Raw foodists believe that by consuming as much uncooked food in its natural state as possible, they may absorb more of the enzymes and other nutrients that are destroyed through cooking. Raw foods are also untainted by processing which introduce salt, fat, sugar, and preservatives—many of which are chemicals. Those who maintain a raw food diet tend to eat organic so as to avoid fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and other chemicals sprayed on produce. Subscribers to this diet believe that the more raw foods a person consumes, the healthier they will be. Many of those who take part are in addition, vegan. Foods allowed on the raw food diet include: fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, lentils, grains, dried fruit, freshly made fruit juices, purified water, and certain seaweeds. Not all raw foodists are vegetarian or vegan. Those who consume animal products may eat eggs, fish, and meat, all raw. Sushi or sashimi is on the menu for those who enjoy them. As for dairy, practitioners may consume non-pasteurized/non-homogenized milk and other dairy products.
Raw foodists say this type of diet contributes to significant weight loss. They also think it boosts the immune system. Foods are prepared but never cooked. Dehydrating fruit is allowed however. Raw food diet enthusiasts believe cooking food and destroying the enzymes makes food harder to digest, clogging up the system with items that haven’t been properly processed by the body. But those foods which are raw are easily digested. The body uses enzymes already available in these foods to do the work for it, in this view. Raw foodists claim to weigh less, have more energy, have better skin, and have far lower risks in terms of developing heart disease. Certain foods may be toxic if left uncooked. Those who want to take part in this diet must read up on it and follow preparation instructions carefully. It requires a lot of work, effort, organization, and preparation. It can hamper your social life, as you can find it hard to go out and eat with friends who do not subscribe. Staying motivated long term is the crux for some. Many starting this diet have also complained of irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive issues. But practitioners say these go away in a short period. Today, there are classes and cookbooks, videos, and other resources for those interested. There has been little research on the diet, however. But one study out of the University of Washington in St. Louis found that raw food vegetarians had less bone mass. Researchers indicated however that although their bones seemed to weigh less, biological markers indicated that they may be healthy.