Many men and women have heard about the benefits of the raw food diet, but they’re unsure of exactly how they could incorporate it into their own lives.
When you first look into getting on the raw food diet, it’s generally because you feel sluggish or like something in your body is “off.” We’re tired, overweight, stressed and making sure we get the proper nutrition can prove to be challenging.
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
I am sure you have every good intention in the world of eating healthy when you put various fruits and vegetables into your shopping trolley, believing that they will give you the vitamins and minerals your body needs. But the way you prepare this food is actually destroying most of those benefits you just put in your shopping trolley! Vitamins like C, which boost your immune system and B, which give you energy, are pummeled during the cooking process.
Fruits and vegetables in general can be quite filling, but they’re even better in satiating your hunger when eaten raw. A side benefit of a raw food diet is that it can also help you lose weight. You can have an unlimited amount and it will contribute to your fibre intake while helping you achieve a better fat flush.
Another benefit of the raw food diet is increased amounts of energy. Most raw food followers will choose to include an array of foods into their diet – aiming to consume every color of the rainbow. This can maximize their exposure to vitamins and minerals that reverse their deficiencies and get them back to fatigue-fighting levels.
A much loved perk to eating raw foods is that is helps to stave off the aging process. Anytime we alter foods by cooking them for example, we destroy their natural benefits such as antioxidants and their anti-aging properties. You’ll notice that you have better skin and more vitality soon after you begin the raw food regimen.
Is there a Downside to Pursuing a Raw Food Diet?
A true raw food diet isn’t just a vegetarian diet with vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains. It includes the process of eating uncooked meat & fish as well as milk, eggs and other dairy products.
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 at times pose more harm than good.
Before you commence your raw food diet you should always check with a medical professional to see if it would help or hurt you. There are certain tips you need to know about consuming each raw food, too. For example many raw foodies will remove the “eyes” of a potato because the eyes have a toxin in them that can make you sick.
A raw food diet is not for everyone however many people will experience a great improvement in their health and energy. Be sure to shop for fresh ingredients from a reliable source. Local markets generally provide a great source of fresh fruits and vegetables along with many other tasty and unusual foods.
Not All Raw Foods Are Created Equally
There’s raw food that’s picked 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 chemicals such as pesticides or added preservatives so they stay fresher looking for longer on the supermarket shelves.
The absolute best way you can ensure that you’re eating the healthiest raw foods is to grow your own, raise your own meat and gather your own dairy. But we all know 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:
- Pasteurized food
- Steamed foods
- Canned foods
- Smoked 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 Foodie
Before you get started on your raw food adventure, it is best to have a plan in place. You can begin by recognizing what your current food habits are. Do you already consume any raw foods?
How about salads? These are often already included in your diet to some degree. Salads are a good start toward a raw food future as there are many different combinations you can create based on your taste. 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.
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 worried about going back to your old ways, then consider gradually immersing yourself into this lifestyle. This way it won’t be so much of a shock to your lifestyle or appetite.
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 will need to put a bit more thought into your shopping list. Just because you’re now pursuing raw foods, it doesn’t mean you have to find all new places to shop.
Nowadays supermarkets carry many organic fruits and vegetables. 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 are 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 if you want a good meat source. Other items you might look for are things like raw milk and honey which you may also find at 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 is 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.
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 a juicing machine. There are many different blends you can create that are quick and easy to prepare and taste yummy!
Or, you might prefer a blender to whip up a meal replacement shake that you’ve prepared from raw foods. You can make salsas, hummus, and many other healthy 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.
Eating Out on a Raw Food Diet?
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, like anything, 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 may never be cooking again!