The Raw Food diet, also known as ‘Raw Foodism’ or just ‘Rawism’ is a diet which involves eating most or all of one’s food raw. This is done for health reasons, as Raw Foodists believe that this is a more natural, and thus healthier way of eating. In geological time, cooked foods are a relatively recent phenomena for humanity (and living organisms in general), as during most of the time when we evolved we consumed uncooked foods. Thus our bodies are adapted to raw food, and so there is the possibility that eating cooked foods can increase the risk of cancer and other illnesses. Proponents of the raw food diet say that it encourages weight loss, and heals a number of illnesses and chronic diseases.
Best For Health?
Nutrients and enzymes are also lost in the cooking process (especially boiling, less so for frying). Raw foodists suggest that many of the enzymes contained in raw food are destroyed in the cooking process, that these enzymes are important for digestion, and that consuming them lets bodies own enzymes work on other metabolic processes. Some Raw Foodists also say that not eating enough raw food can be bad for the teeth and jaw.
What Raw Food Can You Eat?
Some Raw Foodists also advocate eating raw meat and unpasteurized dairy. Studies suggest that cooking meat may create something called heterocyclic amines (HCA), which may increase the risk of cancer. Research at the National Cancer Institute found that those who ate beef rare or medium rare had less than one-third the risk of stomach cancer as those who ate it medium-well or well done. This research also suggested that a minimal amount of these HCAs are created when meat is cooked below 100 degrees Celsius, however. Eating raw meat can, of course, be very dangerous as it can carry a wide variety of microbes or parasites. Other foods can also be dangerous when consumed raw, including Rhubarb, Kidney Beans, Buckwheat, and Potatoes.
Getting Started with Raw Food
If you are considering adopting a raw food diet, it could be a good idea to start slowly, to see if you like it and how it effects your body. There are advantages to cooking food as well. Raw foods can be harder on the stomach, as can be changing your diet significantly in general. Also keep in mind that when you change your diet you will not necessarily be getting the same nutrients, so it is easy to be deficient in some areas if you do not plan what you eat carefully. There are many great dishes you can make with raw food, so if it feels healthy, a raw food diet or a diet with only a bit of cooked foods may be the one for you.