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What is a Raw Diet?

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There are so many different diets these days, most with insane weight-loss claims and miracle results.

A raw diet is a little bit different. Most long-term raw foodists do not choose to eat raw because they want to lose weight. Oftentimes, it is because they experience and believe in the many health benefits of eating raw.

What is raw?

Raw foodists mainly eat raw, unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, seeds and nuts, and do not heat their food above a temperature of 118° F.

Why do it?

Raw foodists believe that heating up or cooking foods above a temperature of 118° F can change the chemical structure of food, resulting in negative health consequences.

According to Rawfoodlife.com, this chemical change can destroy the live enzymes that aid in health and digestion, disrupt the body’s pH balance, as well as “create acidic toxins, including the carcinogens, mutagens and free-radicals associated with diseases like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.”

It is believed that raw food can give us the most nutrients possible with the easiest digestion.

Many raw foodists report having more energy, more radiant skin, hair and nails, and a decrease or elimination in many chronic diseases.

WebMD acknowledged that studies show there are pros and cons to raw diets however they report in one study that, “reviewed findings of about 50 medical studies on the raw versus cooked debate showed that eating raw vegetables helps reduce the risk of oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, esophageal, and gastric cancers.”

Eating a 100 percent raw diet may sound a little intense to most people. However, you don’t have to be 100 percent to reap the benefits of eating raw.

Let’s consider the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).

The typical S.A.D. is full of processed foods that in no way resemble a food in its natural state. Pizza, cheese burgers, fries, milkshakes, cereals — think about it. When was the last time you saw a fresh spring river flowing with coca cola, or cheetos hanging from a tree?

Although America has a large obesity rate, many of these individuals are not even being properly nourished.

Eating raw food nourishes your body with food it can recognize, food that's in its natural state. Although an avocado may have more fat than a candy bar, an avocado contains essential fatty acids that your body cannot produce on its own. Your body evolutionarily knows how to break it down!

Eating raw sounds basic, but oftentimes health means getting back to the basics and listening to your body. It’s easy to get into the habit of eating processed foods, when that is what is most readily available in our culture.

Try integrating more raw foods into your diet this week. You’ll soon surprise yourself at just how tasty a salad can be! Try my favorite avocado dressing (inspired by Sandra Cabot’s recipe) below!

In a blender, add and blend:

1 ripe avocado
1 garlic clove
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Splash of almond milk
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pinch sea salt
Ground pepper to taste


Bernarr, D. (n.d.). why_raw_by_dr__bernarr. Raw Food Life - the Science of Raw Food!. Retrieved February 24, 2012, from http://www.rawfoodlife.com/Articles___Research/Why_Raw_by_Dr__Bernarr/wh...

Raw Food Diet Review - Foods You Can Eat, Meal Plans, and More. (n.d.). WebMD - Better information. Better health.. Retrieved February 24, 2012, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/raw-food-diet

Why go raw?. (n.d.). Raw Reform. Retrieved February 24, 2012, from http://www.rawreform.com/content/view/10/25

Reviewed February 28, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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