Over time, the ugly truth about processed food has emerged, and people are realising a raw food diet can help them stay healthy and in shape.
Although the number of raw food aficionados has been steadily growing, there are some misconceptions about this way of eating, and it’s important to dispel them in order for more people to join this healthy lifestyle.
Raw foodism as we know it dates back to the 19th century and a Swiss physician Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner whose main idea was returning to nature. This movement gained momentum in the 1980s, and nowadays when the global obesity epidemic soars, a raw food diet is seen as a healthy alternative to junk food, and it’s even believed to reduce the risk of developing cancer.
The rules of a raw food diet
Just as its name suggests, a raw food diet means that you’ll have to eat mostly raw food. In other words, advocates of this way of eating say that 75% of the food you eat should be raw. There are some hardcore raw people, who don’t even use the basic seasonings such as salt or olive oil, but you don’t really have to be so strict in order to benefit from this regimen.
If you want your food raw, it shouldn’t be heated over 40-48°C, because followers of this dietary practice believe that cooking destroys natural enzymes in food and reduces its nutritional benefits. Other kinds of food processing such as treating with pesticides, pasteurising, or refining are also off limits. Does this mean that you’ll have to eat raw dairy, eggs, or meat?
Actually, there are several approaches to this, and while some enthusiasts consume milk or eggs that haven’t been thermally processed, others eat only plant-based food, while there’s also the option of including non-raw animal products in the 20% of your dietary regimen.
Many people are afraid that their diet would be reduced to salads without dressing and fruits if they switch to this eating practice, but there are many methods of jazzing up your raw food and giving it a twist by juicing, soaking, dehydrating, or sprouting it. So, all types of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts can be part of your menu, but you can also include rare steaks of tuna.
The benefits of a raw food diet
It goes without saying that a diet containing lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is tremendously healthy, and that fact alone should be sufficient to make you consider going raw. Also, such diet is beneficial for reducing body fat and lowering blood pressure, and some research studies have established that people who eat primarily raw food are less likely to suffer a stroke, while others suggest that eating a plenty of fruits and vegetables could prevent various types of cancer.
If we bear in mind that processed sugar and refined flour lead to issues with glucose metabolism which can result in diabetes and obesity, two suspected culprits behind cancer, it’s clear that eating raw eliminates some of the most common health risks. Besides that, organic and raw food usually go hand in hand, which means that there will be no pesticides on your plate.
As this kind of food has to be chewed more thoroughly, it requires more time at the table, unlike fast food or snacks that you can gulp down on the go. This basically means that you’ll have to sit back and focus on your meals, which is relaxing as well as great for your digestion. You can also expect a raw food diet to improve your skin, boost your energy levels, and sharpen your mind.
The negatives of a raw food diet
Opponents of a raw food diet claim that an anti-cancer enzyme found in cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower can be activated only if you heat these vegetables. Also, consuming raw eggs, meat, and dairy can expose you to risk of poisoning, bacteria, or parasites, so you have to be very careful about washing and preparing these foods.
If you decide to follow a 100% raw food diet, you’ll deprive yourself of whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, which are extremely healthy. Last but not least, quality organic food can be very expensive and sometimes it can be hard to find.
Is a raw food diet for you?
Before making any dietary changes, it’s important to run a blood test and discuss your decision with a dietitian. Of course, even if they greenlight a raw food diet, your preferences also play an important part, and it’s all in vain if you don’t enjoy your meals. Still, with an abundance of great recipes, this whole concept should be easy to conduct. Even when you’re having a party, you can still offer some delicious snacks without ruining your diet.