You don’t need to cook your food if you’re following the ‘raw food’ diet. It is based on the notion that cooking food destroys its nutrients. It supports the consumption of raw foods.
So if you follow this diet, you’ll not eat any food that has been cooked. This means you’ll be eating vegetables, sprouted grains and nuts, which all are whole foods and so, great sources of nutrients. It also means that you’ll avoid all kinds of processed foods.
Does this mean it’s a great diet to follow? This article will help you find out.
What is the Raw Food Diet?
As you may have read before, in a raw food diet, you will only eat uncooked food. You can eat fruits, sprouted seeds, grains, pulses, and vegetables. There are different variations of raw food diets such as raw vegan diet.
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It was started by Maximilian Bircher-Benner. He was influenced by the idea of going back to nature. His argument was that no other animals cook their food apart from humans. He focused on the second law of thermodynamics, which says that the amount of energy lost is the same as the amount of energy changed (for example, in cooking).
Followers of raw foodism also believe that cooking food leads to the development of toxins in the food. Although, cooked food contains more acrylamide and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) such as French fries but the American Cancer Society says that it is still unclear if the consumption of acrylamide escalates the risk of getting cancer.
What can you eat in the Raw Food Diet?
You can eat anything that doesn’t need cooking when you are following this diet. You can eat nuts, fruits and many other foods which can be eaten uncooked. The devotees of this diet believe that raw food is the healthiest.
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In a raw food diet, you’ll be eating whole foods in most cases. Whole foods are considerably nutritious and they provide your body with vitamins and essential minerals such as potassium. They contain fewer calories than processed foods and so they are a healthier choice.
But as this diet prohibits any kind of heating of the food, you’ll not be able to eat many healthy foods too. You can’t eat sautéed, boiled or stir-fried vegetables. You can’t eat brown pasta (which is a healthy choice), canned fruits and pasteurized dairy as well.
If you think it’s a little too much, you’re right because the raw food diet is one of the strictest diets available. You can use blenders and dehydrators to prepare dishes. Your dishes can be a little warm because there is a permissible limit of 118 degrees. Apart from that, you can also eat cold foods.
Is it worth following?
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, from WebMD says that you will get plenty of health benefits from following this diet but it has its drawbacks too. Let’s take a look at the benefits first:
Your diet will be full of essential minerals and vitamins. Fruits, grains, and vegetables are recommended by many experts as the best source of vital nutrients and you’ll be only eating them.
All of the permissible foods in this diet have low-calorie counts so you can lose some weight. The chances of you eating more calories than your daily requirement in this diet are quite thin.
This diet has the following drawbacks:
Risk of Food poisoning:
You will be at a risk of risk of food poisoning while following the raw food diet. Senior people, children, pregnant women and those who are suffering from a serious disease, shouldn’t follow this diet.
Absence of nutrients
You will not be able to eat any animal products such as dairy and meats. Apart from that, this diet doesn’t have any sources of vitamin B12, protein and iron. Following this diet for a longer period can lead to the deficiency of these nutrients.
You will need to rely on organic ingredients and might have to purchase some kitchen equipment (blender, dehydrator, etc.). You will not be cooking anything but the preparation of the meals will take your time and effort.
If you want to try the raw food diet just for the experience, you surely can. But it is not recommended because of its benefits. You can see that the drawbacks clearly outweigh the benefits. You can add a few raw food recipes to your plan but it would be better to eat cooked food.
What do you think about the raw food diet? You can start a conversation with us.