Celebrities such as Woody Harrelson, Demi Moore, Jason Mraz and Alicia Silverstone have embraced the raw foods diet in some form. A raw foods diet requires consuming uncooked and unprocessed plant foods and avoiding unhealthful and artificial ingredients. Individuals often choose to follow a raw foods diet to lose weight, increase energy, detoxify the body, prevent illness and improve overall health. The raw food diet goes along with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations by promoting the consumption of more fruits and vegetables and fewer saturated fat foods and processed foods high in sugar.
A typical raw food diet includes raw fruit, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, seaweed and sprouted grains. While many meals remain simple such as a smoothie or salad, the tastes of most traditional food recipes can be made raw. Raw food restaurants often have a vast menu of items, including raw pizzas, soups, veggie burgers, sandwiches, pastas and desserts, according to the book "Living on Live Food."
When you preserve the enzymes in raw foods, it becomes more easily digestible, according to Alissa Cohen in her book "Living on Live Food." When you eat a food that your body can easily digest, you expend less energy in the digestion process. Cooking also destroys a large percent of the nutrients in most foods. Raw plant foods are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In addition to taking in a high level of nutrients, the raw food diet also promotes weight-loss. Most plant foods are low in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, all nutritional values that contribute to weight gain and health problems. Raw foodists also tout the importance of consuming alkaline foods. Most raw plant foods are alkaline-forming while processed foods and animal products are often acid-forming, creating an unhealthy pH in the human body, according to health author Robert O. Young.
Many people who read about the raw food diet believe that raw foodists must eat salads all day and fresh fruit. While some raw foodists do primarily eat salad and fruit, it is their choice. Others who follow a raw food lifestyle eat raw cacao chocolate cake, raw banana-cashew "ice cream" and dehydrated, raw pizza. Another common misconception is that the raw food diet is another fad diet that joins the likes of the Atkins diet and the grapefruit diet. While some choose to follow the raw food lifestyle to lose weight, many individuals consume a high percentage of raw foods for a variety of other reasons. They do not view it as a short-term diet, but a life-long eating choice.
If you are thinking about consuming only raw foods, research vitamin B-12 in the raw food diet. Opinions vary concerning vegan intake of B-12. While some raw foodists believe the human body synthesizes B-12 itself in the intestines, others choose to take a B-12 supplement or consume foods fortified with B-12. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend individuals on any diet consume a variety of food in order to take in all the essential nutrients.
Dr. Brian Clement from the Hippocrates Health Institute agrees that a diet high in raw fruits and vegetables is better than the standard American diet. However, other doctors do not believe an all-raw diet is necessary. If you choose to try the raw food diet, they stress the importance of thorough research into essential nutrient intake on the diet.
- "Living on Live Food"; Alissa Cohen; 2005
- Yoga Journal: The Joy of Not Cooking
- Beyond Veg.com: Transcending Magical Thinking About the Properties of Raw Food
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Part B, Section 2: The Total Diet
- "Enzyme Nutrition"; Edward Howell