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Q. I'm ready to go raw. What's the Dish Divas' take on raw food diets?

A. Raw food diets are all the rage. Ya gotta admit, it's an appealing idea. Such beauties as supermodel Carol Alt and actresses Demi Moore and Alicia Silverstone reportedly like it raw. But should you boycott your stove? Enthusiasts (and they are incredibly enthusiastic) say if you eat only raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, you'll improve your health, delay aging, and clear your mind. Okay, so here's the dish: Raw foods are great...if they're handled properly (bad bacteria could be lurking in raw foods and won't be killed off with cooking) and if you happen to enjoy all your food served at either room temperature or chilled. (Think cold raw vegetables, cold raw main dishes, cold soups and eggless, sugarless, flourless cakes, and well, you get the picture.) Because eating raw meat is an incredibly bad idea, raw food diets are vegetarian by default. That can be a good thing. But there is no logical reason to believe that raw foods are somehow naturally better for you than cooked. You might be interested to know that research clearly shows that several foods are actually more nutritious when they're cooked. You get significantly more phytonutrients from say, carrots and tomatoes, if they're cooked, compared to if you eat them raw. Our advice: Have a little of both, some cooked, some raw, and splurge on a meal at a raw food restaurant whenever you like. It's fun! Just don't turn yourself inside out trying to adhere to a difficult and unproven raw foods diet.


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