By Kenny Parker
As our understanding of nutrition and exercise continues to grow, so do the amount of fad diets and diet trends that get attention. The one that has most caught my eye lately has been the amount of people trying to eat an all raw food diet. The basic concept for the raw food diet is very self-explanatory: you simply do not eat anything that has been or needs to be cooked. Due to the nature of having to eat things in their raw state, sometimes around 80% ends up being fruit and vegetables. This is generally associated with being vegan due to the lack of animal products, but, as it will be discussed, it does not necessarily need to be.
As explained by U.S. News, at their site http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/raw-food-diet,
“Raw foodism traces back to the late 1800s, when Maximilian Bircher-Benner, a doctor, discovered he could cure his own jaundice by eating raw apples. Thus began a series of experiments testing the effects of raw food on human health, and the diet has continued to evolve. Raw food hasn’t been cooked, processed, microwaved, irradiated, genetically engineered, or exposed to pesticides or herbicides. It includes fresh fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and herbs in their whole, natural state.”
With the evolution of time and knowledge a few individuals have come around lately to advocate how the raw food diet has become their lifestyle of preference. The main spokesperson for the raw food diet would have to be Dr. Doug Graham, who developed an 80/10/10 diet, referring to the 80% carbohydrate, 10% protein, and 10% fat ratios within the constraints of the diet. Even with a high fruit content, this diet is still considered to be a low-calorie diet to help one lose weight and get a raw, “healthy glow” for their skin and hair. The second largest spokesperson at the moment is Kristina Carrillo. She set up a food co-op in Texas and uploads nutrition YouTube videos to advocate her cause while giving tips and tricks for following the diet. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find many of her videos and recipes at http://fullyraw.com/be-fully-raw/videos.
Now let’s discuss the topic of the raw diet not having to be vegan or vegetarian. There are certain foods, such as steak tartar ad sushi, that are considered raw foods as long as there isn’t any rice in the sushi. In general, however, these foods are avoided and protein sources come from things like nuts, naturally crushed nut butters, and seeds. There are options to making a raw food diet fit your preferences, if so desired.
Many foods are prepared to be either dried, made into smoothies, or served as cold soups, so there will still be prep time involved in switching to the diet, and can be expensive not only for the fresh fruit and veggies, but also for the equipment to make everything. The diet is notorious for being hard to follow, and has been discredited some for that very reason. In researching testimonials for the raw diet, it seems that the people who do get past the difficult nature of the diet absolutely love and embrace it. Being that this diet is still new and being explored, it is hard to say whether it is very healthy or unhealthy. If you are interested, definitely research the diet (and any diet) before making the official change. The key for anyone to remember is that the “diets” that work are the ones that truly become a lifestyle. If this sounds like your type of diet, then try it out! You can find more information at http://foodnsport.com/ and http://rawfoodrehab.ning.com.
-Live healthy and strong