Raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes can be fantastic for you. It can help to lower the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease, as well as helping with weight loss and the consumption of vitamins and minerals. You do have to be careful when eating a fully raw diet that you don’t become deficient in any areas, yet there is no harm in incorporating more raw foods into your balanced diet!
What Can I Eat?
It would be useful to give you a quick introduction to exactly what we mean by raw foods:
- Any fresh uncooked fruits and vegetables
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Raw grains and legumes, soaked
- Dried fruits
- Plant based milks
- Raw nut butters
- Cold-pressed oils
- Fermented raw foods, such as sauerkraut
So, basically anything that can safely be eaten without going through a cooking or heating process of any kind. For this reason, anything cooked, baked, roasted, refined and pasteurized, as well as coffee and tea, is not allowed. If you are not wanting to fully commit to the raw diet, simply swap out a few of these things for the raw items mentioned above.
The Benefits of Raw Foods
- High In Vitamins and Minerals – the core raw foods that can be eaten are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes, all of which are the staples in any healthy diet. You will be able to access plenty of great vitamins that can sometimes be lost during the cooking process. Although, you may still want to take a multivitamin or something specific like a vitamin D tablet to cover any areas that aren’t easily accessible through raw foods alone.
- Less Processed – many foods that people usually consume will contain lots of added sugars, salt and fats, so reducing your intake of these by eating more raw foods can give your body a much needed break.
- Feeling Fuller For Longer – the raw foods mentioned above are mostly high in fibre and low in calories, which means you can eat less whilst also feeling fuller. This can help to support the body and fuel it with the right kinds of food.
Things To Be Careful Of
Although you will be safe eating any raw fruits and vegetables, there are a few things you need to be careful of when it comes to the raw diet:
- Any raw or undercooked meat can be especially dangerous, as there isn’t a chance for the dangerous bacteria to be properly removed. This is also the case for raw or undercooked eggs, unpasteurized milk and raw shellfish. Although there are exceptions, for example cured meats, you have to be particularly careful. You ideally want to avoid all of these things.
- Kidney beans also need to be dealt with carefully, as they contain harmful chemicals which can be toxic. Cooking reduces the level of these chemicals which makes them safe to eat.
- Bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts or other kinds of sprouted seeds can actually contain dangerous bacteria that can cause food poisoning, so are safer when cooked.
Incorporating more raw foods into your diet, or transitioning completely, can be great for you and your mind. Yet, it will be more important than ever that you track your food consumption to ensure you are eating enough essential nutrients like protein and calcium. If you struggle to track your nutrients accurately, there is no harm in taking a calcium or magnesium supplement to be sure. Be mindful of the potentially dangerous raw foods and try to stick to what you know is definitely safe.