Is there a difference between vegetarian and raw food diets? A raw foodist is a vegetarian, but one who generally is not going to cook his vegetables or fruits. A vegetarian is someone who simply doesn’t eat meat, fish or poultry, but only consumes vegetables, pasta, and rice. A vegetarian might eat meatless spaghetti sauce or order onion rings in a restaurant. Not the healthiest choice, but sometimes it’s hard to find something to eat in a restaurant if you’re vegetarian – even harder if you’re a raw foodist.
There are different categories of vegetarians, like vegans, or fruitarians, and raw foodist is a category of vegetarianism. We haven’t seen anything about sushi being considered a raw food, but it is. Raw food, though, generally means eating raw, uncooked fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, seaweeds, etc.
But to be a raw food purist means raw broccoli, not steamed. To a vegetarian, someone committed to not eat meat or fish or animal products, steamed vegetables are just as good, although everyone would agree that steaming can take out nutrients from foods, rendering them less nutritious. A vegetarian might consume dairy or egg products; however a vegan will not consume any animal products at all. And a raw foodist is a vegan who consumes only uncooked, unprocessed raw foods.
Proponents of the raw diet believe that enzymes are the life force of a food and that every food contains its own perfect mix. These enzymes help us digest foods completely, without relying on our body to produce its own cocktail of digestive enzymes.
It is also thought that the cooking process destroys vitamins and minerals and that cooked foods not only take longer to digest, but they also allow partially digested fats, proteins and carbohydrates to clog up our gut and arteries.
Followers of a raw diet cite numerous health benefits, including:
- increased energy levels;
- improved appearance of skin;
- improved digestion;
- weight loss;
- reduced risk of heart disease.
One way to ensure you are enjoying a healthy, organic and raw diet is to grow your own vegetables.
I can hear you thinking that you have no idea about growing vegetables. The truth is that you can easily learn enough to be growing useful crops very quickly, and each session spent in your garden teaches you even more. You will learn much that is unique to your own situation, such as local soil conditions, your particular aspect in relation to the sun, and oddities that relate to your local microclimate. You will learn most of this by getting out and giving it a go.
The taste of home grown vegetables is vastly superior to that of the commercially grown produce. Have you heard people complain that tomatoes no longer have any taste? They will have when you grow your own – you will never taste better. The lack of taste with the commercial crop is not all the fault of the growers, as they are under pressure to produce a crop, of uniform size and colour, to the schedule of the wholesale market, and ultimately the supermarket. You set your own schedule.
The freshness of your own crop is a big plus. Vegetables I have bought from the supermarket, and stored in the refrigerator, have started to become inedible after a few days. I have had home grown produce still fresh in the refrigerator after 2 weeks!
Typically, your home garden will produce a generous yield, and can readily help pay for the cost of growing them. You can effectively end up having free vegetables. Summer, especially, is usually a time of abundance, even glut, as family and friends leave your place with perhaps more produce than they had expected to see. A tip – when giving away fresh produce, try to limit your generosity – it is better to give a small amount to many rather than to give to the few more than they can actually use.
One of the turn-offs to trying something you have not done before is the intimidating flood of information (and misinformation) you will receive.
If you are browsing one of the major bookstores, you may find hundreds of books on the topic – which do you buy? To begin with, look for the simple, basic information. Do not bother with those full of jargon – you will learn the technical terms as you go.
You will hear folklore from the family, such as “Uncle Henry always put ... (you name it) ... on his ... (name it again)”. Folklore is part of our heritage, but there is no guarantee of its usefulness.
You will hear from the office genius, who has done nothing, but still knows all the answers - nod wisely, and then ignore him.
Plants evolved millions of years before humans, and they actually want to grow. It has been said that in many cases plants grow despite what we do to help them. If you provide the basics, and these are reasonable nutrition and regular watering, Mother Nature does the rest – let her work for you.
Most of Plant Wisdom's products are vegetarian, including what we use to encapsulate our supplements.