Coast to Coast Inspiration: American Link

Our ongoing journey to unlock healthier, more fulfilling lives could lead us back to our collective beginning — to rediscover the benefits of “raw food.” One of those who made the journey herself — and who guides others on the path is Sheree Clark. Living in Des Moines, Clark is founder of Fork in the Road. She’s a nationally sought speaker, author, chef, and health coach who offers lectures, classes, hands-on workshops, coaching and consultations in the Des Moines area and nationwide. She says her greatest achievements are helping her clients achieve their goals. Clark is quick to point out


“Raw food isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle. When some people hear the phrase, ‘raw food,’ they may think it’s some new, trendy diet,” Clark says. “But it’s the oldest way of eating we have — dating back to our hunter/gatherer days before fire.”


Raw food is about eating things that are as close to nature as possible. “We’re talking about things like fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds that haven’t been heated above 105 degrees Fahrenheit,” Clark says. “Once food reaches that temperature, we start to lose elements that are really good for us, including enzymes, vitamins, nutrients and even water that our bodies can use.”


As an example, Clark points to that pot of vegetables you may have cooked last night. “There’s obviously nutritional value to the vegetable you’ve cooked. But when we’re done cooking, we may pull the vegetables out and leave the liquid behind. The green water that we’re about to pour down the drain is filled with the good stuff we’ve cooked out of our food.”


“Every time, you put something in your mouth, you’re making a decision,” Clark says. “In addition to added nutritional value, the benefits of raw food also are about the things you’re no longer eating that aren’t as healthy for you.”


Clark points to the processed, chemical concoctions that fill many of the items lining today’s store shelves.


“Digesting food is one of the body’s most energy-consuming processes. As the body goes to break down what we’re eating, it may say, ‘I don’t know what to do with this man-made chemical ‘XYZ,’ so I’m going to park it over here for now and focus on breaking down the foods that I recognize.’”


As a result, Clark says, the body can withhold processing and retain food in the digestive tract.


“With raw food, our bodies know what to do with what we’re feeding it. It’s easier and more efficient for the body to process in our digestive tracts.”


Clark says easier digestion makes for more effective elimination, which means the body spends less energy on digesting and more on living. “It really frees up an abundance of energy we can use for our everyday lives,” she says. “I noticed that right away. I don’t need as much sleep as I used to. And with the added nutrition, I have more mental clarity than ever.”


Clark says the journey to adding raw food doesn’t need to be a sprint. “It usually makes sense to start slowly and make a transition into the lifestyle,” she says. “One easy way is ordering juice for breakfast. Another is to eat raw each day until dinner at night — incorporating things like nuts, dates and salads during the day made from kale and romaine leaves.”

Credits // Author: Dave Danielson

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