When one thinks of the world of raw foods and strict raw food eating, one may get images of perhaps the early days (around the late 60’s) of American raw foodism, where raw foods diets consisted predominantly of: bowls of raw alfalfa sprouts, leaves of lettuce, and handfuls of seeds and nuts. Well, raw foods and raw foodism has gotten a major culinary and image makeover! The more ‘up-to-date’ world of raw foods and raw food eating has come a long way since the 60’s and 70’s, and is now becoming more hip and mainstream in America (and around the world). It is also being evaluated for its potential health and healing benefits! In addition, there are now a number of raw food chefs and raw food restaurants popping up around the country that can prepare and provide a delicious, visually appealing, healthy, culinary experience!
Defining what Raw Foodism is:
Raw foodism (sometimes referred to as rawism) is a way of life that promotes the consumption of uncooked (or) very low temperature-dried, minimally processed (or) unprocessed, whole food. A raw foodist is one who engages in a raw food lifestyle – either a 100% raw food diet (or) a certain percentage of raw food in their diet. Consensus & research proves that in order for foods to be truly considered still ‘in a raw state’, the food must not be heated above approximately 116 °F (46.6 °C) - so as not to destroy beneficial food enzymes and some other nutrients. 
Raw foods maintain more nutrients [especially active: enzymes and (sometimes) probiotics] within their contents than cooked or heated foods do. Cooked foods are sometimes referred to as ‘dead foods’ because of their lack of live enzymes and probiotics. Raw, sprouted foods have even more nutrients than either raw foods or cooked foods. This occurs because more enzymes and other unique nutrients are actually created during the germination and sprouting processes!
The Benefits of a Raw Food Diet. 
Participants of the raw food diet and published research has stated that raw foodism has a number of health benefits, including:
- Increased energy
- Detoxification of body tissues
- Improved skin appearance
- Better digestion
- Weight loss
- Reduced risk of heart disease
The raw food diet contains fewer (if any) trans fats than the typical Western diet. It is also often lower in sodium; higher in important nutrients, such as: potassium, magnesium, folate, and fiber; and higher in health-promoting, anti-oxidant containing plant chemicals, called phyto-chemicals.
These properties are associated with a reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. For example, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consumption of a raw food diet lowered plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.
What are the Guidelines of a Raw Food Diet?
Beginning in the kitchen with raw fruits and veggies provides beautiful color, a powerhouse of nutrients, and exceptional flavor. Often, we think of raw as the "fresh" produce that we buy in the supermarket, but frozen fruits and vegetables are a great alternative when "fresh" produce is not available due to season or price and still offers many benefits. Raw foods are unprocessed, ensuring that the food is free from chemicals or additives that may be added in processing. Raw fruits and vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals that are often lost in processing. Whether it is fresh or dried berries in your cereal, thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers for an afternoon sandwich, or a nutrient-rich, colorful stir-fry, there is always a time and dish for raw fruits and veggies.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Dried fruit
Looking for good recipes? Try 100 Healthy Raw Snacks and Treats.
- Sprouting: seeds, grains, and/or beans
- Juicing: fruit and vegetables
- Soaking: nuts and dried fruit
- Blending: fruits, vegetables, sprouts into smoothies
- Dehydrating (not above 116°F (46.6°C): raw foods so that they take on the texture & mouth-feel of some cooked foods ( i.e., raw crackers) - while still also retaining most of the food’s natural nutrients.
- Large glass containers - to soak and sprout: seeds, grains, and beans
- A good-quality juice extractor - for juicing fruit and vegetables
- A dehydrator - a piece of equipment that blows air through food at a temperature of less than 116 degrees F.
- A blender, food processor, or chopper - to save time
- Mason jars (optional) - for storing sprouts and other perishable raw foods
Whether an individual would like to slowly incorporate more raw foods into their diet (or) become a 100% devoted raw foodist, there are a number of potential health benefits to doing this and you may even find that the ‘world of raw food living’ can be quite appealing to the palate as well!
Wondering if going raw is right for you? Sign up for a Nutritionist Consultation.
Interested in learning how to go raw? Call 877-773-8485 to speak to one of our Chefs!