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The raw food diet is a plant-based diet that relies on uncooked, unprocessed plant foods. To be a raw foodist, 75 percent of the food consumed must be raw or live, which means it can not be heated higher than 115 degrees Farenheit. The main reason for not cooking food is that raw foodists feel that heating food above 115 degrees kills the enzymes in the food needed to aid in digestion. Additionally, many of the vitamins and minerals are rendered inactive by excessive heat.

The Health Benefits of the Raw Food Diet
There are many good reasons to give the raw food diet a try. Some of the health benefits you can receive are weight loss, increased energy levels, ability to focus better and mind clarity, improved immune system and some people claim an increase in fertility.

Side Effects
When first starting out on a raw food diet, there is a week or two transition period where you might experience some symptoms. These might include headache, nausea and mild depression. After the initial transition period however, you should notice positive effects.

What Foods Can You Eat?
The list of foods to eat on a raw diet is fairly specific, which makes it easy to know what to eat. On the list of allowed items are: fresh fruits and vegetables, including fresh juices, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, seaweed, legumes, grains, milk from young coconuts, grains, purified water and other unprocessed or natural foods.

Helpful Tips
Dehydration of some foods is a common practice with proponents of the raw food diet. Dehydrators essentially remove the water in foods by heating foods with a low-temperature fan. Using this method keeps the enzymes in raw food intact.

If you have excess produce, using a dehydrator is an excellent way to preserve them for a later time. In addition, using a dehydrator can be used to make vegetable chips and other interesting recipes.

Who Should Not Use This Diet
While the raw food diet is fairly safe, there are some people who should not use it, including children, pregnant women, anyone with anemia or osteoporosis. There are plenty of pregnant women who have successfully managed the raw food diet, it's particularly important to get sufficient food and a variety in order to be healthy. As with any diet, it's best to check with your doctor before trying out a new plan.

Eating a raw food diet can take some getting used to, but those in favor of it enjoy the lifestyle and would find it difficult to go back to eating cooked foods. If you are planning to try a raw food diet, ease yourself into it gradually to make a smooth transition.

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