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Should You Try a Raw Food Diet?

You’ve watched the documentaries, listened to the interviews, and read the articles, but you’re still not convinced about the raw food movement.

Going raw means cutting out dairy, meat, and cooking — three things that have become habitual in a modern person’s diet and routine. The trick to going raw and staying raw is to know which fresh foods you adore and to make sure they are always on hand.

Enjoying a raw food diet requires creativity in the kitchen and an openness to experiment with new flavors. This will ensure you aren’t eating a plate of raw carrots for dinner.

Why Go Raw?

The idea behind the raw food diet is eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked foods in an attempt to provide your body with the nutrients it needs without the dangerous additives commonly found in food today.

And you may be surprised to hear that cooked foods can be harder to digest than raw foods. Plus, cooking nutrient-dense foods tends to destabilize some of their valuable enzymes and destroy certain antioxidants and vitamins. Raw foods also help alkalize the body, reduce acidity, and have less of a chance of fermenting in the gut and causing inflammation/autoimmune reactions.

Raw foodism has been around since the 1800s, and both studies and anecdotal evidence show the benefits of a raw food diet include:

  • Lowering inflammation
  • Improving digestion
  • Providing more dietary fiber
  • Improving heart health
  • Helping with optimal liver function
  • Preventing cancer
  • Preventing or treating constipation
  • Giving you more energy
  • Clearing up your skin
  • Preventing nutrient deficiencies
  • Lowering the amount of antinutrients and carcinogens in your diet
  • Helping you maintain a healthy body weight

Guidelines for Going Raw

  • Eat raw fruit, raw vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, fresh herbs, and spices.
  • Drink lots of filtered, alkaline, or distilled water.
  • Drink only water, herbal teas (no green, black, or white teas), freshly made juices, or homemade smoothies. No alcohol, soda, or coffee.
  • Do not eat meat, meat products, dairy products, processed foods, wheat, refined sugar, grains, eggs, or anything with a shelf life.
  • You can have extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, or raw apple cider vinegar, as well.

Admittedly, a raw diet seems extreme, and it’s not going to be a choice for everyone. But if you’re thinking of trying it, you can take it day by day.

A version of this story originally appeared on foodmatters.com. It has been reprinted with permission.

Photo: 5PH

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