A lot of people get easily drawn to fad diets. People want to try out the newest and hottest and most popular diet that’s making its rounds. Many expect instant results, but that’s not usually the case. When slimming down is not immediate, they quickly abandon the program and search for another diet, one that preferably promises instant results.
How the Raw Food Diet Can Affect You Positively and Negatively
One of the diets that has been known to be quite effective in losing weight is the raw food diet. It also goes by the name of raw foodism, and it’s about eating unprocessed and uncooked foods. This ensures that you get all the nutrients the foods offer, without the harmful additives.
In other words, according to the website Fully Raw, a raw food diet is composed of “fresh, whole, unrefined, living plant-based foods: fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, which are consumed in their natural state, without cooking or steaming.” You can also consume fish, eggs, raw meat, and raw dairy products.
The raw food diet came about in the late 1800s when a doctor named Maximilian Bircher-Benner discovered that eating raw apples cured his jaundice. From there he went on and experimented on the effects of eating raw food on human health, and thus the raw food diet was born.
To make it a little easy on you, here are the type of foods that you can eat on the raw food diet:
• Fresh fruits
• Fresh vegetables
• Raw nuts and seeds
• Raw grains and legumes
• Dried fruits
• Nut milks
• Raw nut butters
• Cold-pressed olive and coconut oils
• Fermented food
• Raw eggs or dairy
• Raw meat or fish
On the other hand, here are the foods that you should avoid in the raw food diet:
• Cooked fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats
• Baked items
• Roasted nuts and seeds
• Refined oils
• Table salt
• Refined sugars and flour
• Pasteurized juices and dairy
• Coffee and tea
• Processed foods and snacks
Transitioning from your regular diet to a raw food diet can be hard. Because your taste buds are accustomed to tasting all those spices, salt, and sugar, there’s no doubt you’ll miss those flavors when they are eliminated from your diet. However, in a matter of time, your taste buds will once again develop a love and an appreciation for the taste of fruits and vegetables.
So what can you get out of the raw food diet? Plenty of its followers swear that their lives have greatly improved and that they feel so much better. Here are some of the benefits that a raw food diet can offer.
1. Better digestion
2. Eliminates constipation
3. Improved cardiovascular health
4. Lower inflammation, which can lead to different diseases
5. Cancer prevention
6. More energy for the body
7. Improved skin conditions
8. Maintenance of a healthy body weight
9. Prevention of nutrient deficiency
10. Improves liver function
11. Prevents osteoporosis
12. Repels autoimmune disorders
13. Relieves muscle aches and pains
14. Soothes PMS
15. Helps with hormonal imbalance
Of course, as with everything in this life, there will always be some negative side effects or disadvantages. With regard to the raw food diet, here are some things to watch out for:
1. There is a higher risk in exposing yourself to bacteria and viruses in contaminated food. Properly cooking and processing food actually get rid of these harmful bacteria. Raw food may actually lead to food poisoning.
2. Some nutrients in several food only come out when they are cooked. Take the tomato, for example. When cooked, that’s when the lycopene and other healthy carotenoids come out.
3. Not all foods contain the necessary vitamins and minerals one needs. Followers of the raw food diet may miss out on essential nutrients like iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamins B12 and D. That means they need to take supplements to make sure they meet the daily recommended dosage of these nutrients.
4. Going on this diet can also be inconvenient. You have to make sure to purchase your food from organic and raw food grocery stores to ensure you’re getting quality produce. And going out with friends will be a big problem. Raw dishes are quite uncommon in many restaurants. Meal preparations will eat up much time as well, especially if it involves blending, juicing, dehydrating, and fermenting.
5. The raw food diet is definitely not for everyone. If you have a sensitive digestive system or if you are enzyme deficient, then this diet is not for you. Raw fruits and vegetables can be harder to digest, so people who lack necessary enzymes or digestive capabilities will find this diet difficult to follow.
6. There are plenty of plants that can be toxic, most especially when eaten raw. For example, parsnips have furanocoumarin, which is a chemical produced by plants as a defense mechanism against predators. This chemical is toxic. The greens in buckwheat are toxic when consumed raw, and if buckwheat is eaten in large amounts or juiced, they can be toxic to people with fair skin. Also, buckwheat contains fagopyrin, which can trigger photosensitivity and other skin problems. Other raw foods to watch out for are kidney beans, apricot kernels, cassava, alfalfa sprouts, and pea seeds.
Now I know all those pros and cons have got your head spinning. Should you go ahead and try out the raw food diet? Keep in mind that since this diet is quite extreme, it falls more as a lifestyle choice rather than a temporary program. It requires much dedication, focus, planning, food knowledge, will power, time, and money. But whatever decision you make, make sure you’re doing it to benefit you and no one else.
Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.