Eating a Raw Food Diet
Have you heard about the Raw Food Diet? It’s gaining popularity and becoming a lot of people’s way of eating. They are eating this way not just as a diet to lose weight, but a diet for a long and healthy life.
We eat so much in the way of processed food that we often don’t stop to think about what we’re putting into our bodies. In fact we have moved away nutritionally from our ancestral, agrarian roots. As a result our waistlines and health have suffered.
A raw food diet means consuming food in its natural, unprocessed form. There are several common-sense rationales for why this is a good idea. Processing and cooking food can take so much of the basic nutritional value away.
Think of some of the conventional wisdom you have heard about for years, such as: If you cook pasta just to the al dente (or medium) stage, it will have more calories, yes, but it will have more the nutritional value in it than if you cooked it to a well-done stage.
Or you probably remember hearing not to peel carrots or potatoes too deeply, because most of the nutrients and values are just under the surface.
The raw food diet means eating unprocessed, uncooked, organic, whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried fruits, seaweeds, etc. It means a diet that is at least 75% uncooked! Cooking takes out flavor and nutrition from vegetables and fruits.
A raw food diet means eating more the way our ancient ancestors did. Our healthier, more fit ancestors. They cooked very little, and certainly did not cook or process fruits and vegetables. They ate them RAW. Their water wasn’t from a tap; it was natural, spring water. Maybe they drank some coconut milk on occasion.
Doesn’t it just make sense that this is how our bodies were meant to eat? It’s a way of eating that’s in harmony with the planet and in harmony with our own metabolisms.
Our bodies were meant to work, and need to work to be efficient. That means exercise, certainly, but it also means eating natural, raw foods that require more energy to digest them.
Types of Raw Food Diets
The raw food diet is composed mainly or entirely of raw and living foods and include mostly raw vegan food, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. A person who consumes a mostly raw food diet is called a raw foodist. They only eat food that has not been frozen or treated with chemical preservatives as well as any food that has been cooked.
Raw foodists fall into several categories:
1. Living foodists: these are people who will only eat a diet made up of plant food in active form, such as sprouted nuts and seeds.
2. Juicarians: are people who eat a diet made up entirely of juices (fruit and vegetable).
3. Fruitarians: are people who only eat fruits but will eat raw nuts and grains. Included in fruits are coconuts, tomatoes and avocados.
3. Non-vegetarian raw foodists: are people who will eat raw meats and unpasteurized milk and cheeses
How to Start a Raw Food Diet
It is important to not that before going on a raw food diet you should realize that it will be similar to detoxifying your body. As a result there can be a number of side effects. These side effects include cold-like symptoms or having to go to the bathroom more often.
When starting this way of eating it is probably a good idea to start out a little slowly. Perhaps by having one meal a day for awhile and then two meals a day and then three over a few weeks. Or you can start with one raw meal a day and add a small cooked side dish. It is fairly easy to start eating raw and here are plenty raw food recipes that can help make the transition and the long term viability of this way of eating not only easy but enjoyable as well.
Where to Shop for the Foods
You will want to make sure that eat mostly organic food. Since organic foods have become more available in recent years you should be able to find them at most chain grocery stores however, finding farmer’s markets is another way to find good organic fruits and vegetables.
While organic foods can be more expensive, they can also be more convenient, as you can find in most cities companies who will actually deliver organic fruits and vegetables to your front door.
Advantages of Eating Raw Food
Raw foodists choose this way of eating because they believe that cooking, freezing or otherwise processing foods can destroy vitamins, bacteria, and more importantly, enzymes. They also believe that cooking food can make it harder to digest as the essential enzymes needed to digest food is destroyed when the food is cooked.
More importantly, raw foods contain less chemicals and preservatives. Therefore raw food is also less toxic and more easily digested, while containing more vitamins and minerals than processed foods.
Most raw foodists will tell you that the diet can improve health, lower risk of heart disease (no trans-fats), improve digestion, improve skin appearance, and increase your energy levels.
Disadvantages to Eating Raw Food
Some people believe that not having animal protein can lead to a lack of all the essential amino acids. In order to get adequate nutrition and avoid vitamin B12 deficiencies (which can only be found in animal protein) many raw foodists take a nutritional supplement.
There are many books and cookbooks available that can help you experiment with this way of eating.