The raw food diet is gaining much attention and press lately. After all, it has strong supporters from high profile celebrities such as actor Woody Harrelson, model Carol Alt, designer Donna Karan, and Chicago-based celebrity chef Charlie Trotter. The raw food diet sure sounds like a healthy diet. But is it only a fad? What are the benefits to the raw food diet?
The raw food diet is one that is about the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed and largely organic foods. This means that foods are not allowed to heated above a certain temperature. What this temperature is depends on the type of raw food diet you are on. Yes, there is more than one to choose from. But typically, maximum temperatures range from 92 degrees farenheit to 118 degrees farenheit.
If you equate raw food to only vegetarian food, then this is not entirely true. For some raw food diets, only vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts are allowed. In others, it can also include fish, meat and unpasteurized dairy products such as raw milk, cheese or yoghurt. This will help ensure that you get much needed protein from other food sources as well.
There are many benefits to the raw food diet. One of the main reasons why people go on a raw food diet is because they believe that raw food can heal or treat several diseases. Raw foods contain live enzymes, thus aiding in digestion. It frees the enzymes of your own body to work on its various metabolic processes. Unfortunately, most enzymes in foods are destroyed through heating when we cook and through processing for preserving them for sale.
Another benefit to the raw food diet can be on your weight. This is simply because raw food usually has fewer calories than other types of food. A raw food diet can help you achieve weight loss as you will have to cut out all junk or processed foods.
Raw foods also contain bacteria and other micro-organisms that are said to be helpful for the balance of your intestinal flora. They can help stimulate your immune system and improve on the digestive process.
Another benefit to the raw food diet is that you can find yourself having loads of energy. This happens because your body can more easily digest and use the fuel from raw foods rather than meats and refined foods. Also, raw foods have higher nutrients than foods that are cooked, since they are not all destroyed via cooking.
However, to be on a raw food diet means that you should refrain from eating even the smallest amount of cooked food. Your body will find it more difficult to process the raw foods, because the acid levels in your stomach will be increased.
You also need to ensure that you take supplements especially if you are on a vegetarian-only raw food diet. Vitamin B12 is one supplement that many vegetarians are deficient in, because it is found in meats and other animal products. It is difficult to get this in raw vegetables and fruits. Some other supplements that are normally needed are zinc and copper, because they are primarily found in meats. Eating seeds and nuts may help you to get some of the vitamins, because they are a very good protein source that can help you to rebuild your tissues and create new ones. Calcium and protein deficiency must also be looked into, with a raw food diet.
You may find that your appetite increases with a raw food diet. You can eat a lot of food and still be hungry and will be tempted to eat more. Although raw foods contain less calories, you may find that you undergo more severe detoxification side effects such as headaches and mild nausea, if your stomach cannot take too much raw foods suddenly and all at one go.
The raw food diet is also not suitable for those who are pregnant, young children, anemic people or those at risk with osteoporosis. Those who go on a raw food diet tend to have lower bone mass.
Also, implementing a raw food diet takes up considerable time, effort and commitment. You need to make many of your foods from scratch. Not all food ingredients are as readily available as the ones catering to a normal diet.
Despite the various criticisms, the raw food diet movement is gaining popularity. The many benefits to the raw food diet is tempting: balanced body weight, clear skin, more energy and less sickness. It is also much easier to find restaurants offering raw food meals in large cities now across the world. A raw food diet is not boring either. There are several cookbooks published with appetizing recipes that you can easily follow if you want to go on this diet.