The Raw Food Diet: Guide and Review

The raw food diet: Should I try it?

A raw food diet involves eating mainly unprocessed whole, plant-based, and preferably organic foods. Some sources say that when following this diet, raw food should make up three-quarters of the diet. People who follow the raw food diet believe that eating raw foods can improve their health, well-being, and possibly reduce the risk of medical conditions.
Weight loss is not usually the main aim of the raw food diet, but switching to raw food can lead to weight loss.

What is a raw food diet?

The raw food diet , also known as raw foodism, is a way of eating that includes only uncooked or raw foods. Typically focused on fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes, the raw food diet takes careful planning and lifestyle adjustments to follow.
Followers of the diet, called raw foodists, believe that cooking these typically whole foods, can harm or kill the nutrients and health benefits the food may have. Other raw food proponents believe that cooking foods in certain oils or at certain temperatures can make food harmful or even toxic. To get the most nutrition and subsequent health benefits, followers believe consuming food in the rawest form is best.

Within the overarching category of raw food diets, there are various sub-diets that could be followed including raw-vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore. You guessed right, that means some raw diet followers consume things such as raw eggs and even raw meat! A raw vegan diet is not the only way to build a diet of raw foods. Whatever category of the raw food diet you choose, it’s important to be aware of what you are able to eat!

How does Raw Food Diet work?

There are numerous variations of the raw food diet, and you have the power to shape your own. Some tips for getting started include: Fill your pantry with lots of sprouts and seeds ;fresh fruit and vegetables;   nuts, including cashews, sunflower seeds and raw almond butter.
Fill up on (uncooked) grains, as well as dried organic legumes (think lentils, chickpeas, adzuki beans and mung beans) eaten raw.
Add flavor through condiments like cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil; raw virgin coconut oil; and raw coconut butter.
Sip on freshly-squeezed vegetable juice and herbal tea.
Invest in a dehydrator to create crunchy sweet potato chips from peeled and sliced sweet potatoes.
Purchase a food processor and blender to get creative with juices and even raw chocolate chip “cookies.”

Types of raw food diet

A person on a raw food diet can drink freshly made fruit and vegetable juices. Most people who follow the raw food diet eat only plant-based foods, making it a type of vegan diet. However, some people eat raw animal products or raw or dried meat, too.
There are 3 broad types of raw food diet:
a raw vegetarian diet includes plant-based foods plus raw eggs and unprocessed dairy products
a raw vegan diet excludes all animal products, focusing only on plant-based foods
a raw omnivorous diet includes plant-based foods, raw animal products, and raw or dried meat

Does The Raw Food DietWork?

You'll probably lose weight on this diet, since most of its foods are low in calories, fat, and sodium, and high in fiber. People who followed a raw foods diet lost a significant amount of weight.
You'll also get nutritional perks. Most of what you eat will be high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals.
But there are lots of drawbacks. The diet is difficult to follow and inadequate in many essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and more.
Plus, contrary to the claims of many raw food fans, cooking does not make food toxic but instead makes some foods digestible.
Cooking also boosts some nutrients, like beta-carotene and lycopene, and kills bacteria, which helps you avoid food poisoning. There is no scientific evidence that raw foods prevent illness.

Raw food diet for beginners

When looking at the raw food diet, it is important to take into consideration your lifestyle, eating preferences, and goals. If you do not enjoy eating uncooked vegetables or aren’t a big fan of fruit, this diet is probably not for you.
Those new to the raw food diet may struggle to start and maintain such a strict form of eating without proper planning and homework.

Rather than starting a strict raw food diet, simply incorporating more raw fruits and veggies into normal cooked meals of lean protein and fish can give you the benefits of these foods, without the risk of an entirely raw diet. Another option for those interested in a raw food style of eating may be to follow a vegan or plant-based diet. Styles of eating such as a vegan diet will give you the benefits of fruit and vegetables but allow you to cook and process them and not only eat raw versions of them which is easier to maintain for most than strict raw veganism.

Benefits of The Raw Food Diet

Many people on a raw food diet believe that it makes the body better able to prevent and fight diseases, especially chronic conditions.
A 2019 review reports that following a plant-based (but not necessarily raw) diet has significant benefits for physical health and disease.

Following a raw food diet can have a range of benefits, including improved health and weight loss. The next sections discuss some possible benefits.
Weight loss
If a person wishes to lose weight, eating mainly uncooked foods can help. This is because raw foods are usually low in calories, and plant-based foods are high in fiber, making a person feel full for longer.

Fewer processed foods

Processed foods tend to be higher in salt, added sugars, and unhealthful saturated fats. They can lead to inflammation of blood vessels and cardiovascular disease. Reducing or eliminating processed foods can, therefore, have significant health benefits.

High in nutrients

A raw food diet tends to be high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, all of which are staples of a healthful diet. Eating a range of these foods will provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, and healthful fats, and protein.
Cooking destroys some nutrients, such as water-soluble vitamin B and vitamin C, so eating food raw ensures a better supply of these.

Retaining enzymes in food

According to some sources, the cooking process may destroy or alter the natural enzymes in foods, as well as some essential vitamins.
The idea is that nature has given each food its unique perfect mix, and these vital enzymes allow a person to digest their foods fully. Proponents claim that only raw food, therefore, is “live” food.
However, these enzymes present in food are mostly denatured by the acid in the stomach. Our bodies contain the enzymes needed to digest foods.

Summary

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.
But the diet is a nutritionally inadequate and highly restrictive plan that will be hard to stay on for the long-term. The risk of food poisoning from eating raw or undercooked foods outweighs the benefits of this plan.
In general, cooking makes your food more easily digestible and safer.
There are some nutrient-rich super foods that can’t be eaten raw, such as beans, whole grains, and lean proteins.

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