By Summer Banks on Feb 05, 2018

Many people wonder what the big deal about raw food diets is.

Nutritionists have associated raw food with numerous health benefits.

Not only is raw food good for your digestion, it improves your skin tone, and has a huge impact on many body processes.

Here is a look at the frequently asked question about raw food diets.

What is the Raw Food Diet?

According to Karen Knowler, a raw food coach, raw food is essentially food that has not been subjected to a heat level of more than 48 degrees centigrade.

Since raw food has not been heating treated, nothing has been deprived of it.

This means all the nutrients and elements that facilitated its growth are still intact.

These include enzymes, life force, water, hormones, oxygen, minerals, and vitamins.

A simple raw food diet definition is any food that has not been homogenized, pasteurized, or produced using chemical fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, chemical food additives, or industrial solvents.

These include fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and fermented foods. [1] [2]

Raw Food Diet

How to Start a Raw Food Diet?

Before you start a raw food diet, you should think about your goals and your dietary needs.

When starting a raw food diet, you should align the raw foods with your goals for best results.

Tips on starting a raw diet include:

Juicing

Fruits and juices are the ideal foods for adopting a raw food plan. Juice is packed with vitamins, organic minerals, alkaline, enzymes, and many nutritional elements.

On the other hand, vegetable juice improves your immune system and energy.

Eat Smarter

Many people wonder how to start a raw food diet by changing their food choices.

The idea is to switch to healthier foods. For example, instead of eating chocolate after dinner, take an apple.

Making these small changes will gradually add large amounts of raw foods in your diet.

Go Organic

The other way on how to start a raw food diet is eating organic foods instead of processed foods.

These are foods with natural ingredients that impact on your weight and general health in a short time-frame. [3]

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Is a Raw Food Diet Healthy?

Researchers have found people who eat raw food to have low triglycerides and cholesterol.

It has also been concluded that raw food causes a vitamin B12 deficiency since this nutrient is found in animal products.

Vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause neurological impairment and anemia.

On a lighter note, another study found raw foodists to have high levels of dietary carotenoids and Vitamin A, nutrients that protect the body from chronic disease.

However, it has also been found that raw foodists have alarming levels of plasma lycopene.

These nutritional components are present in tomatoes and are especially high when the tomatoes are cooked.

Plasma lycopene is essential for disease prevention.

Low bone mass around the hip and lumbar spine is also a common occurrence for raw foodists.

This is probably due to rapid weight loss.

Therefore, the answer to the question is a raw food diet healthy, is neither affirmative nor negative. It may be advisable to eat both raw and cooked foods.

Low bone mass in the lumbar spine and hip may be another risk for raw foodists, who tend to be slim.

Researchers concluded, however, that the raw foodists studied had “good bone quality.”

That’s because rapid weight loss at the beginning of the diet may have caused the decrease in bone mass. [4]

Raw Food Diet Benefits

According to thebestofrawfood.com, the practice of eating raw food dates back to the 1800s.

Some of the raw food diet benefits include:

  • Improving digestion
  • Lowering inflammation
  • Providing dietary fiber
  • Preventing cancer
  • Improving heart health
  • Treating constipation
  • Clearing your skin
  • Preventing nutritional deficiencies
  • Lowering the levels of carcinogens and anti-nutrients in your diet

Raw Food Diet For Beginners

The ideal raw food diet is fun, easy, and balance.

You should include raw versions of the foods that you enjoy eating chocolate, raw cheese, and your favorite salad.

A raw food diet for beginners should also be easy to set up. Start out with smoothies made from raw foods you like to eat.

Last but not least, you should ensure your raw food meal is balanced.

This means it should contain carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins.

Raw Food Diet For Cancer

Raw foods have been severally associated with a strong immune system. Raw fruits and vegetables have been particularly linked to killing cancer cells and stopping the spread of cancer.

A raw food diet for cancer consists of the following cell killing nutrients in fruits and vegetables:

Raw Food Diet Grocery List

When buying raw foods, you should remember that all processed foods started as basic raw foods.

Some of the basic foods you should include in your raw food diet grocery list include:

Fruits

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Acai berries
  • Bananas

Vegetables

  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers

Fermented Foods

Raw sweeteners such as honey and raw grains such as steel cut oats also make a good raw food diet. [6]

Raw Food Diet Meal Plan

The type of raw food diet meal plan adopted will depend on one’s dietary needs and food preferences.

For example, a person who has a high cholesterol levels or a Vitamin A deficiency may benefit from a diet consisting of fruits and vegetables that are rich in these nutrients.

Raw Food Diet Menu

If you decide to adapt a raw food eating lifestyle, it is advisable to start with short-term goals and work your way up.

For example, you could begin with a raw food diet menu that spans one week and see how well you can follow that plan.

Afterwards, you may choose to expand the time frame of your menu to a month and later to a couple of months.

As you continue to succeed in following your plan, you get used to a raw food diet and begin to achieve your health goals.

Raw Food Diet Example

A typical raw food diet example is as follows:

Breakfast: Oatmeal, green juice, or fresh fruit

Lunch: Super foods smoothie

Dinner: Spaghetti and soup [7]

Raw Food Diet Protein

Proteins are the most important building blocks in your body and made from amino acids.

Proteins provide structure to the cells in your body. Some proteins serve as hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.

Proteins are mainly recognized for their role in building, maintaining, and replacing tissues in your body.

The average female vegan adult requires between 46-58 grams of protein per day whereas the average male vegan adult requires between 56-70 grams of protein per day.

Some common sources of raw food diet protein include:

  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds

Raw Food Diet Results

Raw foods are lauded for an improved digestive system, good resistance towards disease, and the right balance of nutrients in the body.

Raw food diet results will vary depending on whether you have engaged in it short term or long term.

Those inclined to Traditional Chinese Medicine that since raw foods are purifying, cleansing, and cooling in nature, they provide amazing results when used by those with a condition associated with inflammation and heat.

Due the varying dietary and physiological needs of people, there is no ideal amount of raw food for everyone.

To avoid deficiencies and for best results, it would be better to consult a nutritionist for the ideal raw food diet meal plan. [8]

Raw Food Diet Side Effects

Eating raw foods for long will deprive your body of vital nutrients such as Vitamin B12 which is necessary for transporting oxygen and neurological health, and the good cholesterol that promotes heart health.

Additionally, those who adopt a vegan raw food diet may be deprived of essential amino acids present in protein foods.

This could lead to complication such as lack of iron. The other common raw food diet side effects is exposure to harmful parasites and organisms that occur in raw foods. [9] [10]

Raw Food Diet Supplements

Staying away from cooked foods for an extended time may lead to deficiencies that you may need to address through supplements.

Moreover, there are some raw food diet supplements that cannot sufficiently provide the nutrients you will find in protein foods.

You should find the right balance of raw foods, supplements, and protein foods to remain healthy.

Raw Food Diet Weight Loss

According to the bestofrawfood.com, the four weight loss rules associated with weight loss are:

  • Eating raw foods
  • Eating organic foods
  • Eating alkaline foods

There are several reasons why raw food diet weight loss works. The first is that raw foods are packed with enzymes.

Enzymes are responsible for various body processes.

Enzymes allow you to digest and metabolize food fast and prevent you from over-eating.

The other way raw foods help you to shed weight is because they contain alkaline which is necessary for removing toxins and acid wastes from your body.

These wastes and toxins are hidden in the body’s fat.

As you release these toxins, the excess fat deposits are released as well.

Last but not least,a raw food diet plan for weight loss is not calorie dense.

This means that you get satiated quickly because most of these foods are packed with fiber and prevent you from taking in excess calories. [11]

Raw Food Plant-Based Diet

While a diet based on purely plant foods is highly nutritional because it encourages you to take in vegetables and fruits, it can be harmful in the long run.

While there are plants that contain proteins, some essential proteins can only be found in animal products or supplements.

Combine a raw food plant based diet with the right dose of protein supplements.

Furthermore, consult a nutritionist to determine the right balance of raw plant-based foods.

Raw Food Vegan Diet

Vegans do not take any animal-based products.

A raw food vegan diet is one that is comprised of raw plant foods.

The challenges facing people who take raw vegans is that during some seasons, it is difficult to access some fruits and vegetables.

Additionally, some restaurants do not offer these foods.

A raw vegan’s diet is also expensive due to the high cost of nutritious fruits and vegetables.

The preparation of vegan diets also requires skill and consumes a lot of time.

Raw Whole Food Diet

A raw whole food diet is high in fiber, low in calories, and ideal for weight loss. Some special nuts, cashews, and seeds are the main components of a raw food diet comprised of whole foods.

What Can You Eat on a Raw Food Diet?

As noted earlier, most raw foods are edible.

The main foods that constitute a raw food meal include fruits, vegetables, and fermented products.

For best results, it would be better to start eating a raw version of the foods you enjoy eating.

The answer to what can you eat on a raw food diet is best answered by your doctor or nutritionist.

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Bottom Line on the Raw Food Diet

A raw food diet is full of nutrients that are lost when you cook food.

Raw foods mainly constitute fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods.

The main benefits of raw foods include an improved immune system, healthy skin, and a healthy gut.

Raw foods have also been associated with weight loss and killing of cancerous cells. Like anything else, raw foods are not without their side effects.

Since raw foods are susceptible to parasites and harmful bacteria, they are likely to cause infections.

Furthermore, raw foods deprive the body of Vitamin B12 and other essential nutrients that can only be acquired from cooked foods.

If you are to adopt a diet of raw foods, it would be advisable to consult your nutritionist.

In most cases, those who are on raw food diets combine a raw food regimen with healthy cooked foods, and supplements.

About the Author:

Summer Banks, Director of Content at Dietspotlight, has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with doctors specializing in weight loss and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University. full bio.