The culture of eating raw food for health benefits began in the 18th century, with monks and nuns in France and Germany. They ate raw food and fasted to attain greater physical and spiritual health. In the late 19th century though the first part of the 20th innovative thinkers such as Arnold Ehret and Bernarr McFadden began spreading the word about the raw food diet to the public. Dr. Christine Nolfi of Denmark coined the term “living food” for this type of diet after healing herself of breast cancer. (Moore)
Today’s raw food diet enthusiasts eat unprocessed, whole, plant-based, and preferably organic, foods. Uncooked food usually makes up 75% of a person’s diet. People who live on mostly raw foods believe that their diet of primarily raw foods makes them healthier. (Nordqvist, Christian Butler, Natalie, RD, LD)
Raw food diets can be classified into four general categories: the raw vegetarian diet which is plant-based with added eggs and dairy, the raw vegan diet which eliminates all animal products, the raw omnivore diet which includes both plant-based and animal-based foods, and the raw carnivore diet which includes uncooked meat but excludes cooked meat.
A raw-food diet does include a variety of foods, such as: soaked and sprouted beans, other legumes, grains, dried fruits, nut milks, raw nuts and seeds, raw nut butters, raw fruits, vegetables and their juices, milk which comes from young coconuts, seaweeds, green food powders like dried wheatgrass or algae, fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, and other unprocessed foods. Some raw food diets contain: raw eggs, raw fish, raw meat, raw milk and dairy products, which means that they are unpasteurized and unhomogenized. Most raw foodists avoid all refined, cooked, and processed foods, including refined sugar, refined flour, refined oils, and table salt. They also eschew coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages. (Nordqvist, Christian Butler, Natalie, RD, LD)
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