What is raw food?
At its simplest, raw food is any sort of edible material that has been uncooked in any way. Of course, cooking may mean a variety of things when it comes to raw food, not simply heating food so that it breaks down somewhat. As such, for food to be considered raw, it should not have been processed in any meaningful way. Cured foods or those that have been tenderised are usually not considered to be fully raw, for example. At its simplest, the concept of raw foodism – the dietary practice of only consuming unprocessed and uncooked foods – means eating things in their most natural state. The idea is that this is closest to man's relationship with the natural world before human beings were able to harness fire to begin cooking their food.
What raw food is good for you?
There are lots of examples of raw food that are eaten every day. Salad leaves are generally consumed with no processing at all except for washing them, for example. The same goes for fresh fruit, of course. Many vegetables are sliced into handy bite-sized portions and served raw as crudités, for instance. In Japan, the culinary discipline of sashimi is incredibly popular. It involves serving dishes of only raw fish and seafood. In addition, some Western meat dishes are served raw. Perhaps the most famous of these is carpaccio of beef which involves slicing sirloin or tenderloin steak joints into paper-thin strips and then serving them drizzled in a little dressing. All of these foods are healthy enough when combined with a normal, mixed diet.
What does going on a raw food diet involve?
When only raw food is consumed as part of a diet, it means that you are restricted on the intake you can expect. Some foods, such as pork joints or chicken portions, should never be consumed raw, for example, since they need to have germs destroyed via a robust cooking process. In addition, only eating raw food will often mean that insufficient amounts of vitamin B12 and vitamin D are consumed unless this is monitored closely. For this reason, raw foodism is not appropriate for growing children. Low bone mass and cases of food poisoning are other drawbacks to take into consideration.
Is raw food appropriate for pets?
Yes, it is. Dogs can benefit from eating raw meat that is still on the bone as it stimulates them more than canned dog food and helps to keep their teeth in good condition. Raw dog food diets should also include some offal, such as liver, as well as a little dairy produce. Raw food for cats is also increasingly popular, but this will often involve a little processing by the owner, for example, to break bones down so they can be consumed without choking.
Can raw food consumption affect enzymes?
It is true that cooking food breaks down enzymes in it. Some people claim this is a reason only to eat raw food. However, there is no benefit in this regard. The digestive system will break down these enzymes in the gut anyway.