Instead of a fad diet, a raw food diet is the diet that nature intended for us to eat, so our bodies can achieve optimal health, functioning, and production. In this case, the word “diet” refers to the nutritional profile consumed, instead of the popular, and negative connotation of the word, which indicates restriction and limitation.
A raw food diet is anything but restrictive. Eating raw is actually pretty easy, also. If you ask yourself these questions: “has this been cooked,” “does this grow from something/somewhere,” “has this been in a factory,” you can simplify the process.
What Can I Eat on a Raw Food Diet?
A raw food diet consists of mainly raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains. Whole foods are consumed on a raw food diet, such as, spinach, kale, strawberries, apples, zucchini, eggplant, grapes, tomatoes, broccoli, squash, cherries, pears, and kiwis– these are only a few examples of foods that may be consumed on a raw food diet.
Variety is not an issue in a raw food diet. A raw food eater, or raw “foodist,” is someone who consumes 75-100% live, nutritionally-dense, organic, uncooked and unprocessed food, and pure, live water.
Foods consumed on a raw food diet:
- dried fruits
- fresh fruits & veggies
- freshly made fruit & veggie juices
- milk from a young coconut
- other organic or natural foods which have not been processed
- purified water (not tap)
- sun-dried fruits
Some examples of meals or snacks eaten on a raw food diet:
- raw crumble filled apple recipe
- fit chicas zucchini rolls recipe
- nacho kale chips recipe
- detox apple pie recipe
The Basics of Raw Food Eating
The key to eating a raw food diet is to eat whole foods– ones that are not cooked. The idea behind eating raw is to eliminate foods that have been altered, that includes processing and cooking. Medical News Today describes four branches of raw “foodism:”
- Raw vegetarians – only animal products consumed are eggs and dairy; most foods consumed are raw
- Raw vegans – no animal products consumed at all; most foods consumed are raw
- Raw omnivores – both plant-based and animal based foods are mainly consumed raw
- Raw carnivores – meat products are eaten only raw
Rawfoodlife.com, an online resource for raw foodists, sums up the need for raw eating:
“Science now proves that cooking not only destroys nutrition and enzymes but chemically changes foods from the substances needed for health into acid-forming toxins, free-radicals and poisons that destroy our health.”
Rawfoodlife.com mentions “acid-forming toxins.” The basis for the raw food diet is the pH scale, which is a scale that measures substances’ alkalinity or acidity on a scale of 0-14, with a pH of 7 being a neutral substance.
An acidic body is very detrimental to whole-body health. Acidity increases chronic inflammation, and inflammatory disease(s). Martha Grout, M.D., describes the many, many issues associated with chronic inflammation:
“Inflammation is one of the common denominators of disease. Every chronic disease is an inflammatory disease. No matter what so-called disease you have, from cancer to the common cold, inflammation is a major part of your problem. Learning how to prevent and reverse inflammation will go a long way toward preventing and reversing almost all disease, as well as slowing the aging process, keeping us healthy, biologically young and vigorous for a lifetime.
Unfortunately, most Americans suffer from chronic inflammation, caused by a variety of factors that seriously undermine health and ages us prematurely. Resulting from an “inflammatory cascade,” common inflammatory diseases include allergies, Alzheimer’s, asthma, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, bursitis, cancer, cervicitis, colitis, cystitis, diabetes, gastritis, heart disease, hepatitis, infections, myocarditis, nephritis, neuritis, osteoporosis, prostatitis, sinusitis, tendonitis, and vaginitis. Even our children are increasingly suffering from “diseases of aging” in epidemic numbers. To put an end to this tragedy, we must learn how to prevent and reverse chronic inflammation.
What is inflammation? It is the body’s response to injury, irritation or infection, a natural and healthy process. If you cut your finger, the body immediately begins an inflammatory process that neutralizes harmful microorganisms, helps to repair the wound, and cleans up the debris resulting from the injury. Inflammation is beneficial when needed, but it is disastrous when chronic. Chronic inflammation generates a constant supply of free radicals that overwhelm our anti-oxidant defenses and damage DNA, aging us and causing disease of every description.”
The Health Benefits of Raw Food Eating
According Medical News Today, raw foodists believe that, “if you consume mainly uncooked foods you will achieve significant desirable weight loss. They also believe that a raw food diet enhances your body’s ability to prevent and fight diseases, especially chronic diseases. Raw foodism says that raw and living foods contain essential food enzymes that are destroyed if the food is heated to above 116 Fahrenheit (47 Celsius/Centigrade).
Another inherent benefit associated with raw food eating is the elimination of excess acidity and sugar in the bloodstream. If you eat a mainly raw food diet, you are either eating NO processed food, or very, very little processed food.
This reduction in eating processed foods reduces sugar and caloric intake. If you aren’t eating processed food, you aren’t eating refined sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup). Instead, you replace those refined sugars with unrefined sugar, found in fruits and starchy vegetables.
Among the medical and dietary community, sugar is known as poison, for lack of a better term. Refined sugar has so many detrimental side effects to the body, it really should be avoided at all costs. And, a raw food diet can help you eliminate processed and refined sugar, and replace these sugars with naturally-sweet items.
A Shape Magazine contributor describes the detrimental affects of sugar in the body:
“If you eat more sugar, you ask your body for more insulin, straining your pancreas and wearing yourself out… In the long term, this kind of habit can cause you to become chronically fatigued, diabetic, develop cancer, and pack on excess weight.” So, when you switch from eating processed, fatty (bad fats), and sugary foods, your whole-body health will improve.
According to Medical News Today:
“Raw foodists say that enzymes are the life force of a food. Nature has given each food its unique perfect mix. These vital enzymes allow us to fully digest our foods without having to rely on our own digestive enzymes. According to the Vanderbilt University Psychology Department, raw foodists say that the cooking process destroys or alters these enzymes, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.”
Medical News Today reports these benefits:
- You will have more energy
- Your skin will have a much better appearance
- Your digestion will improve
- You will lose weight
- Your risk of developing heart and cardiovascular diseases will significantly drop
In addition, a report published in Food Technology in October 2012 explained that plant-based diets either significantly reduce or completely eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.