As my brother constantly reminded me when I went through my teenage vegetarian phase: “we are meant to eat meat, its good for you” for which he had no real reasons apart from projecting his 6ft3 ‘manly’ love of meat onto me; and in his defence I had no real reason not to eat meat apart from being a stubborn younger sister.
Diets are trending quicker than the latest fashion accessory. From Atkins to 5:2, paleo to so-called raw veganism, they are polar opposites. It seems we are being judged on what fills our fridge more than our wardrobe – whatever happened to good old meat and two veg?
Raw foodism is just as it sounds: an extreme diet where you live off uncooked, unprocessed foods. Depending on the philosophy you wish to follow this normally includes a mixture of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. For some it can also include raw fish, meat, eggs, some cheeses and fermented foods. Organic is a must to avoid pesticides, additives and chemicals, foods are not allowed that have been pasteurised or homogenised.
The practice of eating raw takes dedication. Isn’t a nutritious home cooked meal enough or are the benefits worth it? Supporters say yes, heating food can kill up to 80% of nutrients therefore uncooked vegetables retain maximum vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Nuts and seeds should be soaked overnight to activate their enzymes and increase digestibility.
As well as health benefits you will be doing your eco-warrior bit to save the planet. It’s a well-known fact that the top cause of pollution and diminishing resources is from the industries related to factory farming and fast food.
Hardcore meat-eaters such as my brother would laugh at the prospect of a meatless meal, let alone an uncooked one; traumatized by the thought of only being able to eat lettuce and apples he would probably starve. Though not as complicated as it may sound, preparing meals can be anything from a salad or smoothie to a raw cacao avocado tart. But it appears a kitchen becomes pretty unnecessary if you turn to this lifestyle – a few knifes and a chopping board, a blender and a dehydrator, if you are adventurous, is all you need.
Raw recipes are being revolutionised by online bloggers, putting their creativity to the test with a rainbow of ingredients so you do not miss out. Raw carrot cake may not require you to turn the oven on, and may not impress Paul and Mary on the bake off, but it does satisfy your sweet-tooth craving.
If 100% raw is as appealing to you as dry dog food there are other options. A flexi approach means eating ‘raw til 4’: allowing you to cook your evening meal means you have a chance of warming the cockles with a hearty bowl of stew. ‘Raw luxury’ is a celeb approach to the diet: dining out in the trendy restaurants of England’s capital who are making meals out of nothing and charging a fine buck for it.
All in all if you want a social life I would leave this extreme lifestyle at the back door. It makes eating out in restaurants near enough to impossible and embarrassing for you drooling over your friends steak and chips while your dinner party host rustles up something other than a mouldy carrot from the back of the fridge.
Rawolution may be the latest fad diet (or should I say ‘healthy lifestyle’) but it lends itself more to devolution than evolution.