A raw food diet consists of uncooked fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted beans. A person who eats 75 percent or more raw food is considered a rawist, according to the Living and Raw Foods website. Rawists claim their diet gives them extraordinary energy and helps them live a healthier and more enjoyable life. Those who follow a raw lifestyle adhere to several simple rules.
Do Not Eat Cooked Food
Food heated to temperatures above 116 degrees Fahrenheit is not permitted on a 100 percent raw diet. Rawists maintain that heating food above 116 degrees destroys essential enzymes, making it less digestible and nutritious. To create "baked" goods like crackers or breads, or to change the textures of fruits and vegetables a dehydrator is often used.
Choose Filtered or Distilled Water
A raw diet is intended to nourish your body with pure food and nutrition that does not contain possible toxins and additives found in processed products. To keep your body cleansed, avoid tap water which may contain contaminants. Filtered or distilled water is the foundation for many meals, including dressings, smoothies and juices. It is also used to prepare nut milks and to soak and sprout nuts, seeds and beans.
Organic produce is encouraged on a raw diet because it is grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. When you eat raw food, you are exposed to these toxins. Even if you wash your produce extremely well, pesticides can seep into the flesh of the fruit or vegetable.
Nuts consumed on a raw diet should be soaked in filtered water, drained and rinsed. Soaking them makes them more digestible and removes bitterness without roasting. Nuts also contain enzyme inhibitors in the skin, explains Sarma Melngailis and Matthew Kenney in "Raw Food." Denser nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts need a soak time of four to eight hours, Brazil nuts and walnuts need just two to four hours and some nuts like cashews, macadamias and pine nuts need just one to two hours.
Avoid Certain Foods
Animal products, including dairy and eggs, are not eaten on a raw diet. Use nut milks made at home by whirring nuts with filtered water and flavoring. Homemade “cheese” is also prepared by soaking nuts and flavoring them with nutritional yeast. Meaty-tasting vegetables like Portabella mushrooms and eggplant may be dehydrated to stand in for burgers or bacon. Grains are avoided because most are toasted before being dried or must be cooked to be palatable. The exceptions are raw oats or raw quinoa which must be soaked before being eaten.
- Living and Raw Foods: Frequently Asked Questions
- "Raw Foods;" Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis; 2005