There is an oft-held perception about the raw food diet that you are going to have to deprive yourself of a lot of different and important areas of a healthy diet, and if you are the athletic type, number one on your list of concerns is likely protein. After all, without a solid supply of protein in your diet, your athletic endeavors will suffer the consequences. But fear not, there are plenty of ways to eat raw, get the protein you need, and keep your sporting engine running at maximum capacity.
Nuts are the first food item that most people would think of when they hear about protein in a raw food diet. No matter what variety of nut you choose, there is plenty of protein to help build a healthy body. If you want to include more nuts in your diet, it is relatively simple to do. Most people enjoy a handful of nuts as a handy snack, but they can be turned into a milk to be mixed into a morning smoothie; crushed to make a great addition to any salad; or ground down and dehydrated to make great raw breads and crackers.
Salmon might not be a food item that you would consider when you talk about raw foods in the first place, but remember that there are two great options to eat salmon on a raw diet. If you want to eat it completely raw, you can consume it as a sushi or sashimi. If you prefer a more firm texture for your meats, you can consume salmon as a cold-smoked food. Either way offers great taste, some highly beneficial fatty acids, and of course, a great source of protein. If you want to add more salmon to your diet, you can make raw crackers and a “cheese” ball, and have a delightful and high-brow snack when company comes over.
Beef is another food group that many people forget when they talk about raw foods, but there are a number of raw options for beef that allow you get the flavor and the protein of red meat, without resorting to the damaging effects of cooking it. Many people enjoy raw ground beef with a liberal dosing of lemon juice to “cook” the meats chemically rather than with heat; another option is to consume it as a thinly-sliced Carpaccio. Of course, many people chose to not consume any animal products or by-products, so this option is not perfect for everyone.
Sprouts are another often overlooked source of protein in a raw food diet. Sprouts can be grown from alfalfa, broccoli, chick peas, wheat and many other food items. Special care must be taken when eating sprouts, as nearly every grown food can be sprouted, but not every sprout should be consumed by people. Check before you try to grow your own sprouts. Also, there are concerns regarding E-coli contamination with sprouts, which means that extra caution should be taken when purchasing, growing, handling and storing your sprouts