Many men and women have heard about the benefits of the raw food diet, but they’re unsure what it is exactly, and how they could incorporate it into their own lives.
When you first look into getting on the raw food diet, it’s because you feel sluggish or like something in your body is “off.” We’re tired, overweight, stressed and unable to make sure we get the proper nutrition.
A raw food diet doesn’t always mean you’re a vegetarian. Many raw food followers eat meats and dairy products without cooking them first. This is a personal preference you’ll have to make.
Benefits of Following a Raw Food Diet
You might have every good intention in the world of eating healthy – you shop for vegetables and fruits, thinking you’re making sure that you get all the right vitamins and minerals.
But the way you prepare the foods actually destroys most of those benefits you just put in your grocery cart! Vitamins like C, which boost your immune system and B, which give you energy, are pummeled during the cooking process.
A raw food diet can help you lose weight. Fruits and vegetables in general will be filling to you, but they’re even better in satiating your hunger when eaten raw as opposed to cooked. You can have an unlimited amount and it will contribute to your fiber intake, helping you achieve a better fat flush.
Gaining energy is another benefit of the raw food diet. Most raw food followers will choose an array of foods to implement into their diet – every color of the rainbow, maximizing their exposure to vitamins and minerals that reverse their deficiencies and get them back to fatigue-fighting levels.
Staving off the aging process is another perk to eat in the raw. Anytime we alter foods, we destroy their natural benefits. One of those common benefits is antioxidants and anti aging rewards for eating healthy. You’ll notice that you have better skin and more vitality soon after you begin the regimen.
Is There a Danger of Pursuing the Raw Food Diet?
A true raw food diet isn’t just a vegetarian diet with fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. It includes the process of eating uncooked meat, fish, milk (and other dairy), and eggs.
This is often not a problem for many individuals, but for people who have medical issues (such as a compromised immune system) or who are pregnant, a raw food diet may pose more harm than good.
Always check with a medical professional to see if a raw food diet would help or hurt you. You certainly don’t want to be pursuing health benefits and end up worsening a pre-existing condition.
There are certain tips you need to know about consuming each raw food, too. For example, raw foodies will remove the “eyes” of a potato before eating it raw because the eyes have a toxin in them that can sicken you.
Will everyone be in danger on the raw food diet? Of course not! Many people will experience a great improvement in their health and energy. Of course, there are things you have to do to ensure your health – like shopping for fresh ingredients from a reliable source.
Not All Raw Foods Are Created Equally
There’s raw food that’s pulled right out of your organic garden and put into your mouth after being washed. Then there’s raw food that’s been grown by others using pesticides, irradiated, or had preservatives added to them so they stay fresher looking on grocery store shelves.
The absolute best way you can ensure that you’re eating the healthiest raw foods ever is to grow your own harvest, raise your own meat and gather your own dairy.
But not everyone’s able to do that. Some people need to buy their foods from others, so you have to maintain quality as much as possible. For example, instead of buying from a local grocery store, find a local farmer’s market where the harvest comes from nearby instead of having to be frozen or processed in some way to make it last longer.
Some people get confused about:
- Canned foods
- Smoked foods
- Pasteurized foods
- Steamed foods
Those are all considered cooked or processed in some way – they’re not embraced by the raw food community as untouched foods.
First Steps to Becoming a Raw Food Follower
Before you get started on your raw food adventure, you’ll want to have a plan in place. You’ll begin by recognizing what your current food habits are. Do you already consume any raw foods?
How about salads? Some salads have had preservatives or pesticides added in, but eating salads is a good start toward a raw food future, even if it’s imperfect. Do you eat sushi?
Many people think sushi is raw food, but it’s often not. Not fully, anyway. The rice is cooked in it – and sometimes the fish is partially cooked to some degree, so it may not be wholly raw.
It’s good to see what kind of habits you already have that you can salvage whenever you make the switch to a raw food meal plan. You don’t want to be miserable without your favorite foods, so you have to start planning to turn non raw foods into raw versions.
For example, if you love salsa, but you’re used to buying it in a jar, you can still have it – you just have to learn how to make it from scratch using fresh, raw foods!
Plan your switch carefully. If you are serious about making this change, but you worry about going back to your old ways, then consider gradually immersing yourself into this lifestyle.
You can replace a meal each day, or have a day of the week dedicated to raw foods at first. Then as you go, add more raw food meals to your weekly plan until that’s all you’re eating.
Another way some raw foodies do it is to start by dividing up their plate at each mealtime with raw and cooked portions of foods. It’s kind of like those diet plates where you see carbs, proteins, and fats for example.
In this case, you might make sure that ½ of your plate has raw foods on it, and the other half can be cooked foods that you’re use to. Over time, increase that amount to ¾ until your whole plate is filled with raw goodies.
What You Should Be Shopping For
As you start increasing your meal plan from cooked to raw foods, you want to turn yourself into a very careful shopper. Just because you’re now pursuing raw foods, it doesn’t mean you have to find all new places to shop.
Stores carry many organic fruits and vegetables now. Yes, they tend to be more expensive, but if money is truly an issue, then it might be best for you to grow your harvest and save a lot of money!
Anything you buy, by law, has to be labeled if it’s considered raw, such as beans or peas. So make sure you start shopping with an attention to the packaging and what it says on it.
Once you venture out around town and find a farmer’s market you can buy from, you’ll encounter a world of raw food goodness. Some areas have farmer’s markets that are open daily, while other have weekend only markets.
You’ll typically only be able to find fresh fruits and vegetables, but there are some that have fresh meats and a butcher shop available, so you may be able to find that if you want a good meat source.
There are also “pick your own” farms in some areas. These are farmed lands where the consumer is given a basket or bucket and pays for whatever produce they themselves pick from the fields.
Another couple of places to look for things like raw milk and honey would be an Amish store (if you have one nearby) or a health food store that specializes in carrying such items.
Don’t forget about the Internet, too. You can order a wide array of raw foods online – just make sure you do your research to find out what’s a reputable source.
Fortifying Your Kitchen With Raw Food Friendly Technology
Did you know that raw food can sometimes be heated up a bit? It the severity of the temperature that causes it to be considered cooked. You can slightly warm soups, for example, but in order to maintain the nutrients, you’ll need a kitchen thermometer.
What else might you need in terms of technology if you’re on a raw food diet? Well a juicer is a favorite tool for many raw foodies. They love to get all of their vitamins and minerals from fresh fruits and vegetables that have been run through the juicing machines.
Or, you might prefer a blender to whip up a meal replacement shake that you’ve prepared form raw foods. You can make salsas, hummus, and many other yummy foods using a blender.
Many raw foodies invest in a dehydration machine. This way they can enjoy the great tasting fruits and vegetables as snacks without having to worry that their produce will go bad too quickly.
How Do You Eat Out as a Raw Food Follower?
It can be hard to find a raw food restaurant in your neck of the woods. Not only that, but everyone in your dinner party may not be following the same regimen – so you have to learn to adapt to other places.
You’ll find it virtually impossible to find a restaurant that will serve raw dairy products or meats. They usually have minimum heat requirements that they have to cook food at before it’s served.
Some might be willing to sear certain meats for you, which are still considered raw, since they don’t reach certain heat extremes. You might be stuck with a simple salad and fruit plate, though – if they’re not equipped to ensure safely seared meats.
The Road to Raw Food Eating Gets Easier
This is a lifestyle change that everyone chooses for a different reason. Some people want to feel energetic, others want to lose weight. Some are concerned about the health impact of eating foods that are not in their purest form.
Initially, when you’re making the transition from not even knowing what goes into your food to researching the processing of your foods, it can seem daunting. But once you learn something, it gets easier.
Every little nugget of information that you gain as you pursue a raw food regimen gives you power to be in control of what goes into your body.
As you eat more and more raw foods, you’ll start to notice changes. You might sleep better, have more energy during the day, or see subtle changes like your skin glowing thanks to the influx of nutrient-rich sources.
You will never have eaten like this before, so your body will be thirsty for the nutrition it’s now able to absorb. Being a raw food enthusiast doesn’t have to be a burden – just take it slow and make changes that you can live with and before you know it, you’ll never be cooking again!