Raw Food Diet Plan
Followers of the raw food diet believe that eating only raw foods is the one true path to perfect nourishment. Raw food diet followers eat only uncooked, unprocessed plant foods.
Raw food enthusiasts only eat foods in their natural state – raw and uncooked. While this isn’t a weight loss plan, followers of this kind of eating often lose weight or are very thin because the diet usually results in a low caloric intake.
Most — though not all – raw foodists are vegans. Some raw foodists, however, do eat eggs and cheese. While foods are uncooked, many raw food enthusiasts will use food dehydrators to add crunch to vegetables and create fruit leathers. To keep with the focus on raw, dehydrators cannot heat to more than 118 degrees.
This diet is difficult to maintain. Those who follow this diet spend a great deal of time in the kitchen preparing food. Food prep for raw food diets includes chopping, peeling, straining, dehydrating and blending. The diet is typically about 75% fruits and vegetables and all menus contain a huge variety of these, making food preparation a huge piece of the raw food diet.
While 75% of the raw food diet is fruits and vegetables, other staples of the diet include whole grains, nuts, beans, sprouts, seaweed and sprouted seeds.
No caffeine, alcohol or refined sugars are allowed on the raw food diet.
At its core, the raw food diet is relatively simple. Followers eat a wide array of uncooked fruits and vegetables, along with a short list of additional foods.
Because it can be difficult for raw foodists to get the right nutrients, the American Dietetic Association makes some recommendations for raw foodists that can help them get adequate nutrients. Some of these recommendations include eating twice as much iron as people who eat meat, eating enough food that are good sources of calcium (such as bok choy, soybeans, tempeh and figs), eating fortified cereals and soy milk. They also recommend taking a B12 supplement and vitamin D supplements, especially if followers of this diet live in northern climates.
Pros and Cons
- Provides a healthy mix of nutrients
- This diet can reduce the risk of a variety of illnesses and diseases
- Can improve overall health
- No calorie counting required
- Difficult to follow
- Can be hard to get proper nutrients, like Vitamin D, calcium, and iron
- Can become boring, leading followers to seek out other sources of food
- Before adjusting to their new diet, those following this way of eating might experience headaches and fatigue
- Can be difficult to follow when eating in restaurants or while traveling
There is no formal diet plan that raw foodists follow; while there are books that enthusiasts can buy, there is no requirement that they do so. Food can be expensive, especially during the winter months when produce might not be as abundant and can be more expensive. Followers can save money by growing their own fruits and vegetables and shopping at farmer’s markets.
Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner first developed the raw food diet after he recovered from jaundice when eating raw apples. Afterward, he began studying the effects that raw vegetables and food could have on human health. Over the years, more and more people have studied the health benefits of raw food, with the 1984 book “Raw Energy – Eat Your Way to Radiant Health” setting off a popular trend of people eating uncooked foods to improve their health.
Several cups of melon or a fresh fruit smoothie
Raw vegetable salad with a dressing made from a raw plant fat (for example avocado mixed with orange or lemon)
One to two servings of fruit
Large salad with a mixture of green leafy vegetables. Olive, nut and seeds might be added.
Serving of sugary fruit
Beverages – Water or raw or soy milk