22 October 09 Australian Natural Health

Raw food is the biggest food phenomenon of the moment, burgeoning into the realm of the “ultra trendy”. A plethora of raw cookbooks are being released on the market by big name chefs. But there is much more to the raw food movement than just fashion.

Dead or Alive

The raw food lifestyle advocates eating uncooked and unprocessed foods, or warming at low temperatures. Raw foodists claim the more raw food we eat, the more health benefits we can expect to enjoy. Generally the raw food movement refers to diets based on vegetable and plant (usually organic) products, but some emphasise the consumption of raw meat and animal products too.

The idea is that eating raw, organic foods will deliver far more nutrients and enzymes than their chemical-drenched, over cooked counterparts. As one online distributor of raw food accessories – says, the movement is getting bigger and bigger.

Ï think people are just waking up to the fact if you put good food in your body you are going to feel good”, she says. “You can’t put dead food in your body and expect to feel good forever.”

Raw foodists often draw a distinction between “live” and “dead” foods. The idea is that unprocessed and uncooked food still contains its nutrients, and therefore is “living” as opposed to cooked or “dead” products.

You still get all your nutrients there in raw food. For instance, when you look in a medical dictionary, it says high levels of B12 are killed off by cooking. When we cook our food we kill much of the nutrition in it and very often we take out the water content in it. We put dead food into our bodies.

Some raw foodists also claim that cooked foods contain cancer- causing carcinogens.

A Brand New Body

Raw food advocates claim the health benefits of going raw are tremendous. Some claim their mental and physical states are transformed since changing to a largely raw diet. One raw food advocate said, “My personal benefits have been absolutely amazing. I dropped 20kg and I dropped that really fast – in a month”. “My hair went from being lank and greasy to being curly. I had a few grey hairs- they’ve gone. I used to get boils on my neck, they’ve completely gone.

While the health benefits are inspiring, some research has suggested some types of raw food diets can lead to nutrient deficiencies or other health problems, so be sure to speak with a professional before making drastic changes to your eating.

What to Eat?

Despite how it sounds, following a raw food diet certainly doesn’t mean eating raw broccoli for the rest of your life. Raw food has become somewhat of an art form, where almonds can be refashioned into burgers and beans can be eaten like pasta. In other words, many of your favorite foods can be recreated with raw foods – even meat.

When a lot of people go raw, they are often interested in a style of raw cuisine called ‘raw gourmet’- where you can recreate pasta, etcetera, on a raw diet. When you change to a raw food diet, most people go to raw food trying to replace their previous diets, then gradually change their eating.”

Many raw foodists are also keen on what some people called “super-foods”. They have a very high concentration of nutrients, which is why they are called super-foods. The super-foods include agave nectar, cacao, goji berries, noni berries and flaxseeds. However, consuming these foods is not essential to a raw food lifestyle.

If you are switching to a raw food diet, find support of some kind. Having people to talk to about your different way of eating that other people think is weird or freaky is wonderful.

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