Raw Food Diet Revealed
The Raw Food Diet - What's It All About?
You may have come across the raw foods diet and wondered what it was. Sounds strange right?
When you get into it, it's actually not hard to understand. While there are a few different forms of this diet, the basic premise is that you eat all your foods raw, not cooked or heated over 114 degrees.
The reasoning behind this is that all natural foods have enzymes - and we destroy these enzymes when we cook them.
We need enzymes to digest the food we eat. So when we cook food, the enzymes in the food are destroyed. In order to digest the food, our body then has to draw enzymes from it's own stores to digest the food.
This taxes the body's stores of enzymes and also adds stress to the system - which eventually leads to sickness, extra weight, fatigue and general lack of health.
When food is eaten raw (or not heated above 114 degrees, which is when food enzymes start to die), the enzymes in the food are still intact. So our bodies don't need to draw from their stores and it's easier for our food to be digested and used.
This helps the body to work better, including letting go of excess weight, giving you more energy and repairing certain health issues you may have.
People on a raw food diet eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Some even eat raw grains (soaked) and even meats or raw dairy.
Since this diet is chock-full of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, raw food dieters are getting tons of healthy enzymes, minerals and vitamins - which also helps add to your health.
But it's not just about eating fruits and veggies. On a raw food diet you can make lots of 'real-food' recipes like pasta (from squash noodles), cookies (from almond flour and raisins), milk (from soaked nuts and a blender) and even cheesecake (using cashews, natural sweetener and strawberries!).
How The Diet Works:
Obviously this is a very healthy diet and people use it in various ways, from going on fruits and veggies for a few days as a 'detox' to adopting a full lifestyle of eating 75% - 100% of their food raw.
For the most part however, you'll be eating all of your food raw. That means fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, raw fats like coconut oil or avocado, etc.
This alone cuts a lot of fat (just be careful of the nuts!) and fills you up on fibre so you aren't as hungry. So the natural calorie defecit will help you lose weight.
Secondly, your body isn't getting weighed down trying to digest processed foods with lots of chemicals and additives. So your liver (which is your filtering organ and in charge of fat burning) has more time and energy to devote to fat burning.
Also, many people find they have more energy on a raw food diet so they can exercise more and are more active, which again burns extra calories.
How Does It Rate?
Is It Fast?
It really depends on which approach you take. You can do everything from a few days of juicing to a month of 100% raw foods to a lifestyle of 75 - 80% raw foods.
However, if you do it right, weight loss can be very fast on the raw food diet - including stubborn weight that people have not been able to lose in years.
Is It Easy To Follow?
It can be simple (eating fruits for a few days is very simple), but that doesn't mean it's easy.
Depending on which approach you choose, the first few days can be difficult as you deal with hunger and cravings for processed and/or cooked foods.
Plus if you decide to adopt this diet for more than a few days, you'll probably want to educate yourself on how to make more complicated dishes like raw pasta, cookies, burgers, etc.
Is It Safe?
Again, this depends on your approach. Eating nothing but fruit, juices or veggies for more than a few days can cause problems. You need to make sure you're eating enough protein, iron and B12 (which we usually get from meat and dairy sources).
There is the potential to get out of balance here and develop health problems if the diet is not done right. Your body will also naturally go into a 'detox' when you start this diet and if not done properly, it can end up making you feel awful.
If you educate yourself beforehand however you can often avoid many of the pitfalls associated with a raw food detox.
If you adopt this as a lifestyle make sure you talk to your doctor and have him or her monitor things like your iron levels and B12. Also, make sure you're getting enough protein.
And listen to your body. If it starts to feel rundown or you start to have weird cravings (like for protein), it may be a sign that your body needs something more.
Does It Permit 'Treats'?
Yes - there are lots of raw food treats you can learn to make on this diet. However keep in mind if they are nut-based, the calories do add up and you can sabotage weight loss.
Is There Support?
Again, this depends on what approach you're taking. There are great resources online like Eating For Energy which gives you recipes and helps you know what to expect and avoid potential pitfalls .
Final Grade: C+
The raw food diet can be a very healthy diet if you follow it properly and take some precautions.
It can also help you lose weight quickly and give your body a break from processed foods even if you do it for a few days.
However it's not the easiest diet or lifestyle to follow. And you can get into trouble if you don't monitor things like protein, iron and Vitamin B12.
Where To Find More Information:
You can read more about how to lose weight and do the raw food diet properly at Eating For Energy
You can also learn about how to do a 14 day raw food cleanse to lose weight here
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