Raw Diet

ImageIn the name of good health, they are going raw.

"They" are the followers of the raw diet, an eating plan based on unprocessed, organic whole plant-based foods that are eaten uncooked. Supporters of this way of life assert that raw and living foods contain essential food enzymes that are destroyed when cooked -- live food, live body; dead food, dead body. Raw food diets are used as a way of fasting and cleansing the body of toxins.

Individuals who buy into the idea of raw foodism promote a diet of uncooked, unprocessed and sometimes organic foods. Depending on which form of the diet you are indulging in, the peak temperature ranges between 92 and 116 degrees, but never any higher than that. The philosophy of individuals who swear by a raw diet is the more, the better. At least 75 percent of this organic, whole plant-based diet should be uncooked, according to most plans.

The greater percentage of raw foods consumed in the diet, the greater the health benefits. Some experts recommend getting started with 70 or 80 percent raw foods in the diet. Enjoy fruit and salad in the daytime. Yet at night, consume a cooked vegetable meal accompanied by a salad. This allows the body to adapt through a transition period.

These enzymes promote optimal digestion without needing the assistance of digestive enzymes produced by the body. Raw diet advocates also maintain that cooking foods destroys vitamins and minerals in foods. Since the diet is rich in nutrients, fiber and potassium and limited in sodium and saturated fat, it reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer.

ImageFood choices are limited to fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, legumes, seaweeds, unprocessed organic and natural foods, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juice, purified water and coconut milk. Followers have the option to prepare foods in a dehydrator, in a blender or in a juicer. Even a little bit of cooked food causes the stomach to produce acid, which leads to indigestion.

Raw food followers also believe that uncooked foods have a bacteria that stimulates the immune system and enhances digestion by populating the digestive tract with beneficial flora. Supposedly, wild foods, wild plants and edible weeds specifically, are among the best raw foods.

Benefits of a raw diet include more energy, more healthy skin, better digestion, weight loss, stable body mass index and lowered risk of heart disease. Some medical experts express concerns that people following a raw food diet may not be getting enough nutrients. Also, raw foods are high in pesticides. It is not recommended for children.