What is Raw Food? A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Raw

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Raw foodism (or following a raw food diet) is the dietary practice of eating only uncooked, unprocessed foods. Depending on the exact philosophy or type of lifestyle and results desired, raw food diets may include a selection of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, meat and dairy products. It may also include simply processed foods such as various types of sprouted seeds, cheese, and fermented foods such as yogurts, kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut, but generally not foods that have been pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives.

So, you’re interested in a raw food diet? Well, you’re not alone. Many people are turning to a raw food diet for various reasons.

Some people believe that eating raw is healthier than cooked food. But is this true? Let’s look at the facts.

Raw food

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Raw vs Cooked: Which is Healthier?

Many people believe that raw food is healthier than cooked food, and there are some potential benefits to consuming raw foods. Here are a few reasons why some people prefer to eat raw:

  • Raw foods are often higher in essential nutrients like vitamins C and B, as well as antioxidants like carotenoids.
  • Raw foods are typically more natural and less processed than cooked foods, which can lead to higher quality and more nutrient-dense meals.
  • Some people find that raw foods taste better than cooked foods, particularly when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

The Science Behind Raw vs Cooked Foods

So, which is better: raw or cooked? The answer lies somewhere in between. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Cooking can kill harmful bacteria and pathogens that may be present in raw foods, making it a safer option for consumption.
  • Some nutrients, particularly antioxidants, are more easily absorbed by the body when foods are cooked.
  • However, cooking can also lead to the loss of certain nutrients, particularly water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B.
  • Some studies have shown that cooking can actually increase the antioxidant activities of certain foods, while others have shown that cooking can decrease the antioxidant content of certain foods.

Raw Food: What You Need to Know Before You Dive In

While raw food is rich in nutrients and composed of plants and vegetables, it’s important to note that not all foods are created equal. Some raw foods can cause harm to the body if not prepared or eaten properly. Here are some things to consider:

  • Raw vegetables can be difficult to digest for some people, causing bloating and discomfort.
  • Raw seafood carries a potential risk of foodborne illness if not properly stored or prepared.
  • Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that cooking can destroy.
  • Raw nuts and seeds contain phytic acid, which can interfere with the absorption of essential minerals.

The Scientific Link

While some people choose a raw food diet for its potential health benefits, scientific research on the topic is limited. However, some studies have linked raw food diets to improved digestion, lower inflammation levels, and improved heart health. It’s important to note that these benefits may not be extended to all followers of a raw food diet.

The Importance of Variety

A raw food diet can be extremely limited, leaving out tons of foods that are essential for a balanced diet. It’s important to compensate for this by adding a wide variety of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to your diet. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Depending on where you live, certain raw foods may not be available year-round.
  • Some raw foods, like ground flaxseed, need to be stored in the fridge or freezer to prevent spoilage.
  • Raw diets can be low in fat, which is needed for proper brain function and hormone production.
  • It’s important to include sources of protein, like beans and legumes, to prevent deficiencies.

Raw Food: A Versatile and Nutritious Choice

When it comes to raw food, there are a variety of options to choose from. Here are some of the best foods to eat raw:

  • Vegetables: Raw vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the best vegetables to eat raw include carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and celery.
  • Onions: Raw onions are known for their strong flavor, but they also contain a compound called allicin which has been shown to have heart-healthy benefits.
  • Red Rice: This version of rice is a popular choice among vegans and is commonly found in health food stores. It offers a solid nutritional profile and is a good source of energy.
  • Fruits: Eating raw fruits is a great way to add a little sweetness to your diet. Some of the best fruits to eat raw include apples, bananas, and berries.

Preparing Raw Foods

Preparing raw foods is a little different than preparing cooked foods. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Chopping: When preparing raw foods, it’s important to chop them into small pieces. This will help to release the compounds and nutrients found in the food.
  • Adding Water: Adding a little water to your raw food can help to bring out the flavor and make it more palatable.
  • Additional Ingredients: Raw foods can be a bit bland on their own, so adding additional ingredients like herbs and spices can help to create a more flavorful dish.

Safety Considerations

While raw foods offer a number of health benefits, it’s important to note that there are some safety considerations to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you stay safe when eating raw foods:

  • Wash Your Hands: Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before preparing raw foods.
  • Choose the Right Ingredients: Make sure to choose fresh, high-quality ingredients when preparing raw foods.
  • Use Safe Methods: When preparing raw foods, make sure to use safe methods like soaking, sprouting, and fermenting to ensure that the food is safe to eat.

In conclusion, raw foods offer a variety of health benefits and are a great choice for people looking to add more variety to their diet. By choosing the right ingredients and preparing them safely, you can enjoy all the benefits that raw foods have to offer.


So, there you have it- the ins and outs of raw food. 

It’s not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a way to get more nutrients into your diet, it’s a great way to do that. 

So, don’t be afraid to give it a try!

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.