The food community is always discussing the best ways to eat and what will benefit our overall health the most. For example, the low-carb diet has been around since 1863, so it is easy to say that humans have been developing different ways to eat for as long as we can remember!
One such diet that has been more popular in recent years is the raw food diet. Today, we will look at the types, what you can eat on this diet, the best ways to prepare food, and a few simple recipe ideas. We will also quickly review the diet’s benefits, and whether you are fit to try a diet like this. So, let's jump right into it!
A raw food diet consists of three main types. Here they are below:
Vegan – Excluding all animal products and focusing only on plant-based foods
Vegetarian – Including raw eggs, unprocessed dairy and plant-based foods
Omnivorous – Including raw animal products, raw/dried meat and plant-based foods
What You Can Eat
Note: people have different interpretations of the diet, and that’s okay. Some may incorporate cooked food, while others omit it entirely. Also, for some, this diet is just a part of a healthy lifestyle, and for others that take it more seriously, it’s a way of life.
Here is a list of the foods you can eat on a raw food diet:
- raw fruits and raw vegetables
- dried fruits and vegetables
- nut milk, including almond milk
- coconut milk
- freshly made fruit and vegetable juices
- green food powder, like chlorella or spirulina
- raw seeds and nuts
- raw nut butter, such as almond butter and cashew butter
- soaked and sprouted beans, other legumes, and grains
- cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil
- nutritional yeast
- fermented foods, including kimchi and sauerkraut
- purified water, but not tap water
- other organic, natural, or unprocessed foods
A raw food diet might also contain:
- non-pasteurized and non-homogenized milk and dairy products
- raw eggs
- raw fish, such as sushi or sashimi
- other raw or dried meats
The food you should avoid:
- all cooked or processed foods
- refined oils
- table salt
- refined sugars and flour
- coffee, tea, and alcohol
When preparing food, you want to mainly avoid heating foods beyond a specific temperature (100° - 188°F). However, you are still able to use a dehydrator as it blows hot air across the food and does not necessarily increase the internal temperature of what’s being dehydrated.
The best way to enjoy your food on this diet is with little to no preparation, although specific techniques might require a little bit of processing, such as soaking, juicing etc.
People worry about this diet limiting meal choices, but the best thing about this diet is you can get creative and come up with a variety of nutrient-dense recipes. Here are some examples:
Breakfast – Make a ‘rawnola’ out of raw nuts, seeds and old-fashioned oats. To this, you can add any fruits and finish off with some raw nut milk.
Snack – Blend a variety of fruits and vegetables for a raw green smoothie.
Lunch – Cauliflower rice is an excellent alternative to regular rice. When combined with veggies and beans, it makes a great buddha bowl (a compact meal packed into a bowl that includes small portions but can be very filling and delicious).
Dinner – Raw carrot falafel with hemp-seed tabbouleh and yellow tomatoes with mint (there are many ways to get creative, swapping traditional ingredients with fresh, raw goodness).
Recent research shows that a plant-based diet has many health benefits, including reducing diabetes and cancer risk. Observational studies have shown that people practicing veganism may benefit from a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
Aside from the significant health benefits, there are other benefits that you wouldn’t have expected, let’s review a few of them here:
Start cooking more often – Once on a raw diet, you will soon start to find restaurant options become quite limited. It will force you to cook and spend more time in the kitchen, which can be a fantastic experience. Eating meals at home saves you time, money and energy since you are consuming better ingredients and starting on a habit of taking better care of yourself - you might just feel that this change will change your life!
Discover food intolerances – You’ll be avoiding common allergens in food like dairy, eggs, soy, sugar, and wheat (gluten). You may start to see that you will feel amazing because these foods are being cut out of your diet completely.
Become more intuitive – Since you are taking better care of your body, your mind will feel the effects, and you could very well change how you think and notice more beauty around you, or even better yet, see the world differently. It’s funny how food and a proper diet can help us feel and experience new things!
Are you fit for a raw diet?
With a whole host of benefits and studies showing that a raw food diet may help you lose weight, clear your skin, and give you more energy, many are jumping on the bandwagon. So, what are some essential aspects to consider if you were to take this diet on?
Essential factors to consider:
- Cooking foods may make food safer as it kills some toxins and bacteria.
- You may need to research certain foods, like beans and vegetables, to make sure they are safe to eat raw.
- Raw vegetables may keep valuable nutrients, like lycopene and beta carotene, better than cooked vegetables.
- You may initially experience digestive issues, like gas or cramping, but you may experience long-term benefits overall.
- Raw food diet may promote weight loss, so you must keep careful track of how many calories you’re intaking to ensure you’re getting enough.
- You need to be organized as there is a lot of prep involved in maintaining a raw food diet.
We know this is a lot to absorb, but we hope you’re equipped with enough information to decide whether you would want to try a raw food diet. It’s best to consult with your doctor should you choose to make any significant changes to your lifestyle or diet.
Check out this video by raw vegan activist @fullyrawkristina to learn more about starting a raw food diet https://youtu.be/gLHUF8Tw_Dc.