The entire premise of the raw food eating plan is to focus on eating foods that are uncooked and unprocessed. The thought process behind it is that uncooked and unprocessed foods are free of the chemicals and additives that can affect your health.
There are a multitude of raw food eating plans and they all follow different schools of thought when it comes to which foods can or should be cooked versus what should be raw. There will be lenient followers who are happy to enjoy cooked foods while eating the majority of their foods uncooked. On the other side of the coin, you have the followers who are strict about their eating plan.
Overall, the point is that your staple diet is made up of raw vegetables and fruits, seeds, nuts, sprouted grains, fish, raw dairy, fermented food, and some meats. A good example of the raw food eating plan would be supermodel Gisele Bundchen and her husband, New England Patriot Tom Brady. They follow an 80/20 ratio – enjoying raw foods 80% of the time.
The proponents of the raw food eating plan claim that it cannot only improve digestion but also prevent cancer. On the other side, there are people who claim it’s impossible to obtain all of the nutrients that your body needs by eating only raw foods.
What is the truth? Can it a completely raw eating plan be healthy? Or, is it just inviting disaster?
A Breakdown Of The Raw Food Eating Plan
While you are free to enjoy a plethora of seeds, unroasted nuts, beans, dried fruits, uncooked vegetables and fruits, as well as a variety of dairy products and fermented foods you are to avoid any type of food that has been heated over 115 degrees.
This includes caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and essentially any type of processed foods. To put it more clearly, it effectively rules out any foods that are sold outside of the grocery stores produce section. Although, you will find other products labeled raw, which are okay.
If you’re a snacker and this sounds like your worst nightmare, don’t panic. A lot of snacks like dried fruits, kale chips, and seaweed have been dehydrated or sunbaked – if that’s the case then you can go for it. This can be helpful to curb the typical hunger pangs that come with following a diet like this. While it’s heavy in fiber which fills you up, a lack of protein can leave you feeling un-satiated.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rules above. It’s up to you, but the purists will avoid honey, eggs, and any type of dairy product. Though, there are raw diets that happily include unpasteurized cheeses, fish, meat, and raw eggs.
The people who follow these types of raw food eating plans believe it to be healthier, combined Paleo and raw to create the ultimate eating plan for nutrition. In truth, you can follow whatever type of ratio you want because you don’t need to stick to a specific plan at all.
You can create your own raw food eating plan that increases your produce intake, but also allows you to enjoy many of the foods you need for overall health. Creating your own plan and ratio also makes it easier to follow the eating plan, which can be a serious challenge for raw food eating plan followers.
The Idea Behind Eating Raw
Purists believe that cooking food can be harmful to our health and to get the best from the foods we eat they should be enjoyed raw. The argument for the eating plan is that humans are the only mammals who cook the food they eat and also happen to be the only animals (in addition to the pets we feed cooked foods) who deal with a variety of health problems like genetic diseases, cancers, and diabetes.
We often talk about the importance of reading a rainbow, and as studies show it’s the healthiest way to eat and can help reduce the risk of developing cancer. Why is 115 degrees the limit? Raw foodists claim that it breaks down the enzymes found in food and releases free radicals and carcinogens.
Where did this diet come from? It stretches back further than you realize, with its roots in Switzerland in 1897. Doctor Maximillian Bircher-Benner had fallen ill and in an attempt to cure his jaundice who treated himself with raw apples. It worked and as a result, the investor of muesli set out to convince others that a raw food eating plan was the key to unlocking optimal health.
What Science Has To Say
Eating raw means that you consume lower levels of cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat. It makes sense, considering you will have stopped eating processed foods, meats, and dairy products. Additionally, it’s high in nutrients, fiber, and vitamins. It’s a diet rich in antioxidants and because of this, it’s fairly common for raw foodists to enjoy significant weight loss.
In addition, it’s been found to relieve pain associated with diseases such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. This is because of the anti-inflammatory properties of the foods being eaten. On that same train of thought, raw food eaters claim to be happier and experience less stress and anxiety.
It all sounds amazing, right? There are plenty of aspects of it that are amazing, but to succeed it requires a real commitment to the process. You have to say goodbye to pizza, cakes, and all the foods that you love the most.
Generally, when you change your diet it’s an overhaul of your lifestyle. Even though you scale back the junk you eat, you can still enjoy treats guilt-free knowing that you’re doing so in moderation. That isn’t the case with eating raw.