RAW Food Diet

A RAW Food Diet consists of unprocessed raw vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). Heating foods above this temperature results in a drastic reduction of enzymes, life energy and a significant loss of nutritional value. Uncooked foods provide living enzymes, chlorophyll and proper nutrition.

The many benefits of eating raw foods, include: weight loss, more energy, clear skin, improved digestion and improved overall health. Many people clarify that they eat a "high raw" or a certain percentage of raw foods in their diet, such as "80% raw diet". A few people include raw, unprocessed dairy products in their diet, but most follow a raw vegan diet.

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Myth #1: You need to eat 100% raw foods and nothing else in order to get the benefits of the raw food diet.

While many people adhere to this myth, the reality is that for most who have been eating an Standard American Diet (SAD): high in processed and fast foods, any increase in fresh, raw foods is beneficial. Simple changes such as eating fruit for breakfast instead of pancakes or sausage will improve your health. Eating a salad for lunch will give you more energy than a hamburger, soda and fries. Most people agree, however, that in order to get all of the benefits of the raw diet, you do need to eat mostly raw foods, about 75-80% of your diet. Think of a plate divided into quarters. Three quarters of ever meal should be RAW and live.

Myth #2: Everything you eat on the raw foods diet will be cold.

Absolutely not! This is a myth that many long-term raw foodists still don't know is false! In fact, anything you eat can be warmed up, so long as it doesn't get heated above 115 degrees fahrenheit. Food can be warmed up in a dehydrator, or, for a more handy method, warm up soups and dishes by using the warming plate of a coffee maker or in your Vita-Mix.

Myth #3: The raw food diet consists of only raw fruits and vegetables.

This one is also false. A raw food diet consists of much more than fruits and vegetables. Seeds, nuts, nut "milks", sprouted grains, seaweeds and juices are all included on a raw diet, as well as some fermented and processed foods such as raw soy sauce, kimchee, miso, raw nut butters and cold pressed raw oils ... and much much more.

Myth #4: The raw food diet is more expensive than other diets.

Any diet can be more or less expensive, depending on your tastes. Some of the most expensive foods on the planet are certainly not raw foods, or even vegetarian or vegan for that matter! Filet mignon and caviar are not raw foods! Certain pre-made raw items will be rather expensive, but some of the best bang for your grocery buck will be found in the produce section of your grocery store. Apples, bananas, salad greens and many vegetables are all a bargain compared to steak and lobster.

Myth #5: You will have to eat all your meals at home when on the raw food diet.

More and more raw food restaurants are popping up around the country! Most big cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York have one or even more raw food restaurants, and many vegetarian and vegan restaurants also cater to the raw crowd. Salads and fruit smoothies can be found many places - just bring your own raw dressing, or ask for oil and vinegar.

Myth #6: You will spend all your time in the kitchen chopping vegetables and dehydrating foods for hours on end.

Well, you could. But who wants to do that? Salads, smoothies and many raw soups are quick to prepare. Realizing that many people get frustrated with complex recipes, there are many un-cookbooks focussed on created the raw food recipes that don't require fancy and expensive equipment and hours of preparation time. That being said, investing in a food processor will save you many hours of chopping and grating.

If you're serious about raw foods, I recommend you at least invest in a high speed blender (Vita-Mix, or a Blendtec) and a food processor. A good set of sharp knives, a citrus juicer and a spirilizer are also helpful. You may find that eventually you will want to purchase a dehydrator (Excalibur) and a juicer (Hurom, Green Star or Champion) as well.