Though the raw food movement has been around for a long time, as the “evils” of processed foods become more apparent, this more natural style of eating has taken on a much larger number of followers. However, what many people would like to know before giving the raw food diet a try is whether or not it is all it is cracked up to be, and if they will be able to truly benefit from it.
The premise behind the raw food diet is that only unprocessed, whole, and plant based foods are consumed. Whenever possible, organic is considered to be the ideal. At least three quarters of the foods consumed are required to be uncooked. The idea is that greater health will be achieved by eating more food raw.
Though not necessarily a part of the raw food diet, many followers are vegans, meaning that they will not eat any products from animal origins. Others will eat raw animal products and meats. As you can see, there are a number of different raw food diets available, and not just one. The four primary options are the following:
• Raw vegetarianism – where most foods that are consumed are raw and plant based. The only animal products consumed are dairy and eggs.
• Raw veganism – where most consumed are raw and all are plant based. No animal products whatsoever are consumed.
• Raw omnivore – both animal and plant based foods are consumed, most of which are raw.
• Raw carnivore – both animal and plant based foods are consumed, but any meats eaten are raw.
Typically speaking, a raw foodist will base his or her diet on the following foods: fresh fruits and veggies, beans, sundried and dried fruits, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts freshly made fruit and vegetable juices, seaweed, fish, meat, eggs, non-pasteurized and non Homogenized dairy and milk products, young coconut milk, other unprocessed natural or organic foods, and purified water (not tap water).
Practitioners of the diet believe that you will gain more nutrition from this type of diet, that it is easier to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, and that it boosts the ability of the body to combat diseases, particularly in the case of chronic illnesses. Raw foodists feel that eating food without cooking it will prevent essential food enzymes from being destroyed, which they believe occurs at 116 degrees (F).
It is very important to speak with a doctor before beginning this type of diet as it requires special practices of which the dieter may not be aware. It may also not be recommended for individuals with certain health conditions.