Crash Course In Raw Foodism
There are a lot of fad diets out there. And once you’ve heard of one, another five pop up. We feel for you when it makes it hard to keep track of what’s right for your body or what’s an acceptable way to approach food consumption. Enter, raw foodism, a completely different approach to anything relating to food. It is a “diet” beyond veganism, vegetarianism and paleo. For those who aren’t versed, it entails eating food that hasn’t been cooked beyond the temperature of 116 degrees or eating food in its “live” state. Now, just to clarify right away, although fresh fruit or vegetables may be fresh, it actually isn’t considered living. What is considered living are certain sprouts that continue to grow and function outside the environment of soil or water. The reasoning is that it’s thought food in its raw state contains more of the good nutrients, proteins and minerals that help the body to function better. It is considered one of the more extreme diets to approach, most of them being vegan raw which means no meat, no dairy or other foods that have been processed in some way that they’re considered cooked. This means that you eat only fruits, vegetables, nuts and some legumes, a major feat that most would consider OK for a couple days or a week. Alas, the ultimate motivation for pursuing this approach to food is the ultimate health of mind, body and soul. It may seem kind of cheesy, but people around the world have said that eating raw helped cure their cancer, alleviate any digestive or immune problems and all around helped them feel the best they ever have. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, as you can probably tell it’s definitely not that easy.
If you’ve ever wondered what it means to eat a raw diet, we’re providing some facts on how it’s done, who’s doing it and what to expect.
What does raw mean?
Raw means essentially uncooked. The “cooked” alternative to raw food occurs by using a dehydrator, a helpful but not necessary kitchen gadget to have with the diet. It’s essentially the faster way to dry as it usually takes a couple of hours verse a couple of days or weeks. Almost everyone knows what dried food is in the form of raisins, prunes and beef jerky. But it can go far beyond what we typically attribute when we think of it. Where dehydrating food comes in handy is it changes the consistency and appearance of food without affecting its molecular basis, flavor or nutrient amounts. It also gives food a longer shelf life because removing moisture stops various bacteria from growing. They can be used to make crackers, chips, pizza crust, breads and much more. Everything else in a raw diet is completely unprocessed fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and legumes. Juicing fruits and vegetables is a major part of the raw diet. In some cases, raw milk and other raw dairy products are able to be consumed as well. Some forms of pickling that don’t require the food to be boiled, pasteurized or heated are also acceptable. There’s even been a recent surge in raw chocolate demands. Pretty neat, huh?
How long has it been around?
Raw foodism as we know it in Western society first made its appearance in the early 1800s as a cure for the cholera epidemic that was thriving in the U.S. at that time. About 100 years after that in 1939, a man named Weston A. Price did some scientific studies on generational health comparing parents to their children. His findings showed that the parents, and mostly their teeth, were in much better health than their children, who had been brought up in the time when pasteurization of milk and other foods became the more acceptable method to dealing with bacteria. Another 40 or so years later, Leslie Kanton published her book called “Raw Energy—Eat Your Way to Radiant Health.” The 1984 best seller introduced and popularized sprouts, seeds and fresh vegetable juices. Since then, raw food has quickly been making a climb into mainstream diets and has lead to a number of other alternative, healthy approaches to Western diets.
Why eat raw?
The general reason to eat raw is that it is thought that raw food retains its natural enzymes that help aid in digestion. By cooking food, the enzymes are often lost which can lead to decreased nutrient absorption and a harder time for your body doing its digestion thing. It also eliminates or greatly diminishes the consumption of preservatives, dyes, additives and otherwise bad chemicals that are more frequently being shown to have a negative impact on our health. Raw foodists contribute eating a primarily raw diet to promote radiance and improved texture in the skin, decreased risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other ailments, minimal to zero digestive discomfort, anti-aging, high energy, high immune system and low-risk for heart disease and other food-related illnesses. Introducing more raw fruits and vegetables into diets have been found to greatly reduce acne, psoriasis, and eczema, balances scalp oil production,
Who does it?
As a matter of fact, many different celebrities have adopted or experimented with the raw food diet. Some swear by it for weightloss where others are proponents of what it stands for, how it makes them feel and, of course, those wonderful anti-aging results. Demi Moore has been eating and promoting raw for years, starting back in the early 2000s. Woody Harrelson is probably the biggest supporter of veganism and raw foodism having started a restaurant years ago in Hollywood, published a cookbook and made a documentary on it. Former supermodel Carol Alt has published two cookbooks on raw foodism and is a big supporter of consuming raw dairy. The very health-concious Madonna tries to eat raw as much as possible. Other actors like Pierce Brosnan, Margaret Cho, Cher, Edward Norton and Susan Sarandon have embraced its lifestyle. Some of the most popular raw food chefs from around the country include Sarma Melngailis, Karyn Calabrese, Matthew Kenney, Juliano and Jason Wrobel.
How does it work?
The best thing about going “raw” today is the endless treasure trove of recipes that are now all over the Internet. Before, there was limited access to recipes, restaurants or even cookbooks relating to raw food. Now there’s nothing stopping you from having fun with your food and introducing it into your diet every now and again. We can personally tell you that if you’re enjoying a raw zucchini lasagna or try baking raw, it will most likely be delicious. Sure, it’s going to be different and there’s really no reason to try and compare the regular, cooked version with the raw one. You’d also be amazed at how much overlap there already is, like many recipes for fresh fruit popsicles that follow most of the guidelines. But with tons of bright colors, even brighter flavors and endless positive benefits, raw food has come a long way and is a fun way to experiment with new foods while gaining all the benefits fresh fare has to offer.