If you make the choice to switch to a raw food diet, you will have to commit to making some serious changes to your lifestyle, and it might take time to adjust to your new relationship with food.
Taking the time to research your food options and the nutritional benefits of eating raw foods will help you plan your meals better and manage your expectations in terms of weight loss and health improvement goals. Regardless of your reasons for living the raw food lifestyle, the key to your success is understanding how the diet works and how to balance your daily caloric intake to maximize your nutritional benefit.
What Can You Eat?
Generally speaking, you can eat pretty much anything you would eat on a traditional diet, except that it cannot be cooked or come pre-processed. This means that bread, pizza and pasta are all out the window, but carbohydrates are not, so grains are still in as are legumes like beans and lentils.
The difference lies in the way you prepare them. Most raw food eaters stick to a raw vegan diet, consisting of fruit, nuts, berries, legumes, grains and vegetables and within those categories, there is very little that will not lend itself to the raw diet.
The only thing you need to be careful about is grain – you need to pick varieties that sprout when soaked like green lentils so that they can be eaten and digested easily. In terms of beverages, water and fermented drinks like kefir are most commonly drunk, although some raw food eaters also drink unpasteurized milk.
How Do You Eat It?
When it comes to raw food, you can put as much or as little preparation as you want into it. You can simply eat your daily caloric intake in a balanced combination of raw nuts, fruits, vegetables and seeds with some sprouted legumes thrown in without any further fuss or frills. Or you can go further and use your blender, juicer and even a very low heat toaster oven to create some amazing gourmet raw food meals. Think buckwheat crust tomato and basil pizza, vegetable alfalfa sushi, berry and almond kefir smoothies and marinated salads. Bear in mind that the raw food diet allows food to be heated to a temperature of around 104 to 118 degrees.
How Hard Is It to Stick to?
The biggest concern new raw food eaters have is whether or not they’ll be able to stick to it. It is a drastic change, both in terms of diet and lifestyle. Apart from getting physically accustomed to the change in diet, for many people the hardest thing about switching to raw foods is giving up meat and dairy.
The raw food diet does allow for both, but they do have to be consumed raw which can be a daunting prospect for many. That being said, there are some good options when it comes to raw meat like steak or tuna tartare. Raw milk can be drunk plain or fermented, but in relatively small amounts. The biggest issue with this is the possibility of bacterial contamination, so it’s important to vet your raw meat and dairy source thoroughly.
Despite the many advantages of the raw food diet, it is certainly not for the faint of heart and it can often seem tedious and restrictive. But with some creative preparation and a bit of work, it can actually end up being a gastronomic delight and prove an immense benefit to your health and wellbeing.