What is the Raw Food Diet
There are a number of different Raw Food Diets available, and while some of them incorporate foods such as raw eggs, unpasteurized dairy products, and raw meats, the vast majority of these eating plans are vegan in nature. All foods consumed on a Raw Food Diet are not cooked. The Raw Food Diet is not a new thing and has been around in various forms since the 1930s.
How the Raw Food Diet Works
The idea behind the Raw Food Diet is the theory that foods which are cooked beyond a certain point become carcinogenic and can lead to many different types of cancer and other health issues, so it is better to eat foods that have not been cooked or are barely cooked. In addition to this, a lot of Raw Food Diets are promoted on the idea that cooking breaks down many of the nutrients available in raw foods, and therefore, it would be better for humans to ingest them raw to get the full nutritional value out of each food. There is also the idea that there are an abundance of digestive enzymes in raw foods that get destroyed when food is heated above a certain temperature.
When it comes to following a Raw Food Diet to lose weight, it is often easier for the dieter to continue to feel full on less food, therefore less calories, because the body takes a longer time to process the food that is in the stomach. Because the cooking process starts to break down the food, the human digestive tract doesn’t have to work as hard to digest the food. The less time the food stays in your stomach and digestive tract, the more hungry you'll be later. This means that a person who is dieting to lose weight should find that they won’t need to count the calories on this diet since the food they consume will keep their digestive tract busy and satisfied longer, without the hunger for snacks later.
What Experts Say about the Raw Food Diet
While it is true that cooking food can break down the nutrients in any given food source, it is not clear yet as to whether or not the nutrients are broken down to such a degree that they are no longer beneficial to the human body. In addition to this, when eating a Raw Food Diet long-term, women have been seen to have a significant increase in becoming underweight from not eating as much as their bodies need to survive, and as an additional side effect, many develop Amenorrhea. Amenorrhea is a condition where a woman ceases having menstrual cycles.
Because of these issues, it is recommended that a person can safely follow a Raw Food Diet to lose weight on a short-term basis, but it may not be a good choice for a long-term diet. Raw Food Diets, because they are largely vegan in nature, also run the risk of people developing iron deficiencies (anemia) and deficiencies in vitamin B12. It is definitely a good idea to supplement the Raw Food Diet with iron and B12 supplements. Unlike regular vegan diets where the dieter is permitted to eat foods such as enriched and fortified cereals, these types of grain products are not permitted on a Raw Food Diet.
The claim that the enzymes in raw foods are more beneficial than those that are left after cooking the same foods is supported in several studies. One of them concluded that, where possible, raw foods should be consumed rather than cooked foods with an emphasis on raw milk, bananas, avocados, seeds, nuts, and grapes.
There has been a study that links red meat cooked at high temperatures to an increase in both prostate cancers and lung cancers. While meat that hasn’t been cooked at such high temperatures could be more beneficial in the diet, it should be noted that there are risks involved in eating raw meats. In fact, not only is there a risk from eating raw meats, but there is an associated risk in eating raw vegetables and fruits. In particular, Raw Food Dieters are much more susceptible to parasitic infestations and salmonella poisoning. There are ways to avoid these sorts of problems by thoroughly washing all vegetables and fruits and freezing all meats for a minimum of 14 days to kill any parasites that may be present. Meats should then be thawed in a refrigerator to ensure it remains free of bacteria.
Sample Raw Food Diet Meal Plan
Since there is a meat and dairy free Raw Food Diet, and one that includes both of these, below are samples of these two types of Raw Food Diets. Keep in mind that a person does not need to count calories on a Raw Food Diet, so long as the foods that are picked are not cooked in any way. If meat is included, the dieter will have many more food choices to choose from.
Finally, most Raw Food Diets prohibit the use of any beverage that is not either water or raw milk. It is suggested that one should only drink water when one is thirsty, and not worry about trying to meet the recommend daily goal of eight, 8 oz. glasses of water. The fruits and vegetables you consume on this diet are excellent sources of water, and will keep your body refreshed and less thirsty. The glasses of water you drink and the fruits and vegetables you consume will both help you reach the daily, recommended goal of 64 oz. of water.
Sample Menu Not Including Meat
- 2 - 3 apples
- 10 - 20 pecans with lettuce
- Mixed salad of zucchini, cucumber, and tomato with the juice of an orange squeezed on top as dressing.
- 2 apples
- Mixed greens (lettuce, spinach, endive)
- Large salad of 80% green leaf vegetables (lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage) with 10 - 20 macadamia nuts and the juice of an orange squeezed on top as dressing.
Sample Menu with Meat Included
- 2 raw eggs
- 1 apple
- 8 oz. raw milk
- Salad made with mixed vegetable greens, raw salmon, and the use of juice of a lemon as dressing.
- 1 orange
- Steak tartar
- Salad with mixed vegetable greens, 10 - 20 pecans, and the juice of an orange for dressing.
- 1/2 a 3 lb. watermelon (with seeds)