Raw food is any type of unprocessed food that has not been heated over 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Raw foodists and some scientists believe that cooking food at high temperatures destroys valuable enzymes. It is also believed that cooking food makes it harder to digest the minerals contained in it.
Organic food is any product or food that is absent of genetically engineered ingredients, synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilizers and sewage sludge. Organic foods and food products are also free of artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors.
Types of Raw Food
Some raw foodists may consume a diet that is 75% organic, while others may opt for 50%. Raw food is either living (plants) or completely raw. Common raw food staples include beans, especially garbanzos, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, seaweed, fruits and vegetables, and dried fruit. At the highest level of raw foodism, raw food purists (strict raw foodists) do not consume meat or seafood. It is important to note that there are many different levels of raw foodism. This means, some raw foodists may consume raw or organic raw fish.
Types of Organic Food
In order to carry the USDA Organic/100% Organic label, every ingredient, except water and salt, must be organic. To carry the USDA Organic label, 95% of the ingredients used in the product or food must be organic. Products and foods labeled “Made with organic ingredients” must have at least 70% organic components. These products may not use the USDA Organic seal. This means that the only truly organic products are the ones labeled 100% Organic.
Fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products may be labeled 100% Organic. If canned foods, frozen vegetables, and other ready-to-eat foods have conformed to the required standards for 100% Organic foods, they may also carry the USDA 100% Organic seal. Other types of organic foods on the marker today include baby food, baby formula, organic coffee, organic candy, and other organic snack foods.
Raw Food, Organic Food, and Your Health
Eating a diet consisting of raw food has its drawbacks and benefits. Some argue that a raw food diet lacks protein, calories, and the “good fats” needed for proper body function. Good fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, fish oil, and hemp seed oil. Others argue that a raw food diet is expensive and time consuming. To decide if a raw food diet is right for you, many raw food experts suggest speaking with your physician before beginning any type of restrictive diet.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets strict guidelines for organic labeling. The USDA and the Mayo Clinic have also reported that there is no evidence to support the claim that organic food is more nutritious or safer that conventionally grown food. Organic processed foods, such as spaghetti sauce, have been tested against non-organic versions, and results conclude that the nutritional differences are too small to measure.