The raw food movement is all about eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. In general, raw food enthusiasts believe that cooking any type of food destroys most of the nutritional benefits, makes food more difficult to digest and can be the root cause of many diseases and physical ailments. While this may seem limiting at first, there is actually a large number of foods you can eat on the raw food diet.
Eating on the Raw Food Diet
Most people who follow a raw diet eat at least 75% of their food raw, which means that it can't have been exposed to heat higher than 116-118 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also prepare foods by dehydrating fruits and vegetables in a dehydrator that runs at 118 degrees Fahrenheit or less, blending juices and raw sauces, soaking raw grains and legumes, and sprouting grains, beans and some seeds.
The raw food diet will seem less restrictive if you're already vegetarian or vegan. Many people struggle with food choices when they change their way of eating, so if you're thinking about going raw, you're likely asking yourself what you'll be allowed to eat on this diet.
List of Raw Foods
Download this printable list of foods you can eat on the raw food diet. This list includes options suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. If you need help downloading the list, check out these helpful tips.
Raw Food Recipes
Raw food recipes create new and exciting tastes, or recreate popular cooked recipes. There are thousands of raw food recipes available. In fact, there is a comprehensive listing on Living and Raw Foods and there are several popular raw food "uncook" books.
People following the diet can mix items to create a variety of sauces, soups (gazpacho style), dehydrated breads, smoothies and even mock meats. This can keep the diet far from boring and will benefit those who are new to the diet and unsure of what to eat.
- Raw Food Diet Meal Plans: Use these four simple meal plans as a way to get started on your raw food diet.
- How Make Raw Tofu: Learn to make your own raw tofu at home.
- Dehydrator Recipes: Use these easy recipes to make corn chips, fruit leather and squash, as well as a few recipes using dehydrated ingredients.
- Recipes from a Raw Food Expert: Learn to make frozen yogurt and tacos in these recipes from Katy Joy Freeman
- The Garden Diet - The Garden diet offers multiple recipes for planning and eating raw foods.
- Alissa Cohen: The Raw Food Diet - Recipes and meal plans are offered by Alissa Cohen, as well as some recipe books.
- Raw Vegan Power - Get 25 recipes for raw vegan dinners.
Raw Food Precautions
Proponents of a raw food diet swear by the health benefits, but if you're considering making the switch, make sure you do your homework first. There are certain nutrients that can be lacking in a raw food lifestyle, including zinc, iron and calcium. Most supplements have been processed, so they are ruled out as well.
Before starting a raw food diet, consult with your doctor. Seeking out the advice of a nutritionist is also an excellent way to find guidance and ensure that you're eating the right foods to maintain optimum health.
Change Your Diet
The raw food diet can take some getting used to. Be sure to start slowly as you get accustomed to preparing and eating more raw foods. In time, you're sure to discover both the benefits and a wide variety of foods you may never have tasted before.