Raw Food Diets
A raw food diet can be called a few different names, including raw foodism and rawism. The foundation of a raw food diet is that plant foods are consumed in their natural state – uncooked and unprocessed. The premise is that this is the most wholesome food for the body.
Types of Raw Food Diets
A raw food diet is considered a lifestyle choice and not a diet taken on to lose weight or control diseases. A raw food diet is not advised for infants and children. Choosing a raw food diet is not an easy task and careful consideration needs to be taken. The diet is made up of approximately 75% fruits and vegetables so people on raw food diets spend a considerable amount of time dehydrating, chopping, peeling, straining and blending. It is believed by raw foodists that cooking vegetables kills important nutrients and therefore cooking food is not allowed.
Typical raw food ingredients include: sprouts, whole grains, beans, dried fruits, seaweed and nuts. Raw, cruciferous vegetables are also consumed including cabbage, broccoli and kale. For obvious reasons all alcohol, refined sugars and caffeine are to be avoided. Other foods that are avoided include all animal products, although some raw eggs and cheeses may be consumed but in moderation. In general, a raw food diet tends to be rich in nutrients and fiber while being low in both fat and sugars.
Health Factors of Raw Food Diets
The views on whether a raw food diet is healthy are mixed. Depending on whether careful consideration has been made, a raw food diet may be healthy or may lead to severe undernourishment. Medical research typically focuses on a plant-based diet like veganism and vegetarianism but not on raw foodism. The verdict has not been made as to whether raw or cooked plant-based foods are healthier for the body.
Raw foodists claim that a diet of uncooked and unprocessed plant foods has the benefits of higher energy, a leaner body, clearer skin and a reduction in the risk of diseases such as cancers. Some of these cancers include laryngeal, esophageal, gastric, pharyngeal and oral. Often a raw food diet lacks certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and calcium. This is not surprising as most of these nutrients are found in animal products. With the deficiency of these vital nutrients, the raw food diet can become very unhealthy. It is suggested that raw foodists consume approximately double the amount of food that a non-raw foodist would normally consume to ensure malnourishment does not occur.
Costs Associated with Raw Food Diets
A raw food diet is typically higher in costs than other diets due to the price of food and the fast expiration of produce. It is important when on a raw food diet to ensure that you base out your food purchases on consumption for the week. Otherwise food that you have bought will simply go to waste because of the lack of preservatives. People on the raw food diet must also consume almost twice as much food to prevent becoming malnourished, which is another cost to consider. Raw food diets may require vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure that the body is meeting its requirements to be properly nourished which is another cost to consider.