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Thread: Is raw healthy?

  1. #1
    songlife
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    Default Is raw healthy?

    I am very confused from all the contradicting nutritional information about raw food out there. I enjoy the taste of raw food and I feel very good when I consume it too, but I'm not sure if it's placebo or not.

    I know that we're able to more easily break down some things when they're cooked. I know that some things have higher nutritional content when they're cooked or canned, carrots for example. But then there are other things that might be lost.

    Even though some things can't be eaten raw or have higher nutritional value when cooked, should we even be considering these things as proper food in the first place? Should we be consuming them anyways? (i.e. potatoes)

    I want to know why and how raw is better for me, because I would do it 100% if it was actually benefitial to my health to go 100%.

    CoNfUzZleDnESs!

    Thank you for helping me

  2. #2
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    Hi songlife,

    regarding food that has higher nutritional value when cooked, the example that I've seen used over and over again is - tomatoes. Even the local supermarket had a sign next to their tomatoes the other day saying that they were better off cooked. Carrots and carotenoid availability have been mentioned as well, but I don't think one needs to worry about carotenoid deficiency on a raw food diet - plus, juicing also increases carotenoid availability.

    Food processing can deactivate certain food toxins, which is relevant when eating food containing these toxins. Cooking can also increase the energy available from starchy foods such as potatoes and grains, which is relevant if you eat this kind of food and need to increase the energy level in your food.

    We can survive well without cooked potatoes/tomatoes...

    Some people seem to suggest that we should eat at least 20% cooked food in our diet - a recommendation that IMO is too vague to have much value.

    Raw fooders, like others, may need vitamin D supplements in the winter if we live too far from Equator (especially since we don't walk around naked all summer and because most people work indoors - at the time of the day when the sun is most 'active').

    Humans may currently need B12 supplements whatever diet we're on for reasons discussed in many other threads. We may need other supplements as well, depending on the nutrient levels in soil and where we get our food from (this also applies to people on any diet).

    What you probably need to figure out is what kind of plant food you feel most good about eating, read a little about which nutrients those are rich/poor in, and supplement if needed.

    Several reports suggest the the nutrient levels in soil is much poorer than it was only 100 years ago. Randomly picking food we may like - raw, cooked, processed, vegan or non-vegan - won't guarantee that we don't get too little - or much - of what we need.

    Some people assume that we'll get a lot of extra nutrients, like B12, if we don't wash the plants we eat, but this must be a myth. (Read about B12 in soil - and soil depletion of nutrients here if you're interested...) It's generally thought that cooking/processing reduces B12 levels in food, and practically never increase it. But if the food you happen to eat is poor in B12 from the start, it doesn't help much if it isn't reduced by cooking...

    I eat a mix of raw and cooked food myself, and like, you - I feel better if I increase the ratio of raw food, but I'm not trying to eliminate all cooked food from my diet, at least not as long as I live as from from Equator as I currently do. In the winter, the warmness of the food has a value in itself for me, but I do assume that at least 95% of all non-raw vegans (and others) would benefit a lot from eating more raw, and less cooked/processed food.

    Let's hope someone will chime in with more examples of plants that benefit from being cooked, if they exist...
    Last edited by Korn; Aug 20th, 2008 at 08:46 AM.

  3. #3
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    i would agree with you korn about tomatoes. the lycopene is much more accessible and useful (especially for gentlemen's health ), the other veg i have heard is effective is spinach. you can each much more of it when cooked as it reduces. i don't have any actual proof though

  4. #4
    Anastazee Anastazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    Unfortunately I can't chime in, Yet, at least. Maybe in a few months when i've finished all my studies! anyways, that was very informative, thanks korn! always so full of information. much appreciated
    -zee

  5. #5
    hydrophilic tipsy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    eating raw food is healthy. its the most natural form of food, obviously. you feel good because your body likes it. theres no placebo, there.

    never once have i ever felt over stuffed or tired after a raw meal, infact, most of the time i notice a surge of energy about an hour or two after a good raw meal (depending on what it was i ate).

    almost all nutrients are very well covered with a raw vegan diet. (b12 supps are always suggested, ask korn pointed out)

    and * its not necessary to go 100% raw to get the positive effects from a raw diet* most people play around with the numbers to find what works for them.

    personally, when i am feeling like i need it, ill go 100% raw for a few days or a week. i aim for about 50 - 80% raw on a daily basis.
    the aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, dunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
    -henry miller

  6. #6
    rawveganfit-ns leopd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    When I started with raw foodism about 2 years after becoming vegan I had had a hernia for 1 year. 7 years later and two professional (NHS) doctors said I would need an operation, but I had one last chance to do something for myself, and this was what I had never tried as a rawfooder- to go town with juicing. I followed a juice therapy suggestion for not even a week and I was 'cured' - on further examination some 3 1/2 months later, there was no sign of it after 8 years.

    I have since found out how to bring it back- extremely painful weights to the max in the Gym- only to cure myself again in the same amount of time. I'll not try to push myself to the limits again, and my luck, but that's a success story, and repeatable, it rests on creating personal space in which to let your will power be at peace with the optimum diet for you, and for that you need to retrain your body to perform on the different food you give it.

    Trust yourself and look at the immense wealth of info on the net and in social support groups. We are talking about nutrition here not just what you have a taste for now, so it takes time to catch up on any deficiencies in the body, and learning to eat for what you do in your daily life. So spend as much as you can on it, it's for the good of your health after all.


    Let food be thy medicine- Hippocrates

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    I find raw preparation methods intriguing and so I'm interested in it from that angle. I love new flavours and textures. But when some claim that 100% raw is the only way to be healthy I gotta disagree...

  8. #8
    Zero
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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    Just like any other diet, one most ensure they are eating enough calories, getting all of their required nutrients, EFA's etc. Then yes it is healthy, but it could also be unhealthy if you didn't satisfy your requirements.

    In my opinion the less processed and treated the majority of your food is, the better it is.

    A high raw diet has certainly been beneficial to my health, I lost weight, have more energy, get better results excercising (thats just my experience).

    Indeed 100% is not the way for everyone, I have never lasted more than 3 weeks eating 99% raw. A high raw diet is more suited to my tastes and current situation (although lately I haven't really managed even that). However I know lots of people who are thriving on 100% and I certainly wouldn't criticise them for it.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    I don't deny one can maintain health on a raw diet butI find some of the beliefs about diet quite strange in raw circles. Like the idea that cooking destroys "enzymes" that are required to digest food properly and extract maximum nutrition from it. Such poppycock. Any enzymes in food are denatured by the proteolytic enzymes & hydrochloric acid produced in the gut. They are broken down into their constituent amino acids and absorbed just like any other protein we eat. And then there's the breatharians! ;-)

  10. #10
    Zero
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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    There is no hard evidence to prove that enzymes do help and there is no hard evidence to prove they don't so to refer to it as "poppycock" is to simply be closed minded as far as I am concerned.

    I have read various studies that state food enzymes are deactivated in the stomach and never utilised and others that state that they are reactivated in the intestines. I find it interesting, however I don't claim to have the answers.

    I find it far more likely (in my opinion) that the chemical changes and reactions when cooking certain foods can be somewhat detrimental to health, as an example a simple cooked potato contains 400 more chemical compounds than a raw potato (not that I would eat raw potato but just an example).

    Most people accept that deep fried and chard foods are detrimental to health, whereas a fresh salad is generally not. As for the mechanics of it all, I believe science can only speculate based on the most reasonable logic within the current set principles. It is however clear that we are still yet to fully understand how exactly every microcellular process within the human body works.

    In our modern age we are constantly discovering that many ideas we hold true or are believed by the majority in the past are in fact false, and I have no doubt that this trend will do nothing but continue.

    Time will tell.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    Blimey, I didn't realise one needed a degree in biochemistry to have a healthy diet. Good job I've got one. I thought it was just as simple as eating a big variety of foods. How stupid I've been. Could you reference the studies regarding re-activation of enzymes in foods I'd like to follow them up. I am happy to change mind if there is evidence to show this.

    You are right there is some evidence to show that compounds produced when food is charred are carcinogenic... And elementary food hygiene courses highlight salads as a significant cause of food poisoning. Depends what gets you first.

  12. #12
    Zero
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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    I said there wasn't hard evidence either way

  13. #13
    Rawvolta
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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    Just an inside about Lycopene.
    Yes, it is released by cooking, but - what they don't what you to know is : while cooking you are destroing the enzyme that CAN brake down and absorb lycopene.
    You decide.

    also : KORN said : " Food processing can deactivate certain food toxins, which is relevant when eating food containing these toxins. Cooking can also increase the energy available from starchy foods such as potatoes and grains, which is relevant if you eat this kind of food and need to increase the energy level in your food. "
    There are better way to get rid of toxins then cooking-it depends what are we talking about.
    By marinating mushrooms for example.
    But-even by cooking you can't get rid off grains toxicity.
    I don't see any energy in potatoes - the most made men food now out there ( next to carrots )or grain basically.
    I don't see a possibility in INCREASING ENERGY by cooking food.
    Are we talking about calories?? This is certainly not the most important aspect of cooking.
    The real water has escaped and that is one of concerns that has to be addressed.
    The fire always shrinken, takes away.
    It does not add anything.

  14. #14

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    Default Re: Is raw healthy?

    Quote jonnie falafel View Post
    .
    Blimey, I didn't realise one needed a healthy dose of sarcasm when replying to this thread. Good job I've got one.

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