The latest craze in health, or “mindful”, eating is the “raw food diet”. Like so many things that human beings latch onto, even with the best of intentions, taking things to an extreme can be harmful. So, while you may not want to completely avoid a raw food diet, keeping things in perspective and eating raw foods in moderation will be far healthier than going “100% raw”.
Raw food veganism is a plant-based diet that involves no cooking. No food is heated above 104° Fahrenheit because, or so advocates would have you believe, doing so not only diminishes its nutrients, but also makes the food toxic and less digestible. In raw vegan parlance, cooking is killing and foods are eaten fresh, dehydrated with low heat, or fermented.
Many raw vegans speak of “live” foods versus “dead” foods, believing that “live” or uncooked foods to be filled with vital “life energy”.
3 Things a Raw Food Diet Gets Wrong
Many claims are made for the healthy aspects of a raw food diet but, as with most diet fads, there are a few very important points the advocates get wrong:
- Cooking reduces nutritional value of raw foods – Not always true. For some foods, the nutritional value is enhanced through cooking, making them easier to digest and increases their nutritional value. For example, cooking tomatoes increases by the bioavailability of the antioxidant lycopene five times more than eating them raw.
- Cooking destroys the enzymes in raw foods – So what? While it is true that heat destroys enzymes, human beings make their own digestive enzymes to break down large food molecules into smaller ones. In fact, most of the plant enzymes in raw food get destroyed by the acid of the human gut.
- Raw foods detoxify the liver and colon – First. most toxins concentrate in fat and fatty tissues, not in the two areas of your body that were developed to handle such toxins. They do this quite well, in fact. The colon is surprisingly low in toxins, while the liver is more of a chemical-processing plant than a filter; meaning it doesn’t get “clogged” with toxins but rather breaks them down as they pass through. (Click here for more the risks of a raw food diet.)
In all of recorded human history, no known human culture has ever attempted to survive solely on raw plant foods. In short, human beings are omnivores; you should avoid a raw food diet simply because we can eat anything!
Have you tried a raw food diet? What were the results? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!