The original raw food diet was first officially conceived by a doctor, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, who practiced medicine in the 19th century. Upon curing his own jaundice by eating raw apples, he began to experiment with a diet consisting entirely of uncooked, natural foods. Dr. Bircher-Benner’s theory was that cooking and otherwise processing foods robs them of their nutrients and those elements that help the body’s immune system fight infections and diseases.
Raw food is that which has not been genetically modified, processed, heated at over 115°, or grown with or exposed to any chemicals. Were you to eat a raw food diet, you would have a wide variety of berries, nuts, fruits, herbs, vegetable and seeds to choose from. Other types of food acceptable in a raw food diet are spouts, grains that have not been genetically modified, dried beans and lentils, herbal teas, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and other raw and unprocessed oils.
When most people decide to follow a raw food diet they typically consume only about half the calories they would on a conventional diet, usually resulting in weight loss. This can be an advantage to someone who would like to drop some weight in a healthy way. Most of the people who adhere to a raw food diet are vegans but some elect to include dairy products such as raw milk, cheeses, raw fish and some types of raw meat.
One of the main hazards of a raw food diet is the danger of food poisoning posed by eating uncooked meats, eggs, and raw milk. Great care must be taken with the transportation and storage of these foods. Buckwheat can be toxic if the greens are eaten raw and raw kidney beans and sprouts may also be harmful. Alfalfa sprouts contain a toxin called canavanine while uncooked eggs have Avadin, which inhibits vitamin B7. You can also contract salmonella from raw eggs. Raw milk may contain a substance called Mycobacteria Bovis, which is capable of causing a type of non-pulmonary tuberculosis.
Your health can benefit greatly from a basic raw food diet since you’ll be eliminating animal fats that can encourage heart disease. If you are diabetic, you may find it easier to control your condition, mainly because of the weight loss and good nutrition. Most people say they have more energy, their digestion improves and their skin looks and feels much healthier. They feel full and are rarely hungry.
On the other hand, it’s inconvenient and difficult to follow a raw food diet if you want to eat away from home occasionally and it does have some initial costs depending on the equipment you buy. A blender, food processor, and dehydrator can run as much as $200-$1000; you don’t have to buy them but they give you more options in the ways you can prepare your food.