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Raw Food Diet Menu Plan

By Aurora Harklute

Guidelines

The major guideline to follow when adopting a raw food diet is to only eat foods that are uncooked and as close to their natural state as possible. The Best of Raw Food website considers foods uncooked if they are never heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The commitment to unprocessed foods requires that fruits and vegetables be fresh, unaltered and free of additives. Raw food diets also reject non-organic produce and any food treated with pesticides, irradiated or genetically modified.

Nutrition

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides many vitamins and minerals your body needs. The raw food diet emphasizes eating green leafy vegetables, sugary fruits and unprocessed foods with a high unsaturated fat content. These foods abound in most vitamins and minerals as well as beneficial antioxidants.

Balance your meals by consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as unprocessed whole grains that remain uncooked. Soak grains and seeds until they sprout to provide a raw form of carbohydrates. Because a raw food diet is often low in vitamin B12, an important compound found primarily in animal products, taking a B12 supplement may be necessary.

Meal Examples

The We Like It Raw website provides a weekly menu adhering to the raw food diet. For breakfast, eat several cups of melon or another sugar-rich fruit. Consider blending several fruits into a healthy, raw fruit smoothie to make yourself feel full.

Typical lunches consist of a leafy green salad with a salad dressing made of a raw plant fat, such as avocado, mixed with a sugary fruit, such as orange or lemon. Include one or two servings of fruit to boost your energy level.

For dinner, eat a large salad with a mixture of leafy green vegetables. Include fat-rich avocado, nuts, seeds or olives to boost the nutritional value of your salad. Supplement your meal with dried fruits, citrus fruits or raw vegetables. Avoid alcohol; drink raw or soy milk for nutrients instead.

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Benefits

Proponents of a raw food diet claim that it preserves the natural enzymes found in plants by preventing them from denaturing during cooking. According to The Best of Raw Food website, this type of diet also promotes consumption of beneficial alkaline foods that are higher in pH and boost immune system functioning. Raw food enthusiasts claim that the diet replaces "dead food" with live, energy-boosting food. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables does boost levels of vitamins and minerals, conferring many health benefits.

Criticism

Critics of the raw food movement say that a raw diet is highly restrictive and possibly dangerous. People who eat only raw foods may limit their intake of protein, vitamin B12 and calcium, compounds vital to proper bodily functioning. Food scientists criticize the idea that the denatured enzymes in cooked foods are unhealthy, noting that humans' acidic stomachs quickly denature enzymes anyway.

A switch to an entirely raw diet is a significant lifestyle change that should be carefully considered. Consult a doctor or nutritionist to determine whether you receive adequate nutrients when adhering to the diet. Dietary supplements may be necessary to add calcium and vitamin B12 to your diet.

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