The Truth behind the “Raw Food” movement

So we have all been hearing a great deal about raw food and how its so good. However, Is it really that great? And if it is, why? Lets look at the pro’s and con’s of eating raw:

Image from http://www.rawfoodrecipes.com/recipes/category/mexican.html

What is “The Raw food diet”?

Taken from: http://www.therawfoodkitchenkitchen.com.au

“Raw and living foods are about being unprocessed, unrefined, cold-pressed, and never heated above 44˚C (115˚F). This means that all the living enzymes in the food remain intact and that your body can easily digest and assimiliate every nutrient and deliver them to every cell in your body, giving you abundant energy, glowing health and a happy heart.
Raw food groups consist of organic vegetables, fruits, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, gluten free grains, good fats, superfoods, fermented foods and drink, sea vegetables and sprouted grains and seeds.
These ingredients allow you to go on to make the most amazing array of dishes, from dehydrated kale chips, superfood smoothies with almond milk and cacao, simple salads, cultured vegetables, nut cheeses, “pasta” dishes made from vegetables, or a “pizza” made from sprouted buckwheat or activated nuts & veges, home made “granola” to decadent desserts that are all gluten free, diary free, sugar free and taste divine!”

Pro’s:

  • Raw food contains a great deal of phytochemicals, most of which are more available uncooked
  • Raw food contains more vitamins and minerals than cooked food
  • Raw food has less energy available for digestion than cooked food
Now, The last one can be both a pro and a con. Although raw food may be great for someone who is already overweight as a tool to help loose weight, for someone who is of normal weight or underweight, consuming a diet which is completely comprised of raw food could be dangerous.
Because the cooking process breaks down cell walls, this allows the body’s digestive system to easily process the energy the food contains. If the food is left uncooked, then the body is unable to break down come of the tough, fibrous cell walls in food. this means:
More raw food=less energy available.
For the majority of us, this is perfectly ok, considering 68% of Australia and New Zealand is overweight or obese.
Cons:
  • Cooked food has more energy available
  • Cooking may have been one of the great evolutionary inventions! (See below)
  • The cooking process kills many pathogens and bacteria found on food, the raw food diet doesn’t allow for anything cooked over about 45 degree.
  • The raw food diet seems to want to sell you all sorts of strange and wonderful health food products-Expensive $$$
  • Not being able to cook food, means you are limited with protein options, this can be a huge problem for kids, elderly, and women on a raw food diet.
If you would like to know a little more about how food has affected our evolution, I found this amazing doco!
What are we supposed to make of all that? Well if you are overweight, choosing go go raw, or partially raw could be a great way to help you lose weight, just make sure you don’t get conned into buying expensive and unnecessary health foods. If you are already healthy, choosing raw fruit and veggies is still a great choice, and is always better than processed and packaged foods!

Then again I love a good raw cacao ball 🙂

http://www.thehealthychef.com/2011/09/protein-power-balls/

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