Heard of the latest “it” diet? Athletes and celebrities alike are trying and touting the benefits of raw food. There are variations, but typically, a raw food diet is where 75 percent of your diet consists of plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds never heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Many followers tend to be vegan, but some will eat raw animal products, such as unpasteurized milk and cheese, certain types of raw meat, sashimi and raw fish. But why are people becoming raw foodists? Is it a difficult diet to follow? Here are the pros, cons and a simple recipe to try.
Weight Loss: If you stick with a raw food diet for a few weeks, you’re bound to lose weight. Because the majority of your diet will be based on vegetables, fruits and won’t contain processed foods, it’s very probable you’ll shed pounds due to the lack of calories, sugars and saturated fat in most of your meals and snacks.
Nutritional Intake: Proponents of a raw food diet say the cooking process destroys or alters essential enzymes, vitamins and minerals the body needs. Foods such as almonds, broccoli, garlic, Himalayan sea salt (did you know table salt is cooked to high heats, losing its essential minerals?) and chia seeds are more nutritious when eaten raw.
Health & Wellness: Raw foodists say that your risk of developing heart and cardiovascular diseases significantly drops if you follow this diet plan. According to most health professionals, a diet consisting mainly of fruits and veggies is considered key to keeping cholesterol and blood pressure in check and heart disease at bay.
Motivation: A raw food diet can be very difficult to keep up with long-term because it limits both the type and preparation of the food you can eat. It can be particularly hard to maintain if you often eat out at restaurants or dine at other people’s homes.
Preparation/Organization: To keep your diet interesting, raw food recipes involve a fair amount of pre-planning, grocery shopping, chopping and blending. There aren’t many fast-food or pre-prepared alternatives available if you haven’t planned your meal or snack ahead of time.
Try It for Yourself
If you’re interested in the health benefits of a raw diet, it may make sense to start integrating raw recipes into your eating routine slowly. Go raw one meal a day for a few weeks, then try going raw a full day per week. There are many wonderful raw food recipes out there that go way beyond the typical salad, including this one for “raw mashed potatoes.”
Raw Mashed Potatoes
A raw food diet doesn’t mean an all-cold diet. Many foods can be served at room temperature or warmed just slightly.
- 1 ½ cups chopped cauliflower
- 1 ½ cups chopped parsnips
- 1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
Place all of the ingredients into a food processor fitted with the S-blade and process for 30 seconds or until you reach preferred mashed potato consistency. Serve immediately or set aside at room temperature. If refrigerated, you may wish to warm your mashed cauliflower and parsnips slightly over low heat before serving.