Raw food pro or not?

Credit @ sean dreilinger from flickr

I am no big fan of raw food. I confess, I have tried more than twice to consume some raw foods just to ensure what it is about it I dislike. I guess the reason is simple: it is raw. Plus, I was raised in a country in which predominantly all food I ate was thoroughly cooked. Anyways that is beside the point; let us not talk about what I consume but rather about how raw food has been seen in the eyes of some individuals.

Well, to bring light to those of you who don’t know, a raw food diet is typically made of 75% of vegetables and fruits. Raw food diet includes mostly nuts, dried fruits, sprouts, beans, seaweed. “Raw foodists” believe that this diet increases energy, give you more mental clarity, leaner body, clearer skin and they also believe it cuts the risk of disease. Usually raw food diet is organic and nothing is heated beyond 115-118 degrees Fahrenheit. From a raw food standpoint if you cook beyond 115 degrees, you destroy the enzymes that your body need in order to digest food .You are also destroying much of the food’s nutritional content. This is where it becomes problematic because on the other hand, The American Dietetic Association challenges this assertion. It says the body — not what goes in it — produces the enzymes necessary for digestion. The ADA also says cooking food below 118 degrees may not kill harmful, food-borne bacteria. Thus, if it does not kill harmful bacteria, it becomes a public health issue. Most of foods borne bacteria are responsible of major food outbreaks around the world.In addition,the raw eggs, raw fish, and raw chicken that some raw foodists consume are especially dangerous.Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among raw foodists, and can lead to anemia and neurological problems—vitamin B12 is found in animal products

Recently in the news, there was this big talk about how a Canadian chef’s McNish trades steaks for raw foods. In his first cookbook, “Eat Raw, Eat Well,” the teacher and raw food consultant provides 400 raw, vegan and gluten-free recipes and explains why he switched from a traditional diet and cooking steaks to become a vegan and then a raw food chief. He firmly believes that eating raw food has changed in life. Meanwhile, other people debate otherwise. Knowing that the results on whether raw food diet is healthy are mixed, what are your inputs?


13 responses to “Raw food pro or not?

  1. I’ve been wanting to experiment with this, actually but I’m a bit paranoid about salmonella :/ I still enjoy my meals nice and warm but have friends whose lifestyles support this. So will I try this diet at home? A resounding yes! 🙂

  2. I’ve been wanting to give it a shot, but I definitely couldn’t make it a lifestyle. I just love the way my food tastes cooked! Plus, it would be really difficult to get adequate protein without the risk of acquiring an infectious disease.

    • I know right..I have just been thinking the same.I am worried about acquiring infectious disease but some friends of mine are telling me that they have been fine eating raw food so..Well,I say we need more research on raw foods.

  3. Actually you wrote a very nice article! Many foods are amenable to temperatures that keep the enzymes alive (i.e., below 118 degrees F) and many are not. You can make some breads (sprouted, for example) and dehydrate fruits, and such within safe limits, but certainly not animal products – that is just not safe. Well done! Elizabeth, of 7healthychoices.wordpress.com

  4. Nice article but a little more research would’ve been nice imo :).

    Enzymes are BOTH delivered via food and provided by the body. A lot of raw foodies place emphasize on extra energy through extra enzymes, though the enzyme theory is just that, a theory. It has not yet been researched enough to either prove or dispute that the enzymes we ingest via raw foods are useful for human beings (although most people don’t have any problem accepting this theory when it comes to yogurt…). I, as well as thousands of other raw foodies world-wide, can testament to the extra energy you gain from eating lighter, raw foods, who knows if it’s the enzymes or the vitamins or something else. Frankly, who cares ;).

    Salmonella is a risk-factor when eating raw animal products which honestly a lot of raw foodies don’t do (except for maybe some honey and dairy, but most are vegan, or, when they are not 100% raw, cook animal products). Other things to be known about salmonella is that a) in a healthy, strong body, small amounts of salmonella (which everyone ingests) are not harmful and b) salmonella is only a risk-factor when good agricultural practices are lacks (read: bio-industry). It’s a bit the same with pasteurizing dairy and that whole drama in the states really. We only need to pasteurize dairy because we keep the animals crammed together and don’t trat them well. They get sick, they need antibiotics. Bacteria spread, we need to pasteurize the hell out of the dairy. If we treat our animals well, there should be no need for anti-biotics, pasteurization nor the fear of salmonella on vegetables….

    Last but not least B12 deficiency is barely more common in raw vegans than in meat-eaters (vegetarians are most prone to B12 deficiency) because most all of us are smart enough to supplement. B12 is not from animal origin but rather produced by bacteria. Due to the whole bacteria phobia, as I see it, the plant foods are cleaned from these bacteria before they reach the consumer (although there are raw foodies who grow their own food, don’t supplement, and show adequate B12 levels). B12 deficiency can even occur among meat-eaters (and is actually quite prevalent, same with iron deficiency even though supposedly meat is the best source of iron…..) which is more due to the body having issues absorbing the b12 (and iron) (called intrinsic factor).

    For those worried about protein: this is really a non-issue. Protein deficiency only occurs when under-eating calories. Pretty much all plant foods (even fruits) contain 5-25% calories from protein. Thus, when you eat enough calories, you get enough protein. There are plenty of raw vegan bodybuilders out there (like this hottie: http://www.cutandjacked.com/CutAndJacked-Interview-Calisthenics-Vegan-Frank-Medrano). Go ask them where they get there protein 🙂 (the answer is likely: greens, nuts, seeds, algae, sprouted grains and… the rest).

    Ok done with the rant. Sorry, there is just so much confusion on the raw food diet, while I see SO many people absolutely thrive on it. Myself included…

    I wrote a bit more info on the raw food diet here:

    and I also have an eBook for beginners, for anyone interested!

  5. Thanks Jennifer for attacking this topic. I’ve battled back and forth with the idea of going raw too. For me it’s the learning curve. I’m a busy working mom and ate a typical American diet most of my life although with lots and lots of salads. So, learning a whole new way of preparing my food and my families food seems too overwhelming most of the time. So, any little bit like your blog article that makes it a little more realistic and gives me more info, helps to plant seeds. Maybe some day I’ll get more active it in. Thanks.

  6. No problem Josslyn 🙂 I totally understand you, raw food can be so problematic because although it may beneficial to health ,there are so many disadvantages to it.What i would recommend is a careful choice of which raw food to consume.There are tons of article about it if you want to get at it..Good luck researching on it!

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