A raw food diet is made up of uncooked and chemically unprocessed foods. By virtue of its definition, most items on a raw food diet are fruits and vegetables. Purified water, beans, grains and nuts are also included. Concerns about taste and texture can be easily put to rest if you try a variety of different foods.A diet rich in raw foods may still use cooked items. Special cooking techniques will preserve all nutrients while increasing digestibility. Drying and blanching are two cooking methods that preserve nutrients. Investing in a food dehydrator may be just the ticket. Dried strawberries, pineapple, apricots and cherries just can't be beat. Dried yams, chick peas and carrots are also tasty. It may take a little time to get accustomed to eating this type of diet, but the improvement in your overall sense of well-being will surely please you. There are other benefits to a raw food diet. Healthy weight loss, better sleep quality, easier digestion, more energy and fewer heart problems have all been documented. Additional pluses include intake of less sodium and more natural vitamins and minerals. Raw food meals give the immune system a natural boost, also.If you experience cravings, headaches or transient nausea after you begin eating a majority of raw foods, do not despair. Your body is simply experiencing withdrawal from your previous diet of meats and sweets.Increasing your liquid intake will help flush your kidneys and clean your system faster. Be sure you drink at least 64 ounces of non-chemical liquids daily. Water is an excellent choice. When water seems boring, add non-caloric flavorings such as instant tea.Study a food list to learn which raw foods contain the most vitamins and minerals. Concentrate on adding those to your diet every day. Remember that B vitamins are not stored by the body. They need to be taken every day, either in the form of a commercial preparation or in specific foods such as bran and wheat germ. These are easy to get in cereals.A raw food diet may put you at risk for certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies. You will want to eat foods that include calcium, iron and Vitamin B 12 to prevent these deficiencies. Drinking fat-free milk will provide calcium. It is treated, that's true, but osteoporosis is more dangerous. The standard raw food diet fosters at least 75% raw or living foods, so milk won't make you a traitor. Almonds, dried fruits and pumpkin seeds are high in iron. The only truly reliable sources of natural B 12 are dairy, eggs and meat. Look for cereal and vegetable sources that have been fortified with B 12. Nearly all dry cereals fill the bill.Raw foods are not only healthy but also flavorful and varied. The addition of raw fruits and vegetables will be healthy, no matter what kind of eating plan you choose for your daily intake. Try many different foods to learn what you find tasty and attractive. You may be surprised at what you decide to eat regularly.Sources:Pierce, Kim. in The Dallas Morning News. 2008. The case for a raw food diet. Apr 7.Rauma AL, Torronen R, Hanninen O, Mykkanen H. 1995. Vitamin B-12 status of long-term adherents of a strict uncooked vegan diet ('living food diet') is compromised. Journal of Nutrition, Oct; vol. 125, pp. 2511-5.Hanninen O, Nenonen M, Ling WH, Li DS, Sihvonen L. 1992. Effects of eating an uncooked vegetable diet for 1 week. Appetite. Dec; vol. 19, pp. 243-54.
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