There are so many diets, fads and crazes available it is often difficult to decipher what is real and what is hype! It’s been said that eating raw foods promotes cleansing of the body. You will feel energetic and benefit from the many nutrients available from raw foods.
Despite the smoke and mirrors, are there legitimate advantages of choosing this lifestyle? Or, is all just a hoax in this big world of health kicks? If you are considering this as a lifestyle choice, this article is designed to provide a quick overview of the pros and cons of a raw food diet.
1. What is a raw food diet?
Raw foodies would say it’s not a diet at all, but actually it’s a lifestyle where a person chooses to eat at least 75 percent uncooked, or living, foods.
Over the last few years there has been renewed interest in this form of plant-based eating. Primarily, this lifestyle choice involves eating all foods in their natural state, or uncooked as the name suggests!
A typical raw-food meal consists of fruits, veggies, seeds, and nuts. If the food must be cooked, it cannot exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many raw-foodies use other kitchen aids such as de-hydrators which use warm air to reduce the water content in food whilst retaining the enzymes and nutrients found in raw food. Blenders, nutrient extractors and smoothie makers are useful too.
2. What are the benefits?
There a multiple benefits to pursuing a lifestyle eating plant-based food as nature intended. Since a raw food diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables, you will benefit from their many nutrients.
Fruits and vegetables may help reduce your chances of high blood pressure, stroke, and even cancer. More specifically, some fruits and veggies have phytonutrients which “contain protective, disease-preventing compounds that interact with other plant nutrients to produce a synergy that can help fight many diseases. Some of these phytonutrients are; lycopene, beta-carotene, and chlorophyll.”
Specific Raw Vegan foods are proven to cure or stop the spreading of cancer causing cells!
The process of cooking foods eliminates some of the nutrients.
However, some healthy vegan foods such as beans and grains need to be cooked in order to be eaten. This accounts for why some raw vegans do cook some of their foods.
And that’s okay! It’s a lifestyle, not a diet. Raw food, however, when left untouched, contains Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to build our immune systems and the stronger your immune system the less likely you are to suffer from illness.
One major reason someone might venture to a raw vegan lifestyle, is the promise of losing weight. “A raw food diet is low in calories, high in fiber, and based on primarily healthy whole-plant foods, so eating this way will lead to weight loss” Says WebMD.
3. What are the disadvantages?
Like anything there are things you need to be aware of. The risk of food poisoning from eating raw or under cooked foods is something to be aware of.
In general, cooking makes your food daily digestible and safer.” The decision to choose a raw diet should be considered with your doctor. Analyze your goals, lifestyle, and medical conditions prior to making the commitment.
It is also necessary to ensure you maintain a balanced diet as by eliminating some foods you may be missing out on essential vitamins; Zinc, iron, B12, and vitamin D are examples of these.
Cooking also has its benefits, the process of cooking releases certain antioxidants that break down into essential vitamins. Unfortunately, when you choose not to cook your food, you lose out on those vitamins.
Raw food diets, as mentioned, are detox diets. With any detox, there comes certain physical symptoms that are uncomfortable. Consider this- your body is accustomed to eating a wealth of various foods that provide different nutrients.
When you eliminate those foods and limit your body to eating something new, you’ll likely endure changes. Headaches, chills, irritability, and even hunger are all common side effects.
When you think about a detox, what is the most common means of removing toxins from your body? Certainly, your gastrointestinal system is one of the primary means of release.
When considering a raw food diet, understand that diarrhea and excessive gas may occur. Another way your body releases toxins is through the skin.
With a raw food diet, you may experience frequent breakouts or redness due to your previous impurities being released through your pores.
4. What can you eat?
In addition to fruits and vegetables, other common foods in a raw food diet include:
• Raw nuts and seeds;
• Dried fruits;
• Raw legumes or grains that have been soaked and sprouted;
• Nut butters that are minimally processed;
• Nut milks with no preservatives or additives;
• Foods like kimchi and sauerkraut that are fermented;
• Seaweed and other sea vegetables;
• Cold pressed oils like olive and coconut; and
In summary, choosing to adopt a raw-food lifestyle will bring you a host of benefits, however it is important to be aware of potential side effects, especially in the beginning, and ensuring that a balanced diet is maintained. A 75% raw-food ratio still allows some room to cook other healthy and nutritious accompaniments.