The raw food diet is capable of miracles. And it is currently taking the world by storm. I am still at the beginning of my raw journey, which started with green juices some four years ago. But among some of the most powerful raw food benefits I must include the diet's influence on your moods. My mind feels more balanced, my focus is better and I feel a notch happier through all the day's challenges and joys when practising raw foodism.
Raw food health often means quick weight loss, while you can eat all the calories you like - as long as they are raw and as long as you include enough high-water foods, such as fruit. Large amounts of green vegetables (easily taken in liquid juice form) are highly recommended as well, because they assist in fighting cravings, cleansing, detoxifying pollution and heavy metals from the body, provide oxygen to individual cells in your body, which in turn kick-starts health and increases energy.
The raw food diet consists of unprocessed whole foods and - depending on the 'raw foodist' - can include foods such as dehydrated crackers and crisps, luke-warm soups, chocolate cakes, unpasteurised (raw) cheese and butter (or vegan nut milks and probiotic fermented nut cheeses), ice creams, 'superfoods', such as spirulina, bee pollen and coconut oil, home-grown high-mineral vegetables, dehydrated kale crisps and sweet potato cakes, organic wine and vodka, sprouted rice and seeds, apple pancakes, and most delicious fresh juices and creamy salads.
The live food recipes are endless and often much tastier than cooked foods because the healthful ingredients used are more fresh and better quality. When transitioning slow, I would say that becoming raw is not difficult at all.
But it does require discipline because you have to make sure you always have some ready prepared snacks and foods with you, whether for lunch at work or for going out at night. Needless to say, however, the rewards are worth the initial trouble. And most raw foodists are not 100% raw but include some cooked items in their diet as well for convenience. Finding one's own balance and transitioning slow is important.
I would say that the main challenge to a raw food lifestyle can be financial. The idea for this website started with the thought of figuring out a way to overcome this challenge and providing an example that it is possible to eat raw quite cheaply (while living in a small flat in an expensive city). My goal is to spend £5.47 per day while eating comfortably! You can follow my day-to-day diaries for an update on this or read the summary at: "Raw Foods on a Budget Conclusions".
The raw food diet is not only for weight loss but is primarily a cleansing detox diet, a fundamental revolution in food and nutrition and also something quite political, capable even of providing a solution to world hunger, if the world can amass enough political will.
In addition, the production of food for raw food lifestyle encourages organic and sustainable farming practices and the planting of trees. Better farming practices produce food with a much higher mineral count, and the planting of trees improves air quality. And this is just the beginning.
I have begun to tackle this complex topic here: "Food Revolution to End World Hunger... and Other Raw Foodist Ideas to Save the World".
For advanced raw foodists or for those battling serious illnesses, juice fasts often become part of the lifestyle. These can be very comfortable, energising and inspiring experiences, if the body (and mind) is introduced gradually to raw foods and juice fasting. A smoothie fast is an in-between option, where your food choices are less restricted but your digestion still gets a break and can start losing weight, clearing toxins and healing underlying health conditions.
Raw foodism is also a lifestyle many celebrities follow, including Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson and Carol Alt. Also called the live food diet, it combines the benefits of a low-carb diet, mind and body detox, ph balancing, vegan diets and an alkaline diet... among other things.
I report on my own findings as my raw journey unfolds while also writing articles on various bits of research. This includes juice fasting experiments and a discussion on fasting, liquid diets and the possible benefits (and dangers) of calorie restriction in general.
Although elsewhere on this site I will in the future discuss different ways of working with the mind, memories, the subconscious and the energy body, I believe that raw foods alone can provide great benefits for these aspects of ourselves. One of the first things I noticed when starting on raw foods was improved moods and a more balanced mind. Also, the usual energy slumps during the day quickly disappeared. The benefits on the health of all aspects of the body are numerous, as the body strengthens and cleans itself on the cellular level.
It is important to listen to one's body and to proceed slowly on such an extreme change as the raw foods. It may be exciting to do one-week or one-month raw experiments, and in most cases these will be perfectly safe. However, at the same time, most of the people of the modern world are less healthy than they would like to think, even if the doctors' reports come back normal. The truth is that most of us have underlying health issues, some of the most common being adrenal fatigue, acidic blood, food intolerances, candida overgrowth, parasites, mineral-deficiencies, heavy-metal toxicities, and various nutritional deficiencies. In addition, we are often addicted to various stimulants, we have traumatic energy blockages and carry increasing amount of weight on our minds year after year. In short, we are physically and emotionally in a less-than-optimal state.
The good news is that surprisingly many of these issues have free cures available, and the rest can be addressed fairly cheaply. Some of these will be helped by the raw food diet, others not, depending on the individual circumstances.
One of the biggest challenges people seem to experience on raw foods is too much weight loss. There are many issues that have to do with a healthy weight and making sure that you are getting enough calories is the most obvious one, although often overlooked on raw foods. Too slow metabolism, impaired digestion and parasites are other possibilities for why people lose too much weight, whether eating a raw food diet or not. I discuss these issues more here:
How to Gain Weight on Raw Foods
After doing many juice fasts and feeling good on them, I was told by a naturopath that I was carbohydrate sensitive. This means that the body's insulin and other hormone levels are not optimal and the body cannot break down sugar as effectively as it should. Three immediate solutions to this problem are 1) to ensure that you eat protein on every meal (whether vegan or not) and 2) ensure you eat fibre with every carbohydrate-based snack or meal, and 3) eliminate all processed sugars and carbs, including honey and molasses sugar, until health has been restored. I think the vegetarian diet I have been on for almost half of my life has been too high in processed carbs and too low in protein, and the carbohydrate sensitivity has been a natural outcome of this imbalanced diet. The imbalances could be cured on raw foods but certain effort would have to be made to ensure the raw food diet was optimised for carbohydrate sensitivity. For example, in the end I found out that a green juice fast with spirulina as protein source worked much better for me than the fruit juice fast.
Some people cannot handle eating fibre-rich foods if their digestive system is not used to eating them. In this case it is important to introduce more fibre in the diet slowly.
Adrenal fatigue is one of the very typical problems of today, causing severe fatigue and inability to handle stress, and often needs the change of lifestyle as well as supplementation before healing can be achieved - raw foods alone may not be enough. With adrenal fatigue it is also very important to stay away from stimulants, including too many sugary raw foods, such as dates and/or honey.
Other, digestion-related problems such as candida, parasites and too slow metabolism need also be dealt with independently of the raw food diet.
This website will discuss all these issues in depth so that you can choose what the best route to healing for you is. Of course if you are super-excited about raw foods, you can jump straight into it and see how you feel. But keep listening to your body's messages and if thinking about becoming a long-term raw foodist, take it slow. Meanwhile, you can read about these other topics and see if you think any of them apply to you.
Either way you will be on your way towards extreme health and healing! I wish you all the success on you path of living foods and radiantly healthy life.
Any questions or confusions, or anything to add, comment below.
Note: This article is work in progress and will be completed soon.
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Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.