Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Protein on a Raw Food Diet

raw food diet
Photo credit: Ilovemypit

There is an oft-held perception about the raw food diet that you are going to have to deprive yourself of a lot of different and important areas of a healthy diet, and if you are the athletic type, number one on your list of concerns is likely protein. After all, without a solid supply of protein in your diet, your athletic endeavors will suffer the consequences. But fear not, there are plenty of ways to eat raw, get the protein you need, and keep your sporting engine running at maximum capacity.

Nuts are the first food item that most people would think of when they hear about protein in a raw food diet. No matter what variety of nut you choose, there is plenty of protein to help build a healthy body. If you want to include more nuts in your diet, it is relatively simple to do. Most people enjoy a handful of nuts as a handy snack, but they can be turned into a milk to be mixed into a morning smoothie; crushed to make a great addition to any salad; or ground down and dehydrated to make great raw breads and crackers.

Salmon might not be a food item that you would consider when you talk about raw foods in the first place, but remember that there are two great options to eat salmon on a raw diet. If you want to eat it completely raw, you can consume it as a sushi or sashimi. If you prefer a more firm texture for your meats, you can consume salmon as a cold-smoked food. Either way offers great taste, some highly beneficial fatty acids, and of course, a great source of protein. If you want to add more salmon to your diet, you can make raw crackers and a "cheese" ball, and have a delightful and high-brow snack when company comes over.

Beef is another food group that many people forget when they talk about raw foods, but there are a number of raw options for beef that allow you get the flavor and the protein of red meat, without resorting to the damaging effects of cooking it. Many people enjoy raw ground beef with a liberal dosing of lemon juice to "cook" the meats chemically rather than with heat; another option is to consume it as a thinly-sliced Carpaccio. Of course, many people chose to not consume any animal products or by-products, so this option is not perfect for everyone.

Sprouts are another often overlooked source of protein in a raw food diet. Sprouts can be grown from alfalfa, broccoli, chick peas, wheat and many other food items. Special care must be taken when eating sprouts, as nearly every grown food can be sprouted, but not every sprout should be consumed by people. Check before you try to grow your own sprouts. Also, there are concerns regarding E-coli contamination with sprouts, which means that extra caution should be taken when purchasing, growing, handling and storing your sprouts
Yuri Elkaim is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and author of the raw food diet for weight loss ebook, Eating for Energy. Visit to get started with his FREE "Energy Secrets" e-course and discover what your diet has been missing.
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Monday, September 3, 2012

Trendy Middleton Dukan diet slammed as 'utterly ineffective and with no scientific basis' as experts compile list of worst weight loss plans

By Deborah Arthurs

Carole Middleton's svelte figure has been attributed to the Dukan diet
Carole Middleton's svelte figure has been attributed to the Dukan diet

A diet said to be followed by the Duchess of Cambridge's mother Carole Middleton has been branded 'confusing, rigid and ineffective' by a leading health group. 

Experts from the British Dietetic Association named the Dukan Diet the worst celebrity weight loss plan to follow and said it has 'absolutely no solid science behind it at all'.
The Dukan - also reported to be followed by actress Jennifer Lopez and supermodel Gisele Bundchen - is a complicated four-phase diet that starts with a protein-only approach which promotes weight loss of around 7lb per week. 

It topped the BDA's annual list of the five worst celebrity diets to avoid in the New Year.

It works on restricting foods, calories and portion control. However, the BDA says cutting out food groups is not advisable. 

The BDA said: 'This diet is so confusing, very rigid, full of very French foods that most Brits would run a mile from like rabbit and offal, and even Dr Dukan himself warns of the associated problems like lack of energy, constipation and bad breath.' 
The BDA receives hundreds of calls every year on the subject of diets and analysed results to form a list of the most unreliable, difficult to follow or unhealthy diet plans.


1 Dukan diet
2 Alcorexia diet (very low calories, calorie saving, alcohol binges)
3 Blood group diet
4 Raw food diet
5 Baby food diet
Based on the volume of telephone calls and other contributing factors, the Dukan Diet topped a list of 'dodgy' celebrity diets to avoid in the New Year.
The Dukan Diet was followed in the list by the Alcorexia or Drunkorexia Diet, an undeniably unhealthy tecnhnique believed to be used by many top models and other celebrities to keep their weight low without sacrificing their heavy partying lifestyle.
It involves eating very little during the day or week - a very low calorie (VLC) diet - and then 'saving' all the calories not eaten to binge drink alcohol. 
However, the BDA reckons people must be 'blind drunk' to follow such a diet.


While weight loss can be quick, followers of the Dukan report difficulties. Here are the main cons.
1 Much of the diet prescribes solely protein for days on end. Followers complain this can get boring and as a result is difficult to adhere to.

2 Eating so much protein - around three to four times the normal amount - can put a strain on the kidneys. This can be more problematic for those with underlying kidney problems they may not have known about.

3 A lack of fibre can be a problem. An unbalanced diet short of fruit and vegetables and heavy in fish and meat can lead to constipation.

4 Lack of cereal-based foods can lead to deficiency of vitamin B.

5 Weight loss is difficult to maintain once the rigid programme has ended. The maintenance phase alone - six days of eating normally and one Dukan day of protein - is unlikely to keep the weight off for the average dieter, whose indulgence throughout the week will outweigh the benefits of the protein day.

The BDA said: 'Following a VLC diet alone is madness, as you will most certainly not be getting the calories, vitamins and nutrients your body needs to survive and function.
'In addition, you will feel weak, tired, have no energy and will become very irritable very soon. Alcohol has little nutrition other than calories. 

'To do this in order to "bank" your calories so you can use them on alcohol is pure madness and could easily result in alcohol poisoning and even death.

'The BDA has received a significant increase in media calls about this diet and it is a worrying trend.'

The Blood Group Diet - said to be followed by Cheryl Cole, Sir Cliff Richard and Courtney Cox-Arquette - is also one to avoid, according to the BDA, which says it is 'completely based on pseudo-science'. 

Courteney Cox-Arquette is said to use the Blood Group diet to stay slim
Cheryl Cole is one of a number of celebrities said to use the Blood Group diet to stay slim
BLOOD GROUP DIET: Courteney Cox-Arquette and Cheryl Cole are said to use the diet to stay slim

Exponents of the diet claim that different nutrients are broken down in the body based on blood type. 

However, the BDA said: 'Cutting out food groups is never a good idea, unless medically advised to do so and with help making substitutions from a dietician.

'This diet could lead to significant deficiencies such as calcium. You lose weight on this diet because your calorie intake is very restricted and this diet is not sustainable in the long term.' 

Also on the list of the BDA's weight loss programmes to avoid is the Raw Food Diet, said to be followed by Hollywood A-listers Demi Moore, Natalie Portman and Woody Harrelson. 

RAW FOOD DIET: Woody Harrelson, left, and Demi Moore, right, are said to follow the raw food diet
RAW FOOD DIET: Woody Harrelson, left, and Demi Moore, right, are said to follow the raw food diet
RAW FOOD DIET: Woody Harrelson, left, and Demi Moore, right, are said to follow the raw food diet

It is the practice of eating uncooked food and non-pasteurised or non-homogenised dairy products. This diet can be used by vegans and meat eaters. 

However, the BDA warns: 'A raw diet can be low in fat and calories but can also be low in calcium, vitamin D, iron, zinc and protein. 

'Many foods can only be eaten cooked, like rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, beans and pulses, so these are excluded. 

'The diet is unsuitable for pregnant women, children and other at risk groups. In fact some foods are more nutritious if cooked, like carrots and tomatoes. 

'This diet is time consuming, socially isolating and you'll have an awful lot of chewing to do. For those who use meat in a raw diet, they put themselves at risk of food poisoning and gastroenteritis.'

The list to avoid is completed by the Baby Food Diet, said to be followed by Lady Gaga, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston. 

The diet calls for eating only up to 14 jars of pureed food or baby food every day, or mostly pureed food and one adult meal, or pureed food instead of snacks. 

However, the BDA warns: 'This diet works on portion control and guess what? Yes, restricted calories, as a jar of baby food has very few. 

'Although fruit and veg are included they are pureed so have much less fibre and texture. 

Lady Gaga is said to have experimented with the Baby Food diet
Gwyneth Paltrow is said to have experimented with the Baby Food diet
BABY FOOD DIET: Lady Gaga, left, and Gwyneth Paltrow, right, are said to have experimented with the Baby Food diet, which the BDA calls 'anti-social and lacking in fibre'

'Chewing food is associated with feelings of fullness and satiety, so reach for an apple or a carrot rather than a jar. 

'Also, how anti-social would you be whipping out your jars of baby food at a top restaurant?' 

Sian Porter, consultant dietician and spokesperson for the BDA, said of weight loss fads: 'Sadly, there is no magic wand you can wave. 

'There is no wonder diet you can follow without some nutritional or health risk and most are offering a short-term fix to a long term problem.

'It may be obvious, but if you want to lose weight you need to eat a nutritionally balanced and varied diet with appropriately sized portions and burn off more calories than you consume. 

'In short speak, eat fewer calories, make better choices and move a bit more.
'On a serious note, glamorous images of celebrities saturate our daily media in all forms. These celebs have an army of people to help them to keep looking good, which is essential to their livelihood and plenty of money to do whatever they think it takes. 
'You need to remember too, a lot of these images are airbrushed and retouched to give celebrities an unachievable body image that does not exist in real life, yet many aspire to. 

'Some people look at these images and will try anything they think will help them achieve the "perfect" body. 

'If you have some weight you need to lose, then do it in a healthy, enjoyable and sustainable way. In the long term this will achieve the results you are after.' 
The BDA, founded in 1936, is the professional association for registered dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation's largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with more than 6,000 members.

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Why raw food is good for you


If you've hardly stepped near your oven this summer and chosen salads and soups rather than slaving over a hot stove, there's no need to feel guilty.

Raw fruit, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds are all brimming with vitamins and minerals which can help boost our immune system, give our gums a great workout, keep us slim and leave our skin looking young and silky.
Luckily, we are more likely to eat raw food in summer because we are attracted to lighter, cooler dishes such as salads, juices, chilled soups and smoothies.

Raw fruit and vegetables deliver far higher levels of nutrients to our body than cooked food.
In fact, nutritionist Jane Griffin believes raw food contains a third more vitamins and minerals than cooked food.

'This is because boiling water absorbs vitamins B and C during cooking,' she says. 'Raw food also contains more fibre than cooked food. This is because heat breaks down fibre which tends to get lost during cooking.'
Ian Marber, co-founder of London's Food Doctor Nutrition Clinic, says we should aim to eat at least one course of raw food at every meal.

However, he warns a diet made up of raw food and nothing else is unhealthy because we are not getting all the protein and carbohydrates found in other groups of food such as meat and grains.

But including some raw food in your diet is an ideal way to get your daily quota of five portions of fruit and vegetables. 'You're far more likely to eat a greater variety of raw fruit and veg,' says Griffin.

'That's because the traditional cooked meal is meat and two veg - but a typical salad can easily contain five or six different types of vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onions and peppers.'

Cucumber is rich in potassium and iron, while tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, carrots and other brightly coloured foods are high in the antioxidant betacarotene which reduces cancer-related free radicals.

The health benefits don't stop there. The good news is if you want to lose weight this summer, raw food is more likely to shed pounds than cooked food.

That's because raw fruit and vegetables tend to be more bulky than the cooked variety because they have a higher water content than cooked food which loses much of its moisture when cooked. This extra bulk helps full you up - so you are likely to eat less and not gain weight.

There are plenty of other health benefits too. Chewing raw food is an excellent workout for your gums and jaw because it is slightly harder to chew than cooked food.

A chewing motion stimulates blood supply to these parts of your mouth - helping to keep them healthy and exercised. Cooked, processed food by contrast can contain high levels of sugar which can lead to tooth decay.

Raw food can also benefit our skin. Carrots and tomatoes contain betacarotene which when eaten raw contains higher levels of this vitamin. After the body digests betacarotene, it is converted into vitamin A. This chemical stimulates skin cell growth and builds collagen - a structural protein present in the skin which is essential for skin elasticity.