Medium, Rare, or Raw?
According to WebMD, raw foodism is based on the principle that eating uncooked, unprocessed food in its natural state is the most healthful choice. Followers of this lifestyle believe that heating food destroys important enzymes and nutrients that are important to digestion and overall health. Therefore, raw foodists don’t eat any food that has been heated over 116 degrees. They also advocate for living food, like recently sprouted beans.
Why Go Raw?
Raw foodists have several reasons for making the change from cooked foods. First and foremost, going raw is meant to improve health. While raw foodism can cause drastic initial weight loss, it is not meant to be used as a weight loss strategy.
Raw food has been shown in some studies to be nutritionally superior to cooked food. Other studies have suggested that raw foods may be cancer fighters. Also, because no cooking is involved, it takes less electricity to prepare these foods. This has environmental and financial benefits. And of course, as raw foodists don’t eat meat, some feel this diet is a more humane and ethical choice.
Preparing Raw Food
Going raw might mean no more slaving over a hot stove, but preparing meals this way can be complicated and takes a lot of dedication and preparation. Raw vegetables and fruits can be strained, blended, or dehydrated, so many raw foodists invest in tools that will help them. A dehydrator can make be used simply to dry fruit, or can be used for more complicated foods like raw cookies or crackers.
According to the WebMD, staples of the diet include:
- Dried Fruits
- Sprouted Seeds
- Whole Grains
Raw foodists also abstain from alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco.
Are Raw Foodists Vegan?
While many raw foodists are also raw vegan, some do partake in raw milk and eggs. According to the Mayo Clinic, advocates for raw milk say it is a sweeter and fresher alternative to pasteurized milk and can ward off allergies and boost immunity. Some proponents even claim it can fight autism, eczema, arthritis, and learning disabilities. These claims are not supported by the FDA, however, and in same cases raw milk can carry food-borne illnesses like salmonella and E. coli.
Raw foodists do run the risk of becoming malnourished. Vitamin deficiencies can have serious consequences, like anemia, low bone mass, and neurological impairment. The choice to go raw should be done mindfully and carefully in order to avoid diminish this risk. But done in the right way, this lifestyle can be healthy. In any case, everyone can take a cue from this eating philosophy and incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into their healthy meal plan.
- “Raw Food Diet”, WebMD
- “Raw Millk Debate Heats Up”, Mayo Clinic
Better meals begin with better planning. We can help.