Say hello to the uncooked, the unprocessed, the unadulterated, the newest trend in healthy eating: the raw food diet. Advocating that raw or living foods have natural enzymes, which are critical in building proteins and rebuilding the body, raw foodistas only consume food cooked under 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat has the potential to kill digestive enzymes available in the food you consume, and changes the pH of food, thus making it more acidic.
This cooking method has proven to preserve the vitamins that heat kills, therefore giving you more energy and an improvement in general overall health. New trendy gourmet raw food restaurants, such as Pure Food and Wine and Quintessence, which have both made the Time Out Magazine Top 50 Best Restaurants into NY, have been popping up and delivering rare and exotic dinning experiences.
First established in Switzerland by a medical doctor experimenting with dietary health treatment, it has become a popular trend in pop culture through proponents such as Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson. Not only has it been seen as a weight loss method, but participants have also attributed an increased mental clarity, regularity and a greater connection with the earth due to this new dietary practice.
While I see the benefits of this trending diet, I am rather skeptical about some of its allegations. For instance, what is it about raw food providing enzymes that are essential to healthy digestion? And that our bodies have a limited supply of digestive enzymes and therefore we must replenish this supply? Your body will continue producing an infinite supply of enzymes as so long as your body is consuming food. End of story.
Furthermore, there is the undeniable fact that raw foodistas have a higher risk of food poisoning such as gastroenteritis, due to undercooked animal products. But let’s be real. There is almost a comparable threat to raw plant foods (spinach, lettuce, tomato: E. coli), which for some time put America into a “Cook everything!!” health frenzy. It’s a steamy debate among those who like to quibble around this 104F controversy.
While it has been proven to have many health benefits, how much is the sacrifice really contributing to your general well being? While I completely respect raw food and its following, here is my opinion: You only have one stomach and one life, so respect that temple of a body of yours and eat your raw greens, fill your karma points by occasionally passing on those Brazilian Meat Sword Kabobs, treat yourself during finals to some Sushi Express, but after your destroy that Orgo final, feast on that Filet Mignon steak like the Queen, or King, that you are.