With energy prices rising, is eating raw foods something to explore? Is it a healthy, sustainable diet?
I will give almost anything a go but as far as eating raw goes, so far, it’s only been a carrot and spinach ‘smoothie’ for me! Not exactly a raw food pioneer in the making, but I’m willing to explore it some more.
What Is the Raw Food Diet?
The raw food diet, often called raw ‘foodism’ or raw veganism, is composed mostly or completely of raw and unprocessed foods.
A food is considered raw if it has never been heated over 104–118°F (40–48°C). It should also not be refined, pasteurized, treated with pesticides or otherwise processed in any way.
Instead, the diet allows several alternative preparation methods, such as juicing, blending, dehydrating, soaking and sprouting.
Similar to veganism, the raw food diet is usually plant-based, being made up mostly of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
While most raw food diets are completely plant-based, some people also consume raw eggs and dairy. Less commonly, raw fish and meat may be included as well. Additionally, taking supplements is typically discouraged on the raw food diet. Proponents often claim that the diet will give you all the nutrients you need. Supporters also believe that cooking foods is harmful to human health because it destroys the natural enzymes in foods, reduces their nutrient content and reduces the ‘life force’ that they believe to exist in all raw or ‘living’ foods.
People follow the raw food diet for the benefits they believe it has, including weight loss, improved vitality, increased energy, improvement to chronic diseases, improved overall health and a reduced impact on the
However, whilst hailed as ‘healthy’ there are many experts that feel the diet is bad for our health.
What are the risks? Some foods are not safe to eat uncooked. The cooking process breaks down toxic chemicals in some food, and others carry a risk of food poisoning. According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), uncooked animal products are most likely to cause food poisoning, which is not surprising.
Apart from essential macronutrients, fruits and vegetables lack other important nutrients like calcium, zinc, and omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Since raw foods are high in fibre, such a diet might lead to a fibre overdose, perhaps causing gas or bloating.
Some vegetables are poisonous when eaten raw. Approach raw aubergine with caution as it contains solanine, the same toxin that makes raw potatoes problematic. ‘Young aubergine’ in particular, or aubergine harvested early in the plant’s life, contain the most of this toxin.
So, I think the message is to ‘be careful’ and always speak to a nutritionist before limiting your diet. I think I will stick with a crudité and dip!