I always thought “raw food” was a diet for super-hippies and new-agers... until I tried it.
Now I’m hooked. I’m not 100% raw; sometimes I get tired of fruits and vegetables, and sometimes I eat out. But even when followed imperfectly, the benefits of a raw food diet are irresistible.
1. Lose weight. I defy you to gain, or even maintain, weight on a raw food diet. Really, give it a try. You can’t do it. When you cook food, you destroy vitamins and let minerals seep out into cooking water. But your body needs those vitamins and minerals. So it asks you to eat more, by telling your brain you’re hungry. So you eat more.
The way to reverse this is to eat food raw. You’ll be getting a lot more nutrients, you’ll be eating a lot fewer calories, and you’ll never be hungry.
2. Eat less animal food. The way we raise animals these days for meat, cheese, milk and eggs throws off their nutritional composition. We end up with more inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and less of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. And, we end up with more saturated fat and less unsaturated fat. These changes tend to increase your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer, and to contribute to arthritis, asthma and tendonitis.
Go raw, and throw those omega-3 supplements away. Because when you go raw, you avoid the health problems that meat causes. Unless, of course, you live near raw milk activists, inhale sashimi sushi or breakfast on beef Carpaccio.
3. Have world-class bowel movements. No, I’m serious. This one goes hand-in-hand with cutting industrially-raised animal products from your diet. Why it works I can’t tell you. Maybe it’s the fiber. Maybe it’s all in your head. But it works. If you’ve ever suffered constipation, diarrhea or hemorrhoids, get ready to kiss those problems goodbye.
4. Save the world. I told you the benefits were irresistible. This one also goes hand-in-hand with cutting animal products from your diet. It’s unconscionable how much land we use, chemical fertilizer we pump into the earth, water we consume and waste we dump into our rivers by raising livestock. Fruits and vegetables leave a far lighter imprint on the environment.
5. Save time. Congratulations, you need never cook again. (You’re not allowed to!) You need not run to the local deli or wait in line at the pizza parlor. Just shop once or twice a week. When you get hungry, grab a banana, apple, strawberry, orange or whatever you choose off the shelf and pop it in your mouth. Now you just need to figure out what to do with all that extra time. (Nobody said this would be easy.)
Don’t want to give up your favorite cooked foods? That’s fine. Some is better than none: The more you eat raw, the more good you do for your body and the world around you.