There are countless diets known to the world right now. Many make claims of being the best for weight loss, or glowing skin, healthy hearts, and so much more. The raw food diet also makes some hefty health claims, one of which is claiming that heating food above a certain point is unnatural and kills off any nutrients in your food. It also claims that it can reverse diseases.
The raw food diet, a version of veganism often seen as extreme, is a diet that has many claims. Not only do many supporters of this diet style claim it can prevent diseases, but they also swear by its ability to actually reverse diseases. But does a raw food diet help you become healthier? Is this a sustainable diet for life? There are many schools of thought on raw food diets and many arguments for and against. Nut what is a raw food diet? What are the standards and what are the benefits? What we know for sure is that the raw food diet gives your cooking skills a rest, and gives your creativity a run for its money.
What Is a Raw Food Diet?
A raw food diet is often called a more extreme version of veganism. Those who follow a raw diet only eat a plant-based diet. This means absolutely no meat, dairy, or any sort of animal product at all. The fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds that are allowed on this diet are never heated more than 104 degrees. This is because the raw diet believes heating foods any more than that not only destroys the nutrients in your food but can also cause them to become toxic.
As well as not heating your foods over 104 degrees, the raw food diet encourages several other methods of preparation for foods. This includes dehydrating fruits and vegetables, juicing them, or blending them. Juicing is often said to be a staple of the raw diet. Along with cold soups and smoothie bowls. Many people have made the smoothie bowl into a delicious art thanks to following a raw diet. Smoothie bowls are also being offered at more locations every day.
While a raw food diet is seen as an extension of the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, some believe consuming unpasteurized or "raw" dairy, uncooked eggs, or fish and meat are acceptable. This is because food is seen as having a life force of its own that can be consumed and used by the human body. So long as it's not cooked, you have access to all it has to offer.
Taking supplements while following the raw food diet is generally discouraged. This is because supporters of this diet style believe you can get 100% of your nutrients from the raw foods alone. However, this has been proven not to be the case by doctors. Doctors have found that those on raw food diets were lower in calcium, vitamin D and B12, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals.
What Are the Potential Benefits?
There have been many supporters and doctors alike to come forward about the many benefits of a raw food diet. There are many who claim that their chronic allergies, stomach issues, or headaches have improved or entirely disappeared while following the raw food diet. While there is no official science proving that a raw food diet is the best for you, Doctors do agree that it has its benefits.
Eating more vegetables is proven to lower blood pressure. A raw food diet is also low in sodium, which can help prevent strokes, prevent heart failure or even kidney diseases. It has also been known to help people lose weight and control their type 2 diabetes. Many people have lowered their levels so much that they have been able to come off their prescription drugs.
Many people start a raw food diet hoping to lose weight, but they keep it going because they notice an uptake in energy and stamina, their skin improves, and even their mood benefits. It has been shown that those on a raw diet have naturally low body fat. It requires little to no exercise to lose weight on a raw diet. On a raw diet, eating fewer calories but still getting full and satisfied is simple.
It has also been said that eating a raw diet allows for getting the maximum nutrients int he most easy to digest way. For those with stomach issues, they are trying to improve or soothe intentional discomfort. There have been claims made that eating this way is the most natural way.
While a raw food diet doesn't require expensive meal plans, supplements, memberships or prepackaged foods, getting started can be an investment. Buying the equipment necessary to prepare your raw meals, like juicers, blenders, and food processors, can be expensive. However, choosing fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds is much cheaper than buying meats, dairy, or packaged foods.
This diet is considerably high in fiber as well, which most Americans struggle to get each day. The raw diet is also high in minerals and vitamins.
Is It Sustainable?
Can a raw diet be followed lifelong? Is this a diet safe to follow for the long term? While there is no hard evidence against following a raw diet in general or for the long term, many doctors don't recommend it. If anything they suggest trying it out like a cleanse, for a short period of time. It has been shown that those who follow this diet are often low on protein, calories, and vitamin B12 and D. However, taking the right supplements can counteract these issues and make following a raw diet safer.
For those who believe consuming raw dairy, eggs, meat, and fish are all part of the raw diet, becoming subject to food-borne illness is an issue to consider. Under-cooked meat poses a risk of bacteria and other dangers, some of which can be fatal. The same can be said for eggs, which put you at risk for salmonella, and raw milk, which if not handled correctly has been known to carry deadly bacteria.
Another issue for those who follow a raw food diet is going out. It can be very difficult to find raw foods available at routine restaurants or festivals, or outings of any kind. While raw food establishments are increasingly popping up, and even some mainstream venues are adding raw options to their menus, it can still be difficult as these are only in select locations.
Ease of Following
Should you decide to only eat organic, your options for a night out become ever slimmer. They also become far more expensive. Restaurants know they can charge more for these menu items because the market for them is extremely limited. But also it is a raw diet follower's only option when out. You can always pack your own meals, but most restaurants aren't going to let you eat your own food at their table.
Is a Raw Food Diet Right for Me?
If cooking isn't your idea of a good time, then the raw diet may be for you. With all the benefits this diet boasts, and all the precautions you should take, this diet is generally good for anyone who doesn't have any major conditions. As with any diet or lifestyle change you should consult your doctor to make sure you're healthy enough to follow this diet.
A raw diet is a great option for anyone looking to take their health into their own hands—wether they want to lose weight, lower their blood pressure, or maybe try to end frequent unpleasant symptoms. Digestive issues as well as energy issues have been known to improve when following a raw diet. Should you want to try an all natural alternative for healing your body, it may be worth looking into a raw diet.
So while a raw diet does appear to have its drawbacks, it has also been shown to have a lot of benefits. Lowering your grocery bill, improving your energy, and improving on physical conditions are great reasons to give a raw diet a try. Not to mention the support you will be giving to our animal friends and their health.
Overall, there's no harm in trying to take your health into your own hands by following a raw food diet for a short time. Many have used the diet as a way to reset their systems before following a more permanent all natural diet. A raw food diet can be a great boost to energy, a test of culinary skill, and introduce new foods to your diet that you may not have tried otherwise. Even simply adding a few raw meals to your diet each week can have a big impact on your health. Don't worry about doing it perfectly. Worrying about getting the "rules" of any diet style right can get in the way of your weight or health goals. Simply adding more fruits, vegetables, and grains to your diet will improve your health, regardless of whether they are cooked or not.