LIFESTYLE

Raw Till 4 Diet: Health Benefits, Concerns And Meal Plan

12/05/2015 16:22 BST | Updated 14/05/2015 16:59 BST

Correction: This article was previously published without referencing 'Freelee the Banana Girl' as the creator of the Raw Till 4 diet. This has now been amended.

With celebrities such as Demi Moore and Kate Middleton rumoured to be fans, it's no surprise that the raw food diet has grown in popularity in recent years.

But for those who think ditching cooked grub full time is a step too far, there's another option: Raw Till 4.

mangoes

What Is The Raw Till 4 Diet?

Raw Till 4 was created by an Australian blogger and YouTube star known as 'Freelee the Banana Girl', who came up with the plan because she was "fed up with being sick, depressed, overweight, and exhausted all the time".

"The concept of Raw Till 4 is to say no to calorie restriction and yes to eating and living abundantly," Freelee tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle.

"The focus is on eating the right calories, instead of restricting them. Those calories come from low fat plant foods which then allows us the freedom to eat as much as we want.

"Raw Till 4 is about eating only raw fruits and greens till 4pm then follow with a high carb, low fat cooked vegan dinner."

The below food plan is what Freelee recommends you eat on day one of Raw Till 4:

Breakfast: Raw Till 4 milkshake (7 bananas, 750ml of water, 250ml of coconut water, 1tbsp of coconut sugar, vanilla essence)

Lunch: Mono meal - a meal consisting of one ingredient - of your favourite fruit (4 or more large mangoes)

Snack: Unlimited fresh fruit till 4pm

Dinner: Chips (500g of organic potatoes, low sodium dipping Sauce, 1/2 head of lettuce).

You'll notice that day one is very fruit based. Greens can also be eaten on Freelee's Raw Till 4 plan and are included on other days. Check out thebananagirl.com to view the rest of her seven day plan.

Health Benefits

Freelee says she has lost over 40lbs following the Raw Till 4 lifestyle.

"I have been thriving on the high fruit lifestyle for over eight years now and consistently stayed healthy, fit and lean. For those who question my health I have excellent blood test results which can be found on my YouTube channel."

Nutritionist Karen Poole tells us Raw Till 4 may has beneficial effects for some, as the focus on fruit and veg can help some individuals establish healthier habits.

"The overall results are determined or exacerbated by your previous eating and lifestyle habits, for instance if you were overeating, leading a sedentary lifestyle or making poor food choices before then a change to a simple fresh diet will bring positive results and quite quickly too," she says.

"Raw Till 4 can also help to create gut bacteria, facilitate stomach acid and provide fibre to support gut function."

Poole adds that raw food tends to be low in fat, processed sugar, salt or additives and can therefore support efficient weight management, digestion, energy production and possibly reduce the risk progressive conditions as diabetes.

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Health Concerns

British Dietetic Association (BDA) spokesperson Priya Tew tells us that although Raw Till 4 may be less restrictive than a full raw diet, some may find it difficult to stick to and therefore, it may not be the best diet to embark on if you're trying to lose weight.

"Food is a very social event and eating out could become difficult, buying a quick lunch on the go will also be hard. So it means people will need to be a lot more organised, packing food to take out and about, preparing meal plans and meals in advance," she says.

Poole adds that as well as being restrictive, Raw Till 4 is also "labour intensive, repetitive, expensive and carries potential health hazards".

"Eating a raw plant-based diet is exhausting for the digestive system especially if you have a condition such as an IBD or IBS as you are putting your gut under more stress and pressure," she says.

It's important to think carefully about what fruit and vegetables you are consuming on Raw Till 4 - do not just assume that any raw food will suit your digestion.

Poole says cruciferous vegetables (kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) can worsen impaired thyroid function and cooking these vegetables neutralises the risk.

She adds: "In some instances cooking can also magnify the potential of a food - the lycopene in a tomato is increased threefold through cooking and it aids the breakdown of protein enabling digestion by our gastric enzymes."

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