A raw diet in its purest form is simply eating any and all animals, vegetables and minerals that are naturally edible without human manufacture and heat processing (i.e. cooking).
Eating naturally edible foods as close to form as they arise in nature and as freshly as possible means avoiding the difficulties and expense of cooking and/or processing by human methods.
Raw foods afford the most nutritious, simplest, cost-effective and easiest way to eat. Some commonly available examples of what type foods may compose a pure, raw diet include:
- Animals (fish, fowl, wild game and domesticated beasts from husbandry): salmon, tuna, antelope, beef, lamb, goat, egg yolks, unpasteurized milk, etc.
- Vegetables (includes fruit): sea vegetables (dulse, nori, etc.) lettuces, greens, cucumbers, mint, parsley, tomatoes, celery, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.
- Minerals: sea salt and only those minerals that are naturally occurring in the above raw animals and vegetables, i.e. no man-made supplements.
Some commonly occurring natural foods are not advisable to eat raw. This includes many Vegetables (i.e. whole plants, leaves, roots, fruits and nuts) as well as the very few Animals naturally toxic to humans.
Plants live in constant war to survive. Most all plants can't run away and instead produce toxins as a defense mechanism to ward off predators (from fatal at a minuscule dose to mild enzyme inhibitors troubling to human digestion). Some plant toxins and anti-nutrients can be made edible by cooking and/or other human processing (e.g. soaking, sprouting and fermentation, etc.), such as:
- soybeans, lima beans, potatoes, mature spinach, egg whites, cassava root, kidney beans, etc.
Many people commonly (and mistakenly) define raw diets as ONLY vegetarianism or even veganism – this is terribly misleading. Human ancestral and cultural food practices are omnivore raw in the historical record as well as in global diets still practiced today.
Many people already eat a raw diet (e.g. salads, sushi, tartares, ceviches and carpaccios), they just don't eat raw 100% of the time. And that's ok.
A raw diet is therefore very broadly applicable to all ages, all walks of life, all cultures and all personal preferences, for example:
- omnivore raw across all types of animals and vegetables to being exclusively vegan or otherwise narrowly selective; and,
- any choice of raw foods at all times (i.e. 100%) to eating such raw foods only by chance, circumstance or designed preference (i.e. 0.1% to 99% of the time).
As with all diets, your choice of food definition, design and ultimate success in a raw diet depends upon what you're trying to accomplish and your own capacity and readiness to achieve it.
The benefits to eating an omnivore raw diet are myriad and proven, but that's a different question worthy of another set of answers.