If you are interested in switching to a raw diet for the health benefits, or to lose weight, or for any other reason, you will quickly discover that there are several paths that you can take. In fact, the options are sometimes confusing. There’s no point in starting out on a new and healthy way of eating if you are not going to be able to stick to it, so it’s best to be sure of your way forward before you start.
It’s not always possible to say which is the ‘best’ way with a raw diet because each of the different plans will suit some people. In this article we will try to help you decide by setting out some of the different options that you may choose to follow, including their ‘rules’ as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Vegan Raw Diet
A vegan is a person who eats no foods from animal sources. This means no meat or fish of course, but it also means no dairy products, eggs, or honey. Most vegans will also cut out regular wine, which uses fish products in the filtering process, as well as avoiding items made from animal skins like leather.
A raw vegan eats none of those foods and in addition, does not eat any food that has been heated above 118 degrees F. These uncooked foods are called living foods because the living elements and enzymes have not been heated to a point where they are killed. Most processed foods are not raw.
The raw vegan diet consists mainly of fruit, raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted beans and cold-pressed virgin oils. From specialty stores online you can also order some processed foods that are raw, including raw chocolate, grains, “super foods”, etc.
Vegetarian Raw Diet
The vegetarian raw diet is like being a raw vegan except that you would add raw eggs and unpasteurized dairy products to your diet. These carry extra risk of food poisoning and are not recommended for children, elderly people, pregnant women or people with lowered immune systems or chronic diseases.
Unpasteurized dairy products cannot be legally sold in some jurisdictions because of these risks. Nevertheless, some people following a raw diet choose to eat them, mainly for the calcium benefits.
Primitive Raw Diet
The primitive raw food diet or Paleolithic diet is based around the hunter-gatherer idea of human society. People following this diet eat only what would be available to a hunter-gatherer society without fire for cooking. This does not include farmed grains or dried foods like dried beans, or the products of farmed animals including dairy products and eggs. It does include some raw fruit, some vegetables, nuts plus raw fish and some types of raw meat.
It is not safe to eat raw pork or poultry because of the risk of bacterial food poisoning. In addition, most people following a primitive raw diet would avoid any animal that has been fed on grain-based cattle feeds. The ideal is to eat only grass-fed, organic beef, buffalo etc, along with wild (not farmed) raw fish.
The primitive diet is very restricted and raises more health issues than the other types of raw food plan. At the same time, a lot people are not attracted to the idea of eating raw meat. Others are strongly in favor of this plan and point out that all types of raw diet have some restrictions and health concerns. You should probably consult with a health professional before following a raw diet plan.