Raw Food Diets
A raw food diet consists of only eating unheated foods, most of which are fruits and vegetables. Nuts and seeds are also included in a raw food diet, as well as water and juices. Raw foods are purported to maintain more nutrition and enzymes than foods that have been cooked and heated, which chemically alters the food. Raw food enthusiasts do not eat processed foods, canned foods or fast foods. Organic produce is considered best on the raw food diet.
Health Benefits of a Raw Food Diet
By eating a raw food diet, unhealthy amounts of sugar and fat are not being consumed. When eating the organic produce recommended on the raw diet, the dieter is naturally consuming fewer pesticides and chemicals from foods. Weight loss can occur in dieters that are switching from a high fat, high sugar, processed diet to a raw food diet. Weight loss benefits the dieter by decreasing the risks of diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Less Cooking Required When Following Raw Food Diets
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By the very nature of a raw food diet, dieters do not cook. This may be considered both a benefit and limitation. Dieters may have invested a sum of money into cookware that is no longer necessary. However, dieters do gain time that would be spent cooking and also avoid food related burns. Some recipes call for processing of raw foods that may be time consuming, like soaking nuts or sprouts.
Detox Effects of a Raw Diet
When starting a raw foods diet, many people experience detoxification symptoms like fatigue, loss of energy, and headache. Proponents of raw food diets claim that this is due to the body flushing out free radicals from cooked foods and that this period is short. Detox symptoms may be unpleasant and should be considered before starting a raw food diet.
Expense and Availability of Raw Foods
In some areas, the expense and availability of farmers markets may be a limitation to the raw food diet. The raw food diet suggests eating organic, fresh produce from farmers markets or produce that is home grown. This may be difficult for people without access to a farmers market, or without the space to grow their own food. Purchasing organic produce is more expensive than non-organic produce. Raw food enthusiasts claim that a raw foods diet is less expensive than the traditional diet because health costs decrease because raw food diets improve health. The availability and cost of purchasing frequent, large quantities of organic produce should be considered before embarking on a raw food diet.
Changing your diet to a raw food diet is a significant undertaking. There may be health benefits, but weigh the benefits against the limitations you may face. Discuss any dietary changes with a physician.