What Exactly Is the Raw Food Diet – A Closer Look
Also known as the living foods or fresh foods diet, the Raw Food Diet, as you’ve probably guessed from the name, is all about consuming foods that haven’t been cooked, processed, or fundamentally changed from their natural states. The guiding principle is that these foods should not have been exposed to temperatures above 104° Fahrenheit at any time before consumption.
That’s because according to supporters of the Raw Food Diet, heating your foods past this temperature can cause a breakdown in beneficial enzymes and nutrients contained in those foods. When these nutritious elements are left intact through raw consumption (raw supporters claim), you’ll supposedly experience a number of health benefits including:
• Weight loss
• Better digestion
• More energy
• Reduced risk of serious diseases
• Improved skin appearance
• Less mental fog
While the main staples of this diet are usually fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts, different variations allow dieters to consume certain kinds of meats, dairy products, and eggs as well (given that they aren’t heated above 104°F of course).
Since any type of cooking, sautéing, roasting, or baking is entirely off the table with the Raw Food Diet, many users take advantage of dehydrators, blenders, and food processors to vary up their meal choices and add complexity to their dishes.
History of the Raw Food Diet
Despite this diet’s recent surge in popularity, the truth is that the Raw Food Diet has actually been around for quite some time.
According to the New York Academy of Medicine, one of the very first pieces of literature on the raw diet was Uncooked Foods and How to Use Them by Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Christian printed over almost a century ago in 1904. This account involved a complete cure for stomach problems as well as perfect overall health after a year of 100% only raw foods.
The diet was further popularized by Maximilian Bircher-Benner. Bircher-Benner was a contemporary of the famous nutritionist John Harvey Kellogg (creator of Kellogg’s cereal and a figurehead in early health movements). His theory, which was outlined in his 1938
The Prevention of Incurable Disease promoted the power of soaked grains and raw fruits and vegetables overcooked meals, animal protein, and processed foods.
Both Bircher-Brenner and the Christian’s helped lay the foundation for the Raw Food Diet as it is today.