• Lily Kunin, the creator of Clean Food Dirty City and author of the new plant-based cookbook Good Clean Food1. Combine one

  • Raw Food Diet:

Benefits,

  • Risks and How to Do It
  • more like a lifestyle that simply promotes eating more real foods in their natural state
  • eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked foods so you get all the nutrients without the dangerous additives.
  • The goal of eating more
  • raw foods is to obtain plenty of nutrients in an easy-to-digest manner, one that our bodies are naturally suited for.
  • making sure to consume at least some
  • raw vegetables and fruits every day is important for just about everyone.
  • Raw foodism has been around since the 1800s, and both studies and anecdotal evidence show the benefits of a
  • raw food diet include: (1)
  • lowering inflammation
  • improving digestion
  • providing more dietary fiber
  • improving heart health
  • helping with optimal liver function
  • preventing cancer
  • preventing or treating constipation
  • giving you more energy
  • clearing up your skin
  • preventing nutrient deficiencies
  • lowering the amount of antinutrients and carcinogens in your diet
  • helping you maintain a healthy body weight
  • Maybe you’re wondering how much raw food it takes to consider yourself someone who eats a mostly raw food diet. There isn’t one single type of raw food diet that you should strive to follow — rather there’s all sorts of different variations of raw food diets out there, all with different advice and degrees to which foods can be cooked.
  • Depending on the exact type you choose to follow, raw food diets can include far more than just fresh produce. In addition to raw fruits and vegetables, you might consume fish, sea vegetables, fermented foods, sprouted grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, and even some meat and raw dairy products.
  • The thing that ties various raw food diets together is that generally no foods that have been pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives are included.
  • This means avoiding, or at least greatly reducing, most popular packaged and processed foods sold in the grocery store like breads, bottled condiments, cereals, crackers, cheese, refined oils and processed meats.
  • taking small steps. There’s no need to completely make over your diet overnight. In fact, you’ll likely maintain a healthier way of eating when you transition things slowly
  • the more you rush into a new way of eating and the more you consider it just a quick-fix “diet,” the likelier you are to gain any weight you’ve lost back and to give up
  • cooked foods are usually harder to digest than raw foods
  •  cooking nutrient-dense foods tends to destabilize some of their valuable enzymes and destroy certain antioxidants and vitamins.
  • Raw foods also help alkalize the body, reduce acidity, and have less of a chance of fermenting in the gut and causing inflammation/autoimmune reactions.
  • This applies to all of us, but some people who can especially benefit from eating more
  • raw foods include those with:
  • cancer (3)
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure and high cholesterol (4)
  • osteoporosis
  • kidney disease
  • gallstones or gallbladder disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • autoimmune disorders
  • food allergies
  • fatigue
  • joint pain (5)
  • muscle aches and pains
  • headaches
  • PMS
  • hormonal imbalance
  • trouble with weight gain/obesity
  • Qfoods heated over about 112 degrees Fahrenhqeit may retain less vital enzymes. Digestive enzymes are used by the body to break down foods to smaller and more operable nutritional units.
  • it’s not only how many nutrients a food has to offer that matters, but how we are actually able to absorb these nutrients
  • the pancreas and other cells produce enzymes to help with digestion (called endogenous enzymes) while raw foods also supply some enzymes (called exogenous enzymes).
  • The greater our intake of exogenous enzymes, the easier time we have fully digesting nutrients without overly taxing our systems.
  • Each food is a bit different in terms of when it starts to lose some of its nutrients. Many high-antioxidant foods are sensitive to cooking because phytonutrients don’t stand up well to high temperatures.
  • The temperature at which a food starts to be depleted of nutrients due to cooking is called the “heat labile point.” At this point, chemical configurations start to change within the food, enzymes are lost, and the food becomes less beneficial.

Another reason to eat more

  • raw foods is because of how they easily make their way through our digestive systems. The longer a food sits in our digestive tracts, the likelier it is to ferment and cause problems. Pre-fermented foods themselves are good for you (more on that below), but a food fermenting in your gut causes gas, inflammation and toxic waste to accumulate. During fermentation in the gut, proteins putrefy and fats go rancid, which negatively affects the mucosal lining of the gut and can lead to intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome).Finally,
  • raw foods have a big impact on the acid/alkaline balance in our bodies. Diseases develop more easily within the body when acidity rises, because acidosis lowers immunity. The body can become overly acidic due to environmental pollutants, stress, processed and refined foods, lack of nutrients, and mineral-deficient water. Cooked foods create even more acidity in the body, but on the other hand,
  • raw foods neutralize acid and help alkalize the body.While weight loss isn’t the primary goal, you’re also likely to feel full when eating lots of
  • raw foods from consuming plenty of fiber and nutrients, so this can help you curb cravings and eat less overall if that’s one of your goals.
  • Raw Food Diet vs. a Vegan Diet: What’s the Difference?Thinking of becoming a “
  • raw vegan” and wondering how this differs from a general
  • raw food diet? The two have a lot in common, but eating a diet high in
  •  raw foods doesn’t necessarily mean you need to avoid all animal products, which vegans do. Some
  • raw food diets include
  • raw fish,
  • raw dairy products,
  • raw meats or eggs, and even some cooked animal foods too. Again, there isn’t an ideal percentage of cooked versus
  • raw foods you should try to live up to. The goal is just to move your food intake to one that’s more natural, nutrient-dense and unprocessed.What do vegans eat?
  • Raw vegans don’t consume any animal products whatsoever and very few cooked foods, which means this way of eating can be hard to keep up with and unattainable for many people. On top of that, there are plenty of nutrients available in animal foods and benefits to including some of them in your diet. For example, organ meats, like chicken liver or kidneys, are often called superfoods and are some of the most nutrient-dense foods there are, extremely high in things like vitamin A, B vitamins, phosphorus and iron.Some nutrients are simply more easily obtained when you include some animal foods in your diet. For example, if you compare the nutrient density of organ meats to that of vegetables like spinach or carrots, the organ meats outperform many of them. Other animal foods make smart food choices too: Eggs are a great source of choline, fish are the single best way to get anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and beef is rich in things like zinc and selenium.I don’t recommend a
  • raw vegan approach because it’s too easy to run low on critical vitamins and minerals, plus protein. It’s true that some plant-based foods have protein, but they aren’t “complete proteins” — meaning they don’t supply all of the essential amino acids that the body cannot make on its own like animals foods can.The reason I recommend avoiding
  • raw veganism and including high-quality animal products in moderation is to make it easier to obtain enough amino acids, healthy sources of saturated fats and omega-3s, iron, B vitamins (especially vitamin B12 and folate), zinc, and selenium. (7, 8) Vitamin B12 benefits red blood cell formation and improves cellular function; iron prevents anemia and fatigue; folate is important for converting chemicals in the body for proper cellular functions and cellular division; and omega-3s lower inflammation and improve heart health.If you struggle with low energy, fatigue, being underweight, infertility, depression or neurological issues, loss of muscle mass, or weak bones, a vegan or vegetarian diet will likely make it harder to recover. I recommend, in addition to eating plenty of fruits and veggies, that you include some organic, pasture-raised or grass-fed animal proteins — calf liver and chicken liver, cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, raw/fermented dairy products, and pasture-raised poultry are all great options.Quality of animal foods is very important — and that’s one of the reasons I don’t promote a “Paleo diet.” The Paleo diet has some great things about it (and also usually includes plenty of
  • raw foods), but in my opinion, people eating this way tend to consume too much meat and don’t stress eating organically as much as I do.How to Eat More
  • Raw Foods in a Balanced WayAs you’ve probably gathered by now, it’s all about balance. You’ll likely feel your best when you consume plenty of
  • raw foods in addition to some that are lightly cooked.Here are some of my favorite
  • raw foods to start eating regularly:
  • Leafy greens
  • Citrus fruits (several servings per day)
  • Sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds
  • Avocados
  • Coconut kefir/raw and organic regular kefir
  • Raw veggies like carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, etc.
  • Raw yogurt
  • Extra virgin coconut or olive oil
  • Cultured veggies (like sauerkraut or kimchi)
  • Watermelon and cantaloupe
  • In order to move your diet in the right direction, try taking these steps below, which will help you incorporate more
  • raw and anti-inflammatory foods into your diet:
  • At each meal, plan to fill half your plate with fresh, non-starchy veggies and fruit. Make a reasonable portion of those raw, but some cooked can be beneficial too (which you’ll learn more about below).
  • Lightly cooking food at temperatures less than 100 degrees, steaming, juicing, sprouting and using slow cookers are ways to gently cook the food you aren’t eating raw. Remember that you have the power to individualize your diet and choose what works best for you. Typically on a mostly raw food diet, about 75 percent to 80 percent of what you eat each day will be plant-based foods that were never heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, but here’s room for variation.
  • Replace bad fats with good, healthy fats. Get rid of any hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, soybean oil, canola oil and vegetable oils. Replace these with good fats like extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocado and nuts/seeds, which are essential to hormone production, cancer prevention, brain development, weight loss, cellular healing and lowering inflammation.
  • Focus on having quality animal products in moderation. This greatly lowers your exposure to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones in meats while supplying important nutrients and fatty acids like arachidonic acid, conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Replace all sugary snacks and refined grains. This includes all white rice, white pasta, cereal and white bread, plus pizza, sugary sauces/condiments, soups, crackers, fruit drinks, canned foods and sweetened yogurt. Instead, have soaked/sprouted grain products (like sprouted beans, Ezekiel bread or sourdough bread) in moderation. The fermentation process turns the normally inedible (raw grains and legumes) into the edible. Also eat real fruit for a sweet treat instead of sweetened snacks.
  • You’ll find that roughly eating this way helps you easily consume lots of superfoods like fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouted seeds and nuts/nut butters, cold-pressed extra virgin olive or coconut oil, fresh herbs, freshly squeezed vegetable juices, fermented veggies, and herbal teas if you’d like. Plus, you’ll get to eat a lot of food and feel very satisfied since
  • raw foods are large and so low in calories.
  • The Importance of Fermented Foods in a
  • Raw Food Diet
  • A staple of nearly every civilization on earth in one form or another, fermented foods are some of the healthiest things about eating a
  • raw food diet. Fermented foods are
  • raw and naturally develop probiotics during the period when they undergo fermentation, which happens when oxygen converts some of their nutrients. Fermented foods have been eaten for thousands of years in the form of yogurt, kefir, sourdough breads, kombucha, and cultured vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi and kvassProbiotics supplied by fermented foods, which are “good bacteria” that reside in your gut, are responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system. They help you to repopulate your gut with beneficial microbiota after you’ve begun the process of clearing away built-up toxins and waste. Probiotic foods encourage a healthy microbiome, are great for your digestive system, improve immunity, help clear up your skin, and are even beneficial for maintaining hormonal balance and a healthy weightRegardless of whether you eat a
  • raw food diet or not, you can benefit from including more fermented foods in your diet to prevent digestive disorders, skin issues, candida, autoimmune disease and frequent infections.Are There Any Risks of
  • Raw Food Diets?Why might an all
  • raw food diet not be the best option? There’s merit for cooking certain foods to bring out more of their nutrients — plus cooking allows you to eat some animal products that many people would be hesitant to eat
  • raw. In other words, cooking does degrade some nutrients, but it also makes others more digestibleCooking foods with antioxidants called beta-carotene and lycopene (like squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes, for example) helps release their nutrients and make them more absorbable, plus it makes them taste a lot better too! (9) Cooking is also useful for killing bacteria and pathogens that can live in some foods, like certain fish or eggs and meat.In addition, some vegetables like those in the cruciferous vegetables family (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts) contain goitrogen compounds, which in excess can block thyroid function and contribute to hypothyroidism, but these are mostly deactivated by heat and cooking. And some studies have also shown that peppers and mushrooms become more nutrient-dense when cooked.Is there anyone for whom a
  • raw food diet isn’t a good fit? Yes. Keep this in mind: While including more
  • raw food in your diet has plenty of benefits, a
  • raw food diet tends not to work so well for people with certain gut types.
  • Raw foods diets aren’t for everybody, since
  • raw fruits and vegetables can be hard to digest for some people lacking certain enzymes or digestive capabilities and because they’re high-fiber diets.If you have a sensitive digestive system, such as inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis, cooking more of your food might be a better option. If we’re unable to digest the vitamins and minerals in foods, we risk nutrient deficiencies and other illnesses. This can happen when we can’t break down fibrous vegetable cell walls to unleash stored nutrients, so in some cases cooking with low to medium heat can help predigest fibers for us and release more essential vitamins and minerals. (10)
  • Raw Food Diet TakeawaysA
  • raw food diet is consider an “anti-diet” and more like a lifestyle that simply promotes eating more real foods in their natural state that’s about eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked foods so you get all the nutrients without the dangerous additives.
  • Raw food diets supply more nutrients than vegan diets, because there are some nutrients and proteins you simply cannot get without consuming animal products. In addition,
  • raw food diets sometimes include a few cooked foods.You can eat more
  • raw foods in a balanced way by following the following steps: at each meal, plan to fill half your plate with fresh, non-starchy veggies and fruit; lightly cook food at temperatures less than 100 degrees, steam, juice, sprout and use slow cookers to gently cook the food you aren’t eating
  •  raw; replace bad fats with healthy fats; focus on having quality animal products in moderation; and replace all sugary snacks and refined grains.Fermented foods also play a key role in a
  • raw food diet.
  • Raw Foods DietThe PromiseYour oven gets a rest on this diet. You’ll mostly be eating
  • raw fruits, vegetables, and grains.The idea is that heating food destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes, which is bad because enzymes boost digestion and fight chronic disease. In short: When you cook it, you kill it.Some fans of
  • raw food diets believe cooking makes food toxic. They claim that a
  • raw food diet can clear up headaches and allergies, boost immunity and memory, and improve arthritis and diabetes.What You Can Eat and What You Can’tThink uncooked, unprocessed, mostly organic foods. Your staples:
  • raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains. Some eat unpasteurized dairy foods, raw eggs, meat, and fish.Your food can be cold or even a little bit warm, as long as it doesn’t go above 118 degrees.You can use blenders, food processors, and dehydrators to prepare foods.Level of Effort: HighYou may need to ramp up your kitchen skills. Eating out can be tricky, and if you go organic, you may need to go to specialty stores for a wider selection than your usual grocery store.Cooking and shopping: Prep work can be extensive. Many
  • raw food fans become experts at blending and dehydrating foods. Some germinate nuts and sprout seeds.Because some uncooked and unpasteurized foods are linked to food-borne illness, you’ll need to wash your food thoroughly and be extra careful with risky foods like sprouts, raspberries, unpasteurized juices, green onions, and lettuce.Due to the risk of food poisoning, a
  • raw foods diet isn’t recommended for pregnant women, young children, seniors, people with weak immune systems, and those with chronic medical conditions like kidney disease.Packaged foods or meals: No.In-person meetings: No.Exercise: Not required.Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?Vegetarians and vegans: This diet works well for you. Just make sure your diet meets your nutritional needs. A dietitian can help you with that.Gluten-free: Most
  • raw foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, are naturally gluten-free.What Else You Should KnowEating lots of veggies and fruits helps control blood pressure. The diet is low in sodium, so it might help lower your chance of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease. Losing weight and keeping it off can help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.But because most people who eat
  • raw foods exclude animal products, you may need to take vitamin supplements to make up for any gaps in your diet.Cost: You don’t have to pay for meetings, memberships, or prepackaged foods, but this diet can give your wallet a workout. Organic ingredients tend to be more expensive. Kitchen appliances like juicers, blenders, and dehydrators are another expense.Support: You can do this diet on your own or find online resources, like recipes.What Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, Says:Does It Work?You’ll probably lose weight on this diet, since most of its foods are low in calories, fat, and sodium, and high in fiber. One study found that people who followed a
  • raw foods diet lost a significant amount of weight.You’ll also get nutritional perks. Most of what you eat will be high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicalsBut there are lots of drawbacks. The diet is difficult to follow and inadequate in many essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and more.Plus, contrary to the claims of many
  • raw food fans, cooking does not make food toxic but instead makes some foods digestible.Cooking also boosts some nutrients, like beta-carotene and lycopene, and kills bacteria, which helps you avoid food poisoning. There is no scientific evidence that
  • raw foods prevent illness.Is It Good for Certain Conditions?It is not recommended for any specific health conditions. But losing extra weight is good for general health.If you are considering a
  • raw diet, talk to your doctor before starting the plan.The Final WordA
  • raw food diet is low in calories, high in fiber, and based on primarily healthy whole-plant foods, so eating this way will lead to weight loss.But the diet is a nutritionally inadequate and highly restrictive plan that will be hard to stay on for the long-term. The risk of food poisoning from eating
  • raw or undercooked foods outweighs the benefits of this plan.In general, cooking makes your food more easily digestible and saferThere are some nutrient-rich super foods that can’t be eaten
  • raw, such as beans, whole grains, and lean proteins.Back in 2010 I decided to go on a
  • raw food detox. I’d been on a yoga retreat in Bali and had eaten
  •  raw foods the whole time I was there. I loved the food, and it got me curious to learn more, so I decided that when I returned home that I would try and go 100%
  • raw for a while.It was partly because I wanted to lose weight, partly because I felt like my body needed a cleanse after many years of partying it up and not treating it so great, and partly because I love a good challengeI threw myself into this new
  • raw food lifestyle. However, in order to be able to follow it, I couldn’t live the same way anymore. It really meant overhauling everything I ate and the entire way I lived.Without my even realizing it, going
  • raw became the catalyst for dramatic positive change in my life, bringing more benefits to me than just weight loss and a cleaner body. Here are seven benefits that I did not see coming:
  • 1. Going raw got me back in the kitchen.Eating out or ordering in every night was the first habit I had to break. Raw food restaurants in Jakarta (where I now live) are nonexistent, and the closest menu item I could find that was suitable to eat at most places was a very unsatisfying garden salad (which just doesn’t cut it for an evening meal!).So I started going grocery shopping again, began making green smoothies for breakfast, packing my own salad for lunch at my office, and then experimenting in the kitchen at night.This habit alone was one of the best things I could have gained from my year on raw. Eating home cooked meals is not only better energetically, but it means consuming better ingredients. It saves heaps of money, too.
  • 2. The raw food diet helped me discover food intolerances.Following a raw food diet means the common allergens in food are completely avoided: eggs, soy, wheat (gluten), sugar and dairy. These get cut out completely. By not including those items in my diet anymore, I started to feel amazing.
  • 3. Eating raw made me more intuitive.I started to eat such a clean diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, cutting out all the processed crap and the above-mentioned allergens, that something changed inside me spiritually. My clean body seemed to open the passage for my intuition to soar.It’s like my mind was no longer hazy from drinking too much booze the night before, or my brain fogged up from eating gluten, that I could see things with clarity. I could tap into my intuitive side, and I started to notice the beauty in the world around me. I became more focused and started to see the world differently, noticing the small and beautiful things around me.
  • 4. Going raw changed my taste buds.I stopped craving coffee every morning, and no longer needed alcohol to end my night. Sugar cravings got replaced by more savory ones, and if I did crave sugar I’d feed myself a super indulgent yet still healthy raw dessert, which did not have the same negative effect as eating a whole roll of Mentos or Skittles, my former vices. I now miss it when I don’t have a green smoothie for a few days if I’m traveling, and junk foods don’t even factor into any of my decisions around food anymore.
  • 5. Following a raw lifestyle meant cleaning my act upThe raw food lifestyle changed all my former party girl ways. The thought of sitting in a smoky bar while drinking all night seemed absurd when everything else in my life was now so clean. I much preferred to stay at home experimenting in the kitchen on a new recipe, learning about raw foods and healthy living, and practicing yoga and meditation than going out partying on a Friday or Saturday night. I had found a new passion, and that really fueled me more than any of more former bad habits had.
  • 6. Eating raw foods taught me about diet and nutrition.As I started to change my diet and lifestyle, I began fielding questions from curious friends and colleagues. So I started writing a blog to share recipes and other aspects of my experience.This led me to begin learning even more about food, nutrition and health. My thirst for this new knowledge was almost insatiable. Reading novels got replaced by reading nonfiction books on nutrition and diet, and I became obsessed with healthy, raw and vegan cookbooks as I devoured all the information I could get my hands on.
  • 7. Going raw led me on a new career path.I then discovered a new career I could have: health coaching. I never knew that this job even existed, but as soon as I found out about it, I just knew that I had to become one.So I did my diploma, trained as a raw food chef and started teaching classes in my home. Then I started seeing clients and decided to take my career in a whole new direction.These days I eat a mostly raw diet, but it’s actually a plant-based diet mixed in with raw and cooked food. But if it hadn’t been for raw foods I don’t think my overall well-being would be the way it is now, and I certainly wouldn’t be writing this article. It really is amazing how things can change by making one decision. All it takes is the first step, and it can lead you to just about anywhere!
  • The Raw Food Diet: A Beginner’s Guide and ReviewThe
  • raw food diet has been around since the 1800s, but has surged in popularity in recent years.Its supporters believe that consuming mostly
  • raw foods is ideal for human health and has many benefits, including weight loss and better overall health.However, health experts warn that eating a mostly
  • raw diet may lead to negative health consequences.This article reviews the good and bad of the
  • raw food diet, as well as how it works.AdvertisementWhat Is the
  • Raw Food Diet?The
  • raw food diet, often called
  • raw foodism or
  • raw veganism, is composed of mostly or completely
  • raw and unprocessed foods.A food is considered
  • raw if it has never been heated over 104–118°F (40–48°C). It should also not be refined, pasteurized, treated with pesticides or otherwise processed in any way.Instead, the diet allows several alternative preparation methods, such as juicing, blending, dehydrating, soaking and sprouting.Similar to veganism, the
  • raw food diet is usually plant-based, being made up mostly of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.While most
  • raw food diets are completely plant-based, some people also consume
  • raw eggs and dairy. Less commonly,
  • raw fish and meat may be included as well.Additionally, taking supplements is typically discouraged on the
  • raw food diet. Proponents often claim that the diet will give you all the nutrients you need.Supporters also believe that cooking foods is harmful to human health because it destroys the natural enzymes in foods, reduces their nutrient content and reduces the “life force” that they believe to exist in all
  • raw or “living” foods.People follow the
  • raw food diet for the benefits they believe it has, including weight loss, improved vitality, increased energy, improvement to chronic diseases, improved overall health and a reduced impact on the environment.Summary: The
  • raw food diet is made up mostly of foods that have not been processed or heated over a certain temperature.How to Follow the
  • Raw Food DietAdvertisementIs
  • Raw Food Healthier Than Cooked Food?
  • Raw food diet supporters believe that eating mostly or all
  • raw food is ideal for human health.However, like many of the core beliefs behind the
  • raw food diet, this idea is not backed by science. In fact, research shows that both cooked and
  • raw foods have health benefits.One of the main reasons the
  • raw food diet discourages cooking is because of the belief that cooking destroys the natural enzymes in foods. The diet’s advocates believe that these enzymes are vital to human health and digestion.High heat does cause most enzymes to denature — that is, to unravel or change shape. However, many enzymes denature in the acidic environment of the stomach anyway (1, 2).In fact, the body already produces its own enzymes to facilitate chemical processes including digestion and energy production (3).Another core belief behind the
  • raw food diet is that cooking destroys the nutrient content of foods.Cooking can indeed decrease certain nutrients in food, especially water-soluble ones like vitamin C and B vitamins (4, 5).However, cooking actually increases the availability of other nutrients and antioxidants, such as lycopene and beta-carotene (6, 7, 8)Cooking also helps inactivate or destroy some harmful compounds in food. For example, cooking grains and legumes reduces lectins and phytic acid. In large quantities, these can block your body from absorbing minerals (9, 10). Additionally, cooking also kills harmful bacteria (11).For these reasons, it’s important to eat a variety of both
  • raw and cooked foods. To learn more about the benefits of raw versus cooked foods, check out this article.Summary:
  • Raw food is not any healthier than cooked food. Cooking decreases some nutrients, yet increases others. It also destroys certain harmful compounds and kills bacteria.Nutrition Review: Pros and ConsA
  • raw food diet has some positive points. Mainly, it is very high in fresh fruits and vegetables. It also incorporates other foods that are high in nutrients and fiber.To its credit, a
  • raw food diet limits the intake of foods known to contribute to poor health if you eat them in excess, such as processed junk foods and added sugarAdditionally, a
  • raw food diet nearly guarantees weight loss because it is low in calories. Yet despite this, there are also many cons to a
  • raw food diet.When someone switches from a mostly cooked diet to a mostly
  • raw diet, their calorie intake is likely to decrease dramatically. Some people may not find it possible to eat enough
  • raw food to meet their daily calorie needs (12, 13).This is partially because fruits and vegetables, though healthy, simply don’t provide enough calories or protein to make up the majority of the diet.Additionally, cooking increases the digestibility of foods, making it easier for your body to get calories and nutrients from them. In some cases, your body gets significantly fewer calories from a food if it’s
  • raw (14, 15)Cooking also increases the amount of certain nutrients and antioxidants your body absorbs (6, 7, 8).Finally,
  • raw diets tend to be nutritionally unbalanced because they must be mostly made up of either fats or fruits to meet calorie needs (13).This means
  • raw diets may be deficient not only in calories, but also in some vitamins, minerals and protein (13).Summary:
  • Raw food diets are made up of healthy foods and are likely to cause weight loss, but they are often too low in calories and some nutrientsAdvertisementHealth Benefits Review: Pros and ConsLike most of the beliefs behind the
  • raw food diet, many of the supposed health benefits are not supported by evidence.Some studies have found the
  • raw food diet to have positive health effects, but much of the research has found it has negative effects.One study of people following a
  • raw food diet found that it lowered blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, it also lowered “healthy” HDL cholesterol levels and led to a vitamin-B12 deficiency for many (16).Another study found that people following a
  • raw diet over long periods of time had an increased risk of tooth erosion (13).Nevertheless, studies have consistently found that the
  • raw food diet is associated with having less body fat.One study of participants following a
  • raw diet long-term found that it was associated with large losses of body fat (12).Men lost an average of 21.8 pounds (9.9 kg) after switching to a raw diet and women lost an average of 26.4 pounds (12 kg). However, 15% of men and 25% of women in the study were also underweight.Additionally, 70% of women on the diet experienced irregularities in their menstrual cycle. And nearly one-third of women developed amenorrhea, meaning they stopping menstruating, which can be a consequence of low body weightAnother small study found that people following a
  • raw vegan diet had significantly lower calorie intake and body fat than those who weren’t following the diet. Nonetheless, they also had low protein, calcium and vitamin D intakes (13).The same study found that participants following a
  • raw vegan diet had low bone mass, potentially due to low calorie and protein intake (13).Overall, following a
  • raw food diet may lead to weight loss or even improve some markers of health, such as blood lipids. But despite this, the significant risk of negative health effects outweighs the potential benefits of this dietSummary: Evidence shows that
  • raw food diets are associated with losing body fat. However, they are also associated with serious negative health consequences and the negatives outweigh the positives.Sample MenuAdvertisementIs the
  • Raw Food Diet Safe and Sustainable?In the short-term, the
  • raw food diet is not likely to pose major health concerns.However, you may develop problems if you follow the diet long-term.A mostly
  • raw diet makes it difficult to get enough calories, protein and certain vitamins and minerals.Some people may not be able to get enough calories from this diet. The evidence also shows that the larger the proportion of
  • raw food in your diet, the higher the risk of negative effects (12).Unless you take supplements, you may develop problems from nutrient inadequacies over time as your body’s vitamin and mineral stores are used up. Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are particularly hard to get in
  • raw vegan diets.However, even nutrition supplements cannot make up for a lack of calories and protein in the diet.Additionally, the risk of being exposed to a foodborne illness is increased when you consume foods
  • raw (17). This is especially true if
  • raw dairy, eggs or meat are part of your diet. Nutrition experts always recommend that people only eat these when they’re fully cooked or pasteurized (11, 17).Lastly, a
  • raw food diet can be challenging to keep up for several reasons.For starters, food choices are very limited and avoiding cooked foods makes it difficult to go out to eat or to eat with friends.Avoiding cooked foods also means that food preparation methods are very limited, so a
  • raw food diet can get boring. Many people also find eating only cold foods to be undesirable.Lastly, it can be expensive to buy so much fresh, organic produce, not to mention time consuming to plan and prepareSummary: The
  • raw food diet is probably not harmful in the short-term, but you may experience negative effects if you follow it in the long-term.The Bottom LineFresh,
  • raw foods are a valuable part of a healthy diet. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.Cooking is important to make certain foods and nutrients more digestible.A completely or even mostly
  • raw diet is likely to cause weight loss, but also makes it difficult to meet your nutritional needs.In the end, eating a combination of cooked and
  • raw foods is ideal for your health.The
  • Raw Food Diet: Trend Worth Trying or Half-Baked Hype?Stove

The way its proponents talk, raw food can sound like a magic potion served in a salad bowl. “When I transitioned to an all-raw lifestyle,” says Karyn Calabrese, a restaurateur in Chicago, “I felt like I could walk on water. I didn’t just stop aging; I began to feel as if I were actually growing younger.” The 64-year-old—who could easily pass for 40—is brimming with energy. It’s enough to make you want what she’s having, which might be a portobello napoleon with “blue cheese” made from cashews, or an avocado puree with wakame and olives wrapped in nori.

  • A raw diet consists of foods (typically produce, grains, seeds, nuts, and beans) that haven’t been heated above a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 104 and 118 degrees. Cooking destroys enzymes that raw foodists believe are essential to human health; without those enzymes, the thinking goes, we’re not getting the full, life-supporting benefits of our food.
  • But this theory overlooks an important fact, says Andrea Giancoli, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “While it’s true that cooking causes enzymes to unravel, the same thing happens to those enzymes as soon as they hit the acidic environment of your stomach.” She says raw foodists enjoy so many health perks for a simpler reason: They’re eating a lot of plants. Comprehensive lifestyle studies—like the China-Cornell-Oxford Project, which lasted 20 years and followed 6,500 participants—have found that plant-based diets greatly reduce the risk of chronic diseases and conditions.
  • Still, says Eat to Live author Joel Fuhrman, MD, a specialist in nutritional medicine, there is some magic in raw fruits and veggies. It’s not denatured enzymes that worry Fuhrman so much as the loss of vitamins and minerals that occurs and the carcinogens that are produced at high temperatures. He recommends eating a mix of cooked and uncooked produce, because some nutrients (like lycopene in tomatoes and carotene in carrots) are better absorbed after they’ve been heated. And when you do cook, opt for stewing or steaming. “As a rule,” Fuhrman says, “if you cook things at a lower  for less time, you’ll be moving in a healthy direction.”
  • Four years ago, Gena Hamshaw started shifting toward a mostly raw diet. “Not only did I feel better,” says the certified clinical nutritionist, who writes a blog called Choosing Raw, “but, more importantly, I fell in love with the delicious taste of fresh food.” Her advice is to start by adding simple uncooked dishes to your regular diet, like vegetable sides and blended soups. “Don’t agonize over complicated recipes. Just eat a big chopped salad and you’re on your way.”
  • Keep Reading: 3 Easy No-Cook Meals
  • More Healthy Advice
  • 4 reasons to eat your ocean veggies
  • This article is about raw food consumption in humans. For a raw diet for cats or dogs, see Raw feeding.
  • Raw foodism (or following a raw food diet) is the dietary practice of eating only, or mostly, uncooked, unprocessed foods. Depending on the philosophy, or type of lifestyle and results desired, raw food  may include a selection of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, meat, and dairy products.[1]
  • It may also include simply processed foods such as various types of sprouted seeds, cheese, and fermented foods such as yogurts, kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut, but generally not foods that have been pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives.
  • Contents
  • Raw food diets are diets composed entirely or mostly of food that is uncooked or which is cooked at low temperatures.
  • Raw veganismEdit
  • Main article: Raw veganism
  • A raw vegan diet consists of unprocessed, raw plant foods, that have not been heated above 40–49 °C (104–120 °F). Raw vegans such as Brian Clement, Gabriel Cousens, Thierry Browers a.k.a. “Superlight”, and Douglas Graham believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost much of their nutritional value and are less healthy or even harmful to the body.[unbalanced opinion?] Advocates argue that raw or living foods have natural enzymes, which are critical in building proteins and rebuilding the body, and that heating these foods destroys the natural enzymes and can leave toxic materials behind. However, enzymes, as with other proteins consumed in the diet, are denatured and eventually lysed by the digestive process, rendering them non-functional. Typical foods included in raw food diets are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains and legumes.
  • Among raw vegans there are some subgroups such as fruitarians, juicearians, or sproutarians. Fruitarians eat primarily or exclusively fruits, berries, seeds, and nuts. Juicearians process their raw plant foods into juice. Sproutarians adhere to a diet consisting mainly of sprouted seeds.
  • Raw animal food dietsEdit
  • Main article: Raw animal food diets
  • Included in raw animal food diets are any food that can be eaten raw, such as uncooked, unprocessed raw muscle-meats/organ-meats/eggs, raw dairy, and aged, raw animal foods such as century eggs, fermented meat/fish/shellfish/kefir, as well as vegetables/fruits/nuts/sprouts/honey, but in general not raw grains, raw beans, and raw soy. Raw foods included on such diets have not been heated above 40 °C (104 °F). Raw animal foodists believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost a lot of their nutritional value and are less bioavailable.[unbalanced opinion?]
  • Examples of raw animal food diets include the Primal Diet, anopsology (otherwise known as “Instinctive Eating” or “Instincto”), and the Raw Paleolithic diet (otherwise known as the “Raw Meat Diet”).
  • The Primal Diet consists of fatty meats, organ meats, dairy, honey, minimal fruit and vegetable juices, and coconut products, all raw.
  • The “Raw Meat Diet”, otherwise known as the “Raw, Paleolithic Diet”, is a raw version of the (cooked) Paleolithic Diet, incorporating large amounts of raw animal foods such as meats/organ-meats, seafood, eggs, and some raw plant-foods, but usually avoiding non-Paleo foods such as raw dairy, grains, and legumes.
  • A number of traditional aboriginal diets consisted of large quantities of raw meats, organ meats, and berries, including the traditional diet of the Nenets tribe of Siberia and the Inuit people.
  • Contemporary raw food diets were first developed in Switzerland by Maximilian Bircher-Benner (1867 – 1939), who was influenced as a young man by the German Lebensreform movement, which saw civilization as corrupt and sought to go “back to nature”; it embraced holistic medicine, nudism, free love, exercise and other outdoors activity, and foods that it judged were more “natural”.:31–33 Bircher-Benner eventually adopted a vegetarian diet, but took that further and decided that raw food was what humans were really meant to eat; he was influenced by Charles Darwin’s ideas that humans were just another kind of animal and Bircher-Benner noted that other animals do not cook their food.:31–33 In 1904 he opened a sanatorium in the mountains outside of Zurich called “Lebendinge Kraft” or “Vital Force,” a technical term in the Lebensreform movement that referred especially to sunlight; he and others believed that this energy was more “concentrated” in plants than in meat, and was diminished by cooking.:31–33 Patients in the clinic were fed raw foods, including muesli, which was created there.:31–33 These ideas were dismissed by scientists and the medical profession of his day as quackery.:31–33
  • Other proponents from the early part of the twentieth century include Ann Wigmore, Norman W. Walker (inventor of the Norwalk Juicing Press), and Herbert Shelton. Shelton was arrested, jailed, and fined numerous times for practicing medicine without a license during his career as an advocate of rawism and other alternative health and diet philosophies. Shelton’s legacy, as popularized by books like Fit for Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, has been deemed “pseudonutrition” by the National Council Against Health Fraud.
  • Leslie Kenton’s book Raw Energy – Eat Your Way to Radiant Health, published in 1984, added popularity to foods such as sprouts, seeds, and fresh vegetable juices. The book advocates a diet of 75% raw food which it claims will prevent degenerative diseases, slow the effects of aging, provide enhanced energy, and boost emotional balance; it cites examples such as the sprouted-seed-enriched diets of the long-lived Hunza people and Gerson therapy, an unhealthy, dangerous and potentially very harmful raw juice-based diet and detoxification regime claimed to treat cancer.
  • Claims held by raw food proponents include:
  • That heating food above 104–118 °F (40–48 °C) starts to degrade and destroy the enzymes in raw food that aid digestion.[21][22] A few raw food proponents such as Douglas Graham dispute the importance of enzymes in foods, however, and it is commonly believed that enzymes in food play no significant role in the digestive process, prior to being digested themselves.[23][15]:34
  • That raw foods have higher nutrient and antioxidants values than foods that have been cooked.[15]:34[24] In reality, whether cooking degrades nutrients or increases their availability, or both, depends on the food and how it is cooked.[15]:34[25]
  • That cooked foods, and especially meat, contain harmful toxins, which can cause chronic disease and other problems, including trans fatty acids produced by heating oil, acrylamide produced by frying, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.[15]:34–5[26] While it is true that a healthy diet minimizes fried food and red meat, not all cooked food contains harmful chemicals (a serving of french fries has 200 times the AGEs of a bowl of cooked oatmeal), and a diet containing a normal mix of cooked and raw food does not shorten life.[15]:34–5[27][28]<[29] High rates of some of these compounds formed by cooking meat can cause cancer in other animals; whether such an exposure causes cancer in humans remains unclear.[27] According to the American Cancer Society it is not clear, as of 2013, whether acrylamide consumption affects people’s risk of getting cancer.[30]
  • Health effects Edit
  • A meta-analysis clinical trials and epidemiological studies published in 2004, and covering a broad range of cancers, found that it appears that there is an inverse relationship between the risk of developing certain types of cancer and eating both raw and cooked vegetables. Consumption of raw vegetables tended to be associated with decreased cancer risks somewhat more often than consumption of cooked vegetables.[31] On the other hand, a raw food diet is likely to impair the development of children and infants.[32]
  • Care is required in planning a raw vegan diet, especially for children.[33] Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Disease-Proof Your Child, says there may not be enough vitamin B12, enough vitamin D, and enough calories for a growing child on a totally raw vegan diet. Fuhrman fed his own four children raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, beans, and occasionally eggs.[34]
  • Food poisoning is a health risk for all people eating raw foods, and increased demand for raw foods is associated with greater incidence of foodborne illness,[35] especially for raw meat, fish, and shellfish.[36][37] Outbreaks of gastroenteritis among consumers of raw and undercooked animal products (including smoked, pickled or dried animal products[36]) are well-documented, and include raw meat,[36][38][39] raw organ meat,[38] raw fish (whether ocean-going or freshwater),[36][37][39] shellfish,[40] raw milk and products made from raw milk,[41][42][43] and raw eggs.[44]
  • In his book Health or Hoax, nutritionist Arnold E. Bender has written that “Many raw foods are toxic and only become safe after they have been cooked. Some raw foods contain substances that destroy vitamins, interfere with digestive enzymes or damage the walls of the intestine. Raw meat can be contaminated with bacteria which would be destroyed by cooking; raw fish can contain substances that interfere with vitamin B1 (anti-thiaminases)”[45]
  • A close-up of a raw food dish
  • Cooking and global warming Edit
  • It has also been pointed out that cooking food, directly or indirectly, requires energy and may thus release gases associated with global warming.[46] Raw diets mitigate the use of non-renewable resources, which results in raw diets being less environmentally deleterious than cooked food diets in this respect.
  • Role of cooking in human evolution Edit
  • Richard Wrangham, professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University,[47] proposes that cooked food played a pivotal role in human evolution. Evidence of a cooked diet, according to Wrangham, can be seen as far back as 1.8 million years ago in the anatomical adaptations of Homo erectus. Reduction in the size of teeth and jaw in H. erectus indicate a softer diet, requiring less chewing time. This combined with a smaller gut and larger brain indicate to Wrangham that H. erectus was eating a higher quality diet than its predecessors.[48] To explain a decreased gut providing the amount of energy required for an increased brain size, Wrangham links his research on the digestive effects of cooked versus raw foods with the lower reproductive abilities of female raw foodists, and BMI in both sexes, to support his hypothesis that cooked starches provided the energy necessary to fuel evolution from H. erectus to H. sapiens.[49]
  • Theories opposed to Wrangham’s include that of Leslie Aiello, professor of biological anthropology at University College London, and physiologist Peter Wheeler. Aiello and Wheeler believe it was soft animal foods, including bone marrow and brains, which contributed to humans developing the characteristics Wrangham attributes to cooked foods.[50] Further, archaeological evidence suggests that cooking fires began in earnest only around 250 kya, when ancient hearths, earth ovens, burnt animal bones, and flint appear regularly across Europe and the Middle East. Two million years ago, the only sign of fire is burnt earth with human remains, which many anthropologists consider coincidence rather than evidence of intentional fire.[51] Many anthropologists believe the increases in human brain-size occurred well before the advent of cooking, due to a shift away from the consumption of nuts and berries to the consumption of raw meat.[52][53][54]
  • Water and Tea… Water and tea contain carotenoids and flavonoids that aid blood circulation and the delivery of nutrients…which improves the condition of your skin, hair and nails. Red wine, hot cocoa, and dark chocolate also contain flavonoids.
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