Regular readers you already know that I am a raw dieter and I clearly feel this is the healthiest food plan around, but today I am going to explain why I switched from vegetarianism to the healthier raw food diet.
A vegetarian diet involves not consuming meat products of any kind, including fish; but animal by-products such as eggs, milk, cheese and yoghurt are acceptable. Tofu can also be included in this diet, if you’re not sure what this is; it’s basically coagulated soy milk. Other products which can be eaten are all those processed ‘meat free’ meats!
A raw diet on the other hand is 100% raw, uncooked, unprocessed, organic food. A large part of which is fruits and vegetables, raw meat and eggs. It’s a great way to detox and cleanse.
Now you may be reading the above and thinking that the vegetarian diet sounds healthy enough, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not.
What makes a vegetarian diet unhealthy?
When it’s done right a vegetarian diet consists of a lot of healthy fruits and vegetables, good sources of protein including eggs and beans with some dairy products thrown in. It should also include starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, pasta and rice. But this should be about one third of your daily diet and this is where I think people make mistakes.
Now for the unhealthy part:
Sometimes I wonder if people focus too much on the ‘no meat’ aspect of vegetarianism and forget that other things are also important.
On a vegetarian diet processed foods can still be consumed and this can be extremely unhealthy even if it is vegetarian. There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about vegetarianism. I think it’s the name; it conjures up the image of healthy vegetables, but let’s be honest vegetarians can consume anything as long as it doesn’t contain meat. This means that they can devour full fat milk, chocolate, cake, biscuits, alcohol as well as those highly appetising vegetarian meals you find in the freezer section of supermarkets. None of which I consider healthy, no matter how you try to spin it.
Forgetting the fact that it’s processed food, which means it’s not natural think about the additives or preservatives that have been used to keep the colour and the taste. Yuck!
How does the raw food diet differ?
If you have read my previous blogs you will know why I personally feel that the raw food diet is the healthiest food plan to follow, but just in case you haven’t here is a brief run through.
Not only is it high in nutrients, but it’s completely organic and makes your body feel amazing. Enzymes that are reduced through the cooking process are still present in raw food. Yes your body does produce enzymes but not enough.
I have tried to follow a vegetarian diet and although I still abstain from meat, I do eat raw fish; I can’t imagine my life without sashimi!
When I followed a complete vegetarian diet I did do it the healthy way; no processed food, fresh tofu (not a great fan of the texture, or the taste for that matter, but I persevered), with generous servings of healthy fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain pasta, bread and rice. And if a person is doing this that’s great, all power to you. But I just think there are too many corners to cut, too many quick exits like manufactured pretend mince and chicken, plus I much prefer the way I feel eating raw. On a vegetarian diet when you’ve had a heavy day and the last thing you want to do is cook, it would be so easy to reach into the freezer and bring out a meat free pie and chips and stick them in the oven.
Why I never do this?
Eating raw means I don’t cook anyway, so there is never the temptation to just sling something in a plastic tray into the oven or microwave for a few minutes. Plus, when I get home after a long day I don’t feel all that tired; fresh, raw food keeps me energised for the whole day. I’m not just saying that, it’s true.
As always getting the nutrients you need is the most important factor, but don’t think that labelling yourself as a vegetarian because you don’t eat meat automatically makes you healthy. Not eating meat means that your protein, iron, vitamin B12 (found in animal products) and omega-3 (primarily found in oily fish) can be substantially reduced, therefore somewhere in your diet you need to substitute for these losses.
This brings me back to why the raw diet is healthier than vegetarianism because these nutrients are plentiful in uncooked foods. It’s all about adjusting your diet to make sure what you eat supplies you with the vitamins and minerals required to lead a healthy life. The raw food diet does this from the word go.
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