Eating Raw - What Does it Really Mean?
As a nation we’re paying far more attention to our eating habits than ever before and a increasing numbers of us are attracted to the concept of eating raw – but what does eating raw actually mean? And how to go about it?
To help you get started on your very own raw food diet, we’ve compiled the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below.
What does eating raw really mean?
Eating raw means exactly that – eating pure, uncooked food in its natural state, food that is effectively still ‘living’.
Raw food should not be heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) and will preferably not have undergone any other type of processing.
That’s because raw foodies believe that cooking and processing food destroys the valuable live enzymes that it contains (and consequently a considerable portion of its nutritional value) and can create harmful toxins that damage our body.
What can I eat on a raw food diet?
Although some raw foodies do eat meat and fish, many are vegetarian or vegan. A typical raw food diet tends to include uncooked, unprocessed raw ingredients such as:
- Fruit and vegetables (fresh and dried)
- Nuts and seeds
- Sprouts, roots and grasses
- Herbs and spices
- Seaweed and algae
- A selection of raw food snacks (e.g. raw chocolate, raw snack bars etc.)
- Raw fruit and vegetable juices and nut milks
Must I consume exclusively raw food when eating raw?
Whilst there are indeed raw food ‘purists’ who stick to a 100% raw food diet, many raw foodists eat a ‘high raw’ diet that consists of between 75% and 90% raw food.
However, just how much raw food you choose to eat is entirely up to you - you can begin slowly by incorporating one or more raw food products (such as a smoothie for lunch or some superfood granola for breakfast for example) into your existing diet and gradually increase to a level that you are comfortable with.
The great thing is, eating raw can be tailored to suit your personal lifestyle and individual dietary requirements.
How do I prepare raw food?
The preparation of raw food is sometimes referred to as ‘uncooking’ – this tongue in cheek reference serves to highlight the simplicity of preparing and eating raw food.
The good news is that, as it’s totally uncooked and unprocessed, most raw food requires little or almost no preparation at all.
And there are plenty of excellent raw food recipe books specifically written for beginners that you can turn to for inspiration.
There is also a wide range of kitchen gadgets that will help take the strain out of preparing your favourite raw food recipes.
The three most useful pieces of equipment when eating raw are:
- A good quality blender
- A juicer
- A dehydrator (many raw food recipes, such as raw crackers, raw biscuits and raw breads make good use of these)
You might also find a sprouter handy, particularly if you enjoy growing your own wheatgrass or barley grass for juicing at home.