For health-conscious eaters, a question arises when processed foods are to be avoided and cooking three full meals a day takes too much time. Raw foods may be the answer. Naturally, a piece of fruit is always a better snack than a bag of chips. But there are numerous health and environmental benefits to eating raw foods on a consistent basis, as well.
Raw food consumption is considered to have a “cleansing” or “detox” effect on the body; adherents to raw diets note increased energy and overall health, as well as weight loss. Many claim that food loses most of its nutritional value when cooked over 120oF, and it is known that cooking certain substances at high temperatures can increase the growth of potential cancer-causing components. Furthermore, eating raw can help you avoid the massive energy consumption and waste of food processing.
Eating raw does not mean committing to a vegetarian or vegan diet, nor does it mean swearing off cooking altogether. What’s important is consumption of appropriate levels of fruit, vegetables and even fish products that are best and easiest when raw. You can start by eating a salad of raw greens and vegetables each day, looking for a raw-foods restaurant in your area, or learning some sashimi preparations. Or, try a whole day of raw eating—a balance of fruits, vegetables and legumes can cover all major nutrients with little to no prep time.