Why You Won’t See Me Eat Raw or Clean
Diets are a funny thing, some make lofty claims while others initially appear to be humble choices. The raw food and clean eating diets are two of the more humble options in my opinion. They are however, missing a few points in their execution.
The raw food diet
The raw food diet goes off of removing illnesses and related problems that come from your diet by consuming just raw food. Meaning fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, sprouted beans, and seeds. The principal is the closer to a “natural” state the food is in, the less processing it is gone through and healthier it is for you. The diet points out that foods that have been charbroiled can possibly cause cancer in the future as one of the driving forces to eliminating the cooking process .One of the problems I have with the raw food diet is there are certain nutrients in food like tomatoes that are only released when it has been cooked to a degree. When cooking tomatoes, you increase the availability of the antioxidant lycopene, same with carrots, cooking helps beta carotene become more available for your body.
Yes some nutrients are lost while the food is cooked but the breakdown is very insignificant due to the fact that plants in general are very nutrient rich so the loss that you get from cooking is marginal. Definitely not enough to right off the cooking process altogether. By not cooking foods you also keep the calorie count low. I know, you may be thinking, “but lower calories means I lose weight!” Well, not exactly, if you limit your caloric intake too drastically, your body goes into starvation mode and it clings to EVERY SINGLE CALORIE and nutrient it can because it doesn’t know when it’s going to get its next good meal. Not something you are looking for if you want to lose weight!
The bigger problems with this is that it greatly restricts your diet by eliminating cooked foods. You eliminate several different food groups and the nutrients that you would get from them. There are animal proteins that you can only get from animals–shocking I know! Even if you get the animal protein supplement it still gets those proteins through animals. Not only that but our bodies can on absorb so much raw food nutrients. Cooking helps your body absorb the maximal amount of nutrients that it can. Yes the diet is high in fiber which for the most part is very good and low in sodium, fats, and sugars, but it’s just too restrictive for a long term means of nourishment. You end up depriving your body of much needed nutrients, and it’s ability to fight infections which is never good.
This is another one that looks good on paper but can backfire very quickly. Its referred to as clean eating which hasn’t really be defined. For the most part, you eat whole, natural foods such as vegetables, nonfat dairy products, lean proteins, complex carbs, and fruits. So no processed foods fast food or pre-packaged foods or at very little if you do eat some. It’s also common for the dieters to switch foods that are high in saturated fat like beef to lower saturated fat options like turkey meat or chicken which is good!
All in all it’s not the worst diet in the world however the mindset that seems to follow it is less than ideal. When you think about it, all foods are processed to some extent it just depends on how process something is. A bowl of frosted flakes (trust me, not knockin’ because I love em’) is significantly more processed than an apple that you cut up.
The main thing that bothers me the most about the clean eating diet is the mindset that I have noticed that goes along with it. You’re either eating clean or you’re eating dirty. Little room for error there. From watching other clean eaters and their “Only eat clean” mantras I feel like I just reverted to high school and am battling with the cool kids. Clean eating is now American Eagle and dirty eating is thrift stores or JC Penneys. God forbid your parents didn’t take you to Abercrombie and Fitch and American Eagle in the mall but instead took you to JC Penneys or thrift stores for clothes shopping. I have literally had people look down at me because I added a bag of cereal to my cart with my produce. They even told me that it was “unclean”! I had to fight my fist-meet-face reflex but I was able to walk away after taking a very deep breath.
The second we start judging food by how ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ it is, is the second I really start questioning everybody’s standards for nutrition and wellbeing. Honestly the only way I would consider a food dirty is if I was eating it outside, dropped it, and it got covered in dirt and therefore became dirty then. Seriously. People can end up feeling so guilty for breaking the rules with clean eating, to the point where they themselves have become “unclean, dirty, or unwholesome”. It saddens me that people can get so wrapped up in a diet that they lose sight of what is really important, that there is more to life than following a diet.