The Raw Food Diet – An Easy How To Guide

As more and more people turn to the healthier plant based lifestyle they will naturally start to feel fitter and healthier than ever. It’s the start of an exciting journey into healing the body and mind and living the wonderful life that you were born to live. The raw food diet can sometimes be a progression from plant based eating, and may evolve naturally as you start to listen to your body’s needs.

What does Eating Raw Mean?

Eating raw isn’t just some new fad and has in fact been around since the 1800’s, but of course even they didn’t actually invent it. Before the discovery of using fire to cook foods it would have been the diet we naturally evolved on, which kind of makes sense as to why it’s so healthy for us now, and in this raw food diet easy how to guide I shall skim the surface of this super healthful way of eating.

Raw food does not necessarily mean eating just plants as there are lots of animal products that can be eaten raw such as fish, meat, eggs, and raw dairy products, but as this is a plant based website I will just be focusing on raw plant foods only.

The Cooking Process can Destroy Certain Nutrients

potatoes and a saucepan

Eating foods in their uncooked state leaves all their nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants intact, therefore making them much more nutritious. You may be led to believe that cooking foods helps to digest them more easily, but this is mostly not the case.

Cooking foods often destroys those valuable digestive enzymes, but there are exceptions to this in the case of potatoes, carrots, spinach, asparagus, and tomatoes. Why? Because these vegetables have antioxidants that are released during the cooking process such as ferulic acid, lycopene, and beta-carotene (which converts to vitamin A).

What are Raw Food Benefits?

man jumping with rucksack

Eating a highly raw diet can really give you health a boost and make you feel lighter, fresher and more alive than ever! Live enzymes tend to have that effect and I’ve heard it said first hand from raw foodists that the rawer you go, the better the effects can be.

The raw food diet can also take your fitness to whole new levels too. In fact, there are certain athletes out there who have turned to this way of eating and have become the fittest they have ever been and a re beating their own records and times in their chosen sports. Brendan Brazier is one of these amazing athletes who lives on a raw food diet who explains in his one of his ‘Thrive Diet’ books that when he started to eat mainly raw he started smashing his own records and became an  Ironman triathlete.

But do remember that this is a pretty extreme way of eating that can effect everybody differently, and you really need to do your homework and know what you are doing to be sure you get all the nutrients and protein that you need first. I would not recommend this diet to anybody who hasn’t thoroughly researched it, but some of the benefits I have heard (and felt for myself on a highly raw diet) include the following:-

  • Supreme clarity of mind and thought
  • Glowing skin
  • Weight loss
  • Higher fitness levels
  • More energy
  • Less depression and anxiety
  • Higher immunity
  • Less sickness and bugs
  • No more sugar cravings
  • Better muscle tone
  • Anti aging of the body both on the inside and out
  • Feelings of euphoria and bliss
  • Not affected by stress so much

That’s a pretty impressive list, and something that you can work your way towards as you start to incorporate more raw foods into your diet. Now let’s take a look at how you can prepare some of these foods:-

Sprouting and Soaking

Beans, legumes and lentils will need to be soaked and sprouted in order for you to eat them raw as they contain compounds that inhibit enzyme function and can actually be toxic. Sprouted pulses are in fact a great source of fiber, protein, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals and should definitely be a part of a healthy raw diet.

It is easy to sprout your own pulses, seeds and lentils at home, and often more cost effective. You can then add these sprouts to salads, stir-frys, or smoothies, or just eat them alone as a snack. Here’s a short video to show you how simply sprouting this can be done at home.

Most other foods can, and should be eaten raw and in abundance. And many that contain the fat soluble nutrients such as A,D,E and K are better absorbed alongside a little healthy fat as this will greatly aid absorption. Examples of such fat soluble foods are:-

  • ALL green leafy vegetables
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Papaya
  • Butternut Squash
  • Cauliflower

Plant based sources of calcium

One thing I would ask you to be mindful of when eating a plant based diet, be it raw or not, is to be sure you are eating LOTS of calcium rich foods to keep your bones strong. You can get these from so many delicious plant sources that it need never be problem getting them into your diet, Please check out this list of the most calcium rich plant based foods and be sure to eat at least a couple of them every day.

Mixing it up!

I know from my own personal experience that I do feel better and better the more raw I can go. It’s very hard to go fully raw for obvious reasons but it’s actually much easier to keep it raw for say breakfast and lunch; and it’s probably safe to say that it’s best to get a good mix of both lightly cooked and raw foods, leaning heavily towards raw where possible. The definition of raw means anything that isn’t heated above 116 degrees, so you can still eat warm foods for the comfort factor, which can be great in the cold weather.

You can incorporate raw foods into every meal and snack quite easily. It’s simple to add raw chopped fruit to your smoothies or morning cereal, eat dried fruit, nuts, and seeds as snacks, or add large side salads to your main meals. Just by doing this alone you will be making your diet about 50% raw – it’s that easy!

Make your own veggie and salad dressings

green salad leaves

You can make all sorts of delicious raw dressings in a food processor to add to your veggies and salads: my favorite is avocado, lemon, olive oil, tamari or soya sauce, maple syrup, and salt and pepper. Just whiz it up and add ingredients to taste – easy! Putting a heavy dressing like this over your salad or vegetables makes it a filling and complete meal that really hits the spot.

Foods that are best eaten raw

Some foods offer far superior health benefits than others when eaten in their raw state and with all their nutrients and enzymes intact, and these top 6 should be incorporated into the diet as much as possible RAW.

  1. Bell peppers
  2. Onions
  3. Garlic (sorry)
  4. Coconut flesh
  5. Nuts – especially macadamia, walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts
  6. Seeds – especially hemp and pumpkin seeds

Benefits of a raw food diet include

1. DETOXIFICATION

As you start to incorporate more and more raw foods into your diet you will in effect be giving your whole system a cleanse. The fiber in raw fruits and vegetables will literally drag all the rubbish and toxins out of your colon ready to be excreted out of the body.

Keeping the body in a good state of detoxification will lower your chances of not only toxic overload, but may also help to guard against some diseases such as degenerative disease, heart disease, and obesity.

Try to add these top detoxification foods to your diet as much as possible to really boost this process, they are especially needed when you’re just starting out on your raw food diet.

2. ANTIOXIDANTS

unpaired electrons

The fact that plant foods are just bursting to the rim with antioxidants means you will also be decreasing your chances, yet again, of disease. Antioxidants help fight the free radical damage done to your body by toxins in your diet and environment such as junk foods, chemical additives, sugar, burnt foods, sun exposure, smoking, alcohol, and pollution.

Free radicals are unpaired electrons that mess with your DNA and accelerate the aging process. Antioxidants help negate this and so the more you can get into our diet the younger you will look and feel, both inside and out.

Green Superfood Powders

clear glasses of green smoothie

Green foods are something that you should be eating in abundance every day, no matter what kind of eating plan you are on. These foods are just rammed with fiber and life giving nutrients for energy production, and are absolutely VITAL to vital to a healthy lifestyle.

Sometimes it’s hard to get enough green foods into your diet, therefore you may find juicing an easy way to do this. OR for even more ease you could simply take a quality green superfood shot of the dried powder as I do. I find it just makes me feel energised and gives my skin a boost, even alongside an already healthy diet.

The best green superfood powders to choose

There are many to choose from, and they all have different uses and nutritional profiles. I find it is better to buy either a couple of different types and alternate with them, or a blend with a little of everything. I have reviewed (and tried) some of the best superfood powders for you, and some of them are seriously mind-blowingly nutritious.

I know I’m embarrassingly superfood nerdy, but we are living in a time where we now have available to us the best foods on the planet, and that gets me rather excited thinking how we have the means to take our health to un- chartered levels if we wish to.

3. STRONGER IMMUNITY

As raw fruits and vegetables still have their nutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and digestive enzymes intact they will offer you higher immune protection than cooked or dead foods. It is however, very important to source out as good a quality, local and preferably as organic as you can afford because these factors make a huge difference in food and nutrient quality.

4. LESS STOMACH PROBLEMS

Raw foods, because of their natural digestive enzymes, will help to ease and even eliminate completely stomach and digestive problems such as IBS, heartburn, gas, constipation, and indigestion. This will be dependent on the individual of course, and it may take some time for you body to get used to lots of fibrous foods, but it’s worth a try.

5. BETTER SATISFACTION VALUE

raw salad

As raw foods are just SO nutritious, you will feel more satisfied for longer periods after you have eaten. This is simply because your body has been given all the nutrients it needs to thrive on in their most bio-available and natural forms, which will help stop sugar cravings AND help keep blood sugars stable.

Stable blood sugar is vital for good health and a healthy BMI, and may also play a role in the prevention of many diseases. The most common being type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, some cancers, heart disease, and obesity.

Low GI plant based eating is a great place to start if you want to get in shape, detoxify your body, kick sugar cravings, lower your chance of disease, or boost energy. Eating plant based with lots of raw foods will help you to achieve this fast.

5. FLAVOUR

Finally, raw foods can be absolutely delicious! It’s really easy to whip up a crunchy salad with a homemade avocado dressing; and don’t even get me started on raw desserts which are simply out of this world tasty. Every week I make myself a raw carrot cake, the beauty of which is they can be eaten guilt free any time of day.

Energy Balls

Raw energy balls are a really simple snack to keep in your fridge and are great when you feel peckish; or even better as a pre/post-workout snack as they are full of nutrition and slow release energy.

There are so many different versions and flavours you can make and they all pretty much have a base of smooshed together dates and nuts. From there you can add other nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, cacao, and flavourings – the world is your oyster for experimentation when it comes to energy balls!

If you want to make any of these delicious raw recipes for yourself then the internet is literally awash with them, and you should have no trouble finding something simple to try out for starters. Here’s some recipes I found on YouTube that are simple and easy to get you started:-

CONCLUSION:

Adding more raw foods to your diet will definitely give you some wonderful rawesome health benefits. Nobody is saying you need to go 100% raw; just start by adding more and more raw foods and get your taste buds accustomed.

Raw eating is another level of health and the next level from plant based. It is something that you need to break yourself into slowly if you don’t want to throw your body into full on detoxification too quickly (which can make you feel awful and more likely to give up).

Raw Foods will make you look AMAZING!

woman jumping

Ultimately, going raw, has been said by my of its advocates, to cleanse your body and mind and take you on a journey inside yourself where you will find clarity, bliss, and even spiritual awakening. This is the testimony of those whom I have spoken with that have been eating raw on a long term basis.

I’m not saying that this lifestyle is suitable for everyone, but it’s up to you to decide that for yourself. Personally, I like to do a mix of both, though one day I may go the whole hog and become a 100% raw food convert. One thing I do know is raw foods do make you look AMAZING in a way that I have never seen before; living proof that raw ‘alive’ foods bring YOU to life also.

Join the plant based tribe

We’re in the middle of a plant based revolution, and fantastic news this is too for the health of the nation. For more tips, guides, food plans, and everything else you need to know about this amazing lifestyle then sign up below and never miss another post.

Thanks for supporting Zestforever!

Stefanie Taylor
Plant based eating is set to EXPLODE in 2019; not just for health reasons, but also to help keep our beautiful planet thriving. I have lived this healthful lifestyle for over 2 years, which is the reason why zestforever was born to share my experiences, trials and errors, how I overcame them, and how to turn to this lifestyle in such a way that you will thrive too.

I have studied, tried and tested healthy foods, superfoods and diets for over 25 years, but nothing has come close to giving me the buzz of wellness that plant based eating has. To expand my knowledge further I have also studied and worked as a Sports Nutritional Advisor, Nutritional Therapist, and Clinical Weight Loss Advisor - all of which can tie in with the plant based diet.

This website is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical diseases or illnesses. It's merely meant as a way of showing you how to boost your health through the eating of more nutritious plant foods in place of junk foods.

I am grateful for your support, and I hope that the tips and guides you find here will help to guide you on your own plant based journey.

12 thoughts on “The Raw Food Diet – An Easy How To Guide”

  1. I love fruits and vegetables, so doing the raw food diet seems simple enough for me. I am curious how a raw sweet potato tastes. I love sweet potatoes but I am not so sure about raw. Same goes with garlic and onions, love em both. Just not raw. Would I still be doing the “raw food diet” if I did steam some of the items?

    Reply
    • Hi there, yes raw foods definitely take some getting used to that’s for sure and even I’m not 100% raw, I’m probably about 60% and that’s a percentage I can realistically do at the moment as I do like a cooked dinner in the evening. I think the raw food diet in essence is 100% raw but there are not too many people that can convert to this, not easily anyway as it can take years.

      We all have so much conditioning around food, in fact a lifetimes worth of conditioning, and also our bodies are just so used to cooked food that it can be a real shock to suddenly go completely raw. I actually did do it for 2 weeks once and after the first week of horrid detox type symptoms I actually started to feel different to anything I had ever experienced before. My skin totally changed and I felt so alive from the depths of my soul, I know it sounds weird but there’s really no other way to describe it.

      However, I did go back to my cooked food diet but still kept LOTS of raw foods in, for the simple fact that I wasn’t quite ready for that complete change yet, it kind of freaked me out to feel like that because I’d never experienced it before. So now I am working towards it more slowly but I know it’s going to be my complete lifestyle one day.

      I think you should just for now start adding lots and lots of raw foods in whenever you can. Or go at least 50% and build it from there.

      Reply
  2. I love the energy balls idea, because so many people are used to having food already prepared and having something you can grab and snack on when you’re hungry means you’re less likely to open a package or go out to Burger King. I had NO IDEA you could eat sweet potatoes raw, how do you suggest to prepare them? Thanks for the great info about the raw food diet!

    Reply
    • Yes energy balls are great and I always have a stock of them in my fridge, I even make them sometimes for the local gym to sell! As for sweet potatoes, yes you can actually eat them raw as they do not contain the dangerous enzyme solanine like regular potatoes do.

      You can make raw sweet potato chips if you have a food dehydrator, or you can slice them thinly and dry them out in a very low oven. Anything under 115 degrees is considered raw.

      Reply
  3. Great post Stefanie and something that I am really interested in, not for me only, but for my wife who is having a lot of problems now and needs to change diet. I’m going to follow some of your suggestions and recipes and try to start on. You should do recipes on raw foods.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the input Fred and yes, I do intend at some point to start adding recipes to my blog. In fact I do have two that may help you, one about turmeric and all it’s benefits which will surely help your wife with her condition. I’m not sure what she has but I do know that turmeric benefits SO many things that it can only help, not just for her but for you also. Please read

      Also,if you are chocolate lovers and want to eat healthier versions of high antioxidant and healthy chocolate, then you can easily make your own with just 3 ingredients. There is a recipe in this post

      Reply
  4. Hi Stephanie. What a wonderful article. I believe everyone could benefit from at least a 50% level of raw fruit and vegetables in their diet. My wife and I often have salads for lunch and during the hot season, which is about 8 months long here, we also have salads for dinner. Those energy balls sound delicious. I think I’ll just have to make some for snacks. I eat far to many biscuits and crackers at the moment and they would be a fantastic substitute. Jim

    Reply
    • Hi Jim, yes indeed they would. Energy balls are just so quick and easy to prepare and you could just as easily grab a couple of those instead of reaching for the biscuits. Plus they will make you feel fuller for longer so it’s an all round win!

      It’s great you already eat lots of raw veggies and salads; it’s so surprising the difference raw meals make to energy levels I always think. In fact, sometimes I will do a whole day of just raw foods and when I wake up the next morning I feel transformed and lighter, even clearer headed. You really can feel it that quickly, but it is a hard diet to maintain – especially if you live in an area where there are not lots of fresh fruits and vegetables available. This is why I always have a green superfood powder on standby.

      Reply
  5. This your article is so informative, I am a vegan lover. You’ve described some raw food to eat that, unfortunately, is hard for me to eat such as garlic you did well by saying sorry. I am curious about energy balls, I should give a try. Great job, bless up!

    Reply
    • Hi Daniel, yes a lot of people would have a problem with eating raw garlic I know! Ha ha. A good way to do it is to crush some up and add it raw into a soup or stew after you’ve taken it off the heat and are ready to serve. This should leave a lot of its truly amazing nutritional benefits in tact without it tasting bad. Also, it would be better for your breath this way too!

      You should definitely try those energy balls as they are just so simple and quick to make and you can leave them in the fridge all week and eat as and when. They really are a healthy treat that will also give you a boost of energy. Especially good if you are about to do some exercise or go to the gym. They also act as a pre AND post workout snack.

      Reply
  6. Hey Stefanie. Great information here! I’m really into fruits and vegetables because of my type 2 diabetes. These are the best foods regardless. I never thought too much about raw foods though, and of course they are healthier for you. But garlic is one thing I will never like.
    I like what the benefits are for raw foods and those energy balls sound good! Thanks for providing some excellent tips!
    ~Rob

    Reply
    • Hi Rob, no not many people do like raw garlic so I don’t blame you on that one! Ha ha. Yes, I can imagine having type 2 diabetes kind of forces you into a healthier lifestyle. I eat loads of fruits and veggies too, in fact they pretty much make up about 50% of my total diet, and I always try to eat them as raw or lightly cooked as possible.

      Reply

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