A diet comprised of 100% uncooked food when used for the purpose of detoxification of the body is referred to as a raw food detox diet. Detoxification or detox refers to the process of elimination of toxins, produced either internally from metabolic wastes or coming from external sources such food and environment, that get accumulated in the body over a period of time, giving rise to a host of diseases.
A raw food detox diet primarily includes vegetarian or vegan foods, though sometimes meat and fish may be allowed too if one can manage to eat them raw. Such a diet promotes the elimination of harmful substances from the body through the body’s excretory organs like kidneys, bowel and skin.
How a raw food diet detox works?
The principle behind a raw food detox diet is the belief that food in its natural uncooked form has all the vital nutrients and enzymes intact, whereas cooking by conventional methods devitalizes the food due to breakdown of these substances. In a sense, raw food is a kind of living food, with a latent life force that under appropriate conditions facilitates germination and growth of a new plant from a seed.
Advocates of the raw food diet detox believe that when the body is fed with foods that are rich in life force, digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, while at the same time being deprived of devitalized and toxin-laden foods, it gets into the self-detoxification and cleansing mode.
What goes wrong during cooking?
When food is heated to temperatures above 117 ºF (47 ºC) for more than a few minutes: (i) a substantial amount of vital digestive enzymes and nutrients get destroyed; (ii) proteins get denatured and coagulated, causing deficiency of many amino acids; (iii) fats when overheated result in the formation of carcinogenic substances.
When the food is cooked in water, the water-soluble minerals get lost due to leaching (even more intensely if one adds salt while cooking), unless one uses the leftover water for gravies or soups. In fact, scientific studies have shown that many of the vegetables lose their antioxidant benefits when boiled or microwaved.
It only gets worse when it comes to ready-to-eat commercially manufactured foods, which may even contain highly detrimental substances like acrylamides. It is for all these reasons that a raw food diet has emerged as the favorite detox diet.