Foods generally qualify as being raw if they have not been exposed to temperatures in excess of 118 degrees F (48 degrees C), although some raw-food leaders suggest lower maximum temperatures. Freezing food is considered acceptable. Although raw diets are most commonly vegan, raw vegetarian diets (those that include raw dairy products and/or raw eggs) and omnivorous diets (those that include raw fish, raw meat, raw eggs and/or raw dairy products) are not uncommon. We use the term "raw diet" to refer strictly to raw vegan diets.
People who adhere to a raw diet are often referred to as raw-food practitioners, raw foodists, or raw-food adherents. Other commonly used terms are raw-food enthusiasts and raw-food advocates, although these designations may also refer to those who are in the process of shifting toward or are very interested in a raw diet.
What do raw-foodists eat?
The most popular foods enjoyed by raw-food vegans are fresh organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts (seeds, legumes, or grains), and sea vegetables. A number of raw foodists include dehydrated foods such as crackers, cereals, sprouted raw breads, and desserts in their diets. Foods are sometimes marinated or warmed in a food dehydrator to create textures and flavours that resemble cooked foods. Food preparation can be simple or gourmet.
Among the fastest-growing of all raw food groups are those who eat a high-raw diet, or a diet that is 50 to 74 per cent raw by weight. These individuals recognize the importance of increasing their intake of raw fruits and vegetables for optimal health. Some are aspiring raw-food practitioners and others are content to eat a high-raw diet that includes a modest amount of cooked foods. If you would rather not take the huge leap to a raw diet of 75 per cent or more raw food, you can still enjoy many of the benefits of a raw diet by replacing processed foods, animal products, and some cooked foods with raw, organic plant foods.
There are numerous variations on raw diets, some requiring dietary restrictions or rules that extend beyond the parameters mentioned above. Three of the most well-recognized examples of more restrictive raw vegan diets are fruitarian diets, living-food diets, and natural hygiene diets.
Excerpted from Becoming Raw: The Essential Guide to Raw Vegan Diets Copyright 2010 by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. Used by permission of Book Publishing Company, Summertown, TN. All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.
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