Did you know that a raw food diet and a food dehydrator are a perfect match?
Well… they are!
When you are on a raw food diet, you are getting the majority of nutrients that your body requires from eating easy-to-digest raw foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and so on.
You can give your oven a day off, and your health will profit from it. Some experts have stated that raw food diets are the exact opposite of the fad diet, so they are not going to go into oblivion soon.
Raw food diets is just about eating uncooked and unprocessed foods so that you can retain all the nutrients and vitamins and eliminate all the additives and chemicals found in typically processed food.
Most people who have embraced the raw food revolution are in it for the long haul because it’s all about giving the body all the nutrients it needs in an easy to digest manner.
They eat nothing that has been treated with chemicals or processed in any other way. But since they can use heat up to 118° F, the smart ones use one of the best food dehydrators to make all kinds of snacks and treats.
Fortunately, there are no raw food diet plans to follow. There are just different kinds of raw foods that you can choose from, each one varying on how much it can be cooked and what food can be cooked.
Raw food diet is not just fresh produce, but inclusive of vegetables and fruits, eggs, dairy products, fermented foods, all depending on what you choose and like.
Benefits of a Raw Food Diet
You can reap significant health benefits out of this diet, and there are several studies to back up that claim. Here are some benefits you can expect when you follow raw food diet recipes or plans:
- Lowers inflammation. Certain fruits and vegetables are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Provides nutrition. Vitamins and minerals get damaged when cooked at high temperature. Eating a raw food diet helps you get those missed out nutria-perks.
- Treats and prevents constipation. With cooked meals, it can take up to 72 hours for food to pass your digestive system which upsurges the toxin creation from the colon. Constipation will be the unpleasant result. However, when you consume raw food, it is easily digested and takes less than 24 hours to ferment.
- Helps in losing weight. Raw food helps in losing those extra pounds. Raw foods are low in calorie and fat, but rich in dietary fiber. So you are consuming fewer calories but burning more to digest the fibers. Say goodbye to those extra pounds!
- Improves heart health. According to a study, vegetables and fruits not only improve your digestive system but also reduce the risk of heart problems.
- Prevents cancer and tumors. Another study concludes that papaya leaves, as an example, are rich in Vitamin D, which has disease-fighting properties. It helps in reducing the risk of ovarian, lung, skin, breast and even colorectal cancer. Adding this type of raw produce will help improve your overall health.
- Other benefits. Many researchers confirm that raw food is good for the liver and cleanses the skin internally. The nutrients will boost your immunity system and your memory. Before you know it, you will look and feel in your twenties once again. It also provides you with dietary fibers and thus improves your digestion.
What Will You Be Eating?
An apple, some juice, a carrot to nibble on. That is what comes to mind when people hear about the raw food diet for the first time.
However, this diet is not about having one kind of raw food but to have a meal of various raw foods. You can have fermented foods, sprouting grains, fish, dairy products and even meat.
The general rule that administers the diet is that you cannot include anything that has been prepared with chemical fertilizers, food additives or cultivated using synthetic pesticides.
It shouldn’t be pasteurized or even homogenized. In short, no processed or packaged food that you get handy at your local grocery stores!
As mentioned before, you can, however, heat up your food up to 118° F which gives you some room to get creative. Don’t take a big leap at once and change your diet overnight. Take baby steps and maintain a healthy eating habit. A slow transition would help you better.
Raw Food Diet vs Vegan Diet
Sometimes raw food and vegan get confused because they got many things in common. So let’s make things clear.
When you are on a raw food diet you CAN eat meat, fish, eggs and dairy, be it uncooked. It is basically about consuming unprocessed, nutritional foods in their natural form.
Vegans don’t have any animal food at all. So they miss out on quite a lot of those nutrients that are available in animal products. For example, fish is most rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are good for heart health.
Sustaining and leading a healthy life on this a vegan diet is really hard. Adding the raw aspect to a vegan diet is not advisable for you will run low on the main nutrients. Those nutrients are also available in plant-based foods but don’t supply all the essential nutrients that your body needs.
How to Get Started With Raw Food Diet
Why do you want to dehydrate food?
Before you start, don’t forget to share your plan and discuss it with your doctor. Depending upon your health condition, you may have to include or avoid certain edibles.
First of all, decide why you want to be on this diet. This “why” would be your dream, purpose, and motivation. It could be weight loss, healthy living or just to detoxify your body.
Depending on your goal, you will maybe need another focus in your diet. For example, if you want to detoxify, then you must drink lots of vegetable juices and consume super foods.
It is time to get familiar with the raw food vocabulary. You must have a clear idea of what makes alkaline, organic, vegan and super foods. You need to know the enzymes and PH-scales of your foodstuff. That’s basic preparation…
1. Before you stock your pantry with raw provisions, eat up all the cooked and processed foods. If you want, you can donate those that you don’t want to eat – get ready to say good-bye to processed and cooked food.
Now stock up your kitchen pantry with everything that you would be eating including:
- Whole grains
- Meat (if you like to have them raw)
2. Buy yourself the equipment you need to prepare your food: sharp knives, wooden cutting board, juicer, hand blender, as well as a food dehydrator.
3. Plan your meals. You can have a fruit medley or smoothie in the morning, delicious mixed salad at noon and a raw dinner in the evening. If you need inspiration, you can always find some raw food diet recipe book.
4. Be prepared to tackle your snack-time cravings. You can have nuts and raw vegetables as much as you like, but dehydrated meats, fruits or vegetables are excellent and nutritious snacks to meet you craving as well as hunger.
Does it taste a bit dull to eat only raw foods? We all need a little change and diversity, right?
That is possible even with your Raw Food Diet. You can juice your fruits or slice them into a nice salad. However, with a raw food dehydrator, the options are endless.
The Raw Food Diet Rulebook is very strict, though. Especially when heat is involved. To make it easier for you, we are going to explain how you can make scrumptious raw food meals without breaking a rule.
Why Dehydrate Raw Food?
A dehydrator imitates the sun. It removes the water from the food and keeps all the nutrients intact. Best thing, you don’t have to wait for the morning hours to dry them.
It is the easiest, most economical and healthy way to preserve your produce! In comparison to canning, freezing or baking, dehydrating is the least damaging one.
Also, it is the most time-honored preservation process and probably came into existence before the birth of Jesus. Today, the most healthy dried foods are those you dry at home.
Do you the Golden Rule of Raw Food Dehydration. If you dehydrate your food under a temperature of 112ᵒF – 118ᵒF the ingredients remain raw. Most of the food dehydrators come with an adjustable thermostat. You can easily control the temperature so keep it raw!
How to Dehydrate Raw Food
Let’s take a look at the most common advice for dehydrating your food while keeping it raw
Though the golden rule says you should never go above 118ᵒF, you can still apply this trick to shorten the drying time. For the initial 30 minutes, you can keep your thermostat at a higher temperature of 145ᵒF, then reduce it to 105ᵒF to 115ᵒ.
Dehydrating your food like this will not damage the foods’ nutritional properties. In the beginning, the food temperature doesn’t rise. The higher temperature kicks off the drying process which will cut down the drying time.
Remember to lower the temperature after the initial period or you will end up cooking your food. Use a kitchen timer to keep it under control.
2. Dehydration Time
Dehydration times depend on many things including your dehydrator’s efficiency, humidity, what ingredients you are using and the air temperature. Some foods should be dehydrated until they are thoroughly dried up whereas you might prefer to retain a little moisture in others.
Just remember: check your food from time to time to make sure it is drying up as you want it.
3. Flavor Mixing
Avoid dehydrating spicy and sweet things together. Otherwise, it will infuse the spicy aroma into your sweet recipes. You don’t want your cookies to taste like garlic.
4. Dehydrating Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
All you need to do is to clean and slice them into thin ( ¼ inch or less) pieces and arrange them nicely on your drying plates. Depending on their moisture content ( in other words how juicy they are) the dehydrating time varies.
The juicier they are, the more time they need to dehydrate. You can use them as toppings to your salad or dip them into soups or sauces. Yummy – mouthwatering!
5. Rotating the trays
Even when using the best food dehydrator with a fan and air circulation, always rotate the trays after a few hours. Shift the lower trays to the top to ensure uniform drying.
6. Storing dried food
If you are going to store the food, make sure it is absolutely dry. You can test it yourself. Cool down the dehydrated food and put it in a zip lock pouch.
If you find any droplets after a few hours, then the food is not completely dry, and you need to put it back into the dehydrator.
Can a Raw Food Dehydrator Be Economical?
Though an oven works much faster, a food dehydrator is a more economical and healthier drying option.
Yes, you are running it at a for hours, but the energy is used economically.
If you are drying your food in the oven, you have to leave the door open.
A lot of the warmth is going to waste.
By planning your drying sessions carefully, your food dehydrator will always be full when used.
No energy or room will go to waste.
Which Food Dehydrator Is Ideal for Dehydrating Raw Food?
Well, there are several food dehydrators available which may be confusing. We picked for you the best and most popular food dehydrators that raw food enthusiasts prefer:
- Excalibur Dehydrator – It has horizontal Parallexx airflow that facilitates even drying. Further, it has 4,5 to 9 trays. Load up all your food in one go. A real performer with a thermostat, and a timer.
- Nesco FD-61 Snackmaster Encore Dehydrator – It has a fan at the top that ensures that the heat is evenly distributed. Perfect for making jerky, fruit leather, granola and so on.
- Presto Dehydro – An economical food dehydrator. You can easily make a lasagna in it. It comes with four drying trays, but can be expanded to meet your requirements. It has a clear lid so that you can keep a check on it without even removing the cover.
Can You Eat Beans Raw?
This is a simple question that needs a simple answer. Beans and rice are two foods that you don’t eat uncooked. They both need to be cooked properly before you can ingest them. For example, beans contains a compound called lectine and that is found in commonly-consumed plant foods. While some are safe, others are not. The one in raw beans falls in the second category i.e. it is harmful.
What Vegetables Are Safe to Eat Raw?
There are many vegetables to be eaten raw and they are safe for your health. These good raw vegetables to eat should be combined with other raw foods in your servings. This will give you maximum nutritional values. Some people have asked the question, “can you eat raw vegetables?” Yes, definitely and they are good for your health too. You can eat asparagus, avocado, beet greens, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and brussels sprouts as they are all safe vegetables to eat.
What is Raw Vegetables?
Raw vegetables are vegetables like celery, broccoli that you eat without cooking them. According to some experts, the blending, cooking, mashing of these vegetables often affects the calorie content.
A dehydrator can do so much more than just drying your herbs, fruit or vegetables. If you want, you can even make a dehydrated smoothie for your next hike trip!
To conclude, just keep it small and the temperature low and you are ready to score with all your raw food recipes.
Make a note that you cannot take on this diet overnight. Take small steps at a time. It is better to make small changes and succeed than to jump into it and fail. A food dehydrator will help you bring more variety in your raw food diet, but you need to follow the rules.