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The raw food diet is closer to our roots than all those much sought after fad diets. Eating raw is the new buzz word. It has its benefits, of course, but is it sustainable? We will do a quick review of this extremely popular diet and let you decide for yourself whether it is perfect for you.
The raw food diet has been around since the 1800s, so there must be something about it that kept our ancestors super healthy without popping innumerable pills or supplements. The modern-day diet is full of processed dead foods. Why do we call it dead food, you ask? Since it is stripped of all the raw and valuable enzymes essential for our body, it’s called ‘dead’. Since cooking takes away valuable nutrients, should we start eating raw and give up on our traditional diets?
What is the Raw Food Diet All About?
A raw food can be so labeled if it is completely unprocessed, unrefined, and not heated over 104–118°F (40–48°C). Instead of heat, this kind of food can be treated in several other ways, soaked, sprouted, dehydrated, juiced, blended, and so on.
It is pretty similar to veganism, as it is plant-based and mainly comprises of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Mostly raw food diets are plant based, but there are some which include raw fish, raw eggs, and even raw meat.
We have been so caught up with our fast foods and processed foods, that in the process we lost touch with the foods that Nature has provided us with, all agog with live enzymes, healthy, palatable; in fact, just right for us.
It is only when we lost this connect with foods that we fell sick, seriously sick! Just goes to show why our ancestors lived their lives to the fullest and were never bogged down by so many diseases.
No wonder people who followed the diet experienced tons of benefits; namely, weight loss, increased energy, great response to chronic diseases, improved overall health and low impact on the environment as well.
The Benefits of the Raw Food Diet
Besides the above-listed benefits, there are tons of other benefits as well. Our advice is to start small, and include some kind of raw foods, with your meals. You will marvel at the plethora of benefits it has in store for you. Here’s just a few:
- Lowers inflammation
- Improves digestion greatly
- Provides lots of dietary fiber
- Improves your heart health
- Optimizes the functioning of liver
- Prevents cancer
- Treats constipation
- Provides Energy
- Clears up your skin and makes it glow
- Prevents nutrient deficiencies
- Reduces antinutrients from your diet
- Aids in weight loss.
Is the Raw Food Diet Apt for you?
You must be wondering how much raw food should you be consuming every day or particularly, what are the food groups you should avoid. The bottom line is that you need to avoid foods that have been pasteurized, homogenized, or produced by the aid of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, chemical food additives and industrial solvents.
That means letting go of most of your favorite foods: bread, cereals, crackers, cheese, condiments, refined oils, milk, processed meat and so on.
But if you want to make that transition to a healthier lifestyle, make sure you make small swaps, like doing without your dependence on processed foods, eliminating carbs, milk and so on. It is likely that you will rush into this diet plan thinking it will help you lose weight and solve all your health problems.
But as soon as you have followed this diet for a few weeks, you will get bored of it and go back to your old lifestyle. So if you plan to make that transition, take steady baby steps, this is more likely to help you stick to your raw food diet regime with greater persistence and determination.
Overcome Diseases with the Raw Food Diet
Most of us depend on cooked food to satiate our hunger pangs and also because it is easily digestible. But you cannot be further from the truth. Cooked foods are usually harder to digest than raw foods; also, cooking foods destabilizes some of their nutrient dense enzymes and destroys certain antioxidants and vitamins.
Raw foods make your body alkaline and reduce acidity. We know chronic diseases like cancer cannot thrive in an alkaline environment. This also reduces the chance of fermenting in the gut and thus causing inflammation. The raw food diet is suitable for all of us, but there are some people who specifically benefit from this diet. People suffering from diseases like,
- Hypertension and high cholesterol
- Bone disorders or osteoporosis
- Kidney disease
- Gall bladder disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Joint pain
- Food allergies
- Adrenal fatigue
- Muscle pains and niggles
- Hormonal imbalances
Why is Raw Food more Nutritious?
Make chomping on greens a part of life. It’s pretty simple; many foods rich in antioxidants are sensitive to heat. When the foods reach the heat labile point, which is the point where chemical configurations of the food start to change because of the heat, the food loses valuable nutrients and enzymes.
Also, since raw foods are well digested, they are less likely to ferment in the gut, leading to bloating, gas formation and accumulation of toxic waste. This fermentation in the gut make proteins putrefy and the fat rancid, which affects the mucosal lining of the gut and thus you end up suffering from conditions like leaky gut syndrome and other intestinal problems.
Additionally, you end up eating far less than you would actually, as raw foods are full of fiber and nutrients, the very things you need to curb your cravings for. You end up eating less and hence are able to meet your weight loss goals.
The Raw Foods List
The very thought of following a raw food diet plan is a put off for some people as they think it is a very restrictive diet. It is in some ways, but it also includes lots of foods which are incredibly delicious as well. Check out the list and find out whether it has any of your favorites.
Foods to Eat
- All kinds of fresh fruits
- All kinds of raw vegetables
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Raw grains and legumes, soaked or sprouted to get rid of the anti-nutrients
- Dried fruits and meats
- Nut milk (almond milk, hazelnut milk and so on)
- Raw nut butter (peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter)
- Cold-pressed olive and coconut oils
- Fermented foods like raw yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut
- Raw eggs or dairy
- Raw meat or fish
That is quite a big list, so if you are cribbing that you do not have enough to eat; you need not really do so, as you have plenty to choose from.
The Cons of Following a Raw Food Diet
There are some nutritionists and doctors who don’t believe in radically transforming your diet to a raw food one. The reason being that it might not cater to the idea of a well- balanced diet. So, is this a case of too much of a good thing? Well, precisely! A raw food diet is sometimes deficient of some of the nutrients like B12 and lowers the good cholesterol levels like HDL, too.
Also, studies have shown that people who followed a raw food diet for a longer period of time lost large amounts of body fat. Though it might sound like music to the ears of some people who are struggling with their weight, it might also mean you may become underweight.
Women may end up suffering from menstrual irregularities and some women may even stop menstruating because of their extremely low body weight.
People following the raw food diet recipes may also have low protein, vitamin D, and calcium issues. As a result, they may suffer from bone loss. So, in our opinion, follow the moderation route. Include more raw foods into your diet. The more the better, but do not give up on your pots, pans, and spatula just yet!
The Sample Diet Plan
Despite the cons, if you are looking at losing a lot of weight in a short period of time and want to change your processed food diet for the better, give this raw food diet a dekko. Also, for people suffering from chronic diseases, as mentioned above, this could be just the thing you need.
- Breakfast: Green smoothie
- Snack: Carrots and raw almond butter
- Lunch: Raw zucchini noodle pasta with pesto
- Snack: a bowl of papaya and almonds
- Dinner: Raw eggs with veggies
- Breakfast: Raw yogurt with fruits nuts and seeds
- Lunch: Raw salad with raw fish or meat
- Snack: Freshly squeezed juice and a handful of assorted nuts
- Dinner: Raw zucchini noodles with tomato sauce and basil
- Breakfast: Overnight oatmeal with chopped fruit and nuts
- Snack: Broccoli and raw cashew butter
- Snack: Raw sweet potato chips and fruit
- Dinner: Mushrooms with broccoli
- Breakfast: Fruit bowl with nuts and seeds
- Lunch: Salad with figs and nuts
- Snack: Banana and raw peanut butter
- Dinner: Raw meat and veggies
- Breakfast: Green smoothie
- Lunch: Veggies with sprouted amaranth
- Snack: Apple and cashew butter
- Dinner: Raw tomato soup with Sauerkraut
- Breakfast: Soaked oats with nuts and seeds
- Lunch: Salad with avocado and fruit
- Snack: Sprouts with sunflower seeds
- Dinner: Raw veggies with kimchi
- Breakfast: Veggie juice and fruit
- Lunch: Raw mushroom soup
- Snack: Guava slices and nuts
- Dinner: Spinach and raw fish salad
Recipes with Raw Food
These raw food diet recipes are really simple, since they not really require any cooking. Just put in a few ingredients and you will be sorted. These two recipes can offer some variety to your diet.
Fermented foods are foods that undergo a process of Lacto-fermentation, in which the natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food to form lactic acid. This process helps preserve the food and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and numerous other strains of probiotics.
Natural fermentation of foods not only helps preserve the nutrients in food, but also breaks the food down into a more digestible form. This is why fermented foods help in digestion. Sauerkraut is one such food highly beneficial for your health. It is fermented, raw and great for your health.
- 1 Medium Head of Cabbage
- 1-3 Tbsp. Of sea salt
- Chop the cabbage. Sprinkle salt over it.
- Next, knead the cabbage with your clean hands, or mash it with a potato masher or Cabbage Crusher for about 10 minutes, until there is enough liquid to cover.
- Put the cabbage into a quart jar and keep pressing the cabbage below the liquid. Pour a bit of water to completely cover the cabbage.
- Snap the lid shut with a coffee filter.
- Keep the culture at room temperature. The temperature should be 60-70°F for at least 2 weeks or so until you get the right flavor and texture.
- Once the sauerkraut is done, seal it with a tight lid on the jar and place it in a cold storage. The sauerkraut’s flavor will continue to evolve as it ages.
2. Bell Pepper and Watermelon Rainbow Salad
You can never go wrong with a salad when on a raw food diet. The veggies add the right degree of antioxidants to your diet. Modern diets are largely devoid of fiber, so a recipe like this helps provide the fiber punch to your meals. Your protein content is largely taken care of by the nuts and seeds. The best part of eating healthy is that you cannot overeat on a raw food diet, as it is packed with fiber and nutrients, which makes you feel full and satiated quickly. When you stop over indulging, you stop having weight issues or any kind of health issues.
- 1 bowl watermelon cubes
- 2 yellow bell peppers
- 1 cup onions
- 1 cup cucumber
- 1 cup tomatoes
- Pomegranate Juice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- A pinch of oregano
- 10-12 Olives
- Parsley chopped
- Romaine lettuce
- Rocket lettuce
- Flax seeds
- Salt & pepper
- Pour the pomegranate juice into a bowl.
- Add the salt & pepper and blend it well. Then drizzle with olive oil.
- In another bowl, add the watermelon cubes, yellow bell peppers, onions, cucumber, tomatoes, and olives.
- Then combine the parsley, salt, and pepper. Blend them all thoroughly. Add the lettuce leaves, flax seeds, and pistachios. Add this to the watermelon mixture. Toss it well.
- Serve the salad chilled.
The raw food revolution is here to stay. With its myriad benefits, it can do wonders to your health. Just be mindful that you do not follow the diet for too long. Following the diet for a few months will definitely have convert you from a processed food addict to a raw food enthusiast. And we bet you will be amazed at the positive impact it will have on your mind, body, and soul!