What is the RAW food diet, you ask? Well, as the name suggests, it is primarily eating approx. 75% of your diet through uncooked (raw) foods. The reason behind this is that when foods are cooked, their essential enzymes are destroyed, thereby reducing their nutritional value and ability to be absorbed fully into the body. The main foods allowed include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried fruits, freshly made juices and purified water (not tap water). Since there are no meats/fish or dairy products eaten (contrary to what our little Lady Gaga picture might have you believe), it is considered a detox type diet.
Foods that are consumed raw have a greater amount of vitamins and minerals, which are essential in a balanced diet. Uncooked foods are easier for your body to digest and absorb these vital nutrients. The diet contains fewer trans fats and saturated fats (the bad ones) than the typical Western diet and is also low in sodium and sugar and high in the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This alone will help you feel the main benefits that have been associated with the Raw food diet, including weight loss, clearer skin, increased energy levels, improved digestive system and a reduced risk of diseases.
It is believed that when we overeat cooked foods, our bodies are forced to produce more enzymes for their digestion and over time this can lead to digestive problems, nutrient deficiency and weight gain. This is why raw foods can be beneficial for us. The majority of people who choose to follow this way of eating are vegans/vegetarians. However, many people choose to adopt these eating principles when attempting to cleanse or detox their body for a short period of time.
If choosing to try this way of eating, ease into it by choosing to consume 50% of raw foods initially, and increasing to 70-100% over time. Make sure you have variety in your eating, as this is essential to ensure you are consuming all your vitamins and minerals. Also, preparation is the key; not planning ahead or being organised can stop you from succeeding and achieving your goals for completing the RAW food diet. There can be some downfalls to this way of eating (primarily preparation and variety), however, over time your body will get used to this and the benefits definitely outweigh the negatives. Always consult with your doctor or nutritionist before attempting such a dietary change, to ensure this is right for you and your goals.