Before you decide to change your eating habits, you probably want to know what we are talking about here.
A raw food diet is a diet consisting of any percentage of raw food.
Raw food is food that has not been heated over a certain temperature, usually no higher than 118º but the temperature ranges depending on the source.
Some people eat a 100% raw food diet, they are generally very vibrant and healthy people, depending on when they started and the variety of nutrition in their diet. There is some controversy about the best percentage of raw food that one should consume. But anything over 80% raw and 20% cooked is considered to be a very healthy diet.
This is Mimi Kirk raw foodie, at over 70 she is vibrant and healthy. Click the photo to see her Facebook page. When I first made the switch to raw food, I went 100% cold turkey. My body went through some major cleansing reactions, but in addition to that I lost about 10 lbs within 2 weeks. I recommend doing a slower transition to make it easier on yourself and your body. Try implementing a raw breakfast every day like freshly pressed juice or a smoothie. Then incorporate more salads and and other raw dishes until you are at the right stage for you.
Why would anyone want to eat raw food?
Well it has to do with nutrition. Foods created by nature are in the most perfect form for our bodies (also created by nature). Cooking foods alters their chemical structure, and often makes nutrients harder or impossible for our bodies to absorb.
For example, there are cancer-fighting compounds in broccoli called sulforaphanes. They are almost completely lost when broccoli is cooked. Certain vitamins, such as vitamin C and folate, are also destroyed by heat.
Cooking food at high heat, especially in oils causes the formation of toxic compounds that have no place in our digestive system.
(Sorry McDonalds fries, you’re out)
What types of foods can you eat on a raw food diet?
This is where most of the misconceptions come in. When I first heard about people eating raw food I thought
“Man, eating salad for every meal for ever? I couldn’t do it. Not worth it, I love real food too much.”
But the truth is, raw food can be both fun and delicious. It takes a little extra effort to get into the habit of creating raw dishes, just as it would if you decided to change your diet in any way. But the meals you can create are diverse and can be so yummy. All you have to do is experiment.
Some raw foodies consume raw dairy products like raw milk and raw cheese, even raw meats such as sashimi. We love a vegan raw diet with no meat products and little to no dairy. I recommend getting a raw food book to help you get started. I love Ani Phyo as she has simple recipes for the beginner raw foodie. They are quick and easy, but don’t taste boring. I have two of her meal books as well as her dessert book. They also contain lots of great information about living a healthy lifestyle.
You won’t just be eating greens and carrot sticks I promise. One of my favorite pastimes now is experimenting with new raw recipes in the kitchen. I love raw pizza, and lasagne. My absolute favorite is ‘sunburgers’ on raw sesame bread. If you aren’t sold on a raw diet just yet, try baby steps, just a few meals a week, once you find your favorite recipes, it will become easier and easier to eat raw.
What else should I know?
There is a lot of information about a raw food diet, check out this article by Vlad. There are plenty of health benefits, including weight loss if you’re carrying an extra few pounds. To make the change, you may need a few extra utensils in the kitchen, like a dehydrator, food processor and high speed blender. But you can get these things when you have the time and money, you can eat raw without them, they just make life easier.
You’ll learn new ways to prepare foods, like soaking nuts and sprouting grains. Even fermenting foods means you can enjoy many of the flavors and textures you thought you’d be missing out on with a raw food diet.