If you’re thinking of starting a raw food diet, you aren’t alone. More a lifestyle than a diet, raw food is proving to be incredibly popular among those looking to improve their health through eating whole, natural foods that are as close to their living state as possible.
Switching to a raw diet isn’t hard to do, but you will need to do some shopping to get started. How much preparation you do ahead of time will depend on you and your tastes. Not only that, but as you make the switch, you’ll need to listen to your body as it adjusts to this healthier way of eating.
Before making such a drastic change in your eating habits you should check with your doctor or nutritionist. This is true before starting any diet. Make sure that you don’t have any underlying health problems to deal with first. Because the raw food diet is such a different way of eating, your body will take time to adjust, and any underlying problems could be impacted as it goes through these changes.
While there are some people who eat a near 100% raw diet, most eat somewhere between 75% and 90% raw. Experts say to eat optimally for your health, each meal should consist of at least 51% raw foods. No matter how much raw food you plan on incorporating into your diet, it isn’t a good idea to switch completely in one day. Your digestive system has been processing cooked foods all your life, and having so much raw food thrown at it all at once can cause gastrointestinal distress. It’s better to make a gradual move into eating raw food, and start with one raw meal each day. Gradually increase the amount of raw food over time until you’re eating raw food for every meal.
Eating raw food will help to detoxify your body, cleansing it of toxins. Because of this, you might experience some uncomfortable side effects for a short time. Diarrhea is common when starting the diet, simply because of the amount of fiber that you’ll be adding to your daily meals as you eat more raw fruits and vegetables. As the toxins are cleansed from your body, you may develop a slight headache or even a very mild depression. The more toxic you are and the more substantial a change this diet is for you will dictate the severity of the symptoms you experience. However, it is important to note that these symptoms should pass quickly; if they persist or are particularly bothersome, consult your doctor.
When your body is more accustomed to raw food, you’ll find that it’s actually easier to digest. This is because living food contains enzymes that help your digestive system. These enzymes are destroyed by the heat of the cooking process. Heating foods to more than 115 degrees destroy the valuable enzymes in fruits and vegetables. Mixing raw and cooked foods in your meals can actually cause your digestive system to work harder since it needs to distinguish the cooked from the raw.
As you progress in your diet, have fun discovering new ways to eat raw! Sure you can eat whole, raw fruits and vegetables, but you can also chop, dice or blend your foods to create new combinations. Try julienned zucchini in place of pasta with a blended raw tomato sauce or enjoy a raw fruit and spinach smoothie for breakfast. Just because you aren’t cooking, doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. There are some incredible cookbooks developed by raw food chefs who are amazingly creative. If you are one who likes desserts, and who doesn’t, you will be delighted to discover how delicious and guilt free raw desserts can be.
Eating raw and transform your health and your waistline. But, you have to approach your new lifestyle in a smart way. Once you discover the benefits of the raw way of life, you won’t want to go back to eating the SAD (standard American diet) way of life!