Features and disadvantages of a raw food diet
A variety of vegetarianism is a raw food diet. It is called Vitapianism, from the Latin word vita – “life.” Supporters of this trend use vegetables and fruits without heat and industrial processing. The transition to a raw food diet can be challenging, so it is recommended that you see a doctor when doing so. Sprouted grains and wild plants are included in the raw food diet. There are two main areas of raw food diet: omnivorous, which includes raw dairy products and eggs in the diet, and absolute, corresponding to the vegetarian direction – veganism.
Supporters of an absolute raw food diet use only fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, juices of these products, plant seeds, sprouted grains for food. A variation of the absolute raw food diet is the direction that allows you to include in the diet not only fresh vegetables, but also pickled, as well as dry fruits and berries. Some authors consider a diet using only fruits, nuts and grains of cereals to be an absolute raw food diet, referring this food to the first category in terms of its effect on the body and psyche. There is another trend in the raw food diet called fructorianism. Its supporters include only fresh, raw fruits and berries in their diet. Sometimes supporters of these directions allow you to include in the diet of yeast-free bread baked from whole soaked grains.
Eating a Raw Food Diet: Eating Raw Foods
The raw food diet is also adjoined by the direction that allows the use in nutrition only of juices and nectars made from vegetables, fruits, nuts, wild plants, and not only fruits are used to prepare juices, but also flowers, and roots, and plant bark. Vegetarian and raw food diets have significant differences. This direction is considered not as non-traditional nutrition, but as falcotherapy. Supporters of juice therapy, for example, the famous naturopaths Norman Walker and Walter Schoenenberg, suggest eating only juices 2-3 times a week during the day, noting the health-improving nature of such a diet. This is how the raw food cleanse works. However, one should not confuse the raw food diet as a nutritional direction of unconventional food with vegetable, fruit or juice days used in therapeutic diets.
The raw food diet, as a direction in dietetics, emerged in Europe in the late 19th – early 20th centuries. The main and leading representative of this direction is Max Bircher-Benner, a representative of the school of naturopathy. His teaching was enriched, developed, partially modified by other followers, but the foundations remained unchanged. Bircher-Benner and his followers base their nutrition system on the fact that solar energy materializes and concentrates in plants. A person is not able to concentrate and use the energy of the sun himself, namely, it is the source of life force.
Bircher-Benner divided all products used for food into three orders of magnitude according to the accumulation of solar energy. He described in detail his experience with a raw food diet. He considered fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, cereals to be accumulators of the first order, and also referred to them as raw milk and raw eggs. When heated, cooked and stored for a long time, the energy of food is weakened. Bircher-Benner included bread, boiled vegetables, plant tubers, grains and fruits subjected to heat treatment, as well as boiled milk, cheese, butter, and boiled eggs into the second group, that is, to the second-order batteries. He attributed products with a strongly weakened energy to batteries of the third order: boiled, fried, smoked, salted meat, fish, poultry. Thus, the sun, according to Bircher-Benner, is the main source of chemical energy. According to his theory, food is raw fruits and fruits, that is, a raw food diet. Meat, on the contrary, remains the least nutritious product, since, according to the author, it contains significantly less energy than plant foods.
Is it possible to consider that vegetarianism is always good for a person? We are used to thinking that all vitamins are concentrated in plant foods. But this is far from the case. Of course, both young and old vegetarians, raw foodists, fruit-eaters and juice consumers get more vitamin C from their food, since it is plant foods that are the main source of this vitamin. This is the main benefit of a raw food diet. But the provision of vegetarians with other types of vitamins is often quite low. Plant foods, in particular, lack vitamin B12. Therefore, vegetarians, especially vegans, are deficient in this vitamin, which is necessary primarily for hematopoietic function and the absorption of iron.
Plant foods are also deficient in vitamin D, although its deficiency in vegetarians is less common, since food is not the main source of this vitamin – it is synthesized from lipids of subcutaneous adipose tissue under the influence of ultraviolet radiation. A relative deficiency of vitamin B is also noted among vegans. The situation with vitamins B and B6 is somewhat better. Vitamin PP is found in plant products, in particular in cereals and legumes, but poorly absorbed from them. Fat-soluble vitamin A is found primarily in animal products. A partial substitute for vitamin A can be provitamin A – beta-carotene, which is found in orange-colored vegetables. In particular, carrots contain a lot of beta-carotene – 9 mg per 100 g of product. Therefore, even vegans may have sufficient vitamin A supply. Vitamin E is found in all types of vegetable oil. Therefore, for vegans, vitamin E supply is not alarming. The supply of potassium, sodium and magnesium is also sufficient even for vegans.
Raw Food Diet for Beginners – Major Challenges
A problem for vegetarians, especially vegans, is the availability of iron, calcium and zinc. They are poorly absorbed from plant foods, and vegans are always deficient in iron, calcium, and zinc. Vegans often suffer from iron deficiency and B12-dependent anemia.
Of great concern is the availability of protein in a strictly vegetarian diet. The protein content of plant foods is low. Most vegetables and fruits contain from 0.6 to 2 g of protein per 100 g of product, the maximum protein content in vegetables is 5% (in green peas). The protein content is slightly higher per 100 g of product in cereals – from 7 g in rice to 12.6 g in kernel. Pulses contain a lot of protein per 100 g of product – from 22.3 g in dry beans to 24 g in lentils. Especially a lot of protein in soy – 34.9 g per 100 g. A lot of protein in nuts – from 57.7 g per 100 g of product in almonds to 66.9 in hazelnuts.
They often talk about the high protein content of mushrooms. However, fresh mushrooms per 100 g of the product contains no more protein than vegetables – from 1.7 g in russula to 4.3 g in champignons. In dry mushrooms, due to the evaporation of the liquid, the concentration of proteins increases and ranges from 20.1 g per 100 g of product in porcini mushrooms to 35.4 g in aspen mushrooms.
Proteins of plant foods are deficient, as they are deficient in essential amino acids, and are poorly absorbed. Prolonged deficiency of a complete protein leads to impaired immunity, to the development of protein deficiency, since this disrupts the synthesis of tissue proteins. This is especially dangerous for children and pregnant and lactating women. Deficiency of iron, calcium and vitamin D can lead to the development of iron deficiency anemia in children, pregnant and lactating women, rickets in children, and osteomalacia in women. In children, strict vegetarianism can lead to malnutrition of the body (malnutrition) and even to a slowdown in mental development up to alimentary oligophrenia – dementia caused by malnutrition. An adult can gradually adapt to a strict vegetarian diet.
With lacto-vegetarianism, there is a slight deficiency in the body of iron and zinc, since the content of these microelements in milk and dairy products is low. Calcium in dairy products is found in large quantities and is in a well-absorbed form, so there is usually no deficiency of this mineral in the body of lacto-vegetarians. For lacto-vegetarians, only iron deficiency is possible, since this element is poorly absorbed from eggs. Prevention of the development of anemia in lactovegetarianism is possible, this requires periodic monitoring of the content of iron and hemoglobin in the blood.
If a low level of hemoglobin and signs of iron deficiency anemia are detected, the use of iron preparations is recommended. However, lacgetarians, including children, usually adapt well to vegetarian diets. True, according to a special study conducted by American nutritionists, children from vegetarian families often buy meat products (sausage, hamburgers, cheeseburgers) outside their home and usually violate the principles of vegetarian nutrition when visiting their peers. Perhaps this is due to the subconscious craving of a growing organism for high-protein foods, in general, lacto- and even more so lacto-vegetarianism does not significantly contradict the principles of rational nutrition.
A raw food diet, that is, a diet using only raw foods; fresh vegetables, fruits, berries, dried fruits, edible wild plants, nuts, sprouted grains, honey and soaked cereals is an irrational diet. A raw food diet can lead to protein-energy malnutrition, multivitaminosis and anemia. It is possible to use a raw food diet for medicinal purposes, including for the normalization of body weight, only for a short time – no more than 2-6 weeks, in order to avoid negative consequences. It is hardly worth thinking about the effect of sprouted grain on the normalization of body weight. Sprouted grain has a higher content of vitamins and minerals than cereals, however, the idea of the effect of auxins on the human body – plant growth stimulants – is another myth.
Raw food diet for weight loss
Can vegetarianism help with weight loss? Among vegetarians, regardless of which of the currents they adhere to, there are people who are overweight. However, people with normal and insufficient weight still prevail. With this food system, the diet is lower in fat, high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.
Fruits and vegetables have a low energy value: their calorie content does not exceed 90 kcal per 100 g. This suggests that vegetarians receive few calories from food and therefore have a lower body weight. However, among the products traditionally present in the diet of even strict vegetarians, there are cereals, nuts, vegetable oil. All of these products have a high energy value. So, the calorie content of 100 g of vegetable oil is 899 kcal, nuts – 610-707 kcal, cereals – from 303 to 335 kcal. The calorie content of the daily diet of vegans can be 2000 kcal or more.
With an excess of vegetable oil, nuts, cheeses, fatty dairy products in the diet of lacto- and lacto-ovegetarians, as well as an excess of bread, cereals, rolls and dried fruits, body weight can significantly exceed the ideal.
From the point of view of scientific dietetics, animal products are a necessary component of the diet (with the exception of cases of individual intolerance to certain foods, for example, in case of allergic diseases). Vegetarianism is based on religious and moral ethical, not medical and preventive principles.