A short-term raw food cleanse (or raw food detox diet) is one of the more popular approaches to the whole raw food concept.
It appeals to those who believe they will benefit from eating more raw food, but can’t face the thought of nothing but raw food forever more.
A typical raw food cleanse will last between 7 and 10 days, and many who undertake such a program claim they feel rejuvenated, have new energy and often a new sense of well-being and a positive mental attitude – and of course they generally lose weight.
Eating only raw foods, even for a relatively short time, will automatically lower your consumption of refined sugars and flours and most if not all fatty products. The basic approach in this diet is to increase the consumption of raw plant foods (fruit and vegetables), reduce or cut out completely the consumption of cooked food and animal fats and protein (i.e. meat and dairy products).
Some dieters move away from solid foods completely, and the juicer becomes the center of kitchen activity. Unless you are already a vegan, it may be too extreme for you, so you could add solids in the form of fruit and vegetables.
The emphasis on raw is the core of the raw foodist philosophy – the belief that the enzymes produced in the mouth when raw food is eaten act as catalysts and promote more efficient digestion.
You will have to do a little planning before starting a cleansing program. Try to pick a period with no (or few) business lunches, restaurant meals or family visits. Obviously it’s no problem if you are having visitors, as you can control what you eat in your own home.
There’s plenty of advice on how to structure your raw food diet, but unfortunately not all the experts agree with one another.
One suggestion is that you should not combine starch, meat, nuts or fruit at the same meal. So you can have starch and vegetables, or meat and vegetables, or nuts and vegetables, or fruit and vegetables.
There are some common nutritional themes. The all-juice approach is very popular, with emphasis on adding green juices from spinach, chard, celery and cucumbers to keep your energy level high. Drink lots of liquid, which means lots of pure, clean water – spring water if possible. Some dieters add lemon juice.
If you want to add solids, one rule of thumb is you can eat any fresh, non-fatty fruit, or the leaves, stem or roots of a plant. No cooking, of course. Your only interest in food recipes should be to increase the variety of salads you can produce. Aim to eat at least a pound of green vegetables a day, which will give you a broader range of vitamins and minerals than just eating fruit would.
There can be a downside to this detoxification program, and some people report adverse reactions. These include food cravings, occasional tiredness and/or irritability, and sometimes actual physical reactions such as nausea and vomiting. Anyone who drinks a lot of coffee (in other words, who has something of a caffeine addiction) could experience headaches at the start of the exercise.
But the majority of people who undertake a raw food cleanse (and many do it at least once a year) report they feel healthier, have more energy, feel (and sometimes look) younger, and the tales of weight loss range from “OK” to “wonderful”.