Raw food - a weight-loss essential?
Thursday 17 December 2009
Here at Closer, we always approach the latest diet fads with a healthy dose of scepticism, whether favoured by celebrities or the media.
But once we heard the fuss surrounding raw food, we couldn't help but think that they were on to something.
The principle behind it is that you eat food in its most natural state possible, swapping cooked grains like pasta for fruit, nuts and vegetables.
What's good about it?
You get the most out of fruit and vegetables when they're raw - freshly-picked fruit and vegetables are super-healthy and rich in vitamins and minerals.
What's more, some studies have suggested that boiling vegetables can reduce their nutrient content by more than half, and that cooked veggies lose their low GI score (the rate at which energy is released from them) once they're cooked.
Plus, as most raw meals are based around healthy fruit and veg, there's very little that's sinful about the diet!
What's bad about it?
Purists believe that food should not be cooked above 46C (116F) if it's to truly be classed as 'raw', so their fare pretty much excludes most meat egg products and starchy carbohydrates like bread and pasta.
Many raw foodists also choose to eliminate animal products such as meat and dairy - even when raw (so sashimi is out for those who were hoping for a loophole!).
Staple foods, therefore, are nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables. And that's about it. Subsequently, we're not keen on putting the Closer stamp of approval on raw foodism!
Taking it 100% raw is a bit extreme, especially if you don't feel as though you've got nutrition totally sussed - by cutting out animal and even vegetarian cooked protein, you could find yourself feeling sluggish.
However, like other drastic concepts of eating (like detoxing), taking the principles that are more 'everyday' can help you on the path to a healthier diet.
Here are our top three ways to enjoy the principles of raw eating without missing out on the good stuff!
Nuts are often overlooked as a health food due to their fat content, but a lot of this is actually 'good' fat (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated).
Raw nuts are also free from any excess fat from frying or roasting, and are low in salt - as much as dry roasted nuts taste great, there's no way to pretend they're a healthy snack!
They make a great base for salads - try a walnut, rocket and tomato salad with grated parmesan, or a chicken salad sandwich with pine nuts.
Try raw snacks
If you're forever reaching for the biscuit tin during the day, and find yourself feeling tired, moody or bloated, you could be overdoing the sugar and processed grains.
Taking a break from refined foods and swapping them for some dried or fresh fruit or some crunchy vegetables - they're still essentially simple carbs, but have built-in fibre to help slow down the energy release.
Better yet, buy in bulk at the weekend and take small pots of fruit/veg to work, so you don't find yourself getting fleeced on 'health foods' on your lunch hour!
Can't abide fruit and veg? Try it in liquid form! A healthy juice can be a great way to get one of your 5-a-day, a dose of vitamins and a taste of something sweet.
You can also experiment with adding vegetables to your juice - vegetables like cucumber, carrot and celery blend nicely with orange and tropical juices due to their fairly neutral taste.
If you want even more benefits, make a smoothie using the whole fruit - this is also great for filling you up. Try sprinkling some raw linseed on top for a dose of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Find all this baffling? Log on to www.CloserDiets.com for 16 quick, easy and simple diet plans that are tailored to your nutritional needs!