The Raw Food Diet: What You Need To Know
What you see is what you get with the raw food diet. There are no gimmicks or cheap tricks. Just pure, unadulterated food, in all its uncooked, organic glory. Essentially, experts believe that eating foods in their most natural form promotes a more stable, healthy lifestyle.
Why the Raw Food Diet?
Let’s start with the basics. The raw food diet is based on foods that are uncooked, unprocessed, plant-based, whole, and preferably organic. What this means for you is that you’ll have to stay away from all the processed and brightly packaged foods that line the shelves of your favorite supermarket. You’ll also have to steer clear away from foods that have been homogenized or pasteurized. Foods that are produced with the help of chemical food additives or fertilizers, industrial solvents, and pesticides should also be avoided.
But What’s so Special About Raw Food?
Experts believe that food that has been heated above 112℉ has less of the important enzymes our bodies require. These enzymes help break down the food that we eat into smaller, easy-to-manage pieces that can be fully digested and absorbed by the body.
The best part about raw foods is that they don’t take long to pass through the digestive system. Surprisingly enough, raw foods are easier to digest. Cooked food takes longer and may sit in the intestines and cause health problems, such as gas, inflammations, and toxic waste buildup.
Raw foods have the ability of balancing pH levels in the body. If the body becomes more acidic, diseases can develop more easily. This happens because acidosis weakens the immune system. Our bodies easily shift into acidosis because of factors we can’t control, like stress, environmental pollutants, and mineral-deficient water. There are also things we can control that can lead to acidoses, such as lack of nutrients, cooked food, and refined and processed foods. With the raw food diet, we take charge of what we can control, by switching the types of food we eat to the kinds of food that can neutralize our bodies.
But What Happens to Food When it’s Cooked?
When temperatures increase to a certain point, commonly referred to as the “heat labile point,” nutrients start decreasing, enzymes start depleting and the food you’re ingesting loses all dietary benefits. Foods that are rich in antioxidants are especially sensitive to heat because they contain phytonutrients, which can’t withstand high temperatures.
That’s not to say that this diet doesn’t include cooked food. It does. But the food is cooked at low temperatures, which never exceed 116 ℉. This is done through a slow cooker or a dehydrator that blows hot air through food.
What to Eat
In the raw food diet, foods can be blended, chopped, or juiced. Typically, the main foods in a raw food diet include the following:
• Dried fruits
• Purified water
• Fresh fruit juices
• Fresh fruits and vegetables
• Milk from a young coconut
The raw food diet is rich in fiber and minerals, mainly potassium. It also has small amounts of salt and no saturated fats. These factors combine to help lower cholesterol levels. They also decrease the risk of diabetes and certain types of cancer. The other benefits of the raw food diet are numerous and include the following:
• Improved digestion
• Increased energy levels
• Enhanced appearance of the skin
• Weight loss and the maintenance of a healthy body mass index (BMI)
• Reduced inflammations
• Enhanced liver function
• Lowered risk of constipation
• Optimized heart health and lowered risk of cardiovascular disease
The benefits of the raw food diet are especially favorable for those who suffer from the following health issues:
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Osteoporosis, joint and muscle pains
• Parkinson’s disease
• Food allergies
• Gallbladder disease
• Kidney disease
• Hormonal imbalance and PMS
• Weight problems
• Fatigue and headaches
2. Increase the healthy fats in your diet. Such fats are known to help with weight loss and hormone production. They also reduce inflammations and promote healthy brain development.
Some examples of good fat are as follows:
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Coconut oil
• Butter from grass-fed cows
3. It’s important to reduce your exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, hormones or herbicides, which can all be found in animal products.
4. It’s best to avoid highly refined sugars and grains, such as the following:
• White bread, rice and pasta
• Condiments and sauces
• Soups and crackers
• Fruit drinks
• Canned foods
• Sweetened yogurt
Negative Side Effects and Risks
Some medical experts believe that some vegetables contain phytochemicals (like carotenoids in carrots and spinach and lycopene in tomatoes and asparagus) and the body easily absorbs these chemicals once the vegetables have been cooked. These chemicals help protect the body from diseases and boost the immune system.
Another concern is that eating under cooked or fully raw foods for long periods of time may increase the chances of food poisoning.
In addition, others believe that because the raw food diet may be confining and therefore may prove difficult to maintain as a complete lifestyle. In addition, people on this diet are advised not to take multivitamins or supplements while following the diet. That means you’ll have to plan very carefully how to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs for healthy development, and that is no easy task.
Others say that it’s highly ill suited for the following:
• Those with high risk of osteoporosis
• People who suffer from anemia
• Pregnant women
Balance is key. That’s what this diet aims for. When you combine a healthy dose of raw foods with some that are lightly cooked, you will attain a balanced state, both mentally and physically.
When you eat foods that are loaded with fiber and contain reduced amounts of calories, you will decrease your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It will also give you a boost of energy, sustain your memory, and boost your ability to concentrate.
You might also be interested in reading about some of our other featured diets.
About The Whole30 Diet
About The Weight Watchers Diet
About The Engine 2 Diet
About The Flat Belly Diet
About The Raw Food Diet
About The Ornish Diet
About The Volumetrics Diet
About The MIND Diet
About The Macrobiotic Diet
About The SparkPeople Diet
About The HMR Diet