The thrust of the raw food diet is the consumption of unprocessed, whole plant-based, ideally organic foods. A minimum of three-quarters of the person’s diet should consist of uncooked food. A significant proportion of raw foodists are also vegans. Some raw foodists consume raw meat and raw animal products.
There are four broad branches of raw foodism:
- Raw vegetarians – only animal products consumed are eggs and dairy.
- Raw vegans – no animal products consumed at all.
- Raw omnivores – both plant-based and animal based foods are mainly consumed raw.
- Raw carnivores – meat products are eaten only raw.
Common Raw Foods:
- Dried fruits
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Freshly made fruit and vegetable juices
- Milk from a young coconut
- Other organic or natural foods which have not been processed
- Purified water (not tap)
- Sun-dried fruits
Depending on the lifestyle, the following may also be included:
- Fish (sushi, sashimi
- Milk and dairy products (non-pasteurized/non-homogenized
Foods are prepared in a special way. Sprouting grain seeds and bean seeds are consumed, as opposed to the whole uncooked grain or bean. Nuts are soaked, some fruits are dried. Many fruits and vegetables are juiced. The only heating that is allowed is with a dehydrator – this blows hot air through the food, never above 116 degrees Fahrenheit.
Raw foodists say that enzymes are the life force of a food. Nature has given each food its’ unique perfect mix. These vital enzymes allow us to fully digest our foods without having to rely on our own digestive enzymes. Raw foodists say that the cooking process destroys or alters these enzymes, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
The Bottom Line:
There are many health benefits to a raw food diet. However, beware of some potentially unsafe foods – buckwheat, kidney beans, alfalfa sprouts, and cassava can all be toxic when raw. Avadin, present in raw eggs is a vitamin B7 inhibitor. Salmonella bacteria is also sometime present in raw eggs. There is some risk with raw peas, apricot kernels, parsnips, meat and mild. I often recommend that 50% of a good diet be raw fruits and vegetables. Finally, juicing and dried fruit are very high in simple carbohydrates driving insulin resistance.