Raw Food Diet plans and how it works
Saw a new and interesting diet in one of the health magazines? Felt it’s easy to follow? Made a secret note of the foods to follow and not to follow? But failed every time? Well, we know that feeling quiet well. Every woman out there knows this feeling, and so do we! The main reason why we loose the battle against fat bulge is because of the wrong diet we choose. So, here is something doable for all you diet lovers – a raw food diet! No need to cook especially after returning home from a hectic day at work?
Raw food diet dates back to the 19th century, when a famous doctor discovered that he could cure jaundice by eating raw apples. Thereafter, a series of experiments began to test the effects of raw food on human health. According to the health care experts, cooking obliterates most of the essential nutrients and nearly all of the immune boosting vitamins. The nutrients can be preserved by incorporating fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds and herbs in their natural state.
How does the Raw Food Diet work?
Raw food diet is based on the belief that the healthiest foods are uncooked ones. These foods are often termed as “ live” or “living” food. Raw foods are rich in their enzyme content. These enzymes are considered the life force of foods. They help to absorb the nutrients and digest foods. Lack of enzymes can cause digestive problems, nutrition deficiency and premature aging. The enzymes stay intact as long as the temperature stays below 104 to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking destroys the nutritional value of the foods. The cancer fighting compounds in the cruciferous vegetables are greatly reduced when they are cooked. In many cases even the vitamins and folate get destroyed by heat. Cooking also promotes the formation of potentially dangerous compounds like advanced glycation products and heterocyclic amines.
The raw food program deals only with the diet. This should not discourage you from exercising. Exercise and physical activity will help you to stave off diabetes, heart problems and other chronic diseases apart from helping you shed those extra kilos. Adults should do 30 minutes to one hour of exercise and moderate to intense activity daily. A couple of muscle strengthening activities will also do the trick. Exercising will also reduce the stress and ensure that the mind stays clear of negative thoughts and emotions.
Foods included in this diet:
There are a wide range of foods to choose for the raw food diet. These include:
1. Fresh fruits and Vegetables:
Eat fresh and organic foods whenever possible. Stock a variety of root vegetables, tubers, greens and fresh herbs in your refrigerator. Seaweeds like nori sheets, wakame, hijiki and dulse flakes will bring a wide range of minerals and lignans to your diet.
2. Nuts and Seeds:
Nuts and seeds like cashew, sunflower, pumpkin, raw almond butter and flax seeds can be consumed in a raw food diet. Always keep a few jars of sprouted items in your refrigerator for future use.
3. Beans, Grains and Legumes:
Beans like edamame, navy, pinto and kidney beans can be consumed. Whole grains are also allowed while following this diet.
4. Dried Fruits:
Dried fruits like raisins, prunes, dried apricots and pistachio can also be consumed. You can use dates to sweeten your raw food desserts.
5. Dairy Products:
Unpasteurized milk and cheese made from raw milk are permitted in the raw food diet.
6. Oil and Condiments:
Cold pressed extra virgin oil, raw virgin coconut oil and dark sesame oil can be used for salad dressings. Get your oil from a reputable source. Do not forget to add fresh herbs, vinegar and spices to your diet. These flavorings will add variety to your foods. Apple cider vinegar is high in malic acid that helps in the digestion of proteins.
Freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juice and herbal tea can be considered while following the diet. Coconut milk can also be consumed to get essential fatty acids.
Salts bring mineral nutrients to your diet. Use seaweeds like miso, nama shoyu and Himalayan salt to season your foods.
Foods Allowed in Limited Portions:
Pasteurized, processed, refined sugar, flour, caffeine, junk food, store bought juice, milk, drink and table salt are limited in this diet.
Raw Food Detox Diet:
Raw food detox diet is also gaining popularity these days. The detox diet usually lasts for 3 to 21 days. After the detox diet, the dieters are advised to continue the raw food diet to reap maximum benefits. They also have a choice of returning to their regular diet.
The preparation methods in this diet include blending, juicing, sprouting, cutting, germinating, chopping and dehydrating.
1. Soaking and Sprouting:
Raw legumes, nuts and beans contain enzyme inhibitors that are destroyed by cooking. These nutrients can be persevered by soaking and sprouting them. Germination involves soaking the nuts, seeds and beans for a day. Rinse the seeds, nuts, beans, and place them in a glass or plastic container. Add room temperature water to it and soak it overnight. After germination, the food can be sprouted. Drain the foods and place in a container for sprouting. The seed, legume or bean will open and sprouts will grow from them.
Blending is ideal for preparing soups, pesto, hummus and smoothies. The preferred ingredients are combined in a jar and blended at high for 2 minutes.
A dehydrator uses low temperature and a fan to dry out the food. They are enclosed containers with heating elements to warm the food at lower temperatures. The fan inside the dehydrator blows the warm air across the food, cooking it. Dehydrating peeled and sliced potatoes for 5 hours can give you crunchy potato chips.
Equipments to Prepare Raw Foods:
- Food processor
- Mason jar
- A large container
Foods to be Avoided:
- Buckwheat green
As a general rule, avoid foods that contain food color, food dye, pesticide and preservatives.
Benefits of Raw Food Diet:
Raw food diet has balanced nutrients and provides optimal health. It can also improve the physical performance and provide several health benefits. Some of those include:
- You are most likely to lose weight while following this diet. People following the raw food diet plan consume only half the calories that one would eat on a cooked diet.
- Raw foods could also have a positive effect on the heart health. A diet heavy in fruits, vegetables, and light in saturated fat and salt can keep the cholesterol and blood pressure in check. A research has also found that people following a raw food diet had lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels as compared to people who followed regular diet.
- You are much more likely to stay satiated while following this diet. Beans, legumes, fresh fruit and vegetables emphasized in this diet, take a long time to break down in the stomach. This keeps you feeling full for a longer time. You are free to choose your calorie intake and can increase the level if you feel hungry.
- A raw food diet contains fewer saturated and Trans fats than a typical Indian or a western diet. It is also low in salt, sugar, sodium, folate, vitamins and has loads of health promoting antioxidants.
- Eating raw foods will definitely up the nutritional levels in the body. You will get enough vitamins, fiber, mineral and antioxidants.
- A raw food diet also has a favorable acid-alkaline balance. The diet is extremely low in acid forming foods. Too much acidity in the body can lead to several diseases.
- The raw food diet also slows down the aging process. The diet contains fewer glycation products and other potentially damaging compounds that can lead to aging.
- A raw food diet can also help you get a healthy and glowing skin.
- The raw food diet may lack in several important nutrients like vitamin B12, zinc, iron and omega 3 fatty acids.
- Raw food diet is not ideal for people living in cold climates.
- Some people can experience reactions with the raw food diet. The side effects are common, especially in non-vegetarians. Headache, nausea and stomach upset are common reactions.
- The raw food diet is not recommended for children, infants, women who are either pregnant or lactating, due to the risk of food poisoning. People suffering from a weak immune system, and those with medical conditions should also avoid following this plan. People with diabetes or hypoglycemia should also consult their physician before going ahead with this diet.
- Extremely restrictive raw diet plan can lead to growth problems in people of all ages.
- Following a strict raw diet plan can cause the menstrual cycles to stop because of extreme weight loss and insufficient calories. It can also lead to amenorrhea, a condition linked to uterine cancer.
- Raw and unpasteurized milk harbor pathogens and have been banned from human consumption in many countries.
- Most of the fruits and vegetables are edible in the raw state, but some can be toxic. Do not consume raw taro, cassava and rhubarb. Avoid consuming sprouted potatoes as they contain solanine, a toxin that can cause harm.
- People who indulge in a strict raw food diet have reported lower bone mass and lower bone density than people following a proper diet. This increases the risk of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Raw food diet requires tedious preparation like blending foods to make smoothies and sauces, or dehydrating ingredients to make cookies and crackers.
Yes, folks it’s a mix bag of good stuff and bad. Since, we recommend this diet only as a short term solution for loosing weight. We hope this diet will help you get rid of those extra tuff kilos. Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us.