Non-Vegan Raw Foods


by Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Author, Eating for Energy

For outsiders, people who follow a raw food diet might get lumped in with vegetarians and vegans as humourless food fanatics. It is an unfair grouping to make, but to people who know of these diets only by half facts and assumptions, the idea of limiting yourself in what you eat seems counter-productive.

Vegetarians and vegans are used to this, but as a new convert to the raw food movement, it might take some getting used to. And while there are benefits to every different diet under the sun, and certainly no shame in being put into a group with vegetarians and vegans, there is one very large difference between vegetarian or vegan eaters, and those who choose to simply eat raw foods, there are raw living foods that someone who chooses not to consume animal products would not have on the menu.

Salmon is a perfect example. As a vegetarian or vegan, the flesh of a fish is not an option. But for raw food eaters, salmon can be a healthy part of their diet in a number of ways. It can be eaten completely raw as sashimi, or cold smoked and eaten in larger pieces. Either way, salmon has all sorts of wonderful benefits.

It is a low calorie meat that is high in protein and essential fatty acids like omega-3. They also contain a number of B vitamins, niacin and selenium. And of course, salmon is delicious, which makes it even easier to include in your diet. Because it is a quick-to-develop fish, it has lower concentrations of mercury than larger, slower-growing fish like albacore or swordfish. This means you can enjoy salmon on a more regular basis.

Oysters have always been one of those food options, even on a regular menu, that have been presented as raw. Yes, you can cook or smoke oysters, but fans of the food have often claimed that raw presented the best taste. Wild oysters provide a number of important minerals like zinc, something the body is usually in low supply of. They also contain vitamin D. Preparation is also very easy, as all that is required is to split open the shell. Garnishes can include lemon juice or a raw version of a hot pepper sauce.

More and more, raw milk has become the poster child for the raw food movement. Until pasteurization was discovered in the 1860s, raw milk was consumed without question. But in subsequent years, the de-ruralisation of society means that fewer and fewer people have access to fresh milk.

Pasteurization was introduced on a wide scale to control the threat of bovine tuberculosis from spreading to people; now, it is used as a safeguard against future and unknown infections in the milk. Raw milk is increasing in popularity, despite bans on its sale in much of North America. Raw food fans have long argued for its deregulation, after all, many of the bacteria killed by the pasteurization process are far from harmful. In fact, many yogurt companies have begun to add them to their product, advertised as probiotic cultures.



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