Raw food nutrition is much more than just a diet. It is a lifestyle of its own and – if implemented correctly – extremely healthy. Many people report almost unbelievable healing successes with a wide variety of diseases. Moreover, raw food is by no means monotonous, because everything is now available in raw food quality – from bread to cakes and tarts to pasta and chocolate. So anyone who thinks that raw food means doing without is not up to date.
Raw food and raw food nutrition: History
The Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner (1867 – 1939) is considered the founder of raw food and raw food nutrition in German-speaking countries. Bircher-Benner got to know and appreciate the healing power of raw fruit and vegetables through experiments during jaundice.
The doctor observed Swiss shepherds and shepherds in the mountains and their simple diet while at the same time being in the best of health. Finally, he advocated the theory that plant food stores solar energy and releases it again in the human body. He referred to the plant food as “sunlight accumulators”.
Definition of raw food
Basically, there is only one rule of thumb for raw food nutrition:
Anything can be eaten as long as it hasn’t been heated above 40 to 42 degrees. This temperature represents the so-called fever limit. Because protein that is heated above 42 degrees denatures – at least in the human body when it has a fever. Humans die in this case and it is therefore assumed that this is also the case with plants, fruits, and vegetables.
But raw foodists want to consume “living” food, food in full possession of their vital forces. Because only then can this life force pass into those – so it is said – who eats the food? In contrast to raw food, cooked food is dead, and robbed of its vitality. So she can’t donate any vitality and therefore no health. The legendary apple is often cited as a convincing example, from which – if you buried it – an apple tree would sprout. Applesauce, on the other hand, will probably never grow into a tree (not even if there were still seeds in the sauce).
What foods are raw foods?
Raw food can therefore include all foods that can be eaten raw or heated to a maximum of 42 degrees. This includes:
- pseudo grain
- wild plants
Some legumes in sprout form, e.g. B. mung bean sprouts or chickpea sprouts
Animal products are also being incorporated into raw food diets by non-vegans — although meat, fish, and seafood are definitely no longer “alive,” whether you’re within the fever limit or not.
Since there are many different views on how raw food nutrition should be practiced, first an overview of some common raw food forms:
The forms of raw food nutrition
Almost all diets can be implemented raw.
- The raw food diet can be vegan. Then the raw food is put together from purely plant-based foods.
- The raw food diet can also be vegetarian and contain raw milk products (raw butter, raw milk, raw milk cheese, etc.) and raw eggs.
- The raw food diet can also include raw meat and fish and in some cases insects.
Stone Age raw food or culinary raw food
Even the three forms of raw food nutrition mentioned can each be further subdivided. Because they can all be primeval/Stone Age or practiced in culinary terms. Primeval/Stone Age means that the raw food is consumed as unprocessed as possible, while in culinary terms the following means:
Culinary raw food
Spaghetti, lasagne, dumplings, rice dishes, soup with dumplings, pie with sauce, sandwiches, onion baguettes, spring rolls, cakes, and tarts – all of this is raw food – culinary raw food!
“Culinary” means “related to the kitchen/cooking art”. This form of raw food nutrition is therefore ideal for people who enjoy cooking. Of course, no more cooking now. But you work with numerous kitchen appliances and can use them to prepare many fascinating, super-healthy dishes.
Kitchen Utensils in Culinary Raw Food
These devices in particular are frequently used in culinary raw food:
- high-performance blender
- Dehydrator (e.g. from Sedona)
- Juicer (Slow juicer)
- spiral cutter
Kitchen appliances that you will no longer need in the future
Instead, you can now store the following kitchen appliances in the attic or basement:
- pressure cooker
- Bread Maker
- egg cooker
- fryer etc.
Spaghetti, rice, and pizza in culinary raw food
In the culinary raw food kitchen, for example, spaghetti is made with a spiral cutter from zucchini or other vegetables. Lasagna sheets can be cut from kohlrabi, rice is made from cauliflower, and bread and rolls are still available, namely from the dehydrator.
If you like dumpling soup – which of course is only slightly heated – the dumplings consist of a mix of avocados and pine or cashew nuts.
Of course, all of these recipes taste different than the usual ones. But who says that a pizza has to taste the way we used to know it? And why should dumplings always have to be made of meat or flour? Why do noodles have to stick? Yes, it is often the case that – once you get used to raw food – you can no longer bring yourself to eat normal bread, pasta, or even pizza.
The raw food tastes so fresh and genuine. You can feel their strength, their vitality. You don’t want to go back. And if you do it, it is not uncommon for a headache or a kind of dull feeling to follow, as if you were in a daze. Of course, such an experience is purely subjective – but it’s best to test it yourself! Maybe you feel the same way and you experience unimagined strength through the raw food.
Culinary raw food nutrition has only become popular in recent years. Before that, raw food followers practiced rather primitive forms of raw food nutrition, such as the original diet according to Franz Konz:
Stone Age raw food: the original food diet
The Urkost is the raw food diet according to Franz Konz, who was actually very successful with the writing of tax guides, but then fell ill with stomach cancer in the 1960s. During a subsequent operation, half of his stomach was removed. He did not believe that conventional medicine was capable of a complete cure and developed his original medicine as a result. This consists not only of the raw food known as the original diet but also of a lot of exercise in the fresh air, of hardening and sunlight. According to Konz, Ur-medicine is said to have kept him healthy until old age, despite his bad stomach, before he died in 2013 at the age of almost 87.
The primal diet is a wonderful way of eating and living for people who feel really close to nature and want to eat and live like our ancestors might have done in distant primeval times. The main component of the original diet is therefore also wild plants that are collected by yourself. Because these contain a multiple of minerals, trace elements, vitamins, and secondary plant substances than any cultivated lettuce. Wild plants have a very intense taste. They taste wonderfully spicy so that salt is no longer needed for wild plant salads.
Another large part of the original diet is made up of fruit if possible regional fruit varieties. However, tropical fruits can also be part of the original diet, since it is assumed that the first of our ancestors lived in tropical regions, so the fruits native there was part of our original food, so to speak. In addition, these fruits – apart from bananas, mangoes, and papayas – are usually not nearly as overbred as our apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, etc.
Durian, breadfruit, jackfruit, rambutan, tamarind, lychees, mangosteen, drinking coconuts, and the extraordinary Kopyor coconuts, the inside of which tastes like cottage cheese, promise extremely exquisite pleasures.
In addition, some exotic fruits are – compared to our native fruits – much more nutritious, such as the African fatty fruit Safu with 22 percent fat and 4 percent proteins. If you let it mature, it gives you a hearty, creamy treat that is reminiscent of Mettwurst.
And before you complain about the environmental damage or the CO2 footprint of tropical fruits, the consumption of imported fruits can also have advantages, as many families in the often poor producing countries can make a living from the cultivation and sale of the fruits in this way.
Because the tropical fruits, which are rarer here, are not grown in plantations, but in smallholder cooperatives, unlike the mass-produced banana. On the local market, the producers receive only a few cents for this, so they could not live from their fruit sales with regional buyers alone.
Of course, nuts and oilseeds are also included in the basic diet when the season is right. Basically, insects would also be allowed, if you wanted to, at least those that you accidentally eat with the freshly picked wild plants. But Franz Konz also advised ants to be integrated into the diet.
Instinctive raw food: the instinct diet
Another variant of the raw food diet is the instinct diet. It goes back to its inventor Guy-Claude Burger (1964) and assumes that people have an instinct that tells them what they need and what they need to eat at that moment. But according to Burger, the instinct only works if you have unprocessed food available.
For example, you smell cauliflower, papaya, chard, almonds, and a piece of raw meat. If one of these foods smells particularly good, then this is a sign that the body needs exactly these nutrients and vital substances from this food.
Then you eat the selected food as raw food and also completely unprocessed, i.e. also uncut, unseasoned and without dressings, sauces, or other “falsifications”. The so-called lock shows when the body has had enough of this food. Then you can eat another food. According to Burger, you can feel exactly what quantity of which food is required.
Paleo or Stone Age raw food
Paleo or Stone Age raw food are terms for raw food trends that – like Franz Konz’s primitive food – are based on the diet of our ancestors in prehistoric times, but in contrast to primitive food also contains plenty of meat and fish. Only foods that existed in ancient times are consumed here, i.e. no grains or legumes, no isolated fats and oils – and certainly not dairy products.
There are also no processed raw food dishes because the Flintstones only ate what they found in the wild. Blenders and juicers were just as non-existent as knowledge about fermented dishes. So there are no sauerkraut, juices, or smoothies here. Meat, fish, and eggs are often eaten – raw, of course.
Is a 100 percent raw food diet healthy?
The large differences between the individual forms of raw food alone show that it is difficult to make a general statement about the health value of raw food. However, since almost every raw food diet automatically consists of a very large proportion of fruit and vegetables, this form of nutrition also provides significantly more vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants than forms of nutrition from the field of cooked food – especially since the latter also has to be expected to lose nutrients through cooking.
So raw food is better tolerated
A prerequisite for the health value of raw food nutrition is, of course, that the raw food is well tolerated. Anyone who has rarely eaten raw food will have more problems making the switch than people who have always enjoyed eating salads and fruit.
However, it is often not the fault of the raw food itself that it is initially not tolerated. It is usually eaten far too quickly and hardly chewed. Then it is heavy in the stomach and there are complaints. Unfavorable combinations (e.g. fruit with nuts) or eating late in the evening can also lead to intolerance to raw food.
Combine raw food with lots of exercises
As with any form of nutrition, it is also important with raw food nutrition how exactly it is implemented, how balanced and how varied, and what the rest of the lifestyle looks like. For example, anyone who still spends the whole day sitting down will not experience a decisive health breakthrough even with raw food nutrition. So combine raw food with lots of exercise and sport and good stress management.
There are now numerous field reports that show that a raw food diet can support a holistic concept in the case of illnesses very well. Whether cancer, arthritis, or fibromyalgia, many diseases can be influenced extremely positively with the help of raw food.
The raw food diet from a scientific point of view
From a scientific point of view, the results on raw food nutrition are not uniform. Two universities, in particular, have so far dealt with the topic in more detail:
The University of Giessen has determined the negative consequences, and
the Finnish University of Kuopio, which claims to have identified predominantly positive but also negative effects.
The possible positive effects
According to the studies available to date, the positive effects of raw food nutrition may include the following. (There are of course many more from individual reports):
- Low cholesterol
- Elevated levels of vitamin A and carotenoids in the blood
- Higher antioxidant levels
- Relief from fibromyalgia symptoms and rheumatoid arthritis
The possible negative effects
The possible negative effects of raw food nutrition can include these (although we write behind each of them what it could be that the respective undesirable effect was able to develop in the first place):
- Low omega-3 level – too few oilseeds such as ground linseed and hemp seed, too few green leafy vegetables (a dietary supplement with omega-3-rich algae oil capsules is recommended)
- Body weight loss – if you eat too little overall
- Menstrual disorders or missed periods – if you eat too little, i.e. not as needed
- Tooth erosion – if you eat too much fruit/dried fruit and at the same time not enough mineral-rich vegetables
- Low bone density – the same applies here as with tooth erosion, and it must also be generally checked whether e.g. B. magnesium, calcium, zinc, and silicon as well as vitamin D3 and K2 should be supplemented, but this also applies to other forms of nutrition
- Vitamin B12 deficiency – Vitamin B12 should always be checked regularly, not only with raw food nutrition but with all forms of nutrition, especially if medication is taken or chronic diseases are present. What you should pay attention to when covering your vitamin B12 requirement, is which values are important when checking the vitamin B12 level.
The raw food: healthy or risky?
However, in many studies carried out on raw food nutrition, it was not pure raw foodists that were analyzed, but people who e.g. B. lived on at least 70 percent of raw food. So you can’t necessarily extrapolate the scientific results to a 100 percent raw food diet.
Also, the above list of negative effects does not mean that each of the subjects suffered from it. A study by the German Institute for Human Nutrition from 2005, for example, showed that of 201 people (who lived 70 to 100 percent on raw food) showed that 38 percent had a vitamin B12 deficiency and 12 percent had signs of anemia (low blood count). However, given the figures from the normal-eating population, it is questionable whether this should be seen as a typical disadvantage of raw food nutrition.
A Swiss study, for example, found that up to 23 percent of normal-eating women of childbearing age suffer from iron deficiency, which can lead to anemia.
A vitamin B12 deficiency is also frequently observed in the normal eating population, as we have already explained here: Vitamin B12 deficiency can be remedied very easily with a dietary supplement or even not occur at all if you take appropriate precautions. The same applies to an omega-3 deficiency and all other potential deficiencies because a raw food diet must of course – like any other diet – be well planned and organized and supplemented with the individually required dietary supplements.