After being on the raw food diet for a while, many raw fooders often find themselves getting sicker and sicker. Fatigue begins to set in, the teeth become sensitive and many other problems begin to arise. I too have found myself in slumps where I thought I would be better off on the standard diet. However, after doing more research and experiencing it for myself, I have discovered that although it might seem like the raw diet makes you sick, it actually helps you to get better.
Many who make the change to the raw food diet do so because they are already sick. The diet basically causes the body to go through an extreme detoxification process, which can be very stressful for both the mind and body, especially when the body is already sick.
In addition to that, there are also many mistakes that raw fooders make, which can make them feel sick. It may sound simple to just eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables, but it becomes a whole new story when one actually goes through the process because the body has to readjust.
What Makes One Feel Sick on the Raw Diet?
One of the things that makes individuals feel sicker on the raw diet is the fact that their bodies are simply not used to natural or living foods.
Processed foods have a similar effect on the body as alcohol. It causes numbness in the physical body as well as in the mind and emotions. This is why chocolate cake, doughnuts, chips and other junk foods, are labeled as comfort foods: they temporarily numb the pain – whatever that might be. They help the body and mind to feel as though everything is okay for the time being. Once the effects wear off, however, the pain returns.
Fruits and vegetables and other plant-based foods do not have this effect on the body. They are referred to as living foods in their raw state, and instead of causing numbness, they help the body to wake up and feel alive again. Any numbness is eliminated allowing the pain and emotions to return. As a result of this, one might feel as though the diet is making things worse, but in reality the body is just becoming more aware of what is going on inside.
The detox process occurs naturally once more natural foods are added to the diet. It is the time when the body releases toxins back into the bloodstream in order to be eliminated. This is usually the phase wherein one feels worse due to the detox symptoms that arise, such as headaches, emotional ups and downs and fatigue.
Coming off the Standard American Diet has very similar effects on the body as coming off of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. It is just a detox process that the body needs to go through. And the sooner one can overcome those symptoms, the sooner the healing can begin.
A fairly healthy person might only experience mild symptoms, whereas someone who is very toxic can experience many difficulties, and it can take years for the accumulated toxins to leave the body. This is why it is so important that everyone increase their intake of raw foods at their own pace because detoxifying too fast defeats the purpose, and the toxins just keep circulating in the blood until the eliminating organs are able to expel them.
Not Enough Nutrients
Not enough nutrients??!! But the raw diet is supposed to be the best source for nutrients!
The truth is that plant-based foods have ALL the nutrition that the body needs. But after years of eating toxic foods the body loses its ability to respond to many of the plant-based nutrients.
Take vitamin B12 for instance. The body will create its own from plant-based substances provided that it has the proper acids and friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. Most individuals do not have the right acids and bacteria, and therefore, are unable to produce their own vitamin B12.
Many raw fooders are unaware of this and often end up with a deficiency. I am not a fan of taking vitamins or supplements, but, I do believe that there is a time for everything. And taking a vitamin B12 when making the switch can help to maintain the levels until the digestive tract is able to heal and produce its own.
Omega 3 is another example. Under the right conditions the body can make its own from the plant-based form known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). But when too many omega 6’s are present the chances of omega 3 being absorbed are very slim because both use the same enzyme for absorption.
The standard diet is high in omega 6 and very low in omega 3. As a matter of fact, omega 3 is difficult to find in high amounts even among plant-based foods. Chia, Salba and flax seeds are said to be the best sources of omega 3 among plants. Adding these foods to the daily diet, and avoiding unhealthy fats, can help to prevent a deficiency. Another option is to take a plant-based or a fish oil omega 3 supplement.
Vitamin D is another nutrient that is not readily available from plant-based foods. This vitamin is known as the sunshine vitamin because it is naturally created in the body during sun exposure if the right amount of healthy fats are present on the skin. The consumption of healthy omega 3 fatty acids and getting plenty of sunshine can help to prevent a deficiency. In some cases a supplement might also be helpful when taken for short periods at a time.
Protein. Protein in its completed form is not available in any plant-based foods. The truth is, however, that plants have all the necessary amino acids that it takes for the body to create its own. Nuts and seeds, legumes and avocados are some of the best sources of amino acids.
Too Much Sugar
Another reason why raw fooders might find themselves getting sicker on the raw food diet is because they are taking in too much sugar. Not all sugars are the same, and obtaining it from fruit is by far a much better choice than from a concentrated form. At the same time, however, eating high amounts of bananas, apples and other sweet fruit, is not a good idea. This is especially true for someone who is sedentary or for someone who is suffering from a health condition.
Too much sugar, even if it comes from fruit, can contribute to candida or worsen the condition. The condition is difficult to diagnose for conventional doctors and it can leave one feeling weak, tired and irritable.
Too Much Fat
Fat is good in moderation, not only for the body, but for the functions of the mind as well. It helps to eliminate food cravings by maintaining a feeling of fullness. As a result, fatty foods, such as avocados, coconut oil, and nuts and seeds, are often consumed in excess amounts. Although those foods are a good substitute for meat and other animal fats, they should not be taken in large quantities over a prolonged period of time.
Another mistake that new raw fooders make is that they think they have to eat all raw. This is simply not true. Everyone’s body is different, and therefore, has different needs. Some people have no problem with eating a 100% raw diet, but for others it’s just not the right thing to do.
For one, raw foods detoxify the body. Detoxifying the body is always good, but it shouldn’t be done to the extreme where the body can’t handle it. Therefore, a bowl of rice, beans or corn at the end of the day is perfectly okay in order to slow the process down. Meat and other animal products are also okay to have as long as they are consumed in moderation.
Another common mistake new raw fooders make is that they yo-yo diet. This is where an individual will eat all raw for a few days or even a few weeks and then return to the old diet. This is by far the worst thing that anyone can do to themselves as it puts a tremendous amount of stress on the digestive system. And if the digestive system is stressed, the whole body becomes stressed as well.
The key to avoid yo-yo-dieting is to take it slow and gradually ease into the raw food diet. This allows one to make small changes at a time, which are much easier to stick with in the long run.
There is much to learn about the raw food diet and how it can help to prevent and even reverse disease. The internet is a great resource and doing your own research can help you to avoid some of the pitfalls associated with making the change. It is also very important to listen to your own body because what may seem right for one person may not be what’s best for another.