4 Rules of a Raw Food Diet…and Where It May Fall Short
Raw food diets have been ebbing and flowing in health trends for decades. In terms of what the diet is, although the name may speak for itself, there is a bit more to it than simply eating all your food raw. Technically speaking, cookie dough is a raw food, but you guessed it- not allowed on this diet.
The premise of the diet is that cooking kills food, meaning it destroys nutrients and enzymes that are nourishing and disease-fighting for our bodies. In fact, cooking food at high temperatures in unsaturated oils to the point of smoking or frying also makes food carcinogenic. Eating raw is also a form of volumetrics meaning you can eat way more plant based foods and intake way fewer-calories than with cooked foods.
These are the rules:
- No heating food to higher than 46 degrees Celsius.
- No animal products. There are some raw foodists who eat raw beef, eggs and raw milk etc. As with all diets there are different sects who modify based on their own beliefs and needs. This is however largely a plant based diet hence the majority of your food should include fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds and grains.
- No processed foods, sugars, and grains. Eat organic if possible.
- Grains and legumes are permitted but must be soaked or dehydrated to cook.
Precautions to take:
The truth is that not all vitamins and nutrients are killed in the cooking process and some very important ones are actually drawn out. For example cooking carrots makes beta-carotene more available. Cooking tomatoes makes lycopene, a potent antioxidant, more available. And some claim cooking spinach releases calcium and iron.
Another downside is that vegan raw foods, without meat, can put you at risk of Vitamin B 12, Iron and Calcium deficiencies. It is important to supplement to fill this void if you are eating only raw vegetarian raw foods. Because not all veggies taste great raw, you tend to eat only the good tasting veggies over and over again, missing out of nutrients from other veggies.
If you have a sensitive digestive system, cooking helps break down food and makes it easier to digest. Many report bloating and gas with this diet. Further, food poisoning is always a risk in uncooked foods and certain food supplies are more prone to this than others. Lastly, while preparation of foods in this diet may seem easy since everything is raw, there is a lot of blending, soaking and food processing involved. If you want to have a bowl of oatmeal, you must plan about 3 hours in advance. So now you know a little more! With all diets, you must test for yourself. One size does not fit all.