The raw food diet is a plant-based diet that requires you to have raw food like fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouts, etc. Supporters of the diet believe it can increase your immunity; however, it may not provide the body with enough energy and nutrients. If you are looking for a new diet plan, try this one to know if it works for you.
Today, diets are plenty in number and you have many to choose from. If one does not work for you, it does not have to end in disappointment because you know you can always try another one. No diet has been proved to be 100 percent effective for anyone. Every diet has its own advantage and disadvantage.
So, here is another diet you may want to add to your list of diets to experiment. This is called the raw food diet.
The Basics Of The Raw Food Diet
The raw food diet is a diet that involves eating only raw foods, mostly plant foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts, grains, beans, dried fruits, etc. This diet eliminates any food that has been cooked. In other words, any food that has been subjected to heat is not allowed in the raw food diet. Instead, the diet allows other techniques like juicing, blending, soaking, sprouting, etc to consume the food.
This diet is sometimes also known as the raw vegan diet. This is because most supporters of the raw food diet do not include meat in it. However, some people who follow the raw food diet include raw meat, fish, and dairy products like yogurt to their diet.
Those following this diet believe that cooking destroys the certain enzymes present in the food that may assist in the absorption and digestion and diminishes the nutritional value of the food being cooked.
Now that the basics of the raw food diet are clear, let’s examine the advantages it may have on the human body.
Benefits Of The Raw Food Diet
Most of the raw foodists strictly believe that raw food has many health benefits when compared with cooked food. Some of these benefits are as follows:
- More Nutritional Value: The raw food diet includes only raw foods that are believed to have more nutrients and fibers than cooked food. The enzymes are not destroyed and help in digestion and support overall health.
- Easily Digestible: Raw foods are digested easily than cooked food. It may take only 24 to 36 hours to digest raw food while cooked food may take 48 hours or more to digest.
- Better Immune System: Some also believe that having raw foods increases the immunity of the human body and, in turn, decreasing the risk of developing any diseases or illnesses.
- Clearer Skin: Some also believe that eating only raw foods can improve the skin and its appearance. It may even slow down the aging process.
- Reduced Body Odor: It may keep bad breath and embarrassing body odor away.
- Increased Energy Levels: Since the body does not waste energy breaking down hard-to-digest foods like meat, many believe that the raw food diet can boost their energy levels.
Apart from these benefits, some also say that it is easy to spot spoiled food in its raw form than in its cooked form. It may also help in reaching weight loss goals faster. Lastly, since raw food diet does not require cooking you do not have to purchase oil or gas which saves money. It may take you less time to prepare your food as well. This is great for those with busy schedules who complain about not having time on their hands to cook food.
Despite the numerous advantages of the diet, the raw food diet also has drawbacks. Let’s examine the disadvantages of the raw food diet.
Drawbacks Of The Raw Food Diet
As mentioned earlier, most diets have their own pros and cons. Some of the drawbacks of the raw food diet are as follows:
- Digestive Issues: Raw foods may not work well for some people when it comes to digestion. They may find it difficult to digest raw food when compared with cooked food.1
- Nutrient Unavailability: Sometimes, it is important to cook certain foods for the body to be able to obtain all the nutrients from a particular food. So, eating raw foods may only be providing a part of the nutrients available while others are inaccessible by the human body.2
- Decreased Energy: Most followers of the diet believe that raw food can provide their body the maximum energy. However, some studies report that cooking food leads to an increase in energy rather than a decrease, especially with lipid-rich foods.3 Therefore, raw foods may not be improving energy levels; they might just be doing the opposite.
- Lack Of Nutrients: The raw food diet is low in calories making it perfect for losing unwanted body weight. However, it may not only be low in calories; it may also be low in some vitamins, minerals, and proteins which are essential for the body.
As mentioned earlier, pros and cons are bound to be there for every diet plan. If you are eager to try out this diet, here is a list of foods you can include in the raw food diet.
Foods To Include In The Raw Food Diet
The raw food diet, as the name suggests, allows you to include all the foods that are raw (mostly plant-based foods) or that have never been cooked. Most foods consumed in this diet should not be heated over 116°F. However, they do allow juicing, blending, sprouting, and other techniques that require less or no heat. Here is a list of foods that you can include in the raw food diet.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Coconut oil
- Raw eggs or dairy
- Raw meat or fish
Eating whole foods like fruits and vegetables are easy. But, if you are bored of the crunchiness, you can blend them in a blender and make your own smoothies. Similarly, beans and seeds can be sprouted and soaked, respectively, before consuming them.
You cannot have cooked vegetables, fruits, meat, or grains. Nuts should always be eaten raw; roasted nuts don’t count as raw nuts. Refined oils should be excluded and so should pasteurized juices and dairy. You should also avoid all kinds of processed foods and snacks.
The raw food practitioners do not encourage animal products of any kind; but, if you cannot exclude it completely, raw eggs and dairy may be included. You can add raw meat and fish but it may cause digestive issues and may not taste as good as cooked meat and fish.
Some Tips Before You Start The Raw Food Diet
The raw food diet may be easy when it comes to the preparation but it may be a challenge for your body to get used to the drastic change. Here are a few tips that may help if you decide to start with this diet.
- Take Baby Steps: It is not easy for your body to switch from your regular diet to a raw food diet. So, it is important to take it step by step. If you are a vegan you are at an advantage. However, meat and dairy eaters may find it difficult in the beginning, but don’t give up easily unless it is causing a severe negative impact on your body.
- Avoid Meat: If you choose to have meat in your diet, it should be raw. However, raw meat can cause discomfort because it has bacteria and microorganisms that can irritate the stomach causing indigestion.
- Stick To Organic Produce: It is always best to purchase organic and fresh produce. It is even better if you grow your own produce to avoid pesticide and other chemicals that may be used on commercial produce.
- Check Your Weight Regularly: Some people who take the completely raw diet become thin enough that may raise concern. Although this may happen in the beginning, you should be able to gain your weight back over the course of a few months.
- Consult The Doctor When Required: When you start the diet, you may find yourself feeling bloated and gassy. This is normal and, generally, will settle down in a few weeks to a month’s time. If it does not settle, consult your health provider.
Raw food is not always the right food. Ideally, your diet should have a balance of both raw and cooked foods. However, there is no harm in trying a diet plan; it is the only way to know if it works for you or not. But, you should always consult a doctor before you start a new diet plan so they can help you better if you have an existing health condition.
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.