While the raw food diet (sometimes called raw foodism or rawism) has been around for quite some time, it continues to grow in popularity. Followers of the diet believe strongly in the claims that eating in this manner will lead to the best possible health. So, what is exactly is the raw food diet?
Followers of the raw food diet are often called raw foodists. These people claim the diet leads to overall better health, more energy, a lower risk of developing certain diseases, a trim body shape, and perfect skin. However, they believe the diet must be strictly followed to obtain those kind of results. Consuming food in its most natural form, unprocessed and uncooked, is the best way to follow the diet. Undertaking this diet takes a good deal of dedication and time. Many hours a day are spent preparing food by chopping, blending, peeling, and dehydrating.
Seventy-five percent of the diet is comprised of fruits and vegetables. The remainder of the diet can include nuts, grains, sprouts, beans, and seaweed. While some cheeses made from raw milk or raw eggs are allowed on the diet, most animal products are not. Foods such as refined sugar, all forms of refined products, caffeine, and alcohol are not allowed.
Traditional cooking methods are not allowed on the raw food diet. The main “cooking device” used is a food dehydrator, not a stove or oven. Food dehydrators use just a small amount of heat, absolutely no more than 115 to 118 degrees, and extract all water from the food. Raw foodists believe enzymes and vitamins necessary for digestion are destroyed when food is heated above 118 degrees.
There are several studies being designed to back up the claims of the raw food diet, although one early study found that consuming cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts may lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. These vegetables contain isothicyanates, which have been shown to modify protein in cancer cells. It is thought that cooking these vegetables reduces the amount of isothicyanates, thus reducing the total benefits. Another study relating to the raw food diet suggests that consuming raw vegetables lower the risk for developing oral, gastric, pharyngeal, laryngeal, and esophageal cancers. Further studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, as well as those that are vegan or vegetarian may lower cholesterol levels, and regulate blood glucose levels.
Remember, a physician should always be consulted before starting any new diet. You should make sure the diet is safe and will meet all of your health needs. Adequate nutrition for growth and development is not provided on the raw food, so it is not recommended for infants or children.