Dead Food: What Does it Really Mean?

Though the raw food movement is a little out of the realm for some, others are taking to it in numbers as a new way of eating to clean the body of toxins and reap the benefits of eating food in its purest form. 
A raw food eating style is fundamentally eating foods with minimal or no processing, keeping them in the most natural form. Most people on a raw food diet are completely vegan. This diet consists mostly of fruits and veggies, but things like sprouted seeds and whole grains, beans, seaweed, and nuts are also incorporated. Some big no-no’s are added sugars, processed foods, and alcohol.
For those new to the raw food movement, some terms may catch them off-guard, so it’s important to know some verbage if this becomes a new way of eating. Most people may know that vegan means eating no animal byproducts, including eggs and dairy. Two other terms often used, but not as well understood, are dead food and live food–so what do they really mean?

Dead Food For those on a raw food diet, or other clean ways of eating, dead food is the food they want to steer clear of. The “deader” the food is, the more processed it is. Think of things like soda and fast food, hot dogs and overly processed lunch meats or ready-made meals. These are usually over-processed to where all the vitamins and nutrients are lost. The farther away from its natural state it is, the worse it is to eat.

Live Food Some people use the terms raw food and live food to mean the same thing, and live food is essentially food in its most pure state. To gain the most nutrients from something, raw foodists believe they should eat things in their purest form–hence raw food.

Examples… An apple is an apple is an apple, right? Well, not necessarily. A nice, fresh, raw apple, whole or sliced, is considered live food. Once that apple is cooked down to almost liquid mush and mixed with sugars and other chemicals, it becomes dead food. Not only are most of the nutrients gone, but things the body does not need have been added.


Another example is a salad. A bowl of bright fresh vegetables is brimming with vitamins and nutrients. Maybe some legumes and grains have even been added for protein and minerals. This is a great example of live food. Take this same bowl of salad and throw it in a pot and cook it down. Add sodium and chemical laden chicken broth and more salt. If this is happening in a soup factory, who knows what else is being added--most of the words are hard to pronounce. The vegetables lose their color, the legumes lose their texture, and the nutrients slip away. It is poured in a can and is no longer considered live food. This is the dead version of that delicious salad.

salads -raw foods

Even on a raw/live food diet, foods can be cooked to around 116 degrees and still considered live, but any more than that and they begin to lose their essential benefits. Remember, there is a lot worse out there than applesauce and soup; it is those dead foods that have no resemblance to their original form that are the real ones to stay away from.

Heather Legg is an author who writes for a variety of websites including

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  1. Food Expert3:24 PM

    Some foods need to be cooked to increase the bio-availability of the nutrients.
    Overcooking can destroy nutrients. You need to learn to cook things to maximize their nutrient value.
    I don't think that raw foods are going to do you a lot of harm - but neither is properly cooking your food. Humans have been cooking their food since the discovery of fire!

  2. Ramola3:27 PM

    Stay away from raw gluten products.

  3. There are some very unhealthy flaws with some theorys of raw food dieting.


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