By Ed Shepherd CHC, CPTA
Raw food diet focuses on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweed. The diet omits foods that are processed or significantly cooked. Typically, at least 75% of foods must be living or raw on this diet. Most people include a limited amount of foods that have undergone some cooking as long as food is never heated over 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The most popular raw food diet is the raw-vegan diet, but other forms include raw animal products and/or meat.
During food preparation, there are specific techniques used to make foods more digestible and add variety to the diet. These include: Sprouting seeds, grains, and beans, juicing fruits and vegetables, soaking nuts and dried fruit, and dehydrating fruits and vegetables. Raw foodies (the nickname for devotees of this diet) believe that heating food above 115 degrees Fahrenheit destroys critical enzymes that are there to aid digestion and absorption of food. They believe that foods cooked above this temperature lose a significant amount of their nutritional value and are harmful to the body, whereas uncooked foods provide living enzymes and the highest possible nutritional value. Followers believe that the raw food diet improves overall health and immunity, prevents degenerative disease, slows the effects of aging, boosts energy, and balances emotions. Some caution that a raw food diet may lead to deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, and zinc. It has also been found to be too low in calories for some people. Raw foods are also associated with greater incidences of food borne illnesses such as food poisoning, gastroenteritis, or stomach flu. This diet may not be appropriate for children, pregnant or nursing women, people with anemia, or people at risk for osteoporosis.Leading authorities in the area of raw foods include David Wolfe, Brenda Davis, RD, and Gabriel Cousens, MD.
Foods to include:
- Land and sea vegetables
Foods to avoid:
- Cooked foods
- Processed foods
- May ward off disease and increase energy
- May jump-start weight loss
- May improve skin quality
- May be too low-calorie for some people
- May be difficult to stick to when eating out
- May cause anemia
David Wolfe’s Longevity Now: A Comprehensive Approach to Healthy Hormones, Detoxification, Super Immunity, Reversing Calcification, and Total Rejuvenation