The raw food diet is one that has gained substantial growth over recent years – it is currently the 9th most popular diet globally! With conditions like obesity, diabetes, and cancer on the rise more people are starting to look for alternative and healthier ways to live. Processed foods are so common that most people tend to not even think it is unusual or worth mentioning anymore, but that is slowly changing as people become more aware of the what is inside the foods they eat. The raw food diet is said to have amazing benefits when done correctly and by following the guidelines of what you can and cannot eat raw, i.e. not eating meat uncooked, or dangerous veggies completely raw.
When a raw food diet is done properly the benefits may include:
- Improvements in your skin – clearer, brighter looking skin.
- More energy – junk foods leave you feeling sluggish after consumption.
- Weight loss – especially when you cut out the high fat and sugar content of processed foods.
- Better blood test results – e.g. improved lipid levels and cholesterol counts.
- Improved digestion – especially from the increase in fibre that raw foods contain.
Another benefit of eating raw foods is that those who have practised the raw food diet for a long time have noticed that their eyes start to lighten, especially those who have been on the diet for over 2 years. Some of the individuals who are on the diet have reportedly seen their eyes go from brown to a hue of light green or blue due to their systems being detoxed through eating raw/healthier foods (Source).
The cons to a raw food diet do not actually affect your health, but your time and convenience:
- Following a Raw Food Diet requires a lot of organisation and planning.
- Motivation – It’s hard to keep up, especially when going out to eat at restaurants or friends’ houses.
- It also requires a lot of preparation and buying fresh ingredients regularly.
Followers of eating plans in general should be aware that even if they opt for having “healthier” versions of their favourite junk foods, it may actually be the same, and sometimes even worse, than junk food itself. For example; the McDonald’s salads (mentioned in Part 1 of this article series) that are now sold in certain franchises across the world have been found to be even greasier than the burgers or fries on their standard menu.
Healthier options to popular junk foods could be:
- Potato chips – Try veggie chips with kale or sweet potato that are made using vegetable oils.
- Fries – Bake them in coconut oil instead of frying them.
- Candy – Try eating a sweet fruit or having frozen grapes as a treat when feeling peckish.
- Ice-cream – Vegan ice-cream is available on the market and can be as flavourful as the original as it is blended with real fruits.
- Cold drinks – add fruit to your ice water bottle to give a refreshing, fruity taste to your water.
When starting a raw food diet or even just trying it out, remember not to become fanatical about it or overdo it on products like nuts – which can actually contribute to weight gain if consumed too much. Eating things like dried fruits or sugared nuts should also be avoided. To get the real benefits out of raw foods the rawest form is always best unless you are consuming meats, eggs, kidney beans, peas, and milk as they may contain enzymes that could have (sometimes severe) negative effects on the body.
As with any diet or lifestyle change you decide to follow, make sure you are fully informed of all the pros and cons, that you know what can be done and what can be harmful, and that you always do what’s best for yourself, your health, and your body.