A diet plan that involves zero cooking? Anyone who struggles in the kitchen is likely saying “sign me up!” The raw food diet combines veganism with raw foodism, supporting weight loss, improved heart health and a healthier lifestyle overall. It’s a healthy, energizing way of eating, and with the right recipes, you’ll love following this eating plan. Ready to learn more about the raw food diet? Check out our 7-day meal plan for beginners!
What is the Raw Food Diet?
The raw food diet is just what it sounds like- a diet based on eating mostly raw, unprocessed whole foods. Supporters of the raw food diet believe that eating raw foods is beneficial for health and weight loss since you’re cutting out high calories, sugars and processed foods. Also known as raw foodism or raw veganism, the raw food diet consists of consuming mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Some people also consume raw eggs and dairy, and even raw fish and meat, although this is less common.
Food is considered raw if it has never been heated over 104-118°F. It also shouldn’t be refined, pasteurized, treated with pesticides or processed in any other way. Alternative preparation methods such as juicing, blending, soaking, sprouting and dehydrating are used as an alternative to cooking.
The idea behind the raw food diet is that cooking food destroys natural enzymes and nutrients found in foods. Raw food dieters believe eating raw food makes them healthier, increases their energy, and helps them lose weight.
Can You Lose Weight on the Raw Food Diet?
Although weight loss is not the main aim of a raw food diet, raw food diets are low in calories, high in fibre and based primarily on healthy whole foods. Due to all these factors, weight loss is common when you follow a raw food diet.
7 Pros and Cons of the Raw Food Diet
3 Pros of the Raw Food Diet
1. Nutritional Perks
Most of the foods you eat on the raw food diet will be high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. The raw food diet is typically a low-sodium diet, free from added sugars, preservatives and other additives, which increases your overall health.
2. Weight Loss
You’re pretty much guaranteed to lose weight on the raw food diet since it’s very low in calories. It also urges you to cut out foods that typically lead to weight gain such as processed junk foods and added sugar, focusing on the consumption of healthy, whole-foods. The combination of these things help people on the raw food diet to lose weight.
3. Can Improve Heart Health
Since the raw food diet is so rich in fruits and vegetables, it can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The eating plan also focuses on nuts, seeds, sprouted whole grains and legumes, which can improve blood cholesterol levels and further lower your risk of heart disease.
4 Cons of the Raw Food Diet
1. Low in Certain Nutrients
Although you’re consuming certain nutrients on the raw food diet, you’re also missing out on other essential nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium and vitamin B12. And contrary to the claims that cooking eliminates nutrients from food, cooking can actually boost certain nutrients like beta-carotene and lycopene, and it also kills bacteria.
2. Some Foods Are Toxic When Raw
Before you get started on the raw food diet, it’s important to know that some foods can be toxic when consumed raw. These foods include buckwheat, kidney beans, alfalfa sprouts, parsnips, eggs and meat.
3. Bloating and Gas
Bloating and gas are a side effect of the raw food diet. Many raw vegetables are rich in insoluble fibres, which we can’t digest and get fermented in the gut by bacteria, leading to gas. Cooking helps soften the fibres. People with irritable bowel syndrome find the raw food diet particularly tough on their gut, causing digestive distress.
4. The Diet is Restricting
Adopting a raw food diet is restricting, to say the least. It’s fine when you’re at home and are able to prepare food for yourself, but issues arise when you’re out at a restaurant with friends, have a lunch meeting at work or at an event like a bridal shower. You’ll likely have to bring your own food to certain events so you don’t end up hungry.
7-Day Raw Food Diet Plan for Beginners
Breakfast: Cashew Cardamom Chia Pudding | Kitchn
Snack: Strawberry Peach Fruit Roll Ups | One Green Planet
Lunch: Raw Vegan Spring Rolls Bowl | Rawmazing
Snack: Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus | Vegan Family Recipes
Dinner: Raw Vegan Pad Thai Salad | The Spruce Eats
Dessert: Raw Vegan Lemon Cheesecake | The Queen of Delicious
Breakfast: Raw Apple Cinnamon and Chia Breakfast Bowl | Blissful Basil
Snack: 3-Ingredient Raw Cacao Bites | Simple Vegan Blog
Lunch: Vegan Collard Wraps | Avocado Pesto
Snack: Mashed Chickpea Salad | The Simple Veganista
Dinner: Raw Peanut Zoodle Salad | A Saucy Kitchen
Dessert: Raw Key Lime Pie Bars | Choosing Chia
Breakfast: Rise and Shine Smoothie | A Beautiful Plate
Snack: Raw Flax Seed Crackers | The Spruce Eats
Lunch: Creamy Cucumber Gazpacho | Full of Plants
Snack: Superfood Hemp Protein Bar | Nutrition Stripped
Dinner: Raw Power Zucchini Pasta with Hemp Seed Alfredo Sauce | Blissful Basil
Dessert: Two-Ingredient Banana Nice Cream | Brit and Co.
Breakfast: Enlighten Smoothie Bowl | The Simple Veganista
Snack: Chia Seed Protein Bar | Little Chef Big Appetite
Lunch: Spicy Mango, Ginger Soup | The Spruce Eats
Snack: Cheesy Cauliflower Popcorn | One Green Planet
Dinner: Raw Vegan Lasagne | Green Evi
Dessert: Creamy Banana Pecan Paletas | Dora’s Table
Breakfast: Superfood Chocolate Hazelnut Protein Breakfast Bowl | Young and Raw
Snack: Berry Bliss Balls | Del’s Cooking Twist
Lunch: Raw Cauliflower Rice | Raw Manda
Snack: Dehydrated Raw Vegan Cheezy Broccoli Chips | Sprouting Zen
Dinner: Raw Vegan Tacos | The First Mess
Dessert: Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream | Fountain Avenue Kitchen
Breakfast: High Energy Raw Breakfast Cereal | Small Footprint Family
Snack: Raw Food Trail Mix with Superfoods | The Spruce Eats
Lunch: Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad | The First Mess
Snack: Raw Chocolate Zucchini Bites | One Green Planet
Dinner: Pumpkin Seed Garlic “Pasta”| The Rawsome Vegan Life
Dessert: Raw Vegan Coconut Cheesecake Bites | Brit & Co.
Breakfast: Raw Apple Pie Porridge | Wallflower Kitchen
Snack: Raw Energy Bar | Hurry the Food Up
Lunch: Mango Zucchini Lettuce Wraps | Love & Lemons
Snack: Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Bites | My Whole Food Life
Dinner: Raw Beet Ravioli with Cashew Cheese | Pickles and Honey
Dessert: Raw Peanut Butter Cookies | Raw Manda
Ready to get started on the raw food diet? Try out this 7-day plan to see if it’s for you!