Raw Food Diet – How to Eat More Raw Foods in a Balanced Way
A raw food diet is about eating all or mostly uncooked and unprocessed foods so you get all the nutrients avoiding the dangerous chemicals and additives.
Raw food diet is more like a lifestyle that promotes eating foods in their natural state and it doesn’t mean that you have to declare yourself a “raw vegan.”
In fact, raw foodism has been around since the 1800s, and both anecdotal evidence and studies reveal the benefits of a raw food diet:
- prevents cancer
- lowers inflammation
- improves heart health
- provides more dietary fiber
- improves digestion
- preventing or treating constipation
- helps with optimal liver function
- gives you more energy
- prevents nutrient deficiencies
- clears up your skin
- helps you maintain a healthy body weight
- lowers a number of carcinogens and antinutrients in your diet.
There’s no need to declare yourself a “raw vegan” or to go completely raw, and there are different variations of raw food diets so you don’t have to follow one single type of raw food diet.
Actually, consuming at least some raw fruits and vegetables every day is important for just about everyone.
If you want to go on a raw food diet you must know that in your diet you can include more than just fresh foods. In addition to raw vegetables and fruits, you might consume:
- fermented foods,
- raw dairy products,
- sea vegetables,
- sprouted grains,
- and even some meat.
Any kind of raw food diet, in general, avoids homogenized and pasteurized foods, or foods produced with the use of chemical fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, chemical food additives and industrial solvents.
This means that you’ll have to avoid most popular processed and packaged foods sold in the grocery store like processed meats, cheese, cereals, bottled condiments, refined oils, bread, and crackers.
It’s All About Balance
If you want to start with raw food diet here are some foods to start eating regularly:
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
- Raw veggies like carrots, peppers, celery, tomatoes, etc.
- Sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds
- Coconut kefir
- Raw yogurt
- Extra virgin olive or coconut oil
- Cultured veggies (like kimchi or sauerkraut)
- Cantaloupe and watermelon
Move Your Diet in the Right Direction
Try taking these steps below in order to incorporate more raw and anti-inflammatory foods into your diet:
Replace all refined grains and sugary snacks.
This includes all white bread, white pasta, white rice, cereal, pizza, sugary condiments/sauces, soups, fruit drinks, crackers, sweetened yogurt and canned foods. The fermentation process turns legumes and raw grains which are normally inedible, into the edible. So, have soaked/sprouted grain products. Also instead of sweetened snacks, eat real fruit for a sweet treat.
Replace bad fats with healthy, good fats.
Get rid of any trans fats, partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils, canola oil, soybean oil, and vegetable oils. Instead use good fats like cold-pressed coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts/seeds and grass-fed butter, which are essential to brain development, cancer prevention, lowering inflammation, hormone production, weight loss, and cellular healing.
Individualize Your Diet and Choose What Works Best For You.
Juicing, sprouting, steaming, lightly cooking food at temperatures less than 100 degrees, and using slow cookers are ways to prepare the food you aren’t eating raw. Typically about 75% to 80% of foods you eat should never be heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Have Quality Animal Products in Moderation.
This significantly lowers your exposure to hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, and pesticides in meats while supplying important fatty acids and nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, arachidonic acid, and conjugated linoleic acid.
Raw Food Diet And The Importance of Fermented Foods
Some of the healthiest things about eating a raw food diet are fermented foods. During the period when they undergo fermentation they naturally develop probiotics. The best fermented foods are kefir, yogurt, kombucha, sourdough bread, and cultured vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kvass.
Probiotics or “good bacteria” supplied by fermented foods are responsible for supporting your immune system and nutrient absorption. They are great for your digestive system, encourage a healthy microbiome, improve immunity, help you to maintain a healthy weight and hormonal balance and help clear up your skin.
Who Can Benefit from a Raw Food Diet?
Raw foods diet reduces acidity, helps alkalize the body, and doesn’t cause inflammation or autoimmune reactions. While this is good for all of us, some people can especially benefit from raw food diet including those with:
- autoimmune disorders
- high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- heart disease
- food allergies
- kidney disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- gallstones or gallbladder disease
- muscle aches and pains
- joint pain
- hormonal imbalance
- trouble with obesity/weight gain