This is an extreme form of vegetarianism, in which all cooking is eschewed in favour of raw ingredients as near their natural state as possible. The rationale is that cooking is an unnatural process which destroys many vitamins, minerals and essential food enzymes. Starting as an minority interest in California, raw foodism is apparently gaining some support, though its adherents even now form only a very small proportion of all vegetarians. About 70 per cent of the diet of raw foodists is fruit — taking that in a broad sense to include peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers — with the rest made up of raw vegetables, rice and other grains, and nuts. Another term for raw foodism is living foodism, though some apply the latter more strictly to raw foods whose enzymes are thought to be in a naturally activated state, as opposed to those, such as seeds, which are dormant and need soaking to “activate” them. Some even subdivide the practice further into sproutarians (who mainly eat sprouts and leafy green plants), fruitarians (who eat fruits exclusively), and juicearians (who stick to fresh fruit and vegetable juices). Natural hygienists use fasting in combination with one or other of these diets to cleanse the body. Raw foodists are sometimes known as rawists.
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