Raw food all the rage?

About 5 years ago, I really got into the raw food diet. I mean, it makes sense that when food reaches a temperature of 118°F, or greater, there is a decrease in the nutrient profile of the food. Our society is already deficient when it comes to nutrition so why not go raw if it means more nutrients, which lead to increased energy, weight loss, improved skin? Yes, there may be some great benefits when eating a raw diet, however, some people are going a bit overboard and going 100% raw for too long on this diet and there can be some not-so-fun side-effects.

Why I limit raw foods in my diet:

  1. Goitrogenic foods= this includes broccoli, strawberries, soy, cauliflower, greens (except lettuce and herbs), cabbage, etc. These foods, when eaten raw a lot, can have impacts on the endocrine system. This is important because these organs that are within this system control metabolism, sleep, hormones, energy and more.
  2. Bacteria/parasites= when food isn’t cooked properly, you increase the risk of exposing your body to these critters into your body, which can throw you into a whole lot of problems.
  3. Some foods should be cooked to get the most benefits from them. Click here to see which foods are best cooked vs raw.

“Cooking does damage phytochemical content, but cooking also softens the plant matrix (tough cell structure of plants), which helps to release more phytochemical compounds. Thus, depending on the vegetable being cooked, the cooking method, and the phytonutrient compound being studied, cooking can provide greater nutrient availability.”

4. Makes your body cold, especially in the chilly seasons. Cold/raw salads or smoothies are okay to eat every once in a while during the winter, but not every day because they have cooling effects on the body, which again, throw off the body’s endocrine system.

5. May be harder for you to digest. If you have a compromised digestive system (digestive disorder, chronic gas/bloating, less than 3 normal bowel movements per week) then eating a lot of raw foods may increase these problems.

6. The initial benefits you were seeing, may reverse. I am prime example of this. I was raw for about a year and not even 100% and my energy started to deplete, my metabolism started slowing down, I was cold all of the time, and I started getting more moody.

Now, I’m not saying you should never eat raw foods or you should only ever eat tiny amounts. What I am saying is that during the colder months we should eat mostly warm foods/drinks (bone stocks are amazing and herbal teas) if you’re in a cold climate, steam or cook goitrogenic foods the majority of the time to decrease their iodine leaching effects, clean produce well when you decide to eat them raw, and add in fermented foods/drinks/probiotics (these are perfect raw because the fermentation process makes goitrogen properties go away and are easier to digest) especially if you are having any digestive issues and most importantly, listen to your body.

Have you ever tried the raw food diet? What were your experiences with it?

References:
https://andreabeaman.com/can-you-eat-too-many-vegetables-yes-you-can-2/
http://www.grocery.com/the-negative-effects-of-eating-raw-foods/
http://www.thebestofrawfood.com/raw-food-diet.html
Regional Health is an integrated health care system with the purpose of helping patients and communities live well.

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