There are different variations of the plant-based diet. You can, for example, follow a diet that consists of a lot of mock meats and dairy products like Impossible, Beyond, Gardein, Sweet Earth, Lightlife, Field Roast, Daiya, Violife, Silk, etc. The list goes on and on! Alternatively, you can use natural ingredients, such as tempeh, tofu, and seitan, to recreate your favorite traditional recipes. Or, you can follow a whole-food plant-based diet that is primarily focused on using fresh ingredients, like veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and beans. And, when you are aiming to eliminate as much processed and packaged foods as possible, there is a raw diet that you can follow as well.
What is the raw diet all about? Check out the information below to learn more about it. You might decide to follow this diet 100% of the time, or you can instead incorporate various raw recipes into your meal plans on a regular basis in order to reap the benefits.
Raw Diet: A Plant-Based Approach
The fundamental belief behind the raw food diet or rawism, is that plants are most wholesome for the human body when they are in their natural state, not cooked, microwaved, genetically engineered, or processed.
It is more of a lifestyle, like veganism and vegetarianism than a weight loss plan, but people who begin a raw food diet have a tendency to lose weight. Most of the food that is consumed on a raw food diet includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs.
Most importantly, these foods are consumed in their raw state and never heated above 115 degrees. Raw foodists don’t use microwaves or ovens to heat their food to prevent increased toxins, but they do use a dehydrator. Their belief is that by adding direct heat, the majority of the nutrients are drawn out of foods specifically immune boosting nutrients and vitamins.
Raw Diet Variations
There are many variations of the raw food diet and very few people follow a true raw diet. The majority of the food consumed on a raw food diet will come from a plant, and there are many options available that are considered raw when prepared appropriately. Some of these foods include:
- Almond butter
- Dried legumes
- Mung beans
- Coconut oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Vegetable juice
- Herbal teas
Lose Weight and Get Plenty of Nutrients with the Help of This Eating Plan
People participating in a raw food diet generally consume 50% fewer calories per day than those who eat cooked food. This means that you can feel full and satisfied through the consumption of foods that are high in fiber and nutrients, and you can work your way towards a slimmer physique with greater ease.
This diet also has cardiovascular benefits like lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and heart disease. And, a raw food diet can also be high in protein and contain important nutrients like fiber and potassium.
Another advantage of sticking to a raw food diet is that some of the foods are relatively easy to prepare since there is no cooking involved. The majority of preparation time consists of peeling vegetables and soaking beans to increase absorption by the body.
A Few Things to Consider Before Diving In
There are some health risks for people partaking in a raw food diet that have been identified by research. Some of these concerns include nutrient deficiencies, such as calcium, B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D, so eating a varied diet that consists of a wide range of ingredients, and taking supplements whenever necessary is a step in the right direction. Not sure if you’re deficient in any key nutrients? Talk to your doctor, as a simple blood test can reveal your levels. Many people, for example, are deficient in vitamin D, regardless of the diet they follow, but they don’t realize it until they get a blood test.
Be careful about the foods that you choose to incorporate into your raw diet. It’s best to stick with plants, as there is a potential for food poisoning, since there is no heat added to kill bacteria, when consuming raw meat, raw fish, shellfish, and raw milk and eggs. These are consistently responsible for causing outbreaks of gastroenteritis.
However, not only can animal products carry bacteria, but raw plant foods have also been known to contain deadly microorganisms, often because they become contaminated at some point between farm and table. Washing your produce thoroughly is an important step to help prevent problems.
Need Advice? Talk to Your Doctor
Following a raw diet can provide a lot of benefits, but it isn’t for everyone, and there are pros and cons to consider. If you are thinking about beginning a raw food diet be sure to consult your physician to discuss your meal plan and obtain recommendations for supplements if necessary.