly threw the berries into a fire and noticed the delicious smell that the berries produced. The monks are said to have removed the berries from the fire and boiled the berries in water to create the beverage that we now know as Ethiopian coffee.

Whether this legend is true, or in fact just a legend is forever a mystery. Regardless, Ethiopian coffee has been used for religious ceremonies. These ceremonies are still held today and if a guest is invited to participate in the ceremony, it is well known to be a very beautiful experience.

Locally, Ethiopian coffee is served with either sugar, or in some parts of Ethiopia, salt. Milk or any type of creamer is never used in traditionally brewing. The process of making the coffee varies by region. In some regions it is dry processed and in some other regions it is washed. The Ethiopian coffee found in stores today is dry processed.

The process is often grueling and coupled with with importing adds to the reason of why Ethiopian coffee can be expensive.

When consumers purchase Ethiopian coffee to be brewed at home, it is wise to consider fair trade Ethiopian coffee. The obvious reason to consider fair trade is so that the producers of this wonderful product can reap the benefits of their hard work. Ethiopian coffee has a rich, bold, and exciting history and a taste that has been favored by many people for a long time.

Sumatran Coffee (Indonesia)

Sumatran coffee comes from the island in Indonesia called Sumatra. The taste of Sumatran coffee is spicy, herbal, and very distinct. It is considered to be one of the best coffees in the world and was first introduced by the Dutch around 1699 when the Dutch wanted to keep up with the demand of coffee to Europe. The Dutch traders knew the difference between Sumatran coffee beans and other coffee beans by the appearance, which are irregularly shaped and bright green.

Sumatran coffee is one of the best coffees in the world and has a low acidity which makes it highly favored among other types of coffee. The beans are usually grown in full sunlight and with no chemicals. A highly popular type of Sumatran coffee, yet thoroughly disgusting in many peoples opinion, is the kopi luwak Sumatran coffee. The kopi luwak coffee is coffee beans that have been eaten by the small animal known as a luwak. After the luwak digests and excretes the coffee beans, local villagers collect the excreted beans and roast them. These excreted and roasted beans are said to cost about $300 a pound. Of course, not all of Sumatran coffee comes from the excrement of the luwak. There are many other varieties of Sumatran coffee as well.

Most of the Sumatran coffee beans are processed using the wet and dry processing method. This processing method is another reason why Sumatran coffee is so popular. Most other types of coffee beans are processed by using either a wet method or a dry method, hardly ever both.

When purchasing Sumatran coffee for use at home, a person should try to purchase fair trade Sumatran coffee. Fair trade beans can be found at various online retailers and also at gourmet coffee retailers. This insures that the growers benefit from all of the hard work that they put into growing this delicious coffee.

In Search of the Best Coffee Makers

Coffee may be the most popular beverage in the world. Recent statistics indicate that over 50% of the American population are coffee drinkers and this number would more than likely hold true in many other countries as well. This more than any thing else helps to explain why there is such a wide range of coffee makers available for purchase today.

With such a diverse range of coffee machines, there is more choice for the coffee drinking public than ever before. Main stream popular styles include the Automatic and Manual Drip, Pod, Automatic Espresso, French Press, Percolator, Stovetop Espresso and the Vacuum. Each one of these styles has some unique characteristic that are sure to appeal to a certain segment of the coffee drinking public.

Automatic and Manual Drip Coffee Machines

The most popular style of coffee maker continues to be the automatic drip coffee maker. The basic design is very simple and efficient. Add fresh water to the built-in reservoir, insert a filter in to the handy filter holder, measure your favorite coffee grounds and pour into the filter and then press the start button. Within minutes your senses are excited by the smell of freshly brewed hot coffee! Most models also have a built-in timer and a pot warmer included so that you can set your coffee to brew and be ready at any hour of the day or night, and kept constantly warm as well.

Manual drip coffee brewers do take a bit more work since you need to boil the water using another heat source, but after that it is basically the same coffee making process of putting coffee grounds in the filter and pouring the hot water through the filter so that the coffee liquid is collected in the pot or container below. One great advantage of the manual drip coffee machine is that is can go most any where with you as it is not dependent upon having electricity to operate so it is great for camping and other outdoor activities.

Pod Coffee Machines

These are becoming very trendy and popular in recent years. Working similar to the automatic drip machines, they feature the ability to use pre-packaged containers or pods of specialty coffees to brew great tasting coffee. With many reputable coffee chains such as Starbucks now selling their most popular coffee blends in the pod format, consumers can get the same tasting cup of specialty coffee at home that they had to go out and purchase before at a much higher price.

Automatic Espresso Coffee Brewer

Espresso coffee makers have become much more affordable in recent years and because of this, they are gaining in popularity amongst serious coffee drinkers wanting something more than just a normal cup of coffee. There are currently three types of espresso coffee brewers to choose from, namely semi automatic, fully automatic, and super automatic. As a rule, the more automatic the espresso maker is, the less you need to do to brew your coffee, but unfortunately the more expensive it is to purchase. For example, where a semi-automatic model will tamp the coffee grounds, brew the coffee, fill your cup and eject the old grounds, an entirely automatic model will also grind the coffee for you as well, and the super automatic espresso coffee maker will do all of the above plus having additional features such as built-in water filters and self-cleaning.

Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker

The stovetop espresso coffee brewers are basically a manual method for preparing espresso coffee when you do not have access to an automatic version or an electrical source of energy. This makes it an ideal coffee maker for taking outdoors on camping or fishing trips if you feel the need to make an espresso cup of coffee. First water is placed inside the underside boiler and then a cone filter is situated inside the boiler and filled with coffee grounds. Next the top is lightly tightened and the brewer is place over the heat source. After a few minutes, once the top of the boiler is filled with the freshly brewed coffee it is removed from the heat supply and the coffee is ready to be served. Here again, the absence of any warming feature means the coffee has to be served immediately.

French Press Coffee Maker

Also known as “press pots” or “plunger pots”, the French Press coffee makers are not as common as they once were. Preparing coffee is more work than it would be using any of the coffee makers already discussed as it is a manual coffee machine. The pot is actually a glass or porcelain tube consisted of a stainless, mesh plunger that acts like a filter. To make the coffee you must first measure the coffee grounds into the pot, then pour in almost boiling water. After allowing the coffee mixture to steep for a few minutes, the plunger is then pushed downwards and the liquid beverage is forced into the waiting cup or container. As there is no built-in heating plate or element beneath the coffee container, you must serve the coffee beverage immediately or place it into an insulated container to keep it hot for later.

Percolator Coffee Maker

At one time percolator coffee makers were the standard type of coffee brewers in most households, a role now held by the automatic drip machines. Although not as popular today, they still have their place when a coffee maker is required that can brew large volumes of coffee rather than the 10-14 cup limit or less in most other popular coffee machines sold these days. Modern percolators are available as stove top models and electric and can be programmed like other automatic coffee machines. The coffee making process is based on running water continuously over the coffee grounds, held within a metal filter, as the water is boiled. One drawback of this method is that the coffee often gets stronger and more bitter tasting the longer it goes through the brewing cycle.

Vacuum Coffee Maker

Perhaps the strangest looking type of coffee machine is the vacuum coffee maker. Looking like something from a science fiction movie, the apparatus is made up of two overlapping containers connect by a siphon tube. The filter is located in the bottom section of the upper container. To brew coffee, the user first adds coffee grounds to the upper container, then pours water into the lower container. Next the brewer is placed on top of a stove where the water is then boiled and the resulting steam is passed along through the siphon tube into the upper container. After about 3 minutes the container is removed from the heat source and the steam condenses back into liquid water which is forced through the filter and back into the lower unit. Your fresh pot of coffee is now sitting in the lower unit. An interesting way to brew a cup or pot of coffee!

Needless to say, coffee lovers can select from a wide variety of coffee makers. From cheap stove top coffee pots to high end super automatic coffee machines, there is a coffee machine for every inclination as well as for every budget. Fantastic news! Now here is the unpleasant news. With all the many coffee machines to choose from today, even knowing the style you favor is not enough. Within each of the coffee maker styles noted above there are numerous different brand names and models to choose from.

Fortunately the Internet gives you a quick and really helpful way to unearth what’s presently accessible at what price. With a bit of time and investigating it’s also possible to weed out the junk from the best coffee makers. Merely go online and visit some coffee maker review websites. Please keep in mind that all coffee brewer review websites usually are not created equal, so you must take what you read with caution. For myself I’d look for coffee review sites where the reviewers include independent test data together with buyer feedback to provide unbiased and truthful information about the coffee makers being reviewed and rated.

It is Easy to Follow Simple Pear and Chocolate Tart Recipe

Baking used to be something which was popular and almost every girl was taught how to bake and cook. These days it seems that the art of baking is fading away and many people find it difficult to manage even the simplest cooking. This is why I was glad to see my nephew trying out some baking in the holidays and he produced some amazing results by following an easy clotted cream recipe along with a homemade toffee apples recipe. This is the simplest pear and Pear and Chocolate Tart Recipe which he perfected.Continue reading: It is Easy to Follow Simple Pear and Chocolate Tart Recipe

Tips to Make a Delightful Cup of Gourmet Coffee

When brewing gourmet coffee, it’s essential to combine several factors that will make your cup of coffee a dreamy blend of flavor. Gourmet coffee is in and of itself delicious, but it’s even better when made a certain way.

Before getting started, be sure to select only the finest gourmet coffee beans. Look for your favorite brand of coffee or sample several new types of coffee. If you visit an online gourmet coffee retailer, you can try numerous types of imported coffee beans from places around the world such as South America, Central America, Africa, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the North Highlands. You can also save money by finding an online store that offers high quality discount coffee beans. Determine how you will order your coffee – whether you would like ground coffee or whole bean selections. Many retailers allow you to order gourmet coffee both ways.

Brew with the Right Kind of Water

The type of water you use to brew gourmet coffee can make all the difference in its flavor. Tap water that has a strong, unpleasant smell or taste can negatively affect your coffee’s flavor. Keep in mind that your taste buds will be more sensitive when drinking a hot beverage such as coffee, so you’ll be able to detect any unpleasant impurities caused by your water. Opt for bottled waters instead, but avoid distilled water, as it doesn’t have the appropriate level of dissolved mineral solids, which are needed to give the coffee a fresh taste.

Even with the right quality of water, be sure to measure your coffee/water ratio appropriately. For optimum results, use two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water (or 3/4 cup water). This ratio produces strong, rich gourmet coffee while using only one tablespoon will produce weaker coffee. Another way to reduce the coffee’s strength is to dilute the coffee with a little bit of water after it has been brewed.

Order Fresh Coffee Beans

Whether ordering gourmet coffee online or buying in a nearby store, make sure the coffee has been freshly roasted. The absolute best time to produce coffee is within 12 to 24 hours of being roasted. Some online coffee roasters will ship your coffee beans on the same day the beans are roasted, giving you ultimate freshness. If you plan to grind your own beans, be sure to wait until right before you plan to brew the coffee. The freshness of coffee beans will start to decrease once the coffee beans have been ground.

Grinding Your Own Gourmet Coffee Beans

How you grind coffee beans will also make a difference in the coffee’s excellence. It’s important to know what type of grind you’ll need, whether a finer or coarser grind. A fine grind works best with the drip brewing method, while a coarse grind works well if using a French press. If you want a fine grind, then a common inexpensive blade grinder will suffice. With French press brewing, use a burr grinder.

Gourmet coffee also tastes best when brewed using clean equipment. Coffee makers can build up minerals, oils and residue over time. These will taint your coffee flavor and strength as well as hinder how well your equipment functions. Look for cleaning brushes and safe solutions for your coffee maker, and clean it often if you brew frequently.

When shopping online for gourmet coffee, be sure to try all a roaster has to offer. There are many flavored coffees today including chocolate blends, hazelnut, banana nut fudge, pecan, raspberry almond, cinnamon, vanilla, cookies and cream, creme brulee, English caramel, ginger bread, English toffee, etc. You should also try some espresso blends such as Italian espresso, Spanish espresso, and Vienna roast blend. Go online today to discover the gourmet coffee that excites your taste buds. You’ll never return to mundane coffee once you’ve tasted the best!

Tricks to Eat Healthier at Restaurants

EAT at restaurants anymore because there is not a particular celebration or special occasion. Currently, eating out has become a daily habit for many people. Without realizing it, the food they eat is not healthy for the body.

The average restaurant serving food in large portions, high fat and calories, also contains less fiber and nutrients than food served at home. If you often eat out, it is important to make healthy choices as you do at home.

Here’s the trick:

Choose restaurants that offer healthy food
Before making the order or sitting at a table, be sure to ask the restaurant if they will do the following things:
– Accommodates demand for cooking instructions and the use of food ingredients, such as those made from whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta or brown rice.
– Use lean cuts of meat. If the results are still cooking in fat or skin, do not eat alias remove.
– Serve butter, gravvy sauce, sauces, and dressings separately so that you can measure as needed.
– Use margarine to replace butter and low-fat milk to replace the cream.

A little cooking oil
Choose foods steamed, baked, or boiled. Avoid cooking method that uses oils and fats, such as frying.

Always ask for water
Ask for a glass of water or drinks that contain lemon juice, instead of high-calorie drink, soft drinks, or alcoholic beverages to accompany your meal.

Eating a salad before eating the main course
Eat salads in large quantities consisting of raw vegetables prior to or simultaneously with your food. Be sure to order the sauce separately so you only take as much as needed. Try dip the fork into the sauce to get the flavor of the sauce just a bit, which is at the end before eating lettuce.

Note servings
Most restaurants serve food with portions big enough to feed two people for. If excessive, eat half, and the rest can ask wrapped to take home so they can be eaten at any other time.

Should not need to order dessert, just an appetizer in the form of soup or salad. Or, just messaging as a piece of fruit or gelatin dessert.

Health Foods With Harmful Ingredients

Sometimes we all probably feel like we are walking through a nutrition mine field. What one person or organization calls healthy is deemed unhealthy or even deadly by another. So what is a person to do when faced with the idea of trying to improve food choices in order to achieve a healthy fit body? Luckily there are a few things that we are absolutely certain of and these things are the focus of this article. There are a lot of everyday, common foods and food storage items that most people don’t give a second thought, but that in actuality could seriously affect their overall health and quality of life.Continue reading: Health Foods With Harmful Ingredients

The Sweet Health Benefits Of Sour Foods

As a young man, I remember my grandmother trying to give me sauerkraut for dinner once and making the worst face possible in response to which my grandmother laughed and said, “Sauerkraut is not only good, it’s good for you!” When I tell my patients about sauerkraut as a health food, they make almost that same funny face! Recently, however, it turns out that grandma’s words were correct – sauerkraut has a surprising health benefit to it as do other fermented foods. In fact, a group of Polish women were recently studied for their rates of breast cancer. The group who ate a lot of sauerkraut had very low rates of breast cancer.

Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, olives, pickles, sourdough bread have been around for a long time. They were created to help food keep longer using a natural fermentation process called lacto-fermentation. In this process, beneficial lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria (the kind that live in your gut and help digest your foods) convert the starch and sugar in foods to lactic acid. The lactic acid acted as a preservative so refrigeration was not necessary and food had a long shelf life.

A surprising, little known health benefit about these fermented foods was then discovered. It seems that the same fermentation process that both preserves and gives these foods their distinctive sour-tangy taste are also higher in vitamins and actually help your digestion, remove excess saturated fats and cholesterol, and keep your digestive tract healthy and happy.

In fact, these good bacteria present in naturally fermented food have recently started popping up all over television ads and health food articles as “probiotics” which restore and maintain your intestinal flora, i.e., the level of good bacteria in your gut. In case you didn’t know this, your large intestine, the place that houses all these beneficial bacteria, is the very seat of your immune system. When your beneficial bacteria levels are optimal, you have a healthy immune system strong enough to ward off infections and other diseases.

Many fermented foods, like olives, also contain good Omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial in reducing inflammation throughout your body.

Not All Sour Foods Are Naturally Fermented

When I tell my patients about naturally fermented superfoods, they say, great I’ll pick up some at the grocery store! However, most canned sauerkraut, pickles, greek olives on the shelves, and buttermilks, yogurts, and kefir in your dairy section of your grocery store may not have been created through a natural fermentation process and may not contain the live bacteria.

In fact, many of these grocery store varieties of sour-tasting dairy foods are pasteurized, and the canned-shelf varieties can get their sour taste through the addition of vinegar (a fermented food in itself) and/or certain preservative-grade minerals like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate added to extend shelf life. Most have lactic acid added to them rather than it developing naturally in the fermentation process described above. However, even these grocery store varieties of “fast” fermented foods give some health benefits in addition to their vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, etc, just not as much as naturally fermented that contain the live culture.

Unless your local grocery store has a special section for refrigerated health foods, you likely will have to go to a health food or natural foods store to get real, naturally fermented, nonpasteurized sauerkraut, pickles, olives, kefir, buttermilk and yogurt. You can also make your own fermented foods very easily. Fermentation starter kits are available, along with directions how to ferment many foods, in health food stores and/or online.

Bad Dog Food – Is Your Pet Dog Eating Deadly Food?

With all the new and controversial pet food recalls, it is no wonder that pet owners have preferred making homemade dog food for their pet animals in lieu of commercial and, quite possibly, bad dog food and cat food considered as contaminated. So what’s all the fuss about? What unlikely result can bad contaminated dog food do to your pet dog, and more importantly, what can you do keep it from happening? Just what are in these supposedly good dog food that has got pet owners in an uproar?

We humans are discouraged from consuming too much canned goods for various health reasons. The same holds true for dogs.

Moist dog food is packed in cans. You can just think of all the harmful ingredients injected into the dog food package, mostly to bring a good taste, enhance palatability, and even improve appearance.

What’s truly disconcerting is the fact that animal by-products, the main components of pet food, are already bombarded with chemicals long before they reach the processing plant. So even if the can’s label tells you otherwise, there’s really nothing like a ‘No Preservatives’ guarantee.

Dry dog food is even worse. And because canning in itself is already a preserving process, moist dog food contains less of the contaminated materials used to prolong shelf life compared with its dry counterpart.

Another problem is the ingredients themselves, usually meat, poultry, and grains. Any part which is not good for human consumption, such as innards, blood, and bones, make up the by-products that are ground and blended into what we know as commercial pet food. In reality, they are bad dog food.

The thing is, it is not always slaughtered animals that make their way into these meals, but oftentimes, unhealthy meat of farm animals are included also. And the drugs and bacteria, like Salmonella and Escherichia coli, thriving in these meats do not always die during product making, which incidentally, destroys much of the nutritional content as well.

Furthermore, when moldy grain is thrown in, as well as all the other synthetic and unnatural additives the numbers of which are too many to count with both hands, you then have a lethal canine cocktail. It doesn’t take a genuine nutritionist to know that this spells disaster for the end user, i.e., innocent little Fido.

Injurious outcome of bad dog food include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. But that’s just for starters. The more dangerous toxins, like cf1 butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and ethoxyquin, which are all permitted in small doses, can cause cancer, organ failure, and ultimately, death when ingested after sometime.

So what can you, the dog owner, do about all this? Voice your concerns. Call pet food manufacturers and demand for better quality products so you get your money’s worth. Better yet, try making your own homemade dog food. At least then, you can be sure about what your loving dog is actually eating. If you have any doubts on the food you’re feeding your dog, consult your veterinarian immediately.

The Unusual Gourmet Coffee Gift

Top 10 Unusual coffee gifts: So you have your cousin, the heavy gourmet coffee drinker and you want to surprise them this year. But you want to keep it coffee related but not give them the usual coffee beans, or gourmet coffee gift basket or even the usual gourmet coffee accessories or coffee mugs. And they are still using last year’s coffee gift basket and the French press coffee maker only lasted a month before it wore out its differentness and became a hassle.

So what can you give the coffee drinker and keep it usual. Glad you asked?

1. Java logs – Especially for the environmentally conscious coffee-drinker. Java logs are man-made fireplace logs that are made up mostly of coffee grounds
2. Coffee flavored shampoo – for those who just can’t get enough of that coffee aroma and want to smell like coffee all day. Purposively good for the hair though I’m sure the oil is beneficial.
3. Java love lotion – rub on your partner and see if they are as hot as your morning coffee. This has to be taking the “I love coffee” concept too far. ( I’m not making this up)
4. The Barista Action Figure – You coffee superhero can wake you in the morning and save you in the afternoon and make your favorite espresso in the afternoon. ( I’m not making this up)
5. Java necklace – a necklace of roasted and urethane coffee beans and your favorite jewelry stones. What better way to declare your love of coffee to the world? Beaded necklaces and other jewelry made with beads and coffee beans. Choose your favorite roast and favorite stones. Does love get any better than this?
6. Just coffee art – fine canvas paintings completely painted with paint made from coffee oils. It’s hard to believe that these amazing paintings are done entirely in coffee. Why do they paint with coffee? Not sure but I am waiting on the body coffee paints…
7. A real live coffee tree – makes a great indoor plant though I wouldn’t count on any coffee beans. If you do happen to grow some please send to Mission Grounds Gourmet Coffee. An ideal gift for any coffee-lover who also has a green thumb. These plants will actually bloom and produce coffee cherries, given the right and perfect growing conditions (they do well indoors as a plant but not a coffee producer).
8. Kopi Luwak coffee beans – don’t try this at home. Surprise someone with a gift box of the rarest coffee there is. It’s also the strangest in my opinion. The Luwak coffee beans have actually been eaten by a small animal before being collected and roasted – poop washed off.
9. Chocolate covered coffee beans – the perfect combination of chocolate and coffee beans or your perfect dose of sugar and caffeine. Give this to your children and watch them bounce off your walls – for days. I can’t imagine eating more than two of these. Take before your next 100 meter dash sprint.
10. Javapops – sweet candy that taste like coffee and is packed with 60 mg of caffeine. The perfect follow-up to the chocolate covered coffee beans. When your kids are coming off their 2 day chocolate covered bean high – give them two of these to offset the down mood. Or use these with your spouse before you lather them up with the coffee bean shampoo.

Isn’t that coffee gift basket looking better and better? If you really want any of these gifts just Google the gift idea and buy online.

Boake Moore is an IT Sales engineer by trade and founded a non profit coffee company called Mission Grounds Gourmet Coffee – It donates all its profits and proceeds to helping orphans and impoverished children. We currently are building schools in rural China, orphanages in South America; supporting orphans in Russia and Africa. And helping homeless children in the United States.


Vegetarian compared to raw

Is there a difference between vegetarian and raw food diets? A raw foodist is a vegetarian, but one who generally is not going to cook his vegetables or fruits. A vegetarian is someone who simply doesn’t eat meat, fish or poultry, but only consumes vegetables, pasta, and rice. A vegetarian might eat meatless spaghetti sauce or order onion rings in a restaurant. (Not the healthiest choice, but sometimes it’s hard to find something to eat in a restaurant if you’re vegetarian – even harder if you’re a raw foodist.)
There are different categories of vegetarians, like vegans, or fruitarians, and raw foodist is a category of vegetarianism. We haven’t seen anything about sushi being considered a raw food, but it is. Raw food, though, generally means eating raw, uncooked fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, seaweeds, etc.

But to be a raw food purist means raw broccoli, not steamed. To a vegetarian, someone committed to not eat meat or fish or animal products, steamed vegetables are just as good, although everyone would agree that steaming can take out nutrients from foods, rendering them less nutritious. A vegetarian might consume dairy or egg products; however a vegan will not consume any animal products at all. And a raw foodist is a vegan who consumes only uncooked, unprocessed raw foods.
Proponents of the raw diet believe that enzymes are the life force of a food and that every food contains its own perfect mix. These enzymes help us digest foods completely, without relying on our body to produce its own cocktail of digestive enzymes.
It is also thought that the cooking process destroys vitamins and minerals and that cooked foods not only take longer to digest, but they also allow partially digested fats, proteins and carbohydrates to clog up our gut and arteries.

Followers of a raw diet cite numerous health benefits, including:
• increased energy levels
• improved appearance of skin
• improved digestion
• weight loss
• reduced risk of heart disease