What is a Raw Foods Diet?
A Raw Foods diet is simply consuming 70 to 100% of your calories from raw unprocessed foods. In order for a food to be considered raw it must not be heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit and it must not be processed in any way. Often a Raw Foods diet is vegan in nature; however, some Raw Foods diets allow raw unprocessed dairy, eggs and even meats which can be dangerous to consume. Proponents of a raw food diet claim that heating and processing of foods not only degrades the nutrients but also can introduce carcinogens.
Eating Raw and Healthy on the Raw Foods Diet
Followers of a raw food diet claim that it can aid in weight loss and increasing energy levels. When beginning a raw food diet it often has a detoxifying effect which includes symptoms such as headache, nausea, cravings, and diarrhea. It is important to keep the proper nutrient balance when following a raw food diet. Many devotees initially hire a nutritionist or raw food coach to help ensure proper nutrition.
Additionally many followers of a raw food diet also focus on eating in an alkaline manner. Alkaline foods include many vegetables, fresh herbs and spices, many fruits, many sprouts, and wheat grass. Followers of an alkaline raw food diet believe that it can increase the amount of oxygen which can be carried by the blood. By increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood they believe that the risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis can be decreased.
According to The Journal of Nutrition, “High consumption of vegetables and fruits is associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.” However, the study also states that “consumption of a strict raw food diet lowers plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, but also lowers serum HDL cholesterol and increases tHcy concentrations due to vitamin B-12 deficiency.” This study shows that a long term raw food diet has both positive and negative health concerns.
Meal Suggestions for a Raw Foods Diet
While following a raw food diet it is common to consume fresh fruit and vegetable juices which you juice fresh at meal times. It is important with a raw food diet that the juices consumed are freshly prepared. Raw smoothies are also a popular option when following a raw food diet. An example of a raw smoothie is fresh peaches blended with the water and meat of a young coconut and ice cubes. Another example is a green smoothie which combines bananas with kale, blueberries, hemp seeds and water. Many traditional foods can be modified to be raw. For example Spaghetti with Marinara sauce can be made raw. Begin by making pasta using fresh yellow squash and zucchini which is cut into thin strands. The sauce can be made raw by combining fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, fresh oregano, onion, cold-pressed olive oil, lemon juice, dates, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Salads are also a good choice when beginning a Raw Foods diet as they easily can be enjoyed with only raw ingredients.
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