Let’s figure out what a raw food diet is, what benefits can be derived from it and how to do it.
What is raw foods?
The purpose of eating raw foods is to get more nutrients in an easily digestible form that is naturally suitable for our bodies. Although it is not necessary to follow a completely raw diet and be called a “raw vegan”, it is important to eat raw fruits and vegetables every day.
The raw food diet as a culture has been around since the 1880s. Research shows the following benefits of this lifestyle:
– Reduce inflammation – Improve digestion – Get more dietary fiber – Improve heart health – Improve liver function – Prevent cancer – Prevent or treat constipation – Get more energy – Clear skin – Prevent nutritional deficiencies – Reduce anti-nutrients and carcinogens in the diet – Maintaining a healthy weight
How much raw food does it take to consider yourself a raw foodist? There is more than one type of raw food diet that one can aspire to. It all depends on which one you choose. Some types of food include eating raw fish, seafood, fermented foods, sprouted grains, nuts, eggs, and even some meats and dairy products.
All types of raw food are connected by the fact that the foods consumed should not be pasteurized, homogenized or produced using synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers and food additives, industrial solvents. This means you are avoiding or at least significantly reducing most of the popular packaged and processed foods from the store.
If you’re skeptical about a raw food diet and worried that you won’t be able to eat only raw foods, remember to take small steps. There is no need to switch to a new type of food “from tomorrow”. Research shows that the faster you switch to a new type of diet, the more you think of it as just a diet. And most likely, you will quickly break loose and add weight after that. In addition, a slow increase in the amount of fiber in the diet will not cause digestive problems.
Who is raw food suitable for?
Absolutely everyone. You might think otherwise, but cooked foods are harder for the body to digest than raw foods, and some cooking methods tend to destabilize some valuable enzymes and destroy antioxidants and vitamins. Raw foods also help alkalize the body, reduce acidity, and are less likely to ferment in the gut and cause inflammation and autoimmune reactions. This applies to all of us, but especially to people suffering from diseases such as:
– Cancer – Heart disease – High blood pressure and high cholesterol – Osteoporosis – Kidney disease – Gallstones and gallbladder disease – Parkinson’s disease – Autoimmune disorders – Food allergies – Fatigue – Joint pain – Muscle pain – Headaches – PMS – Hormonal imbalance – overweight and obesity
Let’s first understand what happens to enzymes in cooked foods.
There is a lot of controversy on this topic, but many experts believe that foods heated to around 44°C retain less vital enzymes. Digestive enzymes are used by the body to break down foods into smaller, more workable nutritional units. This point should not be overlooked, because it is not only the amount of nutrients that food has to offer, but also how we are able to absorb these nutrients.
The pancreas and other cells produce digestive enzymes (endogenous enzymes), while raw foods provide other enzymes (exogenous enzymes). The more exogenous enzymes we consume, the easier it is for us to fully digest nutrients without overburdening our digestive system.
Many foods high in antioxidants are sensitive to cooking because the phytonutrients cannot withstand high temperatures. Inside the products, chemical compounds begin to change, enzymes are lost, and food becomes less useful.
Another reason to consume raw foods is that they easily pass through our digestive systems. The longer food sits in our intestinal tracts, the more likely it is to ferment and cause problems such as heartburn, gas and toxic waste. During fermentation in the intestines, proteins rot and fats become rancid, which negatively affects the intestinal mucosa and can lead to intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome).
Finally, raw food has a big impact on the acid-base balance in the body. When acidity is increased, it is easier for diseases to develop in the body, because acidosis reduces immunity. The body can become overly acidic due to environmental pollution, stress, processed foods, nutrient deficiencies, and mineral-deficient water. Cooked foods create even more acidity in the body, while raw foods neutralize the acid and help alkalize the body.
Raw vs Vegan: What’s the difference?
Raw food and raw veganism have one common principle – the consumption of raw food in order to approximate the natural consumption of products. Some types of raw food diet include eating raw fish, dairy products, meat and eggs, and even some cooked foods. There is no ideal percentage of cooked and raw foods that you should try to consume.
Raw vegans do not consume any animal products and eat very little processed food, which can be very challenging for many people. The reason it’s not recommended to go completely raw vegan is that if you’re struggling with low energy, fatigue, underweight, infertility, depression or neurological problems, muscle loss, or weak bones, you’ll find it hard to recover from a raw vegetarian or vegan diet. diet.
How to eat more raw foods?
It’s all about balance. You are more likely to feel better when you eat a lot of raw foods in addition to lightly cooked ones.
It is recommended to include in your diet foods such as:
– Greens – Citrus fruits – Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds – Avocados – Coconut “kefir” or regular natural kefir – Raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, etc. – Natural yogurt – Coconut or olive oil – Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi) – Watermelon and melon
To keep the power flowing in the right direction, try following these steps:
At every meal, fill half your plate with fresh, non-starchy vegetables.
Cook food “lightly”, at a temperature not exceeding 40°C, using steaming, sprouting, cooking on low heat. Remember that you can individualize your diet and choose what is right for you. As a general rule, a raw food diet should eat about 75-80% of plant foods that are not heated above 40°C. But you can choose the amount for yourself.
Replace bad fats with good ones. Switch to unrefined olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.
Replace sugary snacks and refined grains. Eliminate white rice, white pasta, bread, pizza, sweet sauces and condiments, soups, crackers, canned food, sugary drinks, and yogurt. Instead, eat sprouted grains (beans, bread, and sourdough products) in moderation. Eat fresh fruits for sweets.
Thus, you will begin to consume a lot of “superfoods”. In addition, you will be able to eat a lot more food, since raw foods weigh more, but they have significantly fewer calories.
The benefits of fermented foods in a raw food diet
Fermented food has been a staple in almost every civilization on earth. Raw foods naturally develop probiotics when exposed to oxygen. For many thousands of years, mankind has consumed kefir, sourdough, kombucha, sauerkraut and kvass. Probiotics, supplied by fermented foods, are the “good bacteria” that reside in our gut and are responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system. They help us refill our gut with beneficial microbiota once the process of clearing out toxins and waste has begun. Probiotic foods stimulate a healthy microbiome, are great for the digestive system, improve immunity, help clear skin, and are even helpful for maintaining hormonal balance and a healthy weight. Whether you eat a raw diet or not, you can use more fermented foods in your diet to help prevent digestive disorders, skin problems, candidiasis, autoimmune disease, and infections.
Are there any contraindications to a raw food diet?
Some vegetables, like those found in the cruciferous vegetable family (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts), contain compounds that in excess can block thyroid function and promote hypothyroidism, but these are deactivated by heat. Some studies have also shown that peppers and mushrooms become more nutrient-dense when cooked.
Are there people who don’t like the raw diet? Yes. Keep this in mind: while incorporating more raw foods into your diet has many benefits, a complete raw food diet doesn’t work as well for people with certain gut types. Raw fruits and vegetables are difficult to digest for some people lacking certain enzymes or digestive capabilities.
If you have a sensitive digestive system, frequent inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis, the best option is to stop at cooking. If we are unable to digest vitamins and minerals from food, we risk nutritional deficiencies and other diseases. This can happen if our body is unable to break down the fibrous walls of plant cells to get stored nutrients, so cooking at low to medium temperatures can help in some cases.