Monday, 30 March 2009

Raw Food Diet

What is the Raw Food Diet?

The raw food diet is a diet based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, and often organic foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit, and seaweed, sushi. If 75-100% of a person's total food consumption is raw food, he/she is considered a raw foodist or living foodist.

Some raw foodists only eat raw plant foods, but other raw foodists emphasize raw meat and other raw animal products. Depending on the type of lifestyle and results desired, raw food diets may include a selectıon of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds (including sprouted whole grains such as gaba rice), eggs, fish (such as sashimi), meat (such as carpaccio), and non-pasteurized/non-homogenized dairy products (such as raw milk, raw cheese and raw yogurt). Raw foodists can be divided between those that advocate raw vegetarianism or raw veganism, those that advocate a raw omnivorous diet, and those that advocate a diet of only raw animal foods (carnivorous).

What are the Benefits of the Raw Food Diet?

Heating food above 116 degrees F is believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Cooking is also thought to diminish the nutritional value and "life force" of food.

Adherents of raw foodism believe that consumption of uncooked foods and prevents and/or heals many forms of sickness and chronic diseases. Some medical studies have indicated that different forms of raw food diets may lead to various health problems, while other studies have shown positive health outcomes with such diets.

Proponents of the raw food diet believe it has numerous health benefits, including:

* Increased energy
* Improved skin appearance
* Better digestion
* Weight loss
* Reduced risk of heart disease

The raw food diet contains fewer trans fats and saturated fat than the typical Western diet. It is also low in sodium and high in potassium, magnesium, folate, fiber and health-promoting plant chemicals called phytochemicals.

These properties are associated with a reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. For example, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consumption of a raw food diet lowered plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.

What can I eat?

Unprocessed, preferably organic, whole foods such as:
* Fresh fruits and vegetables
* Nuts
* Seeds
* Beans
* Grains
* Legumes
* Dried fruit
* Seaweed
* Unprocessed organic or natural foods
* Freshly juiced fruit and vegetables
* Purified water
* Young coconut milk

At least 75% of food consumed should not be heated over 116 degrees F.

What cooking techniques are used?

Specific cooking techniques make foods more digestible and add variety to the diet, including:
* Sprouting seeds, grains, and beans
* Juicing fruit and vegetables
* Soaking nuts and dried fruit
* Blending
* Dehydrating food

What equipment can I use?
* A dehydrator, a piece of equipment that blows air through food at a temperature of less than 116 degrees F.
* A good-quality juice extractor for juicing fruit and vegetables
* A blender, food processor, or chopper to save time
* Large glass containers to soak and sprout seeds, grains, and beans
* Mason jars for storing sprouts and other food

Side Effects
Some people experience a detoxification reaction when they start the raw food diet, especially if their previous diet was rich in meat, sugar, and caffeine. Mild headaches, nausea, and cravings can occur but usually last for several days.

The raw food diet may not be appropriate for certain people, such as:
* Children
* Pregnant or nursing women
* People with anemia
* People at risk for osteoporosis - A Washington University study found that people following a raw food diet had lower bone mass. Bone turnover rates, however, were similar to the group that ate a standard American diet.

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