The Raw Food Diet…Good or Bad?
Have you heard the hype about raw food diets? It’s a diet (or even way of life) that’s preached for many reasons, including weight-loss, increased energy, and as a general cure for many common ailments. Being in school and learning all about various diets, I wanted to try going raw! However, I sheepishly have to admit that I tried it before really understanding it, and had less than desirable results. So, for today’s post I thought I’d tell you how NOT to go raw, and why the same diet gives different people different results.
Why it didn’t work for me:
Time of year
It was January of last year, and for anyone living in Canada, you know what that means. It was COLD. Those who preach switching to a raw food diet say winter is the wrong time to do it and that spring is a great time to try it. Then summer is a time to really embrace it, as your body’s surroundings are naturally warmer, so there’s less need for the warm food.
I haven’t touched on this topic before, and it is something that at first can seem a bit hokey, but if you take it with a grain of salt I believe there’s some underlying truth to it. Ayurveda groups people into 1 of 3 doshas (Click here to see what your dosha is). Based on your dominant dosha, certain foods and ways of living will agree with you, while others won’t. Personally, I am the Vata/Pitta dosha, which happens to be on the colder side anyway. One of the main principles of Ayurvedic medicine is that ‘like increases like’ and too much ‘like’ will cause aggravation to the body. In my case it was too much cold (weather, body, food). Instead, you need balance with warm food balancing out a colder climate and body.
Through experimentation, I’ve come to learn that I need a higher amount of protein than most people to feel my best; and animal protein at that. The raw food diet gets most of its protein from sprouted foods, and nuts and seeds. As not all plant based protein are complete proteins (containing the 9 essential amino acids), it’s important to properly combine foods so that in combination, you’re getting all 9 essential amino acids. At the time I didn’t know how to sprout anything or about complimenting proteins, so my main source of protein was just nuts and seeds. I felt weak, and on the verge of a cold ALL the time and was literally dreaming about red meat!
I decided it wasn’t working for me when on a road trip with some friends. I kept asking if the room was cold, when in fact it was really warm. That night I had a steak, and felt a lot better. All that being said, I do want to highlight some of the benefits of raw foods and remind you that a way of eating can work for some when it doesn’t for others.
What’s still good about it:
Vitamins, Minerals & Enzymes
Raw foods do contain seriously amazing amounts of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, that are often lost after cooking. So, nutritionally, they are great and are easier to digest as the foods contain the enzymes to help you digest better. I incorporate a LOT of raw foods with my cooked to still get the benefits.
There are countless examples from the Hippocrates Institute of cancer and other disease literally being stopped in its tracks and cured when people switch to an entirely raw diet. For anyone that’s heard of Kris Carr, she is an amazing example of this.
So to wrap up…incorporating raw foods into your diet really is beneficial; however, be careful about going entirely raw without understanding exactly how to do it. I recommend working with a nutritionist to create a meal plan that ensures you get enough protein, and to make sure it’s something that will agree with your body type.