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Why the Raw Food Diet?

The raw food diet consists of uncooked, nutrient-dense foods that contain enzymes used to aid the body's natural digestive processes. Raw foodists are people who choose to eat a diet consisting of at least 75% percent raw and living foods. Raw foodists usually strive to eat an uncooked, unheated, and unprocessed plant-based diet. Raw foodists assert that the act of cooking food literally destroys the majority of the plant's nutrient profile, such as its natural vitamins, minerals, and essential enzymes. Many raw foodists believe that eating an organic plant-based diet in its uncooked form will detoxify the body. In fact, a large percentage of these followers claim that cooking food increases the chance of contracting debilitating illnesses that can be reversed with a raw food diet. Each individual carries their own opinion regarding the raw food diet; however, the majority typically agree that cooking is an unnatural process that destroys the important nutrients that maintain optimal health.

What Does a Raw Foodist Eat?

fruitA raw foodist eats unprocessed, uncooked fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, grains, and sea vegetables. In general, raw foodists promote the consumption of organically grown produce in their raw food recipes. They will avoid processed foods, which are saturated in pesticides, herbicides, and nutritionally-stripped fertilizers. Raw foodists consider these chemicals toxic to the human body. Therefore, they make it a priority to eat an organically grown, whole foods diet. In addition, raw foodists will purchase purified water, organic juices, and fermented beverages, such as kefir and kombucha. There are numerous sites online that offer raw food recipes and raw food diet recipes.

What are the Different Raw Foodist Subdivisions?

The raw food diet consists of multiple schools of thought that promote the ideal way of eating living foods. Some of these raw food subdivisions fall into categories that seem unnatural or incredibly restrictive for most people. For instance, the sproutarian believes that the road to optimal health lies in eating an abundance of sprouts. Fruitarians eat a diet consisting of at least 75% raw fruit. Liquidarians only consume liquids and fresh juices. Some raw food divisions incorporate religious beliefs, such as the Essene Sect, who believe in following the diet outlined in the Essene Gospels of Peace. Others attempt to discover an instinctive means of eating that falls into the previous order of human evolution. These diets emphasize following the guidance of the senses of smell and taste. Instinctive eaters will determine what they will eat for the day by choosing raw fruit, sea food, meat or vegetables as dictated by their sense of smell.

What Do Raw Foodists Claim?

Raw foodists believe that eating raw and living foods improves an individual's physical and mental health. Eating a primarily living and raw foods diet also helps to conserve natural resources. Therefore, many raw foodists tend to adapt an Eco-friendly paradigm. While a small percentage of raw foodists still consume animal-based products, the majority abstain and may even become raw vegan. Similar to cooked vegans, raw vegans do not partake in the consumption of animal-based products. They refuse to eat meats, dairy, and honey. In addition, they do not wear clothing where the material came from an animal. Raw vegans frown upon chemicals and dietary supplements that involve animal testing, which usually means that these individuals support the animal rights movement. Vegan raw food diet recipes can be found online.

Even raw foodists who consume dairy have strict guidelines to purchasing these items. For instance, some may advocate the consumption of raw milk; however, this violates federal law instated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nearly all raw foodists agree that cooking raw foods destroys the enzymes contained within the raw foods that aids in the digestion and assimilation of its nutrients throughout the human body. Many claim that cooking raw foods actually alters its molecular structure around 105 degrees Fahrenheit, essentially creating a toxic environment for diseases to thrive. In addition, organic foods lose their value once the cooking process reaches its height of 118 degrees Fahrenheit and above. This transforms the necessary minerals into their native state, whereby the body combines them with saturated fat and cholesterol that clogs the circulatory system.

Does Cooking Raw Foods Really Destroy its Vitamin and Mineral Content?

A vast array of scientific studies suggest that cooking does destroy the vitamin and mineral content contained within our food ; however, dissenting views claim that many raw foodists view this in an extreme light. For example, Mieko Kimura and Yoshinori Itokawa analyzed the vitamin and mineral content of food once the cooking process started. Both researchers analyzed the transformation of the following minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, and copper before, during, and after cooking the food. They concluded that roughly thirty to forty percent of the vitamin and mineral content were destroyed in comparison to raw and living foods. Vegetables usually lose a higher amount of vitamins and minerals. In addition, various cooking methods yielded different results in the destruction of these necessary materials.

A secondary experiment conducted by D. Rumm-Kreuter and I. Demmel concluded that the vitamin and mineral losses through cooking occur by many factors. These vary depending on the type of food, variety of vegetables, cutting and preparation methods used throughout the duration of the food's cooking process. Other attributable variables include exposure to the natural elements, such as water content, oxygen levels, light exposure, and temperature. Both researchers concluded that steaming was the most effective method of retaining the vitamin and mineral content within the food. Stir-frying and pressure cooking proved beneficial as a secondary cooking option.

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