Contributing Monkie Julie Morris
Published on August 8, 2008
Garden Lasagna | Chad Sarno Recipe by GreenChef Chad Sarno
We’ve all heard the magical claims of “raw food equals weight loss”. And personally speaking, I’ve shed a few pounds eating raw foods. But I’ve also gained a couple eating raw foods. This isn’t because I’m a crappy magician. It’s because raw foods don’t have any mystic qualities that simply make the pounds just go poof and disappear. While that would be nice, the truth is, there is no easy fix. Weight loss doesn’t work like that.
Before you give me the evil eye, let me be the first to say that I LOVE raw foods. Any diet that incorporates copious amounts of fresh vegetables and fruit is going to be a superfantastic one in my book. And when practiced in a balanced matter, raw foods are a terrific contribution to abundant health.
But being healthy and losing weight are not the same thing. They’re often grouped together, but that’s just good marketing. Being healthy is a broad term that involves making better lifestyle choices that promote well-being. (And yes, sometimes weight loss is necessary to achieve this level of well-being.) But losing weight in and of itself is nothing more than a calorie issue: burn more calories than you take in and you’ll lose weight. Unromantic, I know, but it’s true.
Technically speaking, I can eat nothing but donuts all day, but if the total amount of donut calories consumed is less than the calories I burn, I’m going to lose weight. (Of course, I’m going for the extreme example here. The donut diet is NOT healthy. Please don’t try this at home.) Similarly, I could be 100% raw, but if I go all kinds of crazy on one of the higher calorie raw treats (damn you, raw brownies!), I’m going to gain weight.
The easiest way to maximize the weight-loss effects of a raw food diet is to focus on eating vegetables and fruit in their fresh state and save the dehydrated goodies for special occasions. The fresh food will be a fraction of the calories of its dehydrated counterpart by weight, and its high water content will keep you feeling full longer. But that doesn’t mean you can eat your weight in fruit and vegetables and stay a healthy size.
The truth behind the magic is simple: losing weight is a caloric numbers game, while physical health is a putting-the-best-foods-in-your-body game. You can do both — like losing weight on a raw food diet — but only if you still play by the caloric rules.