Have you started hearing about the Raw Food Diet?
It’s gaining popularity and buzz, not just as a diet to lose weight, but a diet for a long and healthy life. We eat so much in the way of processed food that we don’t even stop to think about what we’re putting into our bodies, and how far we’ve come nutritionally from our ancestral, agrarian roots.
A raw food diet means consuming food in its natural, unprocessed form. There are several common-sense rationales for why this is a good idea. Processing and cooking food can take so much of the basic nutritional value away. Think of some of the conventional wisdom you’ve heard about for years, such as: If you cook pasta just to the al dente (or medium) stage, it will have more calories, yes, but it will have more the nutritional value in it than if you cooked it to a well-done stage. Or you probably remember hearing not to peel carrots or potatoes too deeply, because most of the nutrients and values are just under the surface.
Foods to Eat on a Raw Food Diet
The raw food diet means eating unprocessed, uncooked, organic, whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried fruits, seaweeds, etc. It means a diet that is at least 75% uncooked! Cooking takes out flavor and nutrition from vegetables and fruits. A raw food diet means eating more the way our ancient ancestors did. Our healthier, more fit ancestors. They cooked very little, and certainly didn’t cook or process fruits and vegetables. They ate them RAW. Their water wasn’t from a tap; it was natural, spring water. Maybe they drank some coconut milk on occasion.
A diet is considered a raw food diet if it consists of at least 75% raw, uncooked fruits, vegetables, sprouts, etc. Raw and living foods are believed to contain essential food enzymes (living foods contain a higher enzyme content than cooked foods). The cooking process (i.e., heating foods above 116°F) is thought to destroy food enzymes.
People who follow the raw food diet use particular techniques to prepare foods. These include sprouting seeds, grains and beans; soaking nuts and dried fruits; and juicing fruits and vegetables. The only cooking that is allowed is via a dehydrator. This piece of equipment blows hot air through the food but never reaches a temperature higher than 116°F.
Do I Need to Eat Organic Foods on a Raw Food Diet?
Of course these aren’t necessarily organic foods, and organic is the better way to go, but we think anything raw is infinitely better than cooked, processed food. If you have the time, do buy organic and slice them yourself. But if you’re in a hurry, and nowhere near a natural food store, then don’t beat yourself up or sabotage your efforts because you can’t do this 100% all the time. That’s not realistic. Anything from the fruit and vegetable aisle is going to be better for you than a potato chip, or worse yet, a french fry!
Doesn’t it just make sense that this is how our bodies were meant to eat? It’s a way of eating that’s in harmony with the planet and in harmony with our own metabolisms. Our bodies were meant to work, and need to work to be efficient. That means exercise, certainly, but it also means eating natural, raw foods that require more energy to digest them.
Do you have to follow the regimen that strictly? Of course not. But it’s certainly worth it to incorporate some of these techniques and ideas into your diet. If you tend to snack at work, try taking in carrots or apple slices. Many of the bigger grocery stores now offer packaged vegetables or fruits that make it easier to pack them and take them to work. We’re a nation of convenience, and much of the resistance to healthier eating is that it does generally take a little more effort and time to buy and slice fruits and vegetables. Food retailers have been catching on, slowly, and it’s much easier now to get bags of sliced carrots, celery, apples, nuts and raisins.
So for a healthier life style, eat raw. I hope this article helped answer the question, what to eat on a raw food diet.