The raw food diet is based on uncooked and unprocessed plant foods. This diet contains both fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods such as sprouts, grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and dried fruit constitute this diet.
The raw foods diet is based on the premise that heating foods over a certain temperature can destroy the vital enzymes of the food. These enzymes are meant to help in the digestion of the food.
However, with them destroyed, digestion can be slowed down substantially. The proponents of the raw food diet also believe that the process of cooking diminishes the nutritional value. For any diet to be considered a raw diet, 75% of its constituents should be raw.
Raw foods do not contain trans-fats and saturated fats, therefore they are considered substantially healthier. The proponents of the diet believe that there are numerous health benefits of a raw foods diet. Some of the these benefits include increased energy levels, better digestion, weight loss, and a reduced risk of heart disease.
There are specific cooking techniques used for a raw food diet. Some of these cooking techniques include sprouting the grains, seeds, and beans, juicing the nuts and dried fruits to remove kernels, blending them with different ingredients such as milk, and dehydrating the food.
While at the outset it seems that the raw foods diet can be really beneficial for health, there may be some side effects too. Some people may experience detoxification reactions as soon as they switch to a raw diet. This is especially experienced by those who were used to consuming a lot of sugar, meat, and caffeine. Some of the other side effects of the diet are nausea, cravings, headaches, and constipation. These side effects are usually mild, but can last for several days.
It is also believed that the raw food diet is not appropriate for children and pregnant or nursing people. The diet may also not be suitable for those suffering from anemia or older people who are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis. Those who consume raw foods for a long period of time have lower bone mass and there is a high risk of demineralization.
There are also some practical problems associated with consuming a raw food diet. For instance, finding the right kind of raw foods may present a problem. Celtic sea salt, date sugar, and young coconut milk are some ingredients of the raw food diet that are not found easily.