Types of Raw Food Diets


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

Many people would consider those who follow a raw diet to be amongst the most uncompromising about what they choose to put into their bodies. But among those who eat raw, there is a smaller subsection that chooses to apply even more rigid standards to their daily food intake: those who choose to live a raw vegan lifestyle. This means, no animal parts (meats) or by-products (eggs, milk or honey), and depending on the interpretation, either nothing heated to over 118 degrees Fahrenheit, or at least three quarters of all food qualifying as raw or uncooked. That would include vegetables and fruits, nuts, grains, seeds, sprouts, herbs and juices.

The raw vegan movement is one with many different arguments as to why their way works for them. For some, there are philosophical, ethical and moral decisions to be made regarding out place in this world, and they feel that this way of life has the most impact for them, while having the smallest impact on others. Some raw vegans are more concerned with the health aspects of consuming cooked foods and animal by-products, pointing to studies that show increasing cancer rates that are tied to the consumption of cooked foods, and the many benefits seen in a raw diet.

There are a number of subsets within the raw vegan group:

Fruitarian: This is the belief that one should only consume what is given to you by the plant as a gift. If it falls from the tree or can be taken without doing damage to the plant, then it should be considered edible. This would include fruits such as berries and fleshy fruits like apples, plums and pears. Some within the community consider nuts to be a type of fruit, while others disagree. Vegetables are not included in the Fruitarian diet, because their harvest usually involves doing grave damage to the plant. Some people point to passages in the Bible as proof that Fruitarianism was the diet of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Juicearian: As the name would suggest, all raw foods here would be reduced to a juice form before consuming. These juices are usually made fresh, and often combined with wheat grass. The blending and juicing process allows these foods to be consumed easily and absorbed quickly, giving the body a fast release of vitamins and other nutrients. Many studies have shown that higher intakes of vegetable juice can result in lower occurrences of some types of cancers.

Sproutarian: Again, the name tells you what you need to know. This diet consists of mostly sprouts, although very few within this movement subsist purely on sprouts. These tiny sprouts have all the nutrients a full-grown plant would require, and as such, you are not only consuming the plant, but all the energy it would use to grow, in the form of protein, carbs and oils. Popular sprouted foods include broccoli, alfalfa, fennel and fenugreek.



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