Introduction to Raw Foodism (Rawism)

Raw animal food diet - A sashimi dinner set

Many health conscious people are into raw foodism or rawism these days as they believe consumption of uncooked, unprocessed whole plant based foods is the secret to leaner, healthier body. While most of the raw foodists (as they like to call themselves) consume organic, uncooked food but there is a significant community who eat meat and raw animal products as well.

The fundamental logic between rawism is that plant foods should be consumed in their natural form – not uncooked or unprocessed as they are most of the times. Although, raw food diet can be a good kickstart for a healthy lifestyle weight loss program, it is essentially a lifestyle choice similarly to being a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian.

Maintaining a raw food lifestyle is not easy, since followers spend a lot of time in the kitchen peeling, chopping, straining and blending food as 75% of their diet is made from vegetables. Depending on the variety of raw foodism, the staples of the food diet can include:

Raw veganism – Raw veganism comprises of unprocessed plant foods not cooked beyond 40 °C (104 °F) as it is believed that food cooked beyond this temperature lose their nutritional value. Examples of foods included in raw veganism are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains and legumes.

Raw vegetarianism – Raw vegetarianism involves all food products included in a raw vegan diet, but excludes meat, fish and poultry products. However, it allows for diary and eggs. Examples of foods included in raw vegetarianism are fruit, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, dairy, eggs and honey.

Raw animal food diets – Raw animal food diet includes any unprocessed / uncooked meat that can be eaten in its raw state. This contains unprocessed meat, raw dairy, rotting-fermenting animal foods and to some extent nuts, sprouts, plants and fruits. Even so they stay away from raw grains, raw beans, raw soy etc. because of digestibility and toxicity issues.

Consumption of raw diet has received mixed reviews. While raw foodists had healthy levels of triglycerides, low cholesterol, vitamin A and dietary carotenoids, they also suffered from vitamin B12 deficiency, lower than average plasma lycopene levels and low bone mass in the lumber spine. In addition, raw food diet causes drastic weight loss leading to interruption in menstrual cycle.

On the other hand, raw food diet has been applauded for its nutrient richness as it is high in fiber and low in fat and sugars. However, raw food vegans should take care of their supplies of vitamin B12, calcium, iron, Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids as these are mostly found in animal products.

Image Credit: Creative Commons/Suguri_F

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