You’ve probably heard of the plant-based raw food lifestyle, which is becoming more popular as more people are willing to try this way of eating for various reasons.
The raw food lifestyle involves consuming a diet of mainly uncooked foods or foods heated below 118 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius), as it is believed that temperatures above this kill the natural enzymes present in plant foods.
What foods make up the raw food diet?
The raw food diet chiefly consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, dried or dehydrated fruits and vegetables, sea weeds, herbs and spices and some even some grains.
The degree of raw food adherence
There are several different approaches to the raw food lifestyle and also degree to which one is raw. Some raw foodists such as fruitarians, usually consume predominantly fruits – some fruitarians do include some amounts of nuts and seeds, but there are other fruitarians who consume fruits and nothing else. On the other hand, some raw foodists consume fruits and vegetables only; while others may include the nuts and seeds. There are those in the raw food movement though that take it to a whole different level, creating gourmet raw food meals to entice just about any taste bud! These raw foodist often tend to include as many raw food options as possible, sometimes to make the food more appealing to others who might have an incorrect view of raw food as boring and tasteless.
So as you can see there is quite a bit of variety to the raw food lifestyle.
Degrees of raw
There are different degrees of raw – some people remain 100% raw, some may consume 80% raw and 20% cooked foods. There are different degrees to which some people consume a raw/cooked ratio. More recently it is being touted that a raw food diet should be at least 75% raw. A true raw foodist however, is one who consume 100% raw foods. Of course there may be some allowance for eating cooked food occasionally, but too much cooked foods in the diet usually take away from the full benefit that a raw food diet could provide.
Some people want to become raw foodists but for various reasons they have a difficulty adhering to a fully raw diet, and for these people a lifestyle such as the ‘Raw til 4’ may be quite appealing, as it allows for the consumption of raw foods for the first part of the day and cooked vegetables and / or starches after 4pm.
Who are raw foodists?
Most raw foodists are vegans and vegetarians. The nature of what raw food is – uncooked foods – of course makes it more appealing to these groups of individuals. It could be argued that anyone could be a raw foodists, however not many people would be prepared to eat flesh foods uncooked. One may say, what about foods such as sushi or dried meat? Yes, technically that is eating raw despite the fact that it is flesh food. However, in most instances these foods are accompanied with some form of cooked starches.
Why raw food?
This is a great question – we are the only animal who cooks it’s food. No other animal in nature cooks it’s food, they consume that which nature provides for them in its natural form. We have come so far from our agrarian roots. Why do we cook our food? What did we do before we discovered fire? Wouldn’t our ancestors have eaten raw, or rather natural, before the start of the cooked food revolution?
Why is eating raw… the most natural form of eating, in my opinion, such a foreign concept in many of our minds, is partly due to the fact that dead animal flesh has become a staple in our diet. Many of us have totally thrown out the fruits and vegetables, and the idea of eating mainly uncooked, has become a scary concept. Now fruits have become the pariah in the world of ‘modern health’.
It is indeed interesting that fruits – the chief food of our species specific diet, creates a red flag in peoples mind. Many of our ‘learned’ dietitians and doctors warns us of how much a danger it is to our health. These are the same groups of people who tell us that diabetes is incurable, heart disease is incurable… isn’t it then ironic that many practitioners in the natural health field, such as Dr Robert Morse, use fruit-based diets to cure these very illnesses.
Raw food has proven to be a diet that heals. Many people have successfully healed themselves from so called ‘incurable diseases’ such as diabetes, multiples sclerosis, heart failure and the list goes on, all from consuming a raw foods. Does this mean that any raw food diet can cure? Not necessarily, with healing and raw foods – the simpler the better – leave the gourmet raw food for when you’re well. Fruits, vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices and simple salads seem to provide the most benefits along the healing journey.
Also, it’s not just about addressing an illness, many people have reported performing better in their work, having more energy and feeling better in general, all these benefits from adapting a raw food lifestyle.
But…one diet doesn’t fit all missy?!
When it’s our species specific diet, it can and does. Why it doesn’t work for some of us stems from many reasons, including our inability to properly digest, absorb, assimilate and eliminate the foods we consume.
We may holler all we want but we are not designed to eat many of the foods we eat today. We may alter them by cooking, frying, steaming, grounding but it doesn’t change the observation that our anatomical make up doesn’t resonate with our current diet.
Raw food options
Fruits and vegetables – almost all fruits and vegetables
Nuts and seeds – soaked and/or sprouted
Grains – soaked and sprouted
Herbs and spices – culinary and medicinal herbs and spices
Fermented foods – fermented raw foods
Water – natural spring water
Not everyone can start a raw food diet immediately, some can, and they do, others are practically forced to, due to health reasons. However, for many people it will be a process. Why not aim to become a whole food, plant-based vegan and take it from there!