People follow raw diets to improve health, lose weight and treat specific chronic conditions. A raw diet involves eating uncooked plant foods -- specifically nuts, seeds, sprouted grains and beans, vegetables and fruits. Traditional dairy milk is off limits as commercial brands are pasteurized at very high heat to reduce the risk of food-borne illness and spoilage. Soy milk is a go-to alternative to dairy, but commercial versions are not a raw food.
Raw Diet Features and Indications
Raw diets are advocated as a way to naturally manage your weight, energy and health. People who follow raw diets believe that cooking food destroys most of the essential natural enzymes that make food digestible and the nutrients in food absorbable. A raw diet is usually vegan, meaning no animal products whatsoever are consumed. Some raw dieters do indulge in raw milk, fish and meat.
Soy milk is a vegan product, but commercial versions undergo pasteurization to extend shelf-life. You can make a homemade version, but recipes still call for cooking the milk after soaking and grinding the beans. Heating the soy beans makes the milk more palatable -- reducing the beany flavor.
In order to be considered a rawist -- a person who follows a raw diet -- you must consume at least 75 percent of your food raw. Many people reserve the 25 percent of their cooked foods for dinners at restaurants and social occasions. If you choose to consume soy milk, you might include small servings as part of your 25 percent cooked food allowance.
Raw foodists usually make milk from soaked nuts or seeds. Use these milks on raw cereals or to add to smoothies. For brazil nut milk, soak 1 cup raw Brazil nuts in filtered water for two hours or longer. Blend in a high-speed blender with 4 cups filtered water, 1/4 cup agave nectar, 2 tbsp. coconut oil and a pinch of sea salt. You could also use almonds, pecans, macadamias or cashew nuts in lieu of the Brazil nuts. Almonds require four hours of soaking before making the milk. To make hemp milk, combine 3 1/2 cups filtered water with 1 cup hemp seeds and 2 tbsp. of agave nectar in the jar of a blender and whir until smooth.