For those seeking a natural weight loss diet, eating a raw food diet makes sense. Raw food weight loss tales are legendary. Many people who embark on this new way of eating shed up to five pounds the first week. Others find that over the long term, raw food weight loss averages two pounds a week. There has been another rumour about another diet product … but does 3 week diet work? Let’s not find out in this post because this post is about raw diets.
The basics of a raw food diet are simple. Adherents eat only uncooked, unprocessed, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils. While the basics are simple, the actual day to day life of a raw food follower may be quite complex.
Raw Food Diet Made Simple
Those who follow a raw food diet believe that any foods heated above 118 degrees lose health and vitality. The health-giving qualities of food are locked into enzymes. Enzymes are catalysts, a substance that facilitates chemical reactions in the body. Some raw food proponents believe that human beings are born with a certain amount of enzymes. We can acquire more enzymes in raw and living foods. However, most Americans eating the so-called “SAD” (standard American diet) foods will deplete their natural store of enzymes during the digestive process. Raw food diet proponents believe that they restock their storehouse of enzymes every time they ingest fresh, wholesome foods.
What to Eat: List of Raw Foods
The list of foods allowed on a raw food diet is quite extensive, and raw food recipes transform basic fruits and vegetables into tasty treats that mimic cooked favorites. Foods allowed on a raw food diet include:
- All fresh vegetables, with an emphasis on green, leafy vegetables
- Sea vegetables, such as kelp, nori and seaweeds (they taste better than they sound!)
- Raw, unprocessed and unsalted nuts and seeds; raw nut butters
- Oils such as flaxseed oil, coconut oil, olive oil
Raw food diets suggest avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and sugar products. Nearly all raw food diets are vegan diets.
Pros of a Raw Food Diet
Those who ‘eat raw’ claim an immediate increase in their energy level within days of embarking on a raw food diet. Raw food weight loss happens swiftly for most, with some losing more weight than others. Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, a chiropractor, nutritionist, and raw food proponent in Texas, reports that one of her patients lost eight pounds during a green cleanse, a supervised program of drinking raw food green smoothies consisting of blended fruits and raw leafy green vegetables. Raw food recipes for green smoothies and other raw food recipes make strong vegetables, such as kale and spinach, more palatable.
Vegan and raw food diets have been credited with everything from weight loss to cancer prevention. Few scientific studies point conclusively to raw food diets, although evidence strongly suggests that eliminating meats and processed foods can decrease cancer risk. Certainly the U.S. Department of Health and the American Cancer Society both recommend significantly increasing one’s intake of fruits and vegetables, and a raw food diet accomplishes this goal.
Cons of a Raw Food Diet
The biggest hurdle for most people who attempt to follow a raw food diet is the difficulty of eating raw 100% of the time. Finding raw food recipes, preparing foods without heating them, shopping frequently for fresh fruits and vegetables, and fitting a raw food diet into one’s daily lifestyle can prove challenging.
Many raw food proponents suggest that people aim for increasing the percentage of raw food in their diets gradually, rather than jump into a raw food diet with an ‘all or nothing’ approach. Keeping a journal and writing about one’s motivations to eat a raw food diet are two techniques suggested by Karen Knowler, an expert on raw foods in the United Kingdom. Others, including both Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo and Karen Knowler, suggest taking baby steps towards eating raw. Natalia Rose, author of The Raw Food Detox Diet, coined the phrase “raw until dinner”, suggesting that eating only raw and living foods and eating a moderate, vegetarian cooked food supper is perhaps the easiest way of changing to a raw food diet.
Whatever your motivation for eating a raw food diet, the basics of raw food living are simple. The rewards, such as natural weight loss, quick weight loss, increased energy, and better health, provide both immediate and long-term gratification.