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How to Eat Raw

Okay, first, the basics of raw eating: Followers eat all their food...well...raw, with the reasoning that heating and processing food destroys its natural state. It may sound simple, but eating raw actually requires a lot of work. Some things to keep in mind:

The basic tenets

You cannot eat anything cooked or processed in any way. But you are allowed to eat any fruit and veggie, nut and seed, egg, fish, meat (all in their raw state, of course), and unpasteurized or homogenized dairy products.

Sprout and soak

This is thought to up the vitamin content and digestibility of foods. Nuts, grains, and seeds -- like chickpeas, barley, and rice -- can be sprouted by soaking, draining,b and rinsing until they germinate. Soaking nuts and seeds before you eat them, even if you don’t sprout them, is also recommended.

Be flexible

To successfully eat raw, you need to like pretty much all plant foods and have an incredibly varied palate. If this doesn’t sound like you, forget it -- it’ll be next to impossible for you to get all the nutrients you need.

Remember meat

Eating raw is not synonymous with being a vegetarian or a vegan. There’s sushi, carpaccio, raw milk, and so forth. If you’re smart about it, you can get a good balance of food without risking major nutritional deficiencies.

For the health benefits, try it 75% of the time

That is, eat 75 percent of your food raw and the rest in a more normal way. This way, you still get all the benefits of a raw diet but can integrate into society a little better -- that is, go out for lunch with a group of non-raw friends and actually eat something.

Nestpert: Kim Wyman, MPH, RD

Now get tips on eating a macrobiotic diet.

-- Paula Kashtan