Benefits Of Raw Food – And Why I Don’t Eat All Raw

Benefits Of Raw Food – And Why I Don’t Eat All Raw
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.


The benefits of raw food are pretty hard to dispute – they have tons of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes, and probably a lot of other things we don’t know about yet.

I get asked a lot why I don’t eat 100% raw, since I have on my about page that Phil and I tried eating all raw for a month once but don’t anymore. We still eat lots of fresh produce, but also cooked veggies, beans and whole grains.

There are a few reasons that I don’t eat all raw, which I’ll get into, but I do like to focus on always getting something raw or at least minimally cooked in every meal. It’s good for the nutrients, and also just nice to have a little crunch in there.

Focusing on raw food is a great way to give yourself a set of rules to get you on the right track. I think it’s fantastic as a cleanse, since it works opposite to the heavily oil-, salt- and sugar-infused foods so many people are currently eating.

Ok, so if raw fruits and veggies are so amazing, why don’t I eat everything raw? A few reasons:

Is It Necessary?

I haven’t seen anything convincing that you need to eat 100% – or even any specific high percentage – of raw food in order to be healthy. The important thing is getting a lot of high quality vegetables and fruit.

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Benefits Of Cooked Food

There are actually some benefits to cooking foods. Some nutrients are made more available to our bodies, the cell walls of plants are broken down so that we can absorb more nutrients, and certain toxins are broken down.

White button mushrooms, for instance, have a toxin in them that’s broken down by cooking. Whole grains and beans are much more digestible when cooked, and also a lot tastier.

Too Cooling/Cleansing

In the winter, I can’t eat too much raw food or I get really cold. I’m already fairly cold as it is, so adding raw food is tricky. I almost always have a warm meal at night, with something added at the very end so it doesn’t really cook.

Raw food is great for cleansing the body, but we can get over-cleansed if we do that for too long. People can start to feel weak or cold or lose too much weight.

That might not seem like a problem if you have weight to lose, but if you start from a low body weight it’s hard to maintain enough calories in the proper balance with raw foods, since the calorie-dense ones tend to be high in fats but not complex carbohydrates.

Difficult To Maintain

In terms of food prep and social situations, sticking to 100% raw is really difficult. It’s not unmanageable, and I’m sure once you get used to it it’s not as big a deal, but because of the above reasons, the preparation time needed for some things just wasn’t worth it for me.

Bottom Line

I love eating lots of raw produce, but I think we can get the nutritional benefits of raw food without eating exclusively raw foods. As I said, I try to eat something raw in every meal.

One of my favorite perspectives on raw food is from Gena Hamshaw at Choosing Raw, and I haven’t had a chance to read Brenda Davis’ book Becoming Raw, but I love her work and have heard great things about that book. If I wanted to eat 100% raw, that would be the first book I’d get for info on how to get balanced nutrition from raw foods.

Do you try to get something raw every day? Let me know below, I’m curious how many of you are focused on that.


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