A raw food diet, also known as raw foodism or raw veganism, is made up of foods that have never been processed, pasteurized, treated chemically or heated over 104-118 degrees Farenheit. Similar to the way our ancestors used to nourish themselves, you’d consume a lot of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and even raw eggs and dairy. It also means all packaged and processed foods sold at grocery stores like crackers, cereals, and snacks are off limits.
While there’s controversy over the popular “enzyme theory,” many experts believe that by heating food much of its beneficial nutrients are being destroyed, including its enzymes which are used by our bodies to break down and absorb nutrients. They believe that if we consume more of these vital nutrients our bodies have an easier time digesting these nutrients, and this extra energy can be distributed to other functions in our bodies.
This can translate into various benefits:
- reduced inflammation
- better digestion
- heart health
- optimal liver function
- preventing cancer
- clearer skin
- reduced amount of carcinogens
Because Kali girls like looking at topics from all angles, here’s what the opposing side says about avoiding a raw food diet:
- Cooking is beneficial because it breaks apart the fibers and releases nutrients that would not be available in raw form. For example, cooking carrots makes the beta-carotene more readily absorbable.
- Cooking can reduce chemicals present in foods
- Raw diets cannot provide key vitamins like vitamins B12 and D, selenium, zinc, iron and two omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA
Caroline La, an herbalist, a licensed Acupuncturist, and fertility specialist with a practice in CA says, “I tell my patients to NOT EAT raw foods if and when they can, especially if a weak digestive system is an issue for them, or if they suffer from medical issues like allergies. In Chinese Medicine, raw foods are yin (too cold) in nature and digestion requires too much energy from the body. Raw foods overall are just hard to digest and can put a damper on the body’s digestion. Overtime, this can cause gas, bloating, and poor nutrient absorption due to a weakened digestive system.”
Taking both sides into consideration, the age-old tenet stands true: moderation is key. Take small steps towards incorporating more raw and high-fiber foods into your diet like sprouts, fermented kimchi, seaweed and raw nut butters. There’s no need to go extreme and completely change your entire diet overnight. Deem certain days out of the week “raw food days” and make a conscious effort on those days. You’ll not only feel great on those days, you’ll be taking care of your health over the long run. And who knows, it just might lead to your next spiritual awakening.
Written By: Andrea Lee, @organicbeautylover