If you are a raw foodist then you enjoy what you eat to be uncooked. Your foods will be served the same way they grow like certain veggies, fruits, seeds, and sprouted greens. See below for a full list of raw foods as well as those that unfortunately aren’t and how to tell the difference between the two.
Raw foodies are on their own because presently there is no government agency that governs our raw dietary habits. Raw food has a slight deviation in certain foods that fall in this category. Some consider the term raw to mean unpasteurized, unrefined and definitely not baked or roasted.
Raw foodists have come to the realization that not all raw foods are grown the same. If you are a raw foodie that follows the simple rule that anything uncooked by you is thus raw, then you fall under the 75% of people calling themselves raw foodists. There are very few individuals that can claim to be100% raw because there are many foods on the shelves that are in fact cooked prior to packaging but present as raw. Here are a few examples:
- Almonds must be pasteurized with steam.
- Rolled oats must be heated to keep them on store shelves or they will spoil quickly.
- Cashew nuts are pre-cooked because its shell is coated with a corrosive chemical that must be soaked and roasted before the nut itself can be consumed.
- Pecans and macadamia nuts must be heated to remove their shells unless you grow them yourself.
- Dehydrated fruits are pre-blanched.
- Raw frozen foods are pre-blanched to keep them fresh.
Raw foods are natural food items that have developed naturally in what nature has provided: water, oxygen, vitamins and minerals from the soil, enzymes and hormones. This category includes naturally grown foods you can eat raw similar to the following:
- Fresh fruits (apples, pears, pineapple, berries, cherries)
- Fresh Vegetables (carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes)
- Leafy green and wild vegetables (kale, watercress, chard, nettle, dandelion, broccoli, spinach)
- Herbs (basil, mint, cilantro, parsley, thyme, watercress)
The raw food craze began in the 1800s during the Natural Hygiene movement. Prominent physicians of the time started this movement based on the belief that the medical profession alone couldn’t keep people totally healthy.
Instead, the coalition of famous physicians wanted to teach people how to live free of illnesses and diseases by consuming only what nature intended for man to eat, raw foods.
The raw foods that help to make up its defined 75% are food that should not be heated to more than 115ᵒ or 118ᵒF so that its nutrients remain preserved as much as possible in its organic, natural form.
The raw foodists movement has continued to grow due to these reported benefits:
- Clear mind
- Healthier skin appearance
- Improved digestive system
- Better sleep
- Increased energy
- Weight loss
The human body needs a balanced level of pH alkaline content. Eating raw foods like green leafy vegetables and fruits, keeps the pH scale at its best to control our blood level numbers.
Studies have proven that you benefit from a diet that mainly consists of raw foods instead of trans fats or saturated fats.
Thus, your additional health benefits include higher nutrients, which help to fight diabetes, cardio-pulmonary illnesses, bone weakness from osteoporosis, certain cancer cells, and more.
By eating raw fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds etc., you are adding more potassium, magnesium, fiber, and plant chemicals that help to lower cholesterol and fatty acid levels to combat weight gain and elevated blood pressure.
If you aren’t totally convinced about changing to or incorporating raw foods into your daily dietary requirements, would you believe that you are already eating them?
Here are some raw foods that you probably already enjoy without realizing it:
- Guacamole: this delicious dip is made with raw avocado
- Salad: varied salad ingredients contain raw lettuce, greens and more.
- Salsa: fresh lemons or lime, tomatoes, peppers, and onions make up this favourite dip and snack
- Sauerkraut: it is raw plus it has been naturally fermented to be more digestible.
Unfortunately, most of these vegetarian favourites are not raw although many believe them to be:
- Smoothies: Most smoothies contain frozen fruit and Greek yogurt. A way to make this raw is to replace the frozen fruits with fresh and the yogurt with unpasteurized milk.
- Hummus: Chickpeas must be cooked in order to become sort and as a result are not raw. An alternative to this would be a hummus made from sprouted beans instead of chickpeas.
- Natural Sweeteners: Agave nectar, honey and maple syrup are often used as a sweet replacement for sugar however in most cases they aren’t raw. The best way to avoid this is to buy unpasteurized honey, which will be indicated on the label.
Remember becoming a raw foodist or incorporating this meal plan into your lifestyle is not a diet plan but a holistic way of eating. After all, eating a daily portion of raw veggies and fruit is a nutritious way to keep your health in check even if you are not a raw foodie.
The great advantage in eating raw foods is that you aren’t ingesting chemicals from fertilizers; there are no pesticides, no food additives and no solvents used in manufacturing. Physicians and health care industries are suggesting that we all cut back on processed foods and packaged high sodium foods.
Raw foods can be further enjoyed by adding different raw herbs (clove of garlic, ginger root basil); raw oils (pure olive, sesame, hemp); raw flavourings (honey, mesquite meal, onion, cayenne pepper) that are acceptable on this healthy meal plan.
If you are just starting a raw diet lifestyle, learn as much about it as you can. When people are better informed, they will stick with a dietary lifestyle longer.
If you and your family are considering becoming raw foodies, first make a visit to your physician and to a paediatrician to ensure that everyone is getting all the necessary nutrients your bodies (mentally and physically) will need.