- Difficulty to Follow
- Research Support
- Safety (Wash your Food!)
- Community Support
What is it?
Raw food diet is a type of diet which promoting the consumption of un-cooked, un-processed, and often organic foods as a large percentage of the diet. If 60-100% of a person’s total food consumption is raw food, who is considered a raw foodist or living foodist.
Raw foodist? sounds strange…
Raw foodists typically believe that the greater the percentage of raw food in the diet, the greater the health benefits. As its name implies, a raw food diet is based on consuming unprocessed organic or whole plant-based foods. At least 75% of the food remains uncooked. The diet includes foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Raw foods usually contain essential food enzymes in higher quantity than in cooked food.
A raw foodist would claim that the diet brings out significant improvements in health. It claims to make the person feel extremely energized. The theory is that the cooking process destroys vitamins and minerals and therefore cooked foods take longer to digest and also partially clog up stomachs and arteries. A large part of food that is cooked can go into fat production, because heat and the acids alter it making it tough to get metabolized even in a complex process. In contrast, raw food breaks down the food into small components that get directly metabolized in a variety of cells.
It’s all about enzymes
Raw foods are rich in enzymes. Enzymes are needed for the digestive system to work. They are necessary to break down food particles so they can be utilized for energy. The vitamins and minerals in raw food, especially the greens, are organic (colloidal) minerals not the inorganic minerals in cooked food. This means that they are much easier to absorb (especially when juiced).
History of the raw food diet
Raw foods gained fame in the West throughout the 1900s, as proponents such as Ann Wigmore and Herbert Shelton stated that a diet of raw fruits and vegetables is the ideal diet for humans. Artturi Virtanen (1895-1973), showed that enzymes in uncooked foods are released in the mouth when vegetables are chewed. Raw foodists extrapolate from such research the supposition that these enzymes interact with other substances, notably the enzymes produced by the body itself, to aid in the digestion process. Research does not support the idea that enzymes in foods somehow survive the stomach – (pepsin in the stomach quickly breaks down nearly all proteins, including enzymes). However, promoters of raw foods, such as the Weston-Price Foundation, support the idea that, since no digestive juices are secreted in the upper stomach, the enzymes in the raw foods last for about 30 minutes in the upper-stomach before being destroyed in the lower stomach, thus giving them enough time to break down the raw foods, to some extent. Leslie Kenton’s book, Raw Energy-Eat Your Way to Radiant Health, in 1984 popularized food such as sprouts, seeds, and fresh vegetable juices. The book brought together research into raw foodism and its support of health, citing examples such as the sprouted seed enriched diets of the long lived Hunza people, as well as Max Gerson’s claim of a raw juice-based cancer cure. The book advocates a diet of 75% raw food in order to prevent Degenerative diseases, slow the effects of aging, provide enhanced energy, and boost emotional balance. After 1990s with the emergence of fine dining restaurants that specialized in raw such as the now-shuttered but much-celebrated Roxanne’s in Larkspur, California. Now several raw foods diet cookbooks vie for attention on the bookshelves and upscale chefs across the country are putting raw dishes on their otherwise cooked menus.
Benefits to the raw food diet
If you follow a raw food diet you can eat almost as much as you can and still maintain a healthy weight. There are six types of fibers? The fibers in raw food are called cellulose. They are necessary when it comes to losing weight. Raw vegetables are an excellent and natural resource for a clear skin. Vegetables are rich in vitamins. Some effective vegetables are carrots, salad, tomatoes and cucumbers. An excellent benefit of raw food is that it doesn’t contain only vitamins but also energy. You will feel yourself more fit, you will have more energy and it may even improve your sex life.
Some of the most common benefits of raw food diets are following. Note that these benefits are claimed by the ‘raw foodists’.
- Increased energy level.
- Clear, soft skin.
- Establish and maintain your ideal body weight.
- You do not feel deprived of eating.
- Eat as much as you want and not gain weight.
- Enjoy a deep, sound sleep at night.
- Have regular bowel movements and rarely suffer from constipation or indigestion.
- Look younger and healthier.
- Your health and fitness levels increase.
- Your eyes will be more clear and bright.
- Feel happy throughout the day – with no signs of depression.
- Your level of concentration and focus will improve greatly.
- Your instincts and intuitiveness will be sharper.
- Less degenerative disease.
- Less frequent or less intense colds and flus.
Due to these benefits listed above, it’s see that raw foods are a simple, effective and natural way to improve your overall health and experience life at an optimal level.
Some people experience a detoxification reaction when they start the raw food diet, especially if their previous diet was rich in meat, sugar, and caffeine. Mild headaches, nausea, and cravings can occur but usually last for several days.
The raw food diet may not be appropriate for certain people, such as:
- pregnant or nursing women
- people with anemia
- people at risk for osteoporosis
Considerable time, energy, and commitment is needed to be healthy on the raw food diet. Many of the foods are made from scratch. Some ingredients may be hard to find, such as Rejuvelac (the fermented liquid drained from sprouted grains), sprouted flour, date sugar, young coconut milk, carob powder and Celtic sea salt.
People must be aware that certain nutritional deficiencies can occur on the raw food diet, including Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B12, Protein etc. So we must include the food items which also have these nutrients.
The food items such sprouting seeds, grains, and beans, juicing fruit and vegetables, soaking nuts and dried fruit, dehydrating food etc are similar diets to raw food diets. The food items prepared by using a dehydrator, a piece of equipment that blows air through food at a temperature of less than 116 degrees F or a good-quality juice extractor for juicing fruit and vegetables or a blender, food processor, or chopper or large glass containers to soak and sprout seeds, grains, and beans etc are also similar diets to raw food diets.
Sample Raw Food Diet Meal Plan
The different raw foods which are unprocessed, preferably organic, whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, legumes, dried fruit, seaweed, unprocessed organic or natural foods, freshly juiced fruit and vegetables, purified water, young coconut milk etc. At least 75% of food consumed should not be heated over 116 degrees F.
There are a number of diet plans based on Raw Foods. Generally these diets are plant-based, and are comprised of at least 75% raw food. Apparently raw foods contain the enzymes that are thought to be removed during the cooking process.
Sample Meal Plan
Fresh fruit salad topped with chopped fresh almonds, wheat germ, and pumpkin seeds; organic sheep’s milk yogurt or coconut cream.
Mixed salad of various leaves, tomatoes, yellow capsicums, onions and parsley with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Topped with sprouted lentils.
Raw mixed vegetable soup (blended); home-made sunflower seed cheese; 1/2 avocado; raspberry and banana sorbet.
Water, juices, fruit smoothies, coconut milk.