Often, critics point out that one of the main raw food disadvantages is that this diet might not provide enough protein. Usually, this is because these critics are not aware that other foods besides meat, fish, chicken and dairy can have a high protein content.
Let's clear this up right now. A 100 calorie serving of broccoli, for example, has more than twice as much protein (11.2 grams of protein) as a 100 calorie serving of beef (5.3 grams of protein) – and a lot less fat and calories!
Other rich sources of protein include leafy greens, avocados, nuts, seeds, sprouts, spirulina and legumes – all of which are typical mainstays in a healthy raw food diet. Every one of these foods meets or exceeds the US RDA of 10-15% of calories from protein.
Furthermore, many nutritionists and even scientists admit that the types of protein found in animal foods, particularly the denatured proteins in cooked animal foods, are difficult for the human body to digest. Whereas plant-based protein sources tend to be more bio-available.
If desired, a healthy non-dairy, non-soy, no-sugar, no-gluten protein powder such as my favorite, Power Meal, can be added to smoothies, soups and other meals, providing 20 grams of protein per serving.
So, can a healthy raw food diet provide enough protein? Absolutely! Might it provide even better sources of protein? Definitely! Might a person become healthier by eating less animal protein? Without a doubt! Raw food disadvantages debunked!
One of the second biggest raw food disadvantages often mentioned is a lowered intake of Vitamin B-12. Scientific studies have actually compared the Vitamin B-12 content in the blood of those who follow raw food diets vs. conventional diets. And yes, the raw foodists had lower Vitamin B-12 levels.
But are these legitimate raw food disadvantages? Only if you do nothing about it. Can this be easily remedied? Yes. It is highly recommended that vegetarians, vegans and raw foodists include a reliable source of Vitamin B-12 in their diets. This could be as simple as adding just 1 Tablespoon of Vitamin B-12-rich nutritional yeast to the diet, such as in my easy raw food recipe for spaghetti.
Or you could take a 10mcg Vitamin B-12 supplement daily. Super Blue Green Algae and seaweeds such as dulse may also be viable sources of Vitamin B-12. Easy fix.
Other raw food disadvantages commonly brought up are possible deficiencies of calcium and iron. Again, these critics may believe these vitamins and minerals can only come from animal sources, and this is incorrect.
Dark green leafy vegetables are some of the most nutritionally superior foods on the planet, and are a staple in a raw food diet. They provide outstanding sources of both calcium and iron. The same goes for vegetables such as broccoli, nuts such as almonds, seaweeds such as dulse and even cereal grasses such as barley greens. One of the best sources of calcium is from sesame seeds! You can make nut-milk from sesame seeds, which is not only much higher in calcium than dairy milk, but also much easier for the body to digest, especially for those who are lactose intolerant.
Plus, plant-based sources of vitamins and minerals are more easily assimilatedby the body. Iron, in particular, is better absorbed in the presence of Vitamin C, which is abundant in plant foods
So those raw foodists who eat an abundance of a wide variety of raw plant foods, including dark green leafy vegetables, will have absolutely no problem obtaining plenty of calcium, iron, and every other nutrient necessary for optimum health. Raw food disadvantages debunked again!
Some people are just plain shocked when they hear that raw foodists do not eat meat, chicken, fish, dairy, packaged or processed foods such as pasta, canned foods such as beans, and the like. They can't imagine a life without cheeseburgers, pizza, wings, chips, and beer. Or a breakfast without their standard cereal, milk, juice and toast, or heck, doughnuts and coffee! And how could you get through that afternoon slump without a caffeine and sugar-packed fizzy soda or three?
"What's left to eat?" they ask. Well, good question. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, seaweeds, superfoods, dried fruits and even more ... Just take a look at the length of my page labelled List of Raw Foods and you'll see that there is an abundance of foods left to eat! In fact, so many foods of such a wide variety that even a longtime raw foodist would be hard pressed to say he or she has tried them all!
What's more, if you start exploring the great easy raw food recipes available, you'll know that many of the standard foods you're used to eating can be creatively made with the above ingredients, only they will be much, much healthier for you! You won't even have that afternoon slump any more!
Raw pizza? Yep! Raw Cheeseburgers? Well, they aren't made of cheese or meat, but they can resemble cheeseburgers in both look and taste! Raw Chicken Wings? Yes, there are raw food versions of those as well, but not made of chicken! Remember, chicken is very bland - it's the spices that give it that buffalo wing flavor. Raw Beer? Well, ok, you got me there. But I personally wouldn't put beer on a healthy diet anyway. But raw versions of your favorite breakfast foods? Yes, again! And even more options, once you open your mind and expand your horizons a little more! So no worries... you'll have plenty of food to eat! No raw food disadvantages here!
On the tails of "not having anything to eat" comes the raw food disadvantages that you might always be hungry on a raw food diet. Let me address this from personal experience: only when I finally went on a 100% raw food diet did I finally stop feeling hungry all the time! And many reasons support this fact.
Number one, I was no longer consuming the crazy, addictive, brain-altering, chemical-laden, fake-food products of my previous diet. Chemical excitotoxins such as the known fat-producing MSG (monosodium glutamate) and brain cell killer aspartame and high-glycemic-index High Fructose Corn Syrup just make you hungrier! When I finally cleaned those toxins out of my body with a fresh, clean raw food detox diet, I felt better than ever, and was hardly hungry at all anymore!
Number two, I was filling my body up with so much incredible nutrition that my body responded by easing up its loud clamoring for more and more food. I was more satisfied by the food I was eating, because I was finally well-nourished.
Number three, I was finally properly hydrated. Often, we feel the signals for hunger, but really we are actually thirsty. On a raw food diet, many of the foods are juicy and full of nature's purified water: like watermelon, oranges, cucumbers and celery. Plus, as a raw foodist, you learn how to take care of your health by consuming purified water instead of soda, coffee and alcoholic drinks.
I could keep going on, but I think you get it. Better food, better nutrition, better hydration, less chemicals and junk and voila - you're less hungry!
Just because a person calls themselves a raw foodist doesn't mean they are necessarily eating the healthiest raw food diet. There are better and poorer ways to approach any diet. A person could live on old Twinkies, for example, and call themselves a vegetarian. It doesn't mean they're a healthy vegetarian! Just like anyone else, a healthy raw foodist should take care in their food choices to obtain a well-rounded nutritional profile.
This means eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including plenty of dark leafy greens. Adding in seaweeds can bump up vitamin and mineral content significantly, as these foods are nutritional powerhouses.
Other superfoods, such as spirulina, super blue green algae, bee pollen, hemp seeds or goji berries are easy to add into the diet and provide tremendous nutritional support, including significant amounts of protein. Can a carefully planned raw food diet meet all your nutritional needs and be a healthy weight loss diet? Absolutely, without a doubt!