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Raw Food Diet

browse diets: Diets / Low Carb Diets / Raw Food Diet

How Does the Raw Food Diet Work? The raw food diet (also called rawism) is based on the idea that plants are the most wholesome for the body when they are in their natural state. This means they are not cooked or processed. Although most of the food you eat is raw, you can heat food as long as the temperature stays between 104 and 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The maximum temperature varies within the raw food community. The Raw Food Diet is a definite lifestyle choice, and not just a weight loss plan. Abiding by the raw food diet is very difficult and time consuming because you spend a lot of time in the kitchen peeling, chopping, blending, straining, and dehydrating. However, the health benefits can be wonderful if you're willing to put in the time.

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Is the Raw Food Diet right for you? If you answer yes to more than 50% of the following questions, Raw Food Diet is right for you:

  • 2Do you have a hard time eating enough fruits and vegetables?
  • 3Are you overweight even though you don't eat very much?
  • 4Do you want to have a more earth friendly diet?
  • 5Do you end up gaining more weight back than you lost when you stop a weight loss plan?

The Raw Food Diet promise to you?

The Raw Food Diet is based on the idea that food was meant to be eaten in its natural state, and that our bodies were meant to process food in this same state. As we eat more raw foods, we will have more energy, reduce our risk of disease, improve our skin and lose weight. The Raw Food Diet has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and possibly slow down the aging process. In short, if you switch to a Raw Food Diet, you will not only feel better and be less susceptible to disease, you will also look younger and have more energy than ever.

The Theory and Details Behind the Raw Food Diet

The Raw Food Diet looks at the difference between food in its natural state, and food that is cooked or processed. It views food as a living organism that changes chemically when it gets cooked. Cooking is thought to alter the enzymes naturally found in food. Proponents of the Raw Food Diet believe that enzymes are the life force of food that aid in digestion and absorb nutrients. If we eat too many cooked foods, our body has to work harder to make more enzymes. Insufficient enzymes can eventually lead to accelerated aging, digestive problems, weight gain and nutrient deficiency. Cooking food can also decrease some of its natural nutritional value.

With the Raw Food Diet you eat only living and raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and seaweeds. You never heat or cook anything above 116 degrees F. Your protein comes from green leafy vegetables, fruits, sprouts, sees, nuts, juices and seaweeds. Your calcium comes from veggie juices, nuts, seaweeds, salads and seeds.

Foods You Can Eat

Like most diets, there are variations regarding how people abide by the Raw Food Diet. Most people who follow this diet are vegan. Some people consume raw animal products, like carpaccio, ceviche or sashimi (raw meat), cheese from raw milk, or raw milk. Some people choose to eat only raw foods, while others eat cooked food along with raw food for variety and convenience. Raw food detoxes or cleanses have been gaining popularity within the last several years. People usually go on a detox diet or cleanse for 3-21 days. After this ends, they either choose to continue with a raw food diet, return to their previous diet, or alter their previous diet by adding more raw foods.

Staples of the Raw Food Diet

  • seaweed

  • nuts

  • whole grains

  • sprouts

  • beans

  • dried fruits

  • sprouted seeds

  • fruits

  • vegetables

Foods that are Frowned Upon with the Raw Food Diet:

  • alcohol

  • caffeine

  • refined sugars

Preparing Raw Foods

1) Soaking and Sprouting

Raw legumes, seeds, beans, and nuts contain enzyme inhibitors that are usually destroyed when you cook them. You can release these nutrients by sprouting them, or soaking them (germination). This means you soak them in water for a certain amount of time. Although the duration varies, most Raw Foodists say that soaking overnight is the easiest method and works just fine. You need to start with dried, raw seeds, legumes, nuts or beans. Organic is preferred but not required. Cover with room temperature purified water and soak over night at room temperature. Some beans, like mung beans, need to soak a full 24 hours. Rinse a few times before sprouting them.

2) Sprouting

After you drain them during the last step of the germination process, put them in a container for sprouting. Leave them here at room temperature for the designated time. It will soon open and youll see a sprout grow from it. Rinse them and drain well. You can store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

3) Dehydrating

You can heat foods with the use of a dehydrator that simulated drying food in the sun. These should never be heated above 118 degrees F. These enclosed containers have heating elements that warm food at low temperatures. You can use dehydrators to make crackers, fruit leathers, kale chips, sun-dried tomatoes, apple or pear chips, breads, raisins or croutons.

Other ways to prepare raw food includes blending or chopping in a food processor. This is great for making a smoothie, pesto, or other sauce. You can also use fermenting, juicing or pickling to add a variety of flavors to your food.

Helpful Equipment

  • Dehydrator

  • Food processor

  • Blender

  • Trays or large containers for soaking and sprouting

  • Thermometer

  • Mason jars

  • Mini-blender

  • Spiral slicer

  • Juicer

Some Foods to Avoid

Although it is fine to eat some raw beans after they have been soaked and sprouted, others are considered unsafe to eat. These include fava beans, kidney beans and soy beans. Here are some other foods to avoid:

  • Taro

  • Parsnips

  • Buckwheat greens

  • Peas

  • Rhubarb leaves

  • Cassava and cassava flour

  • Mushrooms

  • Potatoes

  • Anything grown with pesticides or made with additives, preservatives of color dye

Nutrition Facts About the Raw Diet

It's a fact that the Raw Food Diet is rich in nutrients, full of fiber and very low on fat and sugar. However, you need to make sure you get enough of the things most often found in animal products. These include Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, iron and calcium. The American Dietetic Association has made suggestions for people who eat a plant based diet:

1) Eat about twice as much iron as meat eaters. You can get your iron from legumes, almonds, tofu and cashews.

2) Eat a minimum of 8 daily servings of calcium-rich foods like tempeh, cabbage, soybeans, figs and bok choy.

3) For B12 eat nutritional yeast, fortified soy milk and fortified breakfast cereals

4) For Omega-3 fatty acids eat walnuts, soybean oil, flaxseed and canola.


Raw foodists usually get plenty of protein, but because plant protein is less digestible, the American Dietetic Association recommends eating plenty of bean and soy products. Because Raw Food Diets are also high in sulfur-containing amino acids, which can increase bone calcium loss, you should increase your calcium consumption. Lastly, make sure you keep up your intake of Vitamin D through certain brands of soy and rice milk, vitamin-D fortified foods and some breakfast cereals.

What Health Care Professionals Say About the Raw Food Diet

There isn't very much research done on the Raw Food Diet. Most research focuses on the benefits of a plant-based diet, which include lowering cholesterol and glucose levels. There are a few studies that support the notion that cooking vegetables can kill healthy nutrients. One study showed that eating raw vegetables like broccoli or cabbage can help reduce your chances of getting bladder cancer. Cooking these types of vegetables takes away their ability to fight cancer cells.

Another study reviewed the results of about 50 medical studies that looked at raw versus cooked food and it showed that eating raw vegetables reduced the risk of gastric, laryngeal, oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal cancers.


Although researchers found that people who were on a Raw Food Diet had low cholesterol and triglycerides, they were also deficient in vitamin B12. Not having enough vitamin B12 can lead to anemia and neurological impairment.

Examples of Raw Food Diet Meals: #1

BreakfastCalifornia Avocado Potassium Power-Up Smoothie
LunchGreen Goddess Salad with Romaine, Cucumber & Avocado
DinnerSonoma Plum and Rosemary Pork Roast
SnacksFresh bell peppers and broccoli dipped in hummus

Examples of Raw Food Diet Meals: #2

BreakfastLow fat granola with fresh strawberries and cottage cheese
LunchSpinach, Basil and Feta Panini
DinnerTomato and Asparagus Pizza
SnacksOne handful of almonds and one bunch of grapes

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