raw food diet

7 Things You Should Know about the Raw Food Diet

When I first transitioned to a raw food diet, I loved the results. I dropped more than twenty pounds of excess body fat. My skin cleared. I slept better, and my energy level skyrocketed. But I couldn’t stick with it. I had a lot of misconceptions about what a raw food diet should look like. I thought it had to be done at its most extreme to get the results I wanted. It took me a while, but I learned a few things that make eating raw in the real world a lot easier.

1. You don’t have to eat 100% raw to benefit from a raw food diet. Most raw food enthusiasts also include cooked veggies and cooked grains, like high-protein quinoa.Of course, most normal humans like to enjoy a splurge food every once in a while. If dishes made from raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and sprouts make up 80% of your diet, you’re doing great. Look at it this way. Of all the long-lived cultures in the world, not one has been found to eat all raw.

2. You can go raw even if you’re an omnivore. A quick search of the Internet and it might seem like all raw foodies eat strictly vegan. A lot of us do, but it’s not a requirement. Some people include raw dairy, or even lightly seared steaks and tuna that are still raw in the middle. Model and actress Carol Alt has eaten that way for years, and includes recipes with animal products in her raw food cookbooks. Other people include animal products in the 20% of their diet that isn’t raw. It might be a matter of ethics or a matter of health, but it’s your choice to make.

3. Low fat and high fruit, high fat and low fruit, or something in between—there’s no one right answer for everyone. There are experts on every side, and a lot of them claim their way is the most natural, the best for long-term health, or superior because it worked for them. The truth is that different people respond differently to way of eating raw, depending on their biological make-up and their lifestyle. You have to see what works for you and adjust accordingly.

4. It ain’t rocket science. Raw food’s so easy to make. Raw soups, juices, smoothies and salads can be pulled together in minutes. Dishes that sound complicated, like chia pudding and acai bowls, can be made in less time than it takes to microwave a frozen breakfast sandwich. You can get fancy, if you want. Just save the gourmet raw food dishes for when you have more time, and make enough to last for a few days.

5. Raw food recipes are limitless. Anything you eliminate, from cheeseburgers and milkshakes to steak and mashed potatoes, can be replicated or replaced by a raw food dish. Some foods will be very similar to the original cooked versions. Others will replace the flavors and textures with something different, but just as satisfying and much more nutrient-rich.

6. Packaged foods are a must for a busy lifestyle. There are new raw food products appearing on the shelves of health food stores, and especially on raw food websites, every day. These aren’t the typical convenience foods, most of which are over-processed, filled with preservatives and additives, and just not supportive of a healthy eating-style. The better choice is a raw food product made with a few organic, raw, good for you ingredients. It’s a lot easier to resist the world’s temptations when you grab a bag of raw cookies, crackers, or kale chips on your way out the door.

7. You’re already a raw food lover. Who doesn’t love to dive in to a slice of watermelon or a hot summer day? Even the most die hard anti-vegetable eater can go for a handful of pistachios or sunflower seeds as a snack. The best way to transition to a raw food diet is to build on the raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds you already enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to give raw food a try. It’s not difficult or complicated, and it may just be the eating-style that works best for you.

  • I can’t speak to raw veganism, but I can definitely speak to the benefits of raw dairy. Raw milk, cheese, butter, cream, and raw eggs (at least the yolks), if you’re down for them, are incredibly nutritious . . . and taste way better than their pasteurized imitations.

    They retain far more vitamins and minerals, they retain their natural enzymes that help with their digestion (even if you’re lactose intolerant), and they retain the natural cofactors that help us absorb their abundant nuturients.

    I happen to live in a rural area of Vermont (in a little red barnhouse, no less) so I’m surrounded by high quality raw dairy farms, but unfortunately, raw dairy can be difficult for many to find. If you ever do though, I highly reccommend giving ’em a try.

    Thanks for including this in your list.


    • Absolutely, Trevor. I don’t think there’s only one right way to enjoy raw food, and I know many people who thrive on raw, grass-fed dairy. It’s an individual choice everyone has to make for him or herself. Thanks for giving your opinion!

  • Thanks for posting a new idea :-)  I love the idea of going back to basics, and the feeling of eating raw, unprocessed food is one of the greatest momentary delights of life.  I tried to go vegan for a while, until I realized I needed high levels of protein, so I’m glad to hear more about this topic … it’s yet another way of eating that I can experiment with.  I also suggest cold showers, for something a bit different and quirky.  The health benefits are phenomenal!  

    • Luckily, you don’t have to be a full vegan to enjoy raw food. I’ve tried the cold showers, but I don’t have the heart for them!

  • Kerryknollenberg

    Thanks for the article.  ell written and to the point.  I am not a raw food eater but after the article and a little more research, maybe I will give it a try.  Thanks!

    • Good deal. And it’s not all or nothing. Even a little step, like adding one raw fruit and/or vegetable to each meal can go a long way.

      • cBd

        Outside of sushi, I am definitely a “cooked food” person – mostly by habit.

        I’ve decided to try a 30-day (mostly) raw foods diet; primarily juicing.  

        What advice can you give me to just make it for 30 days?  I’m not so concerned about weight loss, as I am about trying to wean myself off of fast-food…


        • 30-days mostly raw with lots of juice.  . . .  Make sure you include greens and other veg in your juices. Get some healthy fat every day. Avocado, coconut oil, a few nuts or seeds.  You can even blend avocado in a serving of juice to make it more satisfying. 

          The most important thing is not to go hungry. Nothing will send you running to the drive-thru faster than feeling like you’re starving. Have raw snacks with you when you go out (juice, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, fresh fruit, raw food bars, etc.)

          If you’re eating out, check the menu online and plan ahead. A salad with olive oil and balsamic on the side is always a good place to start. And don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions (i.e. hold the cheese and add avocado).

          Lastly, the 1st few days may feel like a struggle. Eat some cooked veggies if you need to, but it gets easier, and more enjoyable, as you go along.

  • Really cool post.  I changed the way I eat a few months ago and have seen awesome results, but Ive always been curious about raw foods.  I had many of the misperceptions you mention in the post.  If you have any resources to get more information from Id be truly appreciative if you could pass them on!


    • Hi, Chris. Stop by my blog TheRawDifference.com for more information. You might also like sites  like RawFoodRehab (rawfoodrehab.ning.com) or GoneRaw.com.

  • Averyow

    Once I get my friends past the word RAW (“Hey man, does it mean y’all eat raw meat?”) and they listen to what eating raw REALLY is like they get it.  Quite often I’ll get them to taste something raw that really spins them around to my way of thinking… and eating.  Thanks Ms. Davis for writing this. I’ll continue to preach the gospel.  

    • Good for you! The more people share that they eat raw or mostly raw, the more approachable the eating-style will seem.

  • David Baxter

    Who wrote this….or better yet who edited it????? Bad writing. Great topic. uptreecourtesy@gmail.com   

    • DocAve


      I am a writer and professor.  And as I writer and reader I appreciate posts that are not superfluously wordy, but rather disseminate information cleanly without a lot of fluff.  This post did that for me.  I found it crisp, clean and organized. Very Hemingway-like!  Obviously this woman knows food… and writing too!!

  • Ethiopian food is  great to eat if you are a raw omnivore! Ethiopian restaurants have to use high quality raw beef for uncooked kitfo and tibbs and it tastes fantastic, I eat it constantly and the raw meat has never made me sick.  

    • Many of the spices used in Ethiopian cooking also have great nutritional value as well.

  • Mary Slagel@ Shape Daily

    Every time I read about the raw food diet I am intrigued. I would love to try it and really think I could make the switch but then I sit back and analyze my diet honestly and realize I may struggle with it more than I think. I am a carboholic. I eat one serving of pasta at least once a day if not twice or more. It was encouraging to read that 20% of your diet does not have to be raw. Knowing that makes me more willing to consider it even though I know considering it and actually going through with it are two different things.  

    • Completely understand the carb addition. Certain raw foods, liked sprouted raw buckwheat, can satisfy carb cravings surprisingly well. And if you cut the amount of pasta in half and replace some of it with chopped peppers, onions, broccoli, mushrooms or whatever veg you like, you’re on your way!

      • ljhook

        Ancient Harvest makes a quinoa pasta that is a great transition food if you are struggling with carb cravings. It does have semolina in it but it is a lot less carbs than regular pasta (and more protein) and fools MY body when I need a cheat day. I also reduce the amount of pasta so that it is only about 1/4 of what is on my plate. I know that this isn’t raw but I think most people need to transition into it and getting away from carbs was the hardest part for me.

  • I had no idea people eat raw meat. I honestly struggle with the idea of eating even some vegetables raw. I know it should be fine because God didn’t make stoves but I just can’t shake the feeling… Generally I like my veges half-cooked, because they taste crunchier and fresher than when they are fully cooked. By the way, what is a raw soup?

    • Raw meat certainly isn’t for everyone, but think about sashimi and tartar–expensive raw meat restaurant dishes.  Some people love them. Others, not so much.

      Half-cooked veg are great! You get some of the raw food benefit and access some of the nutrients that are made accessible when you cook the veggies.

      A raw soup is usually made in a high-speed blender.  One of my favorites is made with water, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, a couple of  pitted dates, maybe a bit of miso, and seasoning. A drizzle of oil at the end.  Or raw red peppers in place of all the tomatoes.

      You can also make green soups with spinach, avocado, cucumbers, etc. If you like your soup warm, a high-speed blender running on high for a minute or two will warm it up nicely.

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  • DavidH

    The raw diet is da shit bra

  • HCG Canada Group

    I had never heard about this thing before. Thanks for sharing such a nice information with us.

  • Samuel Young

    Actually I have
    weight issues, since 3 months I am taking only veggies only. I think it might
    be helpful to me to cut down extra calories. Whenever I try to eat raw foods,
    really I can’t. After reading this I have some idea how to eat raw foods, the
    ways how we consume raw foods. Thanks for sharing such a valuable tips.

  • Julian P

    I started my Raw food diet about to years ago and saw great results. I am still on a raw food diet and feel good, physically and mentally.


  • Meychou

    Food is have some benefit

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