The raw food diet is a manner of eating and a lifestyle. When you eat food raw, you relish its freshness. You get to enjoy the crisp flavor, and all the nutrients that come with it before it is exposed to any heat or processing. The diet encourages a more holistic awareness of what you eat and how you decide to eat. But have you ever stopped to consider just how good eating raw food is for you?
Eating a raw food diet means that you don’t eat food that has been exposed to temperatures above 48°C (118°F). The food should also not be refined, processed in any way, or exposed to pesticides and chemicals. This diet allows non-heating processes on food such as blending, juicing, and dehydrating of food items.
Nuts and seeds are sprouted to remove the phytic acid that serves as their protective barrier and which makes it difficult to digest them. Once the nuts have been sprouted, they become easier to digest without needing to go through all the usual processes of roasting or heating them. Fermented food such as kimchi or pickled produce are also considered as raw food and are actually great in providing additional nutrients and probiotics to your diet.
The raw food diet fits well with veganism because of what the diet primarily consists of, which are fruits,vegetables, nuts, and seeds. However, there are some raw food followers who also consume raw eggs, fish, and to some certain extent, meat. Unpasteurized dairy products such as milk are also accepted in the diet. There’s a ton of food that you can eat on this diet, it’s just matter of being conscious of how it was prepared and how it was handled.
The raw food diet believes that the nutrients, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that are intrinsically part of food die when the food is cooked. Since the food you consume has not been touched or spoiled in any way, the idea is that the food retains all of the nutritional value it has and is able to impart these wholly. Because of the enzymes that you get from your food and the high fiber content, it also promotes a healthier digestive system.
Following the raw food diet is meant to detoxify you from all the chemicals that you have consumed in the past. The proponents of the raw food diet believe that chemicals are released when food is consumed and these chemicals can lead to bloating and a general feeling of being unwell. Going on this diet purges you of those chemicals and allows your body to recuperate. This also means that as you go through the detoxification process, you will see marked improvements on skin complexion and elasticity as you are slowly able to ease out of chemically laden food and transition to more organic food options.
Because this diet is incredibly restrictive in terms of what you can and cannot eat, it definitely promotes weight loss. The food that you eat generally has fewer calories and are very nutrient dense so even if you binge on food so long as you’re within the parameters of the diet, you will lose weight. Coupled with the right activities, this diet can be incredibly beneficial in promoting a healthier lifestyle simply because of the more conscious decisions that you are making.
Going on this diet is a great way of revamping your lifestyle but it is not going to be an easy transition especially if you have been mostly eating highly commercialized food products or have been used to eating ready-made food. Eating out will also be a bit of a contention because it would be quite a task to make sure that the restaurant that you go to offers a menu that can support your diet. Preparing your food ahead and mind conditioning are very important in maintaining the diet.
You also need to consider the source of your food. As this diet does not allow food that has been exposed to pesticides, the only way that you can truly go is to go for organic produce. Making sure that what you eat is certified organic is the only way that you can be sure of this which is why eating out might be the problem unless you go to specialty restaurants.
It also worth it to note that if you decide to travel to places where hygiene might be an issue, staying on this diet would not only prove to be difficult but staying on the diet may prove to be detrimental to your health. Since the food that you will be consuming has not been heated, the chances of food poisoning due to contamination or improper handling is a very real situation to consider. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important, staying safe is more so.
Because of the restrictions imposed by this diet, there are studies that say that stayin on this diet alone may be detrimental to your health. Because it may not be able to fully provide all the essential nutrients that you need in order to thrive, it is highly suggested that you diet consist of at least 75% raw food, and leave the rest to cooked food.
Nutrients such as beta carotene and lycopene are also better and more beneficial when cooked. The risk of bacterial growth in your food is also a huge factor why some food should be eaten after it has been cooked. It is also important to remember that drinking unpasteurized milk carries the risk of being contaminated with salmonella, listeria, and e.coli. Blanching your vegetables also removes bacteria and parasites that may have attached itself to food en route to the market or your kitchen.
It is also important to note that vitamin B12 can only be derived from animal products such as dairy and meat products, and deficiency of this vitamin can cause fatigue, constipation, and poor memory among others. On the same note, calcium deficiency is also apparent in those who maintain a strict raw food diet which is why they also experience a decrease in their bone density. It is also important to remember that drinking unpasteurized milk carries the risk of being contaminated with salmonella, listeria, and e.coli.
Food has been an a part of human growth and development. It has allowed us to thrive and to survive even in the harshest environments because of our capacity to adapt to the food choices that are made available to us. But as with most things, balance is key. Knowing your limits and knowing how to make the most out of your options is truly the essential thing in accomplishing your goals.
As with most restrictive diets, what you need to know is that moving into it slowly is more important than rushing head on. Keeping your balance and setting your pace is crucial in keeping a steady footing in this diet. Easing your way into the diet will allow you to adjust to the lifestyle and will also help you understand and appreciate the complexities of it. It will also help you determine whether you can do a 100% raw food diet or if you are more likely to work better with a 3:1 ratio of raw food and cooked food. By educating yourself about the benefits of eating raw food and finding out ways to combat the deficiencies that you come across in your journey, you will find that this diet can actually work for you.
At Lark Ellen Farm, health and wellness is our top priority which is why we created our very own products made from organic sprouted nuts and seeds. Check out our products to see the wide variety of choices we have that supports your healthy lifestyle options.