What is the Raw Food Diet?

The many diets on the market show just how important it is to eat healthier, lose weight, and just take good care of your body. The raw food diet is one of the best out there because it allows you to eat real foods while also keeping all the great nutrients that come naturally in these foods.

*Featured photo above of raw vegan tacos. Photo by Joi Ito. 

Basically raw food means that you will eat foods that are not cooked. When you heat up your food in the oven or on the stove, you are killing off the good things that are in the food. The idea is that most foods are healthy for you when you eat them raw. While some heating is allowed, the heat must stay pretty low and most of this heating is done in a dehydrator setting rather than in the oven to preserve all the healthy nutrients.

This post is an exert from Raw Food Diet "Beginner's Handbook: The Lifestyle of Uncooked, Unprocessed Foods." Order it here.
This post is an exert from Raw Food Diet “Beginner’s Handbook: The Lifestyle of Uncooked, Unprocessed Foods.” Order it here.

All foods come with natural enzymes. These enzymes are meant to help absorb nutrients you have in food and to promote healthy digestion. If you don’t take care of the food properly, such as cooking it in heats that are too high, you are killing off these enzymes so you aren’t able to digest these nutrients. When the enzymes go, you will find a lot of health issues including weight gain, accelerated aging, nutrient deficiency, and digestive problems.

Other vitamins and nutrients are destroyed by the cooking process as well, which means even when you eat foods high in nutrition, you may not be getting this nutrition.

Just because you aren’t allowed to cook the food in high heats does not mean you are stuck without other cooking methods. There are many other cooking options available some of the other cooking methods you can consider include:

  • Sprouting and soaking
  • Dehydration
  • Blending
  • Fermenting
  • Pickling
  • Juicing

All of these methods allow you the freedom to prepare food even without using a lot of heat to cook it up. You may want to consider having a few different pieces of equipment around to help you out with preparing your food. You probably already have quite a few of these ready to go in your own home. Some different equipment you may want to consider having at your disposal with the raw food diet include:

  • Blender—this can help to make nut milks, soup, and smoothies
  • Mason jars
  • Containers to help soak grains and beans
  • Spiral slicers—this can speed up the process of slicing up vegetables
  • Food processor
  • Juicer
  • Dehydrator—this helps you to cook up all the food that you need
  • Thermometer—with the raw food, you need to make sure that the internal temperature stays below 118 degrees and a thermometer can help with this.

The raw food diet is fairly simple to follow. You just need to keep food in its natural state rather than trying to cook it up and making all the nutrients and healthy enzymes disappear. While this might take away some of the foods that you usually enjoy, it can help to keep you healthy and even to lose weight.

To help yourself get started, you might consider going through the house and getting rid of all the different supplies that you have that won’t be conducive to the raw food diet. These are just going to add temptation to the whole process and you may find it is easier to cheat than before. If you only have a few different items in your cabinets to use, it is much easier to stay on the diet and not give in.

Foods Allowed on the Diet

When people hear about the raw food diet, they worry the diet will be boring. Sure, they might be healthier and they might loose weight, but they worry that the types of foods available are limited and the foods will taste badly. But, there are lots of great foods that you can enjoy, even on a raw food diet.

Just because it is raw food doesn’t mean a lot of your favorite foods won’t fit into this category; you just may need to change up a few to have the cooking methods fit with the raw food diet. Some of the foods you can enjoy with the raw food diet include:

Fruits (Fresh fruits are best. Frozen and canned can go through processing that can make them bad for the raw food diet).

  • Young coconut
  • Strawberry
  • Raspberry
  • Raisins
  • Orange
  • Mango
  • Lime
  • Lemon
  • Grapes
  • Dates
  • Blueberry
  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Apple

Vegetables

  • Zucchini
  • Tomato
  • Spinach
  • Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers

Seeds and Nuts

  • Seed crackers
  • Nut milks
  • Nut butter
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Cashews
  • Almonds

Grains

(Ensure that the grains have not been cooked above a certain temperature and cook some of your own if needed).

  • Granola
  • Cereal
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet

Legumes and Beans

  • Mung beans
  • Adzuki beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils

Oil

  • Chia oil
  • Raw coconut butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil

Beverages

  • Water
  • Herbal tea—keep the water under 118 degrees
  • Coconut water
  • Fruit and vegetable juice—make it yourself with fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t buy premade from the store.

Miscellaneous

  • Fermented foods
  • Vegan ice cream
  • Protein powder
  • Cacao nibs—raw
  • Carob powder
  • Coconut

Animal products  (these can be cooked in a dehydrator, it just will take longer to finish)

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk cheese
  • Milk
  • Prosciutto
  • Beef

As you can see, there are many foods you can enjoy while on this diet, and you aren’t limited to just a few things. If you are able to cook the foods properly and within the right guidelines, you will find this diet is fairly easy to follow.

Foods not Allowed on the Diet

There are some foods you must stay away from when on the raw food diet. Basically, any food you cannot prepare using the cooking methods above, or any food that needs to heat up past 118 degrees is not allowed on the diet. This includes any of the foods that are listed above if you cook them incorrectly.

This is going to take out a lot of your old favorite foods that you probably enjoy on a regular basis. Any prepackaged or processed foods from the freezer section at the store are not allowed on this diet. These foods have to be cooked at high temperatures to be fit for eating, and there isn’t much in terms of nutrition in the first place, so avoiding them on the raw food diet is critical to staying healthy.

Some of the other foods you also need to cut out of your daily intake when you are on the raw food diet include:

  • Anything that needs to be cooked over 118 degrees
  • Wine—this has gone through a fermenting process at high heat
  • Fruit and vegetable juices from the store—these have been pasteurized at high heats
  • Packaged foods—you have to cook them too high.
  • Packaged pastries and treats
  • Sodas and pops
  • Non-organic eggs.

Try to stay away from these foods as much as possible to really see the benefits of a raw food diet.

***

This post is an exert from Raw Food Diet “Beginner’s Handbook: The Lifestyle of Uncooked, Unprocessed Foods.” Order it here.