Ever since raw food became all the rage, women everywhere are wondering whether this extreme diet is realistic, and more importantly, if it's worth it. Meanwhile, celebrities from Demi Moore to Amanda Seyfried have been embracing this trend, advocating for its health and weight loss benefits.
Eliminating cooked foods from your diet is no doubt a drastic measure. Still, this movement has shown serious staying power - unlike some other diet fads, the trend is becoming more popular outside of Hollywood. Books are being published on the topic, nutritionists are speaking out about it and restaurants that serve only raw food are opening up. So is it right for you?
It goes without saying that any food that's been microwaved, grilled, sautéed or otherwise heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit is off limits. However, you'll also need to avoid anything that has been processed, genetically modified or exposed to pesticides. So what can you eat? An abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs.
While many followers choose to go vegan, you don't have to ditch animal products entirely. Unpasteurized milk or the cheese made from it is perfectly acceptable. If you like sushi, dig in to as many rolls as you desire as long as they don't contain any cooked fish. Nut butters are a staple, but you'll need to look for organic products that aren't made from roasted nuts. Wash down your raw meals with a lot of herbal tea as well as fresh-squeezed fruit and veggie juices.
U.S News & World Report revealed that people on a raw food diet only take in half the calories than they normally would, so it's unsurprising that you're going to shed some pounds.
By focusing on fruits, vegetables and other unprocessed foods, you'll be taking in less sodium, sugar, saturated fat and trans fat. As a result, a raw food diet is one of the most effective ways to ward off heart disease while lowering both your blood pressure and cholesterol. Moreover, the fats you do consume won't be saturated, so they're considered the healthier kind.
Still not convinced? According to Shape magazine, the raw food diet has also been associated with a significant increase in energy.
How to master it
There is no one-size-fits-all method for the raw food diet. In fact, it's best to adjust it to your own needs, tastes and overall lifestyle. A food processor will be immensely helpful during this diet since juices are a staple. Remember, you don't have to resort to all rabbit food - there are plenty of ways to shake things up so your taste buds don't get bored. Shape suggested trying to make a buckwheat-based pizza or a tart made from nuts and puréed fruit.
Most importantly, though, you need to make sure you stay satiated, which can be challenging when you're doing such a dramatic overhaul to your eating habits. The happy cleanse by bliss + joulebody is a doable detox that gives you three full days worth of delicious entrees, snacks and juices so you can kickstart your diet and ease into a raw food diet. As a result, you'll get to reap all the rewards of eating healthy without your stomach rumbling. While noshing on zucchini pesto "pasta," a lentil burger or hummus and flax crackers, you might even forget you're detoxing. The best part? Cookies are on the menu.
According to U.S. News, one risk that comes with this diet is that it's difficult to get enough vitamins B-12 and D. You might want to consider a supplement, like the nutricosmetics total bliss nutrient system, to be sure you're not missing out on any important nutrients.