Investigating the raw food diet
Monday, 14 Jan 2013
The raw food diet: it’s at least 75% of your food uncooked (or cooked below 40 degrees celcius) in order to preserve the live enzymes in food.
Although most raw food dieters are vegan or vegetarian, there are some who eat raw meat (sashimi, anyone?), but the diet is also mostly plant-based. And lest you think you have to say goodbye to desserts, think again. We’re huge fans of the raw desserts at The Living Cafe.
Fad diet or new way of living? We get our dietitian, Natalie Edwards, to break it down for us.
1. Increased nutrient density & decreased energy density
One of the positives of the raw food diet is the emphasis it places on fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are low in energy density, high in nutrient density, and provide a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Nuts and seeds are also included in the raw food diet; these contain high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are healthy ‘good’ fats.
2. You eat cleaner.
Another advantage of the raw food diet is it restricts energy dense foods such as processed and refined foods.
1. Lacks important macro and micronutrients
While the raw food diet is high in vitamins and minerals, this diet requires you to remove whole food groups, which can result in the loss of important nutrients for your body.
2. Possible vitamin B12 deficiency
Many people who follow a strict raw food diet also follow a vegan diet. Veganism is a type of vegetarianism which excludes all animal-derived foods including meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal derived ingredients. Following a vegan diet can put you at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency as this vitamin is only found in foods of animal origin. Solution: take a B12 supplement.
3. Risk of osteoporosis
Although not all dairy is removed on a raw food diet (raw dairy is available for those who aren’t vegan), the lower dairy intake can result in low calcium and vitamin D intake, which in turn can result in low bone mass and osteoporosis later on in life.
One of the fundamental reasons for following a raw food diet is food is believed to be more wholesome for the body in its natural state. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Some fruit and vegetables, like tomatoes and carrots, have a higher nutritional value when cooked.
Our advice? Eat a wide variety of foods including low fat dairy products, wholegrains (available in a raw food diet), and lean meat. Variety is key to healthy living.
Definitely take on the positive aspects of the raw food diet, so limit your alcohol and processed food intake and remember, foods without labels are the healthiest foods you can have!
We recommend increasing your fruit and vegetable intake (both raw and cooked); try having a green juice every day to incorporate more live enzymes into your diet, and balance that with cooked veggie-heavy dishes.
Looking for more daily tips and recipes? Follow Nat’s Nutritious Delicious on Facebook.
Image: The Living Cafe