Raw Food - 5 Intriguing Facts To Know
As a nation, we’re becoming increasingly aware of what we eat and the direct impact that this has on both our physical and mental wellbeing. As a result, more and more of us are switching to either a partial or a 100% raw food diet in order to enjoy all of the benefits that can be obtained from eating pure food in its natural state.
But what exactly is the raw food diet? Below are five fascinating facts that you may not have known.
1) There is more than one type of raw food diet
The saying, ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’ applies equally to the raw food diet! In principle a raw food diet can contain any type of food, including meat, so long as it has not been processed, cooked or heated to a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius or over (the assumption being that cooked foods lose much of their beneficial enzymes and nutritional value). In practice, however, most raw foodists exclude raw meat and many even avoid animal products altogether. In addition, some raw foodists adhere to a strict diet that is 100% raw, whilst others prefer a partially raw diet.
The raw vegan diet
The raw vegan diet consists of unprocessed and uncooked raw plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains and legumes. Vegan raw foodists often supplement their raw food diet with a range of nutrient dense superfoods that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
The raw vegetarian diet
The raw vegetarian diet is similar to the raw vegan diet in that it rejects meat and fish. Raw vegetarians do, however, consume dairy produce and other animal by-products such as eggs and honey.
2) The raw food diet is not a new phenomenon
Despite its recent surge in popularity (thanks partly to the large number of top celebrities now publicly endorsing it), the raw food diet is nothing new. Indeed indigenous tribes such as the Aborigines and Inuits for example, have been eating a high proportion of raw meat, fruit and vegetables for thousands of years.
3) The raw food diet as health treatment was first developed by the inventor of a famous breakfast cereal
The raw food diet was first developed as a dietary health treatment in Switzerland, by Maximilian Bircher-Benner, the medical doctor who also invented muesli. After recovering from jaundice (with the aid of raw apples) he conducted significant research into the health benefits of raw vegetables and in 1897 went on to open a celebrated sanatorium in Zurich called ‘Vital Force’, which still treats patients today.
4) The raw food diet didn’t go mainstream until the eighties
It wasn’t until the 1980’s that raw food became a popular choice for those in the Western world. Huge interest in the diet was triggered in 1984 after the publication of a ground-breaking book by Leslie Kenton called ‘Raw Energy – Eat Your Way to Radiant Health. The book, which advocated a 75% raw food diet, highlighted the potential health benefits of eating raw food and actively promoted the use of sprouted seeds and raw juices.
5) Raw food is extremely easy to prepare
Many mistakenly believe that the raw food diet requires careful planning and expensive equipment. Yet, contrary to popular belief, many raw foods are incredibly easy to prepare and whilst a quality blender, food processor, juicer or dehydrator are ‘nice to haves’, they are not considered essential. And these days there are plenty of excellent raw food recipe books that showcase simple, yet delicious raw food recipes.