Raw? Paleo?

I’m not sure if it is just me, but I have recently noticed a huge boom in diets and supporters of clean eating. The thing I really appreciate is that more and more people are taking an interest in their health. My question is, if these super revolutionary diets are truly wholesome for their followers. There‘s no doubt about the favorable results in weight loss and the reduction of some diseases, but are these diets convenient for the long term? We should think of diets as a lifestyle, not just an attempt to become slimmer.

Eat Like Caveman

The Paleo diet sees humans of the past being tall, muscular, athletic people, and the average homo sapiens sapiens of today as being overweight, out of shape, unhappy and stressed out. Advocates of the Paleo Diet are blaming all these changes on chemically processed nutrition. More over they are pointing out that many modern civilization diseases have been spread with the industrialized world. Therefore, people should return back to the era before the agricultural revolution, when humans only ate what they had hunted and collected.

In the list of allowed food for the Paleo Diet you find meat, fruit, vegetables, eggs, oils (olive, coconut, avocado), nuts, and sweet potatoes. You cannot eat dairy products, potatoes, or refined sugar. Surprisingly, legumes and grains (despite the current anti-wheat movement, it has been one of the oldest-known basis in human nutrition), are also forbidden. 

Nutrition, which is genetically more natural for humans, is an incredible idea. What most paleo fans do not take into count is that living conditions have rapidly changed throughout the millennia. The number of people living on the Earth now exceeds 7 billion, and more food is needed. Also agriculture has to pass through some alternation in order to sustain a whole civilization. If someone wants to return to paleo times, he has to give up on all the conveniences of the modern era, such as electricity, cars, and the Internet. I have to point out that back when our ancestors did not have steady access to food, they had to starve and their everyday routines were physically on a completely different level.

Raw Food Diet

Food warmed up to 42 degrees Celsius, using blenders, dehydrators, juicers, and the like, that all is The Raw Food Diet. It includes consuming uncooked and unprocessed vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains. Some people also eat unpasteurized dairy products, and raw eggs. The principle is really simple. Heating food destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes. But what goes on during this “rabbit diet” is that while you ingest food high in vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals, the diet is low in calories, and high in fiber. It lacks many essential nutrients as proteins, such as, iron, calcium, B12 and more. Therefore you need to add them artificially by food supplements. It’s no surprise that you lose a significant amount of weight, since you obtain food with a minimal energetic nutrition.

What proponents of The Raw Diet should realize is that cooking makes some food more digestible and prevents food poisoning. In the case that your digestive system is weakened, you probably shouldn’t start such a diet. Vegetables have a cellulose structure, which means that our stomach has a harder time digesting it. Some herbivores have a specially developed stomach that breaks down the cellulose fiber, but humans do not. And when the food is not digested properly, our body is not able to completely use all the nutrients.

If we consider all aspects of the raw foodism objectively, it is clear that it is more suitable as a short-term diet or a detox. It is a great example that shows that weight loss should not be the only criterion when trying new trend in eating.

Final words and a bit of my perception

After finishing this article, I felt like my head become two times bigger from all the information that I had processed. My main goal was to summarize all the points of new trends in dieting, and to look at, why they had gained such interest. They all have proponents and opponents. Each one has a good initial attempt to get rid of diseases, and unhealthy habits caused by an industrialized society. Though, it seems to me that people have a tendency to complicate things in order to come up with a radical, life changing solution. Instead of this, they would do much better if they used their common sense. I think that nowadays when a high percentage of society is aware of the basic principles of how to improve the quality their lives, it is obvious that the biggest problem is the sedentary way of living, a lack of physical activities, and consumption of highly conserved products. It is time to think about what we eat, how we spend our days and how we feel. Instead of developing complicated diets, it would probably be better if we concentrated on the quality of products, consuming seasonal fruit and vegetables and in finding healthier versions of our favorite meals.

by Natália Pribišová

Year 2, Issue 1