Yes, you can feel better by losing weight on a raw food diet. Mainly because you’re consuming larger amounts of fruits and vegetables, which in turn provide lots of fibre. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, sodium, and fats.
The Raw Food Movement has a very strong Vegan influence. However, you can consume uncooked meats and eggs if you choose to.
Raw foods are usually prepared and consumed straight away. Fresh is best. They are not prepared and stored for long periods of time unless they have been fermented or dehydrated. Namely because raw foods omit preservatives and additives.
Eating a raw food diet has several advantages. The increased fibre alone is great for the digestive system and improves health by keeping the digestive system functioning properly. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables also provides minerals and nutrients which help to improve overall health.
Losing Weight on Raw Food
It is true that some people do not lose weight on a raw food diet. Why? Well, that’s because of a large influence from a convenience perspective. You may have heard of Vegan junk food, well, there’s raw junk food too.
When eating too many high calorie foods you’re likely to get a similar effect to eating other types of junk food. In the raw food category it is also possible to eat foods that are high in fats, starches and sugars. These are often the issue.
For example, eating too many sweet treats like chocolate fudge brownie and ice cream. These can be made as raw food, but are they the right kind of food to go for?
Some examples of things to consider when it comes to foods is ‘what are they?’, such as:
Not all fats are bad. In fact, some can be quite good (in moderation). Fats can be found in a number of animal and plant based foods which can include:
- Tree nuts, and
Like fats, not all sugars are bad, and they too need to be treated as a moderate source of sustenance. More of a ‘sometimes food’ than an ‘all the time’ food. Sources of sugar tend to be what the body craves as it brings a quick source of energy. We’re hardwired to go for sweet things. Sources of sugar can include:
- Fresh fruits
- Dried fruits (very high sugar levels)
- Maple syrup
- Agave syrup
- Processed sugars, such as:
- Cane sugar
- Palm sugar
- Coconut sugar, and
- Date sugar
Raw foods typically have a lower GI (glycemic index) rating, which means there is a slower release of sugars. Additionally, they tend to keep you feeling fuller for longer. After transitioning to a raw food diet, people tend to experience fewer cravings for processed and sugary foods.
Starchy foods can be a reliable source of fibre and energy. Some diets, particularly the Doctor Sebi Diet, discourage the consumption of plants with starch in them for a variety of reasons. Starchy foods typically include:
- Root vegetables
- Green Peas
- Lentils, and
I’ve applied a number of approaches to how my diet works. A little bit from one methodology, and a little bit from another, so that it works best for me. Please note I am not suggesting that you stop eating these amazing whole foods. Just try adding more leafy greens and variety to your diet.
For most people, switching to a raw food diet will lead to healthy weight loss. Figure out the basics before you get fancy with the details. A simple way is to keep track of what you’re consuming with a food diary. Here are the basics:
- Eat a whole food plant-based diet
- Keep your fat consumption low
- Avoid processed food with additives like salts and sugars
- Move your body and get out into nature
By applying these simple steps you’ll be well on your way to losing weight on raw food diet. It may also be helpful to consider how raw foods can go hand in hand with different types of fasting.
Raw Food Challenges
It’s very complex to change something that is at the core of one’s biology and culture. For example; if you’re planning to change from a standard omnivorous diet to a raw diet, consider taking a gradual approach.
Maybe start by increasing the amount of whole plant-based foods you’re eating. Do this while reducing your intake of animal products. Then move over more towards whole plant-based diet, and gradually start incorporating more raw foods.
One of the challenges that people have when moving to a raw food diet is getting creative. This is a very different way of thinking if you’re used to buying pre-packaged, processed foods, eating meats, animal by-products, and cooked meals.
You need to eat more fruits and vegetables to match the high calorie foods you previously ate. It’s best to have a lot of variety. I think you’ll be surprised when you realise how many amazing fruits and vegetables are out there. Nature provides so much more variety than what we see as being available in most supermarkets or grocery stores.
Keep in mind that there is likely to be a new way of preparing your food when you are planning to lose weight on a raw food diet. If you don’t already have a food dehydrator, juicer or a food processor then it is worth looking at adding these to your kitchen.
Keep in mind that this could be a bit costly to initially get set up. However, you don’t need these items right off the bat. You can make do with a good chopping board and some decent knives to begin with. These are the basic tools for preparing wholefoods at home rather than processed foods bought in the store, or takeaways.
Why Choose Raw Food
Some people believe that a raw food diet is better for your health because the nutrients and enzymes which are naturally found in the foods haven’t been destroyed during the cooking process.
When food is cooked at 117°F (47°C) and above, it alters or destroys the enzymes which support the digestive system. Additionally, when exposed to heat for a long time, fewer nutrients remain intact.
An interesting series of studies on the energy force in foods have been completed over the years using a technique called Kirlian Photography. Take a look at the image below and check out the difference between the raw foods and the same type of foods once they have been cooked. There’s more to raw foods than meets the eye!
A raw food diet is fibrous, which is good for gut health. Studies have shown that most Americans don’t eat enough fiber. This is why so many people today are experiencing digestive problems like leaky gut, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Gastro, Constipation and the like.
Almost all the successful weight loss diets promote eating more plant based foods. They promote eating fewer processed foods, sugars and saturated fats. A whole food plant-based diet supports all these diet concepts.
I won’t lie, living a raw food lifestyle does take more effort and planning than the drive thru or Uber Eats alternative. Especially in the beginning. You will need to train yourself to think differently. But like anything, once you get the hang of it, it will get easier. And the benefits from a health and a cost saving perspective are certainly noticeable.
Don’t assume that eating lots of veggies that is going to be boring. It doesn’t have to be. When you start exploring different raw food recipes you’ll be quite surprised and how simple they are, and how good they taste. For example, we make a peanut free satay with Asian greens which is just amazing.
If you’re looking for some more ideas on what you can do to help you with losing weight on raw foods, PETA is a great resource for tips on food selection and preparation ideas.
Is Raw Food the same as Clean Eating?
Raw food is also referred to as clean eating because the food hasn’t been tampered with. Most foods are eaten cold or slightly warm. If you’re like me, you probably don’t want all your meals to be cold. So, when warming your meals, keep the heat below 112ºF or 44°C.
As touched upon earlier, the preparation can be extensive; from planning your meals right through to choosing your products. If you want to dehydrate some of your foods, this can take some time, so you need to be patient. You can also look at sprouting your own nuts and seeds.
Many Raw Foodies become experts at preparing their meals. From blending to dehydrating, it becomes an art form where flavors and texture are used to create amazing dishes.
What are the Downsides of a Raw Food Diet?
Naturally there are a few restrictions, namely cooking. This may restrict your choices when it comes to options for dining out. But nowadays there are more restaurants and cafes offering raw options which is great to see. So, it really just comes back to preparation. If you want to dine out, seek out restaurants and cafes which cater to your needs.
There are also concerns typically raised about food-borne illnesses, which can be eliminated by cleaning your food thoroughly before preparation. Raw food doesn’t mean unwashed or unclean food. You’ll need to make sure you get rid of any harmful substances that may be on fruits and vegetables before you eat them. And avoid eating things that really need to be cooked; like animal products.
Processed foods are typically treated in some way, which can mean ‘cooked’. Basically most of the things you’ll find that have been prepackaged and processed will be pretty much out of the question. Which could be a good thing to support losing weight on raw food. Or, a bad thing if you just can’t seem to kick the junk food. It all depends on your perspective.
On a raw food diet you’re less likely to buy products located in the central isles of the supermarket. This suits me just fine, as I tend to shop predominantly at the local veggie shops over the supermarket or grocery store anyway.
If you decide that you want to eat organic fruit and vegetables, this could become an expensive way to live. However, in my experience, I’ve actually reduced my food bill by almost one third opting to go plant based.
Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions
As most raw food diets usually avoid animal products, it is suitable for people needing to avoid dairy.
Nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables don’t contain gluten. However, you may need to avoid grains and starches if you want gluten free.
Unfortunately, individuals that suffer from allergies caused by tree nuts, avocados, and pollen borne allergies may struggle. But it’s not impossible. Seek help from a qualified Dietitian or Nutritionist for support.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn have done an amazing job at educating the world about the health benefits of eating a whole food, plant-based diet.
Losing weight on raw food may help reduce the risk of:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Respiratory Disease
- Skin Conditions
If you would like to learn more about the scientific findings of the benefits of eating whole plant-based foods, I would recommend reading books like:
- The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger
- The Fully Raw Diet: 21 Days to Better Health, with Meal and Exercise Plans, Tips, and 75 Recipes by Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram
Recipes for losing weight on raw food
If you find it difficult to get the creative juices flowing to create raw food dishes, I would suggest searching for inspiration on the internet or buying a raw food recipe book. There are lots of amazing chefs that share their raw food inspiration.
The good news is that raw food recipes vary greatly, and can be extremely nutritious. The trick in my experience is using a lot of fresh herbs. Herbs provide the extra flavor in dishes that a lot of people often miss. Once you get the hang of it, I’m sure you’ll find that they can be very simple and fast.
Many people report losing weight on raw food. Some report that it’s difficult to put on weight while eating raw foods. But if you want to focus purely on losing weight, then make sure that you eat fruits and vegetables that have a high water content and lots of leafy greens. Keep your water consumption up too!
Did you know that you could also see some amazing results on a water fast? Water fasting isn’t easy, and it is recommended by those who have done this many times before that you don’t attempt a water fast unsupported.
Remember that the more you practice, the easier it will get. Don’t expect miracles over night.
As the saying goes “Rome was not built in a day.” So, be kind to yourself, and if you struggle from time to time, that’s okay. You are human after all.
Be open to listening to what your body needs. I wish you all the best on your experimentation and I hope that you find it easy losing weight on raw food.