As more people become health conscious, the idea of a raw food diet is becoming more popular. But, what does it mean to go raw and how does eating raw fit in with the tradition of making meals and having a family dinner? There are many ways to go raw and with just a little work, one can reap the benefits of raw foods without giving up their stove entirely.
— Health Habits (@HealthHabits) October 7, 2013
What Raw Means
Raw foods are foods in their natural state and primarily centers around vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. There is some debate regarding the top limit to which food can be heated and still be considered raw, but most agree that it’s best to stay in the range of 104 and 112. And, while this might seem limiting to the uninitiated, raw food diets offer a lot of opportunities for experimentation and new food experiences.
Why Go Raw
Those that eat raw foods hope to get the full benefit of the foods they ingest, without the degradation that occurs with cooking. The idea is that cooking foods destroys nutrients and enzymes, making it less nutritious. So, eating more raw foods means better nutrition and overall improved health. And, since the Food and Drug Administration recommends getting more fruits and vegetables each day, few can argue the benefits of adding raw foods.
How Much Raw Food is Enough
Going raw means different things to different people. Some go 100% raw, removing all cooked and processed foods from their diet. However, for most people this involves a gradual process of phasing out cooked foods and replacing them with raw ones. Others choose to balance raw and cooked foods in their diet, such as eating 50% raw foods and 50% cooked foods. The level of raw food one decides to incorporate into their diet is an individual preference.
What Not to Eat Raw
As healthy as raw foods can be, there are certain foods that shouldn’t be eaten raw. The reasons vary, but often foods are off limits in their natural state because they are toxic to one degree or another. For example, children under one year old should not be given honey. Other foods might be off limits to some because they can be hard to digest, like broccoli and cauliflower.
The following foods should not be eaten raw: potatoes, unsprouted lentils, mung beans, kidney beans and other pulses, alfalfa and bean sprouts and apricot kernels.
More than ever people are seeking out ways to get healthier and many are reexamining their diet. Getting rid of junk food, processed foods and bad fats is a great start, but it doesn’t solve the problem of what one should eat in place of those unhealthy options. And, while being 100% raw might not be for everybody, everybody can benefit from adding more whole, raw foods to their diets.