The raw food movement has been growing rapidly over the last few years, by now you have probably heard someone talking about a raw diet, or their friend on a raw diet. What does this mean, and why would anyone want to eat raw?
Food that's considered raw ranges from fruits and vegetables to unpasteurized dairy, raw nuts and seeds, and uncooked meat products. Most people who eat raw consume a mainly vegan diet, so raw milk and sashemi are not consumed regularly. Most who convert to a raw diet do so to achieve the health benefits that many claim to attain after changing their diet. Some of the reasons people eat raw are as follows.
1. Nature knows more about digestion and nutrition than science. It's true that our scientific knowledge about the body and nutrition is growing steadily, but the amount that is unknown is still astronomical. Some people dislike the compartmentalization of the body by science and the isolation of singular nutrients from food, saying a holistic approach is much more effective to health and vitality.
2. Raw food contains enzymes that help with digestion. These enzymes are destroyed by heat, so once food is cooked over a certain temperature the enzymes become damaged. Some people think this is why those who eat mainly raw food tend to look younger than their years.
3. Uncooked and unprocessed foods have life force. Also known as chi or prana, life force is the energy that is contained in living foods. Consuming this life force has spiritual and health benefits for the consumer.
If these are a little too 'airy fairy' for you, there are more tangible reasons to eat raw food. People report substantial weight loss after switching to a raw food diet, and all the health problems that came with their weight problems disappear. With the help of a healthcare professional, people have 'cured' their diseases including (but not limited to) high blood pressure, allergies, skin conditions, bowel conditions, cancer, diabetes and more. You can find a success story for just about every condition out there, that someone has cured themselves of using mainly dietary changes.
So, how much is enough? The general consensus is the more the better. If you want to receive the best health benefits, more than half of your food intake should be raw fruits and vegetables, with a few nuts and seeds. There is also evidence to show that organic and fresh food is best. Although depending on your location, it's more important to do your best than to stress about eating 100% organic.
The best way to get started eating raw food, is to switch one meal per day to be raw. If it's breakfast you could start juicing your own fruits and vegetables and switch that out for your regular cereal and milk. You're likely to lose a few pounds just making that one small change. If you don't want to splurge on a juicer, make your lunch a raw salad every day and try making your own salad dressings to keep things interesting. Once you create the new habit for yourself, it only gets easier.