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Debunking Those Raw Food Myths
Raw foods have seen an increase in popularity in recent years. Many people are exploring more diet options and adding more raw vegan foods to their diets and some are even going full-on raw.
What exactly does “going raw” mean?
Raw foods are those that have not been processed or heated above 115-118 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). Proponents of raw food diets believe that many foods cooked at a higher temperature lose their enzymes along with much of their nutritional value and in some cases, can actually harm the body.
Uncooked foods, on the other hand, provide living enzymes that have not been tampered with and proper nutrition. Most raw food enthusiasts eliminate diary but in some cases unprocessed dairy products are included.
Raw foods should not be refined, pasteurized, treated with pesticides or otherwise processed in any way. Instead, the diet allows several alternative preparation methods, such as juicing, blending, dehydrating, soaking and sprouting
A raw food diet may provide health benefits, including weight loss, a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and improved digestion and heart health
A raw food diet is usually strictly vegetarian, although some in the raw food movement allow unpasteurized dairy products, raw meat, raw eggs, and sushi. A basic belief is that you should restrict food that is cooked or heated above 116 to 118° Fahrenheit.
If you are thinking about joining this trend, there are some “raw foods” myths that you need to be aware of that are repeated over and over but are simply not true!
Myth #1 – All or nothing at all
The belief that we must be 100% raw to gain any benefits is far from the truth. The reality is, most modern diets are high in processed and fast foods so any increase in fresh raw foods is beneficial. Replacing soda, fries and burgers with green veggie salads for lunch, provide more energy and will always offer more benefits.
Of course, the more processed foods we replace with healthy fresh veggies and fruits the more benefits we receive. To enjoy all the benefits that a raw diet offers your diet needs to be about 90% raw foods.
One thing to take note is not all vegetables are safe enough to be eaten raw. Some vegetables, when eaten raw, can lead to digestive distress.
Here are some foods that you should avoid eating raw:
- Cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower.
- Red kidney beans
- French beans
Myth #2 –The belief that raw foods cannot be warmed is not true.
Raw foods can be warmed to approximately 118 degrees without altering the nutritional value. Food dehydrators are often used to warm foods as well as stove tops and ovens, making sure that everything is kept at a safe temperature.
Myth #3 – Only fruits and Veggies are allowed
The reality is, a raw food diet consists of seeds, nuts, nut milks and butters, sprouted grains, fresh juices and seaweeds. There are also some fermented foods such as raw soy sauce, miso and cold pressed raw oils.
Don’t limit yourself on your new raw food diet but explore as many possibilities as you can. Raw foods are readily available. Expand your horizons beyond your local market and find some farmers markets to explore.
Ethnic foods are another avenue for exotic fruits and veggies and don’t forget the power of the Internet. You now have choices from all over the world, although in the long run its best to use most of what is offered locally for reasonable prices and freshness.
Myth #4 – Raw food meals take a long time to prepare.
The success of a tasty meal begins with the tools at hand. With the right tools, preparing raw foods is no harder nor does it take any longer than prepping and serving cooked foods.
A high-powered food processor saves hours of chopping and grating time. A quality dehydrator can prepare tasty natural treats consistently so that you always have a fresh batch on hand and a blender creates yummy soups, smoothies and dressings in no time at all.
Myth #5 – A raw food diet will break the bank.
Not true. Focusing on local produce gives a lot of bang for the buck. Local offers the best prices, flavor and freshness. There will always be raw items that are more expensive than others, just choose wisely and shop around. Use the Internet when possible to save on items such as organic spices. Buy in bulk, watch for sales and skip the fancy platters and pre-cut veggies.
Watch these 3 videos below:
Raw Food Diets: Myths & Realities – Brenda Davis RD FULL TALK
Fully Raw Kristina – Raw food myths & mistakes to avoid
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