The raw food diet focuses on consuming unprocessed, plant-based, preferably organic, raw foods, with a minimum of 75 percent of the diet consisting of uncooked food. Many people who live on the raw food diet are also vegans, who consume no animal product whatsoever, including eggs and dairy. However, some who are not vegans will include raw animal products, meaning meat, milk and eggs.

Here are the main foods that can be eaten on the raw food diet:

• Beans
• Coconut milk
• Dried fruits
• Fresh fruits and vegetables
• Freshly made juices
• Grains
• Legumes
• Nuts and seeds
• Purified water (not tap)
• Seaweeds
• Other natural foods which have not been cooked or processed

The following foods may also be included in a non-vegan raw food diet:

• Raw eggs
• Raw meat
• Raw fish, including sushi and sashimi
• Unpasteurized dairy products

Benefits of the Raw Food Diet

The premise of the raw food diet is cooking foods kills the natural life-giving enzymes present in raw food. Foods may be chopped, blended and dehydrated, provided the temperature never exceeds 116 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to Vanderbilt University, nature has provided foods the perfect mix of the needed enzymes to allow the foods to be fully digested, and that cooking alters or destroys or these enzymes as well as the essential vitamins and minerals contained in raw foods.

Consuming mainly unprocessed and uncooked foods will allow significant weight loss and increase the body’s ability to fight diseases and even prevent chronic illness. In addition to weight loss, the health benefits of the raw food diet include increased energy, improved digestion, clearer skin and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke.

Here are two simple raw food diet recipes:

Collard Green Wraps: Serves five

Wraps
Collard Greens

Filling
3/4 cup hazel nuts
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup almonds
1 stick celery
3/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste

Soak the nuts and seed for 30 minutes and process the filling in a food processor, spoon onto collard greens, wrap and tie with an onion ring and garnish with chopped tomatoes.

Stuffed Mushrooms: Serves six

18 large button mushrooms

Stuffing
1 cup walnuts
2 cups basil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Salt to taste

Wash and stem mushrooms and lay caps bottom-side up in food dehydrator. Dehydrate at 100 degrees Fahrenheit until soft. Mix stuffing in food processor and spoon onto mushrooms.