What is the raw food diet? It is a diet based on the belief that heating foods above 115 degrees destroys the precious enzymes it contains. When the enzymes are destroyed, it is more difficult for our systems to absorb and digest food. The act of heating food above 115 degrees is thought to greatly diminish its "life force" and rob it of nutrients.
Foods such as uncooked plant foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, grains, beans, nuts, sprouts and sea vegetables are what make up a raw food diet. There are no processed foods or foods that have been adulterated or modified.
In order to be considered a raw foodist, it is thought that one's diet must consist of at least 75% raw foods.
The health benefits touted by its proponents include better digestion and assimilation of foods, weight loss, reduced risk of disease, increased energy and improved skin, hair and nails.
There are less saturated fats and trans fats contained in unadulterated foods as compared to the standard American diet. There is less sodium and more important nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, fiber, folate, and plant phytochemicals. Studies have shown that consuming a raw food diet can not only reduce your risk of chronic disease, but it also is known to lower triglycerides and total blood cholesterol.
There are various methods for preparation used. Some wonderful cookbooks are available that are filled with gourmet recipes. While some of these recipes can be quite complicated to prepare, they are surprisingly satisfying and delicious. The creativity involved in preparing gourmet raw foods is astounding.
The typical equipment found in a raw kitchen differ somewhat from those found in a traditional kitchen. Tools such as a dehydrator (which dries food slowly at temperatures not to exceed 115 degrees), a juicer, a blender, and a food processor. You would also find a supply of glass jars and containers used for soaking and sprouting seeds, grains, beans, and nuts.
Embarking on a this type of diet may bring on some side effects that are associated with detoxification. Symptoms such as food cravings, headaches, and nausea are common and may last for a few days. However, once they have passed, the cravings will pass and you will start to feel extremely well. Brain fog lifts and energy levels rise.
It does take dedication to commit to a this pure a diet. Meals are prepared from scratch and ingredients used are not always typical. There are many websites dedicated to selling products to support this lifestyle. On these sites you can find difficult to locate items. A quick Google search will bring back many supplier options. There are also wonderful raw food restaurants popping up all over the country. Even if you are not a raw foodist, some of the finer restaurants offer a unique dining experience.
There are critics of the this diet who believe that the enzymes lost during cooking are not vital to digestion and that there are certain phytochemicals in certain plant foods that are actually released when they are exposed to heat making them easier to absorb.
Whether you chose to embark on a raw food diet or not, it is important to evaluate your current diet. Are you eating any uncooked plant foods? Are you getting the proper nutrition from the foods that you eat?
Regardless of whether you are a raw foodist or just want to eat more healthfully, it is important to consume about 50% of raw foods in a given day. This will ensure that you are getting the right variety of nutrients from your diet.