Definition of Raw Foodism:
Wikipedia tells us "Raw foodism (or rawism) is a lifestyle promoting the consumption of un-cooked, un-processed, and often organic foods as a large percentage of the diet. If 75-100% of a person's total food consumption is raw food, he/she is considered a raw foodist or living foodist. Raw foodists typically believe that the greater the percentage of raw food in the diet, the greater the health benefits. Raw foodism or a raw diet is usually equated with raw veganism in which only raw plant foods are eaten, but other raw foodists emphasize raw meat and other raw animal products. Depending on the type of lifestyle and results desired, raw food diets may include a selectıon of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds (including sprouted whole grains such as gaba rice), eggs, fish (such as sashimi), meat (such as carpaccio), and non-pasteurized/non-homogenized dairy products (such as raw milk, raw cheese, and raw yogurt). Raw foodists can be divided between those that advocate raw vegetarianism or raw veganism, those that advocate a raw omnivorous diet, and those that advocate a diet of only raw animal foods (carnivorous)."
"Adherents of raw foodism believe that consumption of uncooked foods encourages weight loss (and stability, without the risk of re-gaining), while also preventing and/or healing many forms of sickness and chronic diseases. Some medical studies have indicated that different forms of raw food diets may lead to various health problems, while other studies have shown positive health outcomes with such diets."
Raw animal food diets
Main article: Raw animal food diets from wikipedia
"Included in raw animal food diets are any food that can be eaten raw, such as uncooked, unprocessed meats/organ-meats/eggs, raw dairy, and aged, raw animal foods such as century eggs, rotting (fermenting) meat/fish/shellfish/kefir, as well as, to a much higher extent, vegetables/fruits/nuts/sprouts, but generally not raw grains, raw beans, raw soy, etc., because of digestibility and toxicity issues and also because paleolists tend to reject neolithic or domesticated foods. Raw foods on such diets have not been heated at temperatures above 104 °F (40 °C). "Raw Animal Foodists" believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost much of their nutritional value and are harmful to the body. Smoked meats are frowned upon by many Raw-Omnivores. Some make a distinction between hot-smoked and cold-smoked."
"Those who eat a raw omnivorous diet usually choose to obtain their meats from free-range and grass-fed sources. This greatly diminishes the risk of harmful bacteria. A study by Cornell University has determined that grass-fed animals have far fewer E. coli (approx. 300 times less) than their grain fed counterparts. Also in the same study, the amount of E. coli they do have is much less likely to survive our first line defense against infection, gastric acid. Grass-fed meat also contains more nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, than grain-finished meat. Other studies show that E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and other dangerous pathogens have been repeatedly isolated from both grass and grain fed livestock and there are conflicting results regarding whether the levels of pathogens are higher, lower, or the same when animals are fed grass- or grain-based diets."
"Examples of raw animal food diets include the Primal Diet, Anopsology (otherwise known as "Instinctive Eating" or "Instincto"), and the Raw, Palaeolithic diet ("otherwise known as the "Raw Meat Diet")."
"The Primal Diet, is a diet consisting of fatty meats, organ meats, dairy, honey, minimal fruit and vegetable juices and coconut cream, all raw. The founder of the Primal Diet is Aajonus Vonderplanitz. Vonderplanitz has estimated that there are 20,000 followers of his raw-meat-heavy Primal Diet in North America, alone. Books by Vonderplanitz include "The Recipe for Living Without Disease" and "We Want To Live"."
"There are also those who follow the "Raw Meat Diet", otherwise known as the "Raw, Paleolithic Diet", which is a raw version of the (cooked) Paleolithic Diet, incorporating large amounts of raw animal foods such as raw meats/organ-meats, raw seafood, raw eggs, and some raw plant-foods, but usually avoiding non-Paleo foods such as raw dairy, grains and legumes."
"A number of traditional aboriginal diets consisted of large quantities of raw meats, organ meats, and berries, including the traditional diet of the Nenet tribe of Siberia and the Inuit people."
"Many foods in raw food diets are simple to prepare, such as fruits, salads, meat, and dairy. Other foods can require considerable advanced planning to prepare for eating. Rice and some other grains, for example, require sprouting or overnight soaking to become digestible. Many raw foodists believe it is best to soak nuts and seeds before eating them, in order to activate their enzymes, and deactivate enzyme inhibitors."
"According to some cookbook authors, preparation of gourmet raw food recipes usually calls for a blender, food processor, juicer, and dehydrator. Depending on the recipe, some food (such as crackers, breads and cookies) may need to be dehydrated. These processes, which produce foods with the taste and texture of cooked food, are lengthy. Some raw foodists dispense with these recipes, feeling that there is no need to emulate the other non-raw diets or increase sales of kitchen appliances."
"Freezing food is acceptable, even though freezing lowers enzyme activity. This view is only held by some raw-foodists, with many raw-foodists actually viewing freezing as harmful, though not as unhealthy as cooking."
Several raw food preparation books have been published including Raw: The Uncook Book: New Vegetarian Food for Life by Juliano Brotman and Erika Lenkert (Regan Books, 1999), Raw by Charlie Trotter, Roxanne Klein, Jason Smith, and Tim Turner (Ten Speed Press, 2003), Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis (William Morrow, 2005) and RAWvolution: Gourmet Living Cuisine by Matt Amsden (William Morrow, 2006).
"As the consumption of raw foods gains popularity, some unsafe foods have re-entered the diets of humans. The following should be consumed with caution:
- Buckwheat greens are toxic when raw, particularly if juiced or eaten in large quantities by fair skinned individuals. The chemical component fagopyrin is known to cause severe photosensitivity and other dermatological complaints.
- Kidney beans, including sprouts, are toxic when raw, due to the chemical phytohaemagglutinin.
- Alfalfa sprouts contain the toxin canavanine.
- Some types of raw cassava or cassava flour can be toxic.
- Raw eggs contain avidin, a vitamin B7 or biotin inhibitor, which can cause “egg white injury”. As many as 24 egg whites would have to be eaten to inactivate biotin. Avidin is denatured by heat.
- Raw seeds of the genus lathyrus (peas), can cause lathyrism.
- Raw brassica species can contain glucosinolate.
- Apricot kernels contain amygdalin, which contains the toxin cyanide.
- Raw parsnips contain furanocoumarin.
- Raw foods, particularly raw meat, may contain harmful bacteria and their associated bacterial toxins. Other parasites and viruses may also be present, such as toxoplasma, trichinella, or rotavirus, which may cause serious foodborne illnesses.
- Raw milk may contain Mycobacteria bovis (which can cause non-pulmonary tuberculosis)
- Raw foods include digestive enzymes (such as amylases, proteases, and lipases) which aid digestion, meaning that the body's own enzymes may work unimpeded in regulating the body's metabolic processes, and heating food above 104-120 degrees Fahrenheit degrades or destroys these enzymes in food. Eating food without enzymes makes digestion more difficult, which could lead to toxicity in the body and cause excess consumption of food, obesity and chronic disease, such as metabolic syndrome. Digestive enzymes are a limited resource in the body and eating cooked foods will deplete these enzymes.
- Raw foods include bacteria and other micro-organisms that affect the immune system and digestion by populating the digestive tract with beneficial gut flora, see also Probiotics and Prebiotics. These are generally killed by cooking. In addition, many Raw-Foodists, particularly Primal-Dieters, are believers in the hygiene hypothesis, a concept which focuses on the health benefits of exposure to parasites and harmful bacteria which builds natural resistance.
- Raw foods have higher nutrient values than foods which have been cooked. In addition, processed food and convenience food often contain excitotoxins (flavor enhancers) which can cause excitotoxicity. Foods with added chemicals, preservatives, additives, colouring agents/dyes of any kind are frowned upon by raw-foodists.
- Wild foods (or natural foods) are more nutritious than domesticated foods or industrially produced foods.
- Cooked foods contain harmful toxins which cause chronic disease and other problems, Heating oils and fats can produce trace amounts of trans fats. Heating sugars with proteins or fats can produce advanced glycation end products ("glycotoxins", see also Maillard reaction).
- Raw foods like fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and Raw Foodists believe they can help to stifle signs of aging.
- Eating cooked foods can lead to acidosis.
- Raw Foodists believe that opioid peptides, present in cooked foods, are harmful and highly addictive. However, opioid peptides are found naturally in the human body and known to play an important role in mood regulation.