What is Raw Foodism?

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Some people may label it as pretty extreme, but others absolutely swear by it.  The general philosophy of the raw food diet comes from the idea that cooking foods can eliminate much of the nutritional benefits of food in its natural state.  Certain enzymes can be killed in the process of cooking, thereby reducing the nutritional quality of the food overall.

Eat a  lot of fresh fruits and veggies

What is Raw Foodism?

If you’re going for the raw food diet, you’re not going to be using the oven or stovetop much.  Instead, you’re going to be eating a lot of fresh fruits and veggies in their natural form.  That doesn’t mean you’re eating like a grazer; there are many interesting dishes and preparation methods to use with the raw food diet that will keep it more interesting than eating like a rabbit.

Many people who use the raw food diet wear out things like dehydrators, blenders and juicers.  Kitchen appliances such as these can help create a delicious prepared meal out of raw foods that won’t leave you missing the oven at all.

Eating a raw food diet appeals to some people because it really goes back to the natural way our bodies were originally designed to eat food.  While our human ancestors came up with the concept of fire to help cook the meats and foods we ate, our ultimate animal ancestors had a physiology designed to eat food raw.

Some experts believe that cooking food is part of what made us human and actually helps supply energy to the brain.  This has been the conclusion of one Harvard professor, but his studies are certainly not fully conclusive.  Ultimately, you must look at the evidence yourself, perhaps try the diet for yourself and see if you believe raw is the way to go for you or not.

If you’ve been researching diets and asking yourself, “what is the raw food diet?”, this is the article for you.

What Counts as Raw Food Eating?

When you’re considering starting a raw food diet, you may be completely overwhelmed with the possibility of changing up all of your eating habits.  If you’re like most people, you eat three cooked meals a day and the idea of eating all of those meals raw just seems impossible to you.

When you start reading up on raw food eating and looking into what it really entails, you’ll begin to see that there are a lot of raw foods out there that we eat all the time without even thinking about it.

Warm Food up to 40 Degrees C

Then again, there is a big shift that happens when you decide to go raw.  You’ll be eating 80-100% raw food only, and that can be a pretty huge change.  Take a look below to see some of the things you’ll probably be eating a lot of if you decide to go with this diet.  Keep in mind that raw food means food that hasn’t been cooked at a temperature higher than 40 degrees C or 117 degrees F:

Fresh Fruits:

One of my favourite elements of the raw food diet!  You’ll be eating a lot of delicious sweet fruit with this diet.  If you want to keep it interesting, be sure and try some of the more exotic fruits out there like dragon fruit and mangos.

Fresh Veggies:

This is what will absolutely dominate your menu.  While your mornings may be full of fruits to get your energy going, your lunch and dinners will be filled with raw veggies.  This can come in the form of juices, giant salads, stuffed peppers and so much more.

Fresh Herbs:

Chives, cilantro, basil, mint, you’ll be adding in a huge amount of delicious fresh herbs to your recipes to keep them seasoned and delicious.

Nuts and Seeds:

A very important source of fatty oils, you’ll be eating a lot of nuts and seeds on a raw food diet.  Nuts can make an excellent between-meals snack, although many people on a raw food diet report not feeling hungry throughout the day as long as they eat three full meals a day.

Isn’t Raw Food Diet Boring?

Raw Food Eating fresh vegetablesIt certainly doesn’t have to be!  Many people who try to picture switching to a raw eating diet just sees veggie trays and fruit bowls in their future.  While these are excellent sources of the raw food you’d be eating, there are a ton of interesting ways to prepare raw foods and make them just as exciting as a regular diet.

Tools such as blenders to puree, food processors to make crusts and stuffings, juicers to make delicious drinks and dehydrators to bring out the flavour can make the possibilities of a raw food diet totally endless.

Bring out the blenders, dehydrators, juicers and food processors

Here, however, we will have to note that making a raw food diet interesting and viable is a lot of work.  There are a lot of rules that wouldn’t necessarily apply to other diets and it’s a whole lot harder to go out to eat if you don’t have time to prepare something for yourself.

If you really want to make a raw food diet work for you, you’re going to have to make it fun and easy to follow by being totally dedicated to it.  You’ll have to do meal prep at the beginning of the week.  Experienced raw food dieters spend a whole lot of time dehydrating for meals later in the week and spouting beans several days in advance.

So – to make a long story short – boring is certainly not the right word for the raw food diet.  In fact, if you really put your all into it, it can be one of the more interesting diets to follow because you’re always eating exotic delicious foods that most people around you could never have dreamed of.  It is a lot of work though, and you should make sure you have the time commitment to put into it before switching to this diet.

Is Raw Food Diet Actually Good For You?

There is some amount of debate out there about whether or not a raw food diet is actually ideal for health or not.

A few aspects of the raw food diet can hardly be contested as being beneficial.  It’s very very heavy in fresh fruits and vegetables, two of the most important elements of a healthy diet.  There’s no doubt you’re going to be getting all of the great nutrient complexes that come out of eating a clean diet composed of mostly fruits and veggies.

If you’re eating a diet like this, most of what you’re eating will be high in the essential vitamins, minerals, fibers and disease-fighting phytochemicals that you need to stay healthy.  However, there are some potential pitfalls.

It may be difficult to get certain essential nutrients like protein, iron, calcium, vitamin b12 and several more.  You’ll want to pay close attention to what the food you’re eating is composed of so you can spot deficiencies in your diet.  You may have to take supplements to fill those gaps.

In addition, while you may be saving some nutrients by cooking your food, you’ll also be losing certain benefits of cooking such as making food more digestible.  Some nutrients, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, are even boosted by cooking food.

So in general, the raw eating diet is very healthy and a viable way to go.  However, you will want to do your research and take great care to ensure you’re getting all of your essential nutrients, and supplement when necessary.

What Does a Typical Raw Food Meal Plan for a Day Look Like?

It may be hard to imagine what you would even be eating on a raw food diet.  Here are some potential breakfast, lunch and dinner options for the day:

Raw Food Diet BreakfastBreakfast:

For breakfast, many people say it’s better to eat a few fruits to get your body the needed sugars to give it energy for the day.  A great way to start out the day on a raw food diet is putting all your favourite fruits and greens together for a delicious smoothie in the morning.  Adding greens to your smoothie boosts the nutritional value and you won’t even be able to taste it with the overwhelming sweet taste of the fruits.

Alternatively, you could also go for a delicious fruit bowl in the morning.  A bowl full of strawberries, bananas, blueberries and kiwi topped with a shake of chia seeds or cacao is a super nutritious way to start your day.

Lunch:

For lunch, you may decide to eat a raw salad or soup.  For a salad, you can simply put together all of your favorite greens, veggies and even fruits.  You can even make your own dressing with ingredients like apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or lemon juice.  You can also use a food processor to puree a delicious blend of your favorite veggies.  Some purees will even heat the soup for you.  Make sure you eat plenty, though!  Raw food is often much lower in calories than traditional diets.

Dinner:

For dinner, you may decide to get creative and make a delicious raw food dish like stuffed peppers, spaghetti squash pasta, raw lasagna made with zucchini, stuffed tomato or lettuce wraps.

What are the Major Health Benefits of Raw Food Eating?

The benefits of eating a raw food diet are wide-ranging and fairly well documented for it being a bit of a new fad.  While official medical websites such a WebMD will warn users that the raw food diet is difficult to follow and could be deficient in certain nutrients, they hardly steer people away from its clear benefits.

Even the Journal of Nutrition said that increased raw foods in a person’s diet leads to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are the main indicators for three of the most common health conditions in the western world: heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure.

Some of the other benefits commonly reported by people who use the raw food diet are as follows:

#1 Decreased Need for Sleep

Many people say that they find themselves waking up in the morning with much more energy and that sustain that energy throughout the day.

#2 Higher Energy

Following from the last point, most people who follow the raw food diet say that they feel a very high level of energy, a lack of fatigue and a lack of the midday crash that they had once before.

#3 Improved Appearance

Many people report clearer skin and a more youthful appearance overall after eating the raw food diet.

#4 Better Nutrition

If you’re eating a raw food diet, you’re getting a much better nutritional foundation than people eating a general diet.  All those raw fruits and veggies are absolutely full of essential nutrients for your body; it’s like eating a diet of vitamins.

#5 Less Processed Foods

One of the biggest issues with the western diets is that so much of it is processed to a point that the nutritional value is lost.  Eating a raw food diet means staying away from all of those processed foods and instead embracing food in its natural form.

Is Raw Food Diet Difficult to Do?

If there’s one unfortunate thing about the raw food diet, it’s that it is rather difficult to follow and even more difficult to sustain.  Eating raw means taking a lot of time to do food prep, taking extra trip to the grocery store to make sure you don’t let food spoil too often and paying close attention to what you’re eating to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients that you ultimately need.

It’s certainly not too difficult to handle, even for someone with a fairly busy life.  It is, however, something that will require a lot of serious time commitment and commitment to research.

Out of all of the diets out there, the raw food diet is one of the more difficult, only because it’s so far removed from what people are eating today.  It’s difficult to go to any restaurant and find anything that you can eat when you’re eating a raw food diet, so most of your food prep will have to be well-planned and done at home.

Where Can I Learn More About Raw Foodism?

There are many excellent online resources which can teach you more about the raw food diet if you want to do your research.  Here is a short list of websites you may want to check to get more information:

FullyRaw.com
rawfoodlife.com
thebestofrawfood.com
living-foods.com