The Raw Food Diet & How to Add More Raw Foods to Your Diet

green chili and red chili peppers

Eating only raw food is becoming increasingly popular, and could be considered the latest diet craze. People who follow this diet claim that benefits include increased energy, weight loss (or gain if you are too thin), improved skin, better digestion, diseases prevented and even disappearing, and happiness! Many people are turning to raw food as an answer to their health problems.

People on a raw food diet eat 100% raw, uncooked food. There are many people who find this a little difficult (often due to social constraints), so they choose a 75-99% raw food diet.

The diet is strictly vegan, meaning dairy products and meat products are avoided. Wild or organic food is generally consumed since advocates say it has a higher nutrient content than conventional food.

Why Eat A Raw Food Diet?

The idea behind the raw food phenomenon is that Cooking causes major chemical changes to the food, so cooked food contains new and unrecognizable chemicals. According to raw food proponents, a cooked potato contains over 400 more chemicals than when it is raw.

Raw Food eaters claim that the body doesn’t recognize these chemicals and treats them as toxins. It creates an immune response, and produces many white blood cells to fight the invaders. It also has to find safe places to put the chemicals that it doesn’t have time to remove. This long term storage of toxins accounts for many of the diseases prevalent in society.

Since the body is constantly attacking the food as an enemy as well as defending and storing toxins, it becomes depleted.

Heating food above 116 degrees F is also believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Furthermore, raw food advocates say that cooking is thought to diminish the nutritional value and “life force” of food.

What Do You Eat On A Raw Food Diet?

The bulk of the food eaten is fresh fruit, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, dried fruit, seaweed, and seeds. Juicing is also a major component of the raw food diet. These can be juices made out of fresh fruit or vegetables. Super foods are also considered an essential part of this diet. These are foods that are considered to have an extremely high nutritional value. There are hundreds of them, and include, broccoli, blueberries, goji berries, and blue green algae.

There are loads of cookbooks and websites filled with recipes that made with only these ingredients. People who eat raw food say that these are the only foods needed to thoroughly nourish the body.

Tips on Eating Healthier

Once the decision has been made to eat more raw foods, one will most certainly begin to see improvements in his or her general health. What works for one person, however, can make another person miserable.

For most people, taking small determined steps to change a lifetime of not-so-great habits is do-able. Making changes to eat healthier by adding reasonable amounts of raw food daily is one way to make a change. Others find it simpler to have one whole day set aside each week to cleanse the body with living, raw foods.

Healthy Weight Loss with Raw Foods

Simple to do, a day of raw foods might look like this:

  • Cantaloupe or a fruit smoothie for breakfast.
  • A salad or a fresh gazpacho soup for lunch.
  • A bowl of homemade guacamole with raw chips for one snack, raw almonds for another snack.
  • A Nori roll (sushi rolled in a dryed, flat seaweed sheet)

How to Eat More Raw Foods

Start gradually or try going raw only one day per week. Make sure to drink plenty of water, at least one half of the body weight in ounces as it helps rid the body of toxins. Shop at a local farmer’s market where fresh, local ingredients are abundant. Buy enough fruit for a whole week.

Purchase a blender, food processor and some good, sharp knives to easily cut fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Use natural sweeteners in smoothies like agave nectar with its low Glycemic index or organic honey with its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Mix fruits with dark leafy greens such as spinach or collard greens in smoothies.

Instead of fruit juices, add nut milks with good protein, flavor, soy-free, lactose-free and healthy ingredients.

Stock Up the Pantry with Healthy Ingredients

Keep a variety of these to embellish your salads:

  • raw cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts
  • almond and hazelnut butters
  • dried fruits
  • fresh fruits
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegars
  • lemons, limes
  • Nori (dried seaweed sheets for wrapping sushi)

Reasons to Eat More Raw Foods

Choosing a raw diet might be in response to being diagnosed with cancer, being overweight, or simply wanting to live by eating no meats (cruelty-free diet). According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw, “You don’t have to be 100% raw to experience health benefits.”

In The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vitamins and Minerals (2nd edition), it is pointed out that, “Americans eat very few dark green, leafy vegetable and deep yellow vegetables. Fewer than one out of five people eat five fresh fruits and vegetables a day.” Knowing what should be done doesn’t always make it any easier to complete the task. Motivation must be found somewhere.

Main reasons why we should eat more produce:

  • reduced risk of heart disease, cancers, age-related eye diseases and lower blood pressure
  • produce is filling and low in calories
  • veggies and fruits are a boon to those who want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight

Conclusion

Once you start eating this way, you’ll feel differently, you’ll have more energy, and you’ll lose more weight. Going raw, as the experts have pointed out, doesn’t have to mean only raw all the time. Add more raw. Have a raw day or just eat two salads or two raw meals a day and see what happens. See how the body reveals its health and vigor through simple steps. Then keep adding more fresh, raw, living foods to your diet.