Raw Foodism: Fit Or Fad?
Sometimes people change their dietary habits, just because someone asks, and that someone need not be a nutritionist, let alone a doctor. One such trend, obviously a western import, is doing the rounds these days â eat your food raw. So whatâs new in it? Itâs not just limited to having salads or sprouts, but calls for taking everything unprocessed and uncooked! That means no more pudding and rice love in your life. How healthy is this fad?
A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in products such as soy milk and low-fat yogurt, has been shown to reduce breast cancer incidence in rats. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tanya is not exactly your girl-next-door; sheâs a fitness freak and sheâs just 20. When most individuals from her age group start getting serious about the final direction they want to give their life, in terms of academics, Tanya is little worried. She knows she has a face that can launch a million brands; sheâs just hoping to qualify for the upcoming season of beauty pageants. Sheâs determined to reduce her non-existent weight, and her recent attempt at it could cost her life. Enter the world of quacks and fads.
âI was recommended a lady, who stays at GK, by my friend; she promised me glowing and firm skin with her diet charts.â Delve deeper and you figure out that the lady in question claims to hold some shady degree from Thailand, and recommends insane ideas to those who come to her for advice.
âBasically, she suggested to have everything raw; she wanted me to have just veg stuff, but since Iâm a heavy meat eater, she said I could consume that, too, in raw state.â Tanya paid towards consultation and specialized food packets; two weeks into this new way of eating, and she was hospitalized after complaining of chronic stomach pain. She got operated upon for intestinal perforation; her Miss India hopes have been dashed, at least for this year.
The History Of Raw Foodism
Just like madness comes in varying degrees, so does the activism for raw foods. Some zealots ask just to stick to veg stuff, some say, âno, no, milk and eggs are okay, too, along with foliage,â some contend, âhave some raw meat, too,â and then there are some, who would want you to be exclusively carnivorous. All are wrong, if experts are to be believed.
Itâs almost axiomatic that too much of everything is dangerous. The very carrots that are good for your eyes, can lead to vitamin A accumulation in your liver, eventually killing you, if had exclusively for two months. Balance is the key. Human beings, over some 2 lakh years, have evolved to be fit to consume heat-cooked food; our bodies and intestinal flora (population of beneficial bacteria) have adapted themselves to a primarily processed diet. Though a drastic change to that effect might not be life-threatening to all, it can surely seed some undesirable heath issues.
What Can Go Wrong?
Your peril depends on the device you devise to change your diet in an unnatural way. While having salads, fruits and sprouts, the way normal people do, is considered beneficial and vital, dare step ahead and your efforts become your own undoing! Here, we evaluate certain food types, when consumed raw:
- Fruits and Salads: Are best had raw, when washed and cleaned properly. Most of the fruits and veggies you pick up from supermarket shelves these days are either coated with wax or sprayed with pesticides. Also, for some veggies, like carrots, itâs more beneficial to cook them partially; in case of carrots, it increases the absorption of Vitamin A in your body, by converting it into a more readily absorbable form. But yes, heating erodes many important vitamins and nutrients. So the rule is to have fruits and veggies raw, while having foods like carrot pudding or halwa, once in a while, when these ruddy roots are seasonal
- Sprouts: Are a potent source of antioxidants and enzymes; while those enzymes might be rendered useless by your gastric juices, while digestion goes on, they certainly activate many useful biomolecules. Antioxidants are vital to protect against free-radical damage in our body, which causes cancer
- Nuts (Soaked): Itâs advisable to consume soaked nuts, for it deactivates their natural enzyme inhibitors. Nuts are rich sources of minerals and good fatty acids; those under impression that fats are unhealthy must know that they are vital for normal functioning of your brain and other parts of nervous system
- Milk: Milk is a much abused drink in India. While itâs an absolute no-no to consume it raw, for the fear of contracting salmonella and other bacterial infections, pasteurised milk can be had as such, and is actually recommended. Boiling pasteurised milk even once robs it of much of its nutritional value. With age, some individuals can become less tolerant of milk, developing what is called lactose intolerance. Such individuals must switch to options such as curds, yoghurt and soy-milk
- Meat and Fish: Must not be had raw, for it becomes difficult to ascertain the pathological profile of uncooked meat. Fish, though, is used raw in popular dishes like Sushi, but they, too, must be had from places with an impeccable reputation for raw materials and culinary standards
- Eggs: Present similar challenges as raw milk â those of bacterial infection
There are just so many modifications of this fad being spread around these days that it is impractical to come up with a comprehensive list of harms. Thereâs a dangerous class, for instance, which advocates Palaeolithic diet â having food the way early man used to have in Palaeolithic age. Now who did Census of humans that time, to assert like its proponents do, that this diet imparts longevity?
Think twice before lending your dear life to eccentric, whimsical persons. Itâs not Feng-Shui or Vastu that you would have some fun and get over with. By following such unqualified people, you may permanently damage your bodily processes. Some of such activists have become quite popular in western countries, with celebrities endorsing their methods at times; that explains how they go about funding huge litigation costs that they often find themselves bearing. Indian Legal System is not as proactive; donât be a Guinea Pig of some charlatan attempting to get rich overnight.
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