Yes…there is this kind of diet and in fact, it has been a trend lately. It is the so-called raw food eating that many of you might have heard of. It is not something new – the opposite – it is a diet that has been around since the mid-19th century and specifically, it was promoted by Sylvester Graham, who claimed that people would never get sick if everyone ate their food raw. The fact that this diet gives us the opportunity to eat tasty foods without practically cooking, in combination with the beneficial properties that a diet like this can have for our health, it is something that automatically makes it interesting and very attractive.
The foods that this diet mainly includes are fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and grains (mainly raw or cooked up to 40-48o C). It looks a lot like the vegan diet, even though some people can consume foods like eggs and dairy. What people who follow this diet claim is that it helps in losing weight, improving health, and intaking more vitamins and minerals. But is that the case?
Which are the pros and the cons of such a diet?
1. It is definitely a diet rich in legumes, vegetables, fruits, and so it shields the body from free radicals due to the many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that these foods contain. It is not by accident that these foods are included in most balanced diets or even in some express diets that become a trend from time to time. Moreover, you must have heard from a doctor, nutritionist, or healthcare professional that it is good for you to always accompany your meals with a salad or vegetables…not only for taking in more fibers but also for topping up on flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs.
2. What I consider a very important part of this diet (and I believe you will agree with me), is that the foods, which are consumed, are not processed and all meals have to be prepared from scratch. There is zero consumption of prepared meals or junk food, and it is a diet low in saturated fats and sugars. These kind of diets (low in fats and sugars), of course, can help in reducing bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and generally the chronic diseases.
3. As I mentioned above, such a diet is rich in fibers, necessary to make you feel full for longer, while they help in the digestion process. I have told you more about fibers here and you can see in detail all their benefits for the body!
However, there are some cons…
1. It is possible that someone who follows this diet does not eat the necessary protein for the body, resulting in being hungry more often or losing muscle mass. The main protein sources in such a diet are nuts, seeds, soy, and legumes. It is important to make proper food combinations so that you eat complete meals and not putting yourself in some sort of danger... Of course, it would be good to ask a specialist before you start or change anything in your diet. And remember…we necessarily need protein in every meal, for the better function of our body and musculoskeletal system!
2. It is a fact that some vitamins and minerals are lost during cooking, but based on surveys, the bioavailability of others increases. Furthermore, some enzymes and bacteria might be destroyed during cooking but this is something that will happen either way during digestion. Cooking, in fact, helps in destroying the harmful for the body bacteria, which we do not want to have in our stomach. So, are you thinking twice about it now?
3. We want healthy food to be tasty too…I think that you will agree with me on this as well. Then think…are you ready to eat only raw foods? There are, actually, countless healthy, cooked meals that it is shame not to have in our diet. In my opinion, a kind of Mediterranean diet is ideal for you to have a balanced everyday life and be healthy. Also, a diet like this helps in decreasing cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, increased blood pressure, and bad cholesterol.
Of course, as the Christmas season is on, I have prepared for you some relevant recipes so that you can try them and tell me your opinion! Two recipes that will definitely become a trend, are the raw Greek almond snowballs -kourabiedes, and the raw Greek Christmas honey cookies -melomakarona! Are you ready to try them?
I hope that those of you who follow this particular diet will love all of the recipes below!
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.