I’m sure you’ve seen articles about raw food diets. Or even found recipes on Pinterest that are raw food friendly. But what does it mean to follow a raw food diet?
Explaining a Raw Food Diet
Eating raw foods is natural. Our bodies thrive on all that is fresh and vital. A raw food diet means increasing the amount of raw food that you eat.
Raw food diets are based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods.
Eating organically is preferred. Enjoying a variety of fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit, fresh juices and purified water.
Basically a vegetarian diet, the raw food diet promotes eating and drinking ‘living’ foods.
Living foods and juices contain the maximum amount of fiber found in raw produce, fiber that can be lost in processing. These foods are easily metabolized and tend to be lower in calories than the average diet.
Heating food above 116°F destroys enzymes in food that aid in digestion and in absorption of food, decreasing its nutritional value.
A diet of at least 75% raw food offers numerous health benefits.
Many report increased energy, improved skin appearance, better digestion and weight loss. It also reduces the risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
A raw food diet contains little or no saturated fats. It is low in sodium, high in potassium, magnesium, folate and fiber.
Raw food diets are also excellent detox diets. Different combinations of raw, living foods and juices can be used for colon, liver, kidney and skin cleansing.
The Basics of a Raw Food Diet
Any fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, beans, nuts, legumes, young coconut milk – even seaweed – can be menu items of a raw food diet. Your choice of foods may depend on your reasons for dieting…
- sprouted brown rice slows glucose absorption and improves the metabolism
- cabbage supports healthy cellular function
- radish leaves act as an anti-oxidant, as does Shitake mushroom
- carrots are a great source of vitamin A; they encourage healthy vision and are heart healthy
Sprouts are a superfood. Organic sprouts contain enormous levels of proteins, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. They are the ideal natural supplement.
Fennel has been shown to reduce and control inflammation of arthritis. It evens out mood fluctuation and depressive states. Fennel contains manganese, zinc and vitamin B complex.
The nutritional value of grains and seeds are impressive. They contain most of the vitamins – like A, B, and E. They’re also fantastic natural sources of unsaturated fatty acids and lecithin, and an excellent source of proteins.
Essentially, the idea of a raw food diet is to eat unprocessed foods for at least 75% of the time. However, if the idea of raw food isn’t very appetizing to you, you can warm the food a little as long as the food isn’t heated above 116°F.
A Good Way to Improve Your Overall Health
Like any lifestyle change this diet takes time, energy and commitment. Because many of the foods for this diet are made from scratch some meals will take longer to prepare. But there are many great products on the market that can help you prepare your own living food and save you some time as well.
With regular exercise, a raw food diet is also an excellent way to lose weight. If you’ve been feeling ‘a little off’, or just need a pick-me-up and some extra energy, then a raw food diet is certainly a good way to go.
As with any diet or lifestyle change, make sure you discuss it with your healthcare provider first. Changing your diet can cause side effects. And you will want to make sure it doesn’t affect any medications you may be taking.