Healthy Eating

Some Like It Raw

Is a raw-food diet right for you?
Some Like It Raw
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The Moderate Approach
One of the ironies of raw cuisine is that you may never use your stove again but you'll probably spend more time and money in the kitchen. Organic groceries and special equipment can be pricey, and some recipes require days of prep. Since raw cuisine is fairly reliant on electric appliances, it's not as planet-friendly as you might imagine (though you can feel very good about supporting organic farming).

"Raw doesn't work for everybody—there are many versions of the diet," concedes Boyd, who favors a 70 percent to 80 percent raw regimen. "We all have different nutritional needs. There are people who dabble in it, aiming to incorporate more raw foods into their lives. Others commit to it fully."

Vegetarians have an easier transition than non-vegetarians, Boyd points out. For some it can be a matter of a few weeks, while others may need six to 12 months to adjust to raw foods. Also, going raw generally means giving up coffee, some teas, and many desserts—something not everyone will do.

Considering the difficulties, a semi-raw approach may be more beneficial, says Abby Gerstein, R.D., a Melville, N.Y.-based nutritionist and 20-year vegetarian. That way you can add high-nutrient, low-calorie foods each week without going through withdrawal pains every time you pass a Starbucks. And starting in summer makes it more practical.

"Nutrients are highest when produce is ripe and in season," notes Gerstein, who advises starting with simple soups served cold or slightly warmed. Fruits and nuts make salads special,while fruit sorbets made with unrefined sweeteners satisfy those for whom no meal is complete without dessert.