Raw Food Diet Myth

By Susan Ebacher

Eating a raw food diet is super-healthy. You will look better and feel better and be healthier than your cooked-food friends as long as everything you eat is not heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, right? Well, no – not exactly. It is indeed possible to eat a completely raw diet and still not be healthy and still not feel good, or even feel worse than you did eating cooked foods.

How Can a Raw Diet Be Bad for You?

It’s not unusual for raw food newbies to jump in and start eating lots of the wrong things. They still crave cooked foods, so they are attracted to recipes that mimic cooked foods. These are often complex recipes that use a large quantity of fats like avocados, nuts and olive oil, or concentrated sugars like dates and dehydrated fruits. Too much fat will only make you feel tired and cause you to gain weight, too. Did you know that a drop of oil can retard digestion for up to two hours?

Some raw foodists can be a little fanatical about eating raw in a religious kind of way. They believe that all raw food is good and all cooked food is evil. They would rather go hungry than have even a morsel of cooked food pass their lips. At the same time, they will think nothing of gorging themselves on raw desserts made with a cup or more of nuts and 16 dates, or eating salad dressings made with ½ cup of oil. Just the other day, I read a forum comment from one raw foodist who said she ate five avocados a day - that’s about 150 grams of fat and close to 1500 calories – not exactly a healthy way to eat.

What Is the Right Way to Eat Raw?

Nutrition is the key to raw food diet success. The simpler you eat, the better off you are. Your diet should consist mainly of whole fruits and vegetables with small amounts of nuts and seeds. Only about 10% of your total daily calories should come from fats – including oils, nuts and seeds. For example, if you consume 2000 calories in a day (which is a lot of raw food), only 200 calories should come from fats – 1 oz. nuts or 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil or ½ of an avocado per day.

Eat fruits in the morning and afternoon and save the fats for evening. Load up on vegetables in the afternoon and evening. Learn about food combining principles for the most healthful ways to eat raw. Certain food combinations will slow digestion and cause food to ferment and create gases. Knowing a few basic rules will help you to feel better after eating. One easy rule to remember is that greens go with everything, so go for the greens!

It’s easy to get started eating raw foods. Just begin by adding more raw fruits and vegetables into your cooked diet. Aim for 50% raw in the beginning and then keep adding more raw foods until you are eating 80-100% raw. If you are eating 100% raw, it becomes more important to learn about raw food nutrition. There are plenty of books at the library and tons of information on the internet to help you learn. Just be wary of the idea that if it is raw it is automatically good for you. Nutrition is the most important element for your success.
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