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A raw food diet (RFD) is one composed either wholly or largely of uncooked food. People on this kind of diet generally set a minimum goal of at least 75% raw foods and 25% or less cooked food. Many achieve an average of 90% raw food. Foods that can be eaten to satisfy the 75% portion include fruits (fresh and dried), vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds and fresh juices. Soy products do not feature prominently in the RFD as is often the case in alternative or vegetarian diets.
The remaining 25% (by weight or calories) should come from primarily cooked vegetables. However, because this diet is sometimes difficult to maintain, many find themselves eating foods that are less than ideal. The justification for this is that it is better to be partially successful than a complete failure. There are benefits to be received from maintaining this diet even for short periods of time. Foods that are generally banned are meat, dairy products, fish, fried foods, foods containing preservatives and processed foods.
A long-term RFD should be supplemented as the intake of vitamins D, B2, B3 (niacin), B12 and the minerals zinc and calcium are typically low. A further consequence is the lower than average protein intake. Coupled with a low nutrient energy intake, the protein consumed may be being used as a supplementary energy source by the body, thus reducing the available dietary protein even further. As might be expected, the intake of antioxidant vitamins A, E and C is remarkably high. However, looking at the nutrient intake as a whole, the low intakes of certain essential nutrients coupled with the known physiological consequences cannot be outweighed by the positive aspects and should be taken seriously.
In addition, since a raw food diet high in fruit content produces somewhat more dental erosion than other diets, greater care should be taken to rinse or brush the teeth more frequently, especially after citrus consumption. [Caries Res 1999;33(1): pp.74-80]
The more you can learn about this type of diet, the more likely you will be successful in following it. One resource, among many, is Living Foods for Optimum Health : A Highly Effective Program to Remove Toxins and Restore Your Body to Vibrant Health by Brian R. Clement and Theresa Foy Digeronimo. This book makes the latest research and instructions available to all. Another book is 'Nature's First Law: The Raw-Food Diet - 6th Ed.'' by Stephen Arlin, RC Dini, and David Wolfe.
There are many retreats where one can experience this new way of eating while vacationing at the same time. Meeting new people who are eating the same way will help provide the insight and training that you may need to successfully make this transition. Many of them, some of which have been around for many years, can be found by searching the internet.
Ann Wigmore Institute
P.O. Box 429
Rincon, Puerto Rico 00677 USA
Tel: 787-868-6307, Fax: 787-868-2430
The Ann Wigmore Institute is a retreat and healing center. The Institute offers detoxification and healing programs using wheatgrass and enzyme-rich plant-foods to heal the body. Educational classes are also offered.
Creative Health Institute (CHI)
112 West Union City Rd.
Union City, MI 49094
Tel: 517-278-6260, Fax: 517-278-5837
CHI is a healing center offering an incredible 2-week cleansing and detoxification program as specified and fine-tuned by Dr. Ann Wigmore.
Nature’s First Law
PO Box 900202
San Diego, CA 92190 USA
Nature’s First Law conducts several raw-food retreats each year.
Hippocrates Health Institute
1443 Palmdale Court
West Palm Beach, FL 33411
Hippocrates is a healing retreat run by Brian Clement emphasizing the use of raw plant foods. For more information write or call.
|May do some good|
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|May have adverse consequences|
Antioxidant: A chemical compound that slows or prevents oxygen from reacting with other compounds. Some antioxidants have been shown to have cancer-protecting potential because they neutralize free radicals. Examples include vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, and germanium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q10, catalase, and some amino acids, like cystiene. Other nutrient sources include grape seed extract, curcumin, gingko, green tea, olive leaf, policosanol and pycnogenol.
Calcium: The body's most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. Calcium also forms a cellular cement called ground substance that helps hold cells and tissues together.
Cancer: Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.
Cobalamin: Vitamin B-12. Essential for normal growth and functioning of all body cells, especially those of bone marrow (red blood cell formation), gastrointestinal tract and nervous system, it prevents pernicious anemia and plays a crucial part in the reproduction of every cell of the body i.e. synthesis of genetic material (DNA).
Diabetes Mellitus: A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.
Enzymes: Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.
Mineral: Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.
Niacin: (Vitamin B-3): A coenzyme B-complex vitamin that assists in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Essential for the health of the skin, nerves, tongue and digestive system. It is found in every cell of the body and is necessary for energy production. Niacin is also needed for DNA formation.
Phytochemicals: Substances that occur naturally in plants and have been shown in research to possibly prevent or cure disease.
Protein: Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.
Riboflavin: (Vitamin B-2): A B-complex vitamin that acts as a coenzyme that activates the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is essential for cellular oxidation and necessary for healthy skin and eyes.
Zinc: An essential trace mineral. The functions of zinc are enzymatic. There are over 70 metalloenzymes known to require zinc for their functions. The main biochemicals in which zinc has been found to be necessary include: enzymes and enzymatic function, protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Zinc is a constituent of insulin and male reproductive fluid. Zinc is necessary for the proper metabolism of alcohol, to get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in working muscles and to transfer it to the lungs. Zinc is involved in the health of the immune system, assists vitamin A utilization and is involved in the formation of bone and teeth.