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Why Dehydrated Foods Are Not Optimal

Last month I was with some friends at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver for the summer solstice. In case you don’t know, Kitsilano beach is this awesome beach in Vancouver that faces the ocean, downtown Vancouver and the beautiful North Shore mountains. On a sunny June day, you can lie on the beach and enjoy the warm sunshine, and at the same time look at snow capped mountains.

This was one of those days.

I ended up meeting a few people who knew who I was and had discovered my website. One guy had discovered my website a couple of years ago and had become a raw foodist himself.

He said he enjoyed my writings, and had remembered me saying something against dehydrated foods.

“I know you said something about dehydrated foods on your website, but I don’t remember why you said we shouldn’t eat them. I couldn’t live without my bag of dehydrated goodies!”

Then he pulled out a bag containing all kinds of dehydrated foods, such as dehydrated apple slices with cinnamon on top, and even a sort of dehydrated cabbage “cake”, sort of like a rice cracker.

Many raw food enthusiasts make heavy use of the dehydrator. And that’s a mistake. You shouldn’t go from using the oven and the stove to using the dehydrator for your main source of prepared meals.

I’m not 100% against dehydrated foods. I still use a dehydrator a few times a year, for the very few recipes I make that require it.

I also occasionally eat dried fruits, such as raisins, figs, and apricots.

But in general, I don’t eat dehydrated foods. And here’s why:

1) Dehydrated foods have lost their water. The main benefit of a raw food diet comes from eating water-rich foods that are easy to digest. Dehydrated foods defeat that purpose!

2) Because dehydrated foods have lost their water content, it’s easy to overeat them. They don’t fill you up in bulk like ripe, fresh fruit or large salads.

3) Dehydrated fruits are concentrated in sugars and can be difficult to digest, leading to a lot of intestinal gas and other problems when you eat more than a few pieces.

4) Dehydrated foods get stuck to teeth and promote dental decay. People I know who eat the most dehydrated foods have the worst dental health.

5) Most dehydrated raw food snacks are unhealthy, as they contain too many nuts, seeds and oils. Flax crackers contain even more fat than regular, store-bought crackers!

There are just no reasons to eat dehydrated foods constantly if you have healthier options available, such as fresh fruit.

Instead of bringing a big bag of dried dates everywhere, take some time in advance to cut up some melons, pineapple, peaches, or other fresh fruit! Take that with you instead of the dehydrated foods. To know exactly what to eat and how to make it work, refer to the information in my Raw Health Starter Kit.

That being said, you don’t need to avoid dehydrated foods completely.

– Dried fruits can be excellent “emergency foods,” especially good to keep in your car, or bring with you on a hike when you have little space, or take with you on a plane or a bus.

You can make delicious seasonings with dehydrated vegetables to sprinkle on top of soups and salads to replace salt. I showed you how in my DVD series The Low Fat Vegan Cuisine.

Remember that dried fruits are concentrated! Most people shouldn’t eat more than a 5-6 dried figs at a time, or 10 dates. People eating giant bags of dried fruit at once are inviting intestinal and dental disasters!

Remember that dried foods will stick to your teeth, so brush them immediately after eating them, or chew on something solid, like an apple or some celery sticks, to naturally wash away the residues.

And please, don’t just dehydrate a bunch of random stuff together into a giant raw pellet. That’s just gross!

To discover the healthiest raw food diet, the best set of resources is the Raw Health Starter Kit. Check it out at: 

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets.