By now, most people know about the Raw Till 4 diet and have a generally good idea of how it works. I’m all for people eating the way in which they feel best and also in a way that they can maintain over time. For this reason, I think Raw Till 4 is legitimately a very good diet, combining the best of 80/10/10 with The Starch Solution in a kind of Fit for Life sorta way. Very clever 😉
There are, however, some tweaks that I would like to mention that could help someone wanting to follow the diet in the healthiest way possible. So this is my opinion on how you can eat in a Raw Till 4 style, and still maintain optimal health if you are trying to heal your body or just enjoy the feeling of clean eating.
Eat Like a (Cooked) Fruitarian
The first thing I would suggest is to eat primarily the foods that you could eat raw anyway in a cooked manner. For instance, you can eat the following raw or cooked: sweet potato, various squash or pumpkin, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, chickpeas etc. What this means is that if you could eat something raw, then likely it is something that the human body is better adapted to eat. Squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and eggplant are all FRUITS that can be eaten cooked! So technically, you could still call yourself a fruitarian, if that’s your vibe 🙂
Compared to other foods like grains, certain beans and white potatoes, the foods mentioned above are readily available to eat and contain less antinutrients.
Speaking of Antinutrients…Mind Your Lectins, Phytic Acid, Oxalic Acid and Enzyme Inhibitors
I’ve blogged about this in a past post entitled The Problem With Cooking (It’s Not Just the Heat!). The biggest problem with a lot of plant foods that we eat cooked is that they tend to have higher amounts of antinutrients. This doesn’t mean that raw foods get off with a clean record. Nuts, greens and certain vegetables also contain antinutrients. That’s why it’s important to rotate your foods so that you don’t lose too much nutrition to these nutrient-binding compounds.
Process Your Food (Yeah, you read that right!)
There are, of course, techniques that could potentially reduce the amounts of antinutrients in foods, such as sprouting, soaking, fermenting and…cooking (don’t hate the messenger). But eating certain foods repeatedly that contain these antinutrients can potentially lead to problems, even if sprouted, soaked or cooked, as these methods only remove a certain amount of antinutrients.
Another suggestion is actually to eat these foods with the husk/skin removed if possible. White rice, although less nutritious, contains less phytic acid and lectins. Nuts also store their phytic acid in the skin. This may be against conventional nutritional knowledge, but eating white rice and adding in the nutrients with seaweed or other vegetables could possibly be more ideal for certain people who struggle with food intolerances than eating them in the whole food form.
Cook Lightly, Hold the Salt
Lighter cooking methods that retain the nutrients are better than higher temperature methods. Steaming, baking and blanching are much more ideal methods to cook, especially if they do not get too browned or overdone.
Going light on the salt is also more ideal than eating it plentifully, as I’ve discussed in many other blogs such as The Problem With Salt on a Raw Food Diet, How to Get Rid of Water Weight Fast! and which I go over in depth in my raw food course.
Add in Cooked Greens
Like I suggested above, eating foods that you could potentially eat raw in a cooked way is probably the most ideal way to eat Raw Till 4. Cooked greens are an extension of this idea, which could help some people who don’t like eating salads and find some greens too tough to eat raw. Eating lightly steamed collards or cabbage will add calcium to any diet. Steamed spinach will add iron. Some people might feel much better when adding in these extra nutrients, and may find steamed greens to be an enjoyable way to accomplish this.
While these suggestions may still seem restrictive, they could benefit some people who don’t tolerate cooked food as well as others, those who are trying to heal an ailment, or those who still want to feel the way they feel on raw with a little cooked food added in, while minimizing the digestive compromise. Staying raw most of the day is definitely ideal, and continuing to meet all nutrient requirements, whether they be cooked or raw, is better than not meeting nutritional requirements. Raw Till 4 is an option in order to stay on a raw diet while still being able to eat some foods cooked.