Eating Raw Foods – The Pros and Cons
There's certainly no shortage of new health trends these days, from gluten free to paleo to fads like the lemonade and cayenne cleanse. If you’ve tuned into the "health" media or eavesdropped on conversations at the gym, you’ve probably heard people say that they’re now “eating raw” or have gone on a “raw diet.” But, what are “raw” foods and what does eating raw foods mean to your overall health and well-being? As it turns out, eating raw isn’t quite as quirky as it sounds.
Why a Raw Food Diet?
The raw food diet is based on the premise that heating food destroys its natural nutrients and enzymes and, therefore, eating raw foods delivers more of these important nutrients to your body. Enzymes boost digestion and fight diseases while nutrients are obviously essential to keeping you healthy and fit. Raw foodists are purists with a simple belief; when you cook food, you kill it. Similar to paleo enthusiasts, raw foodists liken eating raw with the “hunter-gatherer” era of human history and contend that eating raw foods can clear allergies, alleviate headaches, boost immunity and memory, and improve athletic performance.
What Exactly is Meant by Raw Food?
Raw foods are unprocessed, whole plant-based and ideally, organic foods. Raw foodists can eat cooked foods, such as meats, most of which are unsafe to eat raw, but at least 75% of their diet will be based on raw foods. Granted, as with all “isms,” there is divergency within raw foodism. Raw carnivores, for example, eat raw meat, whereas raw vegans consume no animal products at all.
The mainstays of a raw food diet tend to come from the list below.
- Dried fruits
- Fish (sushi and sashimi)
- Fresh fruits and vegetable
- Freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices
- Whole grains
- Coconut milk and other nut milks
- Milk and dairy products (non-pasteurized/non-homogenized)
- Purified water
- Other organic and unprocessed natural foods
Does Eating Raw Foods Work?
Raw foodists say, "Yes." They claim that enzymes, which are killed when food is cooked, are the life force of food. They claim there are many benefits to raw food, including more energy, healthier skin, improved digestion and a decreased risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases. There is some scientific backing to this. Studies have found that plant-based diets either significantly reduce or eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Of course, raw foodism also has its deficiencies. You may risk a lack of sufficient protein, for example. Either way, one thing is clear; on a raw food diet you will lose weight. This is mainly because most raw foods are low in calories, sugars, and fats.
Should You Embark on a Raw Food Diet?
Eating raw foods does have its good points. It encourages the consumption of healthy, unprocessed foods devoid of artificial dyes, sugars, and preservatives. This is a good thing. However, a pure raw food diet may not be giving you the protein and other nutrients you need for a balanced, active lifestyle. As with any lifestyle-changing diet, we strongly advise consulting your physician before deciding to make raw foods a significant part of your nutritional regime. Your doctor's opinion may be based on things you've not given much thought. Underlying health conditions, medications you may be taking, your weight and other considerations may come into play.
If you would like to consult a nutritionist or a personal trainer before deciding on a significant dietary change, we can help. RX Fitness Equipment in Thousand Oaks works with hundreds of health and fitness professionals and we can refer you to someone who specializes in your needs. We are here to help with your fitness goals, whatever they may be. We carry equipment and accessories of all kinds to fit every goal and budget and make your fitness routine more productive. Come in and let us help you find exactly who you're looking for. And remember, you can always find Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, on Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact Tim Adams for a free consultation or stop by the store and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.