A raw food diet, also sometimes called “raw foodism,” is about eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked foods.
Some people want to eat more raw foods in order to obtain more nutrients that are easy-to-digest. While there’s no need to go completely raw, consuming at least some raw vegetables and fruits every day is important for just about everyone.
Raw food diets can include lots more ingredients than fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition, you might try raw fish, seaweed, fermented foods, sprouted grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, and even some meat.
Whilst there are several ways to add more raw foods into your diet, the foods to avoid are those that have been removed from their natural form, with the addition of additives, synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilisers – which means reducing packaged or processed foods like bread, cereals, cheese, refined oils and processed meats.
High antioxidant foods tend to be more sensitive to cooking. I like to think if the fruit or vegetable has been grown above ground, it is more sensitive to heat, so is better eaten raw or lightly steamed, whereas vegetables grown underground such as sweet potato or swede.
Carrots and tomatoes are the exceptions to the rule, as they produce more absorbable nutrients if gently cooked in a little fat such as olive oil or butter.
It’s all about balance. We like mixing a range of raw and gently cooked foods in our diet, focussing more on getting a wide variety of coloured foods into our diet each week. No one size fits all try a little bit of what works for you!
Here are some of our favourite foods to eat raw at Piccolo:
- Leafy greens
- Sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds
- Citrus fruits
- Raw vegetables like celery, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber etc
- Raw yogurt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Cultured/fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut or kimchi)
- Berries (fresh or frozen)
Try the below steps to help you get more raw into your diet:
- At each meal, plan to fill half your plate with fresh, non-starchy vegetables. Either raw or gently cooked, or a mix of both.
- Lightly cook food at temperatures around 100 degrees: try steaming, juicing and using slow cookers to gently cook.
- Include good, healthy fats into your diet. Avoid hydrogenated oils, trans fats and vegetable oils and use extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed coconut oil, rapeseed oil, grass fed butter, avocado and nuts/seeds.
- Less is more when it comes to meat. Follow the Mediterranean pyramid and have quality animal products in moderation.