The raw vegan way of eating has been promoted as a healthier lifestyle to follow, being raved about by celebrities and environmentalists all around the world. But you may be left wondering if it really is healthier or what are the benefits and negative side effects? Well, read on to answer all of these questions and much more…
Is Raw Veganism Healthier Than Regular Veganism?
Raw veganism is a way of eating that excludes all animal products and consumes only vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds in its purest form. Foods are eaten fresh/ raw, fermented, sprouted, dehydrated or heated up to no higher than 118 F. People who follow this way of eating do so because they consider it to be healthier than a regular vegan diet. They believe that cooking food kills all nutrients, enzymes and benefits of eating the vegan food. Whether it truly is healthier over regular veganism can be debated by both parties so let’s dig a little deeper into it…
How Do I Make Exciting Raw Vegan Recipes?
There’s no way to get around that eating raw vegan can take some time and creativity in the kitchen to make sure you aren’t eating boring salads three times a day. Do a lot of research on websites, read cookbooks and join some raw vegan recipes for beginner’s forums to find recipes and ask questions about your new lifestyle. It’s always better to be over-educated on a topic, especially when it comes your way of eating.
Smoothies made by blending up different fruits and vegetables are very common raw vegan breakfast or snack options. While loaded salads with sprouted legumes and nuts, fermented veggies and leafy greens could be a raw vegan lunch option. Marinated vegetables or dehydrated vegan foods could be dinner. Raw lasagnas made with zucchini and nut cheese, cold soups, raw burgers made with beans and vegetables and raw vegan desserts are all popular meals made by the raw vegan community.
The Truth About High-Carb And Low-Fat Raw Vegan Recipes
It is extremely common for raw vegan meals to be high in carbs and low in fat. Even though the carbs are coming from whole, natural foods, an excess amount of sugar (carbs are sugar) in the body can lead to unbalanced blood sugar levels which should always be avoided.
If you don’t need to eat too low in all fats for medical reasons, it might be something you want to avoid doing. Healthy fat is necessary to protect our organs, lubricate the joints, promote healthy hormone levels, moisturize the skin and reduce bad cholesterol levels.
Benefits Of Eating Raw Vegan Food
There is some truth that excessively heating food does destroy some of the nutrients available in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. Some of the processes that raw vegans follow for their foods like sprouting nuts and seeds and fermenting vegetables can make the vitamins, minerals and enzymes more available to the body and make it easier to break down. Raw vegan food is high in fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive tract. A healthy digestive system can mean weight loss, disease prevention and better absorption of nutrients. As with a vegan diet, it is better for the animals because you aren’t consuming any animal foods/ products.
Since raw vegans aren’t waiting for foods to be cooked, meals are usually available to eat quickly and easily. Calorie consumption is normally lower when eating raw vegan because fruits vegetables tend to be lower in calories versus animal and processed foods. Speaking of processed foods, raw vegans stay away from any packaged and convenience foods, meaning that they are avoiding all preservatives, chemicals and unnatural ingredients that are usually added to packaged products.
Depending on how you are currently eating now, transitioning to raw veganism can mean less money spent on groceries as you are not spending money on steaks, seafood, milk and other dairy products.
The Negative Side Of Raw Veganism
With all the benefits listed above, there are some negative side effects that can come with eating only raw vegan foods. Since you are only eating plant foods, you are at a greater risk of nutritional deficiencies. You would have to ensure that you are eating enough calcium-rich plant-based foods to avoid any loss of calcium. Same goes for iron, it would also be wise to eat iron-rich foods with vitamin C to increase nutrient absorption. Vitamin B12 is something that is only found in animal products so you may want to think about supplementing with it when following any type of vegan diet.
Cooking your food can actually release nutrients and make it more bioavailable to the body to use. This is true for tomatoes and the antioxidant lycopene and spinach that only becomes rich in iron when it’s cooked. We mentioned above that raw veganism can be beneficial on the digestive tract, but there are some vegetables that aren’t as easily digested to everyone. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage can leave you bloated and with some digestive upset when eaten raw.
Raw vegan meals are not as easily accessible when you are on the run (unless you have a grocery store nearby) so you would have to be sure to always bring something to with you if will be out for most of the day.
We know that a raw vegan diet can lead to weight loss, but if you are already at a healthy or low weight, losing more may not be what you want. It is advised that if you have any history with eating disorders, raw veganism may not be the best way of eating for you as it is quite extreme and restrictive.
Easy Raw Vegan Recipes To Try
If you want to try some vegan recipes, here are three to try:
Taco “Meat” Mixture
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1 tbsp. nama shoyu (raw soy sauce)
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. lime juice
Blend or pulse all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Be sure to not over blend!
Cashew “Cheese” Sauce
- ½ cup raw cashews
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ garlic clove
- 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- ~ 5 tbsp. water
Blend or pulse all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add water slowly until you reach your desired consistency.
Add some of the meat mixture to a lettuce leaf, drizzle some cashew cheese sauce, add any of your favorite taco toppings like tomatoes, cilantro or avocado and eat enjoy!
Raw Vegan Nicecream
- 1 -3 frozen bananas
Optional flavor boosters:
- Raw cacao
- Other frozen fruit
Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!
Raw Cucumber Soup
- 3 cucumbers
- ½ garlic clove
- Pinch of sea salt
Blend all ingredients and enjoy!
Raw Vegan Celebrities
Plant-based seems to be popular in Hollywood, but there are even a few famous people who are completely raw! Demi Moore, Sting, Alicia Silverstone, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jason Mraz who is 75% raw all love this type of diet.
Is Raw Vegan Eating A Sustainable Way To Live?
Some may argue that raw veganism isn’t an easy way to live long term. It is time-consuming and takes creativity and motivation in the kitchen to create meals that aren’t going to bore you and ensure that you are getting all necessary nutrients for a healthy body. Doctors do not usually recommend a RAW vegan diet to clients, but it is recommended to eat more whole, natural plant-based foods.
Raw Veganism And The Environment
Like veganism, eating raw would reduce your carbon footprint and cut down on all your waste and waste energy! Something that we could all get behind.
Before making any changes to your diet, be sure to talk to your healthcare professional.