We all want to eat better, for whatever reason. Whether for weight loss, energy increase, or maintenance as we age, there is now and will always be a push to have a more healthy diet plan. Lately, a lot of attention has been paid to raw food diets, and their potential benefits. While the “science” behind the reasoning is yet to be conclusively proven (for the pros AND the cons), there are some benefits that require no backing, and are as intuitive as breathing.
Leafy greens, for instance. Many raw food diet plans espouse the virtue of eating spinach, kale, and some lettuces, especially as part of a salad or uncooked garnish. The darker the color of the leaf, the more nutrients you will get (for instance, dark colored kale has far more nutritional value than pale iceberg lettuce). Raw food diets require that you not cook these greens, for fear that the nutrients will be lessened or even removed entirely with the addition of heat. But common sense and experience tell us that these greens are simply tastier when they are not cooked.
Likewise with nuts and legumes. Despite any nutritional advantage that proponents of raw diets claim, the natural flavors of almonds, cashews, soybeans, snap peas, et al, will always trump the same food when cooked or steamed. Add they give your teeth more of a workout than soft foods, which is essential to promote dental health. However, if you simply must cook your legumes or nuts, do it slowly. Steaming or slow cooking is a gentler method of applying heat, and can be a satisfying and nutritious middle ground between raw food diets and a dietary free for all.
Lastly, there is the question of meat. Sushi lovers will have no problem getting their fix, but for those who love a good steak or a juicy pork chop, the options can be admittedly limited. Take a cue from the nuts and legumes, and apply lower heat for a longer period of time. Try a slightly rarer steak than you normally would have (harmful bacteria lives on the outside of steak, so as long as the outside is cooked, the internal makeup becomes a matter of preference). But if protein is your only concern, remember that nuts and leafy greens will already give you a solid amount.
Overall, the scientific benefits of a raw diet are still in the proving stages. And anyone offering prehistoric evidence of the “right” way to eat is basing their certainty on speculation. But raw food diets heavy in leafy greens, fruits, nuts, and legumes are a sure way to get plenty of nutrients, promote dental health, and lose weight, no matter your scientific evidence. It is just a matter of common sense.