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.
Foods are generally considered raw if they have not been heated to over 45°C (113°F). The naturally-occurring enzymes begin to be deactivated above that temperature, so foods dehydrated in a dehydrator at low temperature are considered raw.
The benefits of a RFD include:
- Increased energy
- Lower sleep requirement
- Improved appearance
- Improved digestion
- Less frequent or less intense colds and flus
- Increased resistance to both cold and hot weather
- Weight loss and decreased appetite over time
- Increased longevity
- Less degenerative disease
The RFD is attracting more recognition following the discovery of phytochemicals, antioxidants, bioflavonoids and the other cancer-fighting, rejuvenating elements in fruits and vegetables. We now know that the abundance of nutrients that are found in raw fruits and vegetables reduce the incidence of many diseases. Many people suffering from such serious conditions as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease have healed themselves through natural means including a raw food diet.
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.
Raw Food Diet can help with the following
In a study where the average intake of uncooked food comprised 62% of calories ingested, 80% of those who drank alcohol abstained spontaneously. [South Med J 1985 Jul;78(7): pp.841-4]
In a study where the average intake of uncooked food comprised 62% of calories ingested, 80% of those who smoked abstained spontaneously. [South Med J 1985 Jul;78(7): pp.841-4]
The raw food diet (RFD) has generally produced improvement and even possibly cured MG. The use of fresh vegetable juices can help increase the percentage of raw foods consumed.
Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythromatosis) / Risk
Some people with Lupus have reported much improvement, even testing negative for Lupus, after being on a raw food diet for many months.
Most people who try a raw food diet for hyperthyroidism find it makes symptoms worse. However, I am aware of one person with hyperthyroidism who achieved a normal thyroid state on a raw food diet.
In a study of 32 patients whose diets were changed to include 62% of calories from raw foods, their mean diastolic pressure reduction was 17mm Hg. This study was conducted over a period of 6 months. Of these patients, 28 were also overweight. [South Med J 1985 Jul;78(7): pp.841-4]
A short-term (2-4 week) diet of only raw foods, with heavy emphasis on raw greens, seaweed, nuts, seeds, sprouted beans and seeds, and freshly extracted vegetable juices, can improve thyroid function. However, a long-term raw food diet may help you feel warmer, but many raw foodists find they tend to be cold.
Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia Syndrome
In one study, the effect of a strict, low-salt, uncooked vegan diet rich in lactobacteria in 18 fibromyalgia patients both during and after a 3-month intervention period was evaluated. 15 patients continued their omnivorous diet as controls. The results revealed significant improvements in pain reduction, joint stiffness, quality of sleep, and overall scoring in all 3 questionnaires which were used. The majority of patients were overweight to some extent at the beginning of the study and shifting to a vegan food caused a significant reduction in body mass index. Total serum cholesterol showed a statistically significant lowering and urinary sodium dropped to 1/3 of the beginning value indicating good diet compliance. It can be concluded that a raw vegan diet has beneficial effects on fibromyalgia symptoms at least in the short run. [Scand J Rheumatol 2000;29(5): pp.308-13]
In another study, thirty people participated in a dietary intervention using a mostly raw, pure vegetarian diet. The diet consisted of raw fruits, salads, carrot juice, tubers, grain products, nuts, seeds, and a dehydrated barley grass juice product. 19 of 30 subjects were classified as responders, with significant improvement on all measured outcomes, compared to no improvement among non-responders. This dietary intervention shows that many fibromyalgia subjects can be helped by a mostly raw vegetarian diet. [BMC Complement Altern Med 2001;1(1): p.7]
Weakened Immune System
Uncooked food is a necessary prerequisite for an intact immune system. The therapeutic effect is complex, and a variety of influences of raw food on the immune system have been documented. Such effects include antibiotic, anti-allergic, tumor-protective, immune modulating and anti-inflammatory actions. In view of this, uncooked food can be seen as a useful adjunct in the treatment of an altered or weakened immune system. [ Fortschr Med 1990 Jun 10;108(17): pp.338-40 (German)]
Eating too much food cooked at high temperatures causes an increase in inflammatory cytokines. Most “junk” foods are cooked at extremely high temperatures, suggesting that these should be avoided.
Problem Caused By Being Overweight
In a study of 28 overweight patients whose diets were changed to include 62% of calories from raw foods, the mean weight loss was 8lbs (3.8kg), which is very statistically significant. This study was conducted over a period of 6 months, where the percentage of raw food was changed back and forth with each patient. Weight loss took place with greater raw food consumption and weight gain with less raw food consumption [South Med J 1985 Jul;78(7): pp.841-4]. It is expected that a higher percentage of raw food consumed consistently would result in greater weight loss, as shown in the following study.
572 participants (60% women, 40% men) with an average age of 44 years spent an average of 2.3 years adhering to a raw food diet (RFD). Afterwards, according to their BMI, 25% of the women and 30% of the men were underweight, 70% of the women and 68% of the men were classified normal while 5% of the women and 2% of the men were overweight. This stands in stark contrast to the general situation in Germany where less than 6% of the population is underweight and more than 35% is overweight.
For the majority of the participants health factors were the most important reason for changing to a RFD; 55% giving disease as their main reason for changing. Most were highly content with their diet and almost 98% stated their intention to follow it as a long-term regimen. The extreme forms of diet were followed more often by younger participants and by males. Women adhering to the stricter forms stated that their menstruation became infrequent or stopped altogether. This latter group is further typified by younger participants and those with a lower BMI. [Presented at the Third International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, Loma Linda, California USA, March 24-26, 1997]
|May do some good|
|Likely to help|
|May have adverse consequences|
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.
Substances that occur naturally in plants and have been shown in research to possibly prevent or cure disease.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
(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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.