The raw vegan diet is a combination of raw foodism and veganism. We’ll get into a little detail about what each diet entails shortly, but for now, you can think of it as a diet that restricts your food to only items that are plant-based and not cooked. There is a little more to it than that, and we’ll go over those additional detail, but that is the broad strokes.
With that in mind, the foods you can eat on this kind of diet generally include anything that is plant-based, since almost everything from that world that is edible can be eaten raw. If you decide to adopt the raw vegan diet, expect to be feasting on plenty of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and sprouted grains.
What is a Vegan Diet?
At the core of veganism is a desire to protect the welfare of animals by removing all demands for foods and products that benefit from the exploitation of animals. This goes beyond the basic premise of vegetarianism which is a refusal to eat meat\ and includes things like dairy products and eggs, which don’t require animals to be killed in order to produce them but do require the farming of those products using animals.
Veganism also extends beyond food and into other areas of life, such as animal-tested products or products that contain ingredients from animals.
The exploitation aspect of veganism is important when trying to determine whether something is vegan-friendly or not. For example, mass-produced fruits like avocados, it could be argued, are not vegan because they make use of commercial beekeeping during the growing process. There is some contention as to whether this is a reasonable and realistic standard for veganism, but it is a grey area that is far less obvious than, for example, candies that use gelatin, which is made by boiling animal skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
What is a Raw Food Diet?
Raw foodism is the practice of eating exclusive raw and unprocessed food. Examples of foods that would not be allowed include anything that has been pasteurized, anything that has been made using pesticides or fertilizers, and anything that includes food additives.
The diet itself does not exclude meat, though it is generally considered a bad idea to eat some foods on this diet since things like raw egg and raw chicken carry a high risk of salmonella.
The thinking behind raw foodism is that the process of cooking food destroys specific desirable attributes in the food, such as enzymes that aid digestion and the overall nutrient content of the food. However, the diet has been described as a fad diet by medical authorities, and many of the claims made by proponents of the diet are dubious, if not demonstrably false.
What Can I Eat on a Raw Vegan Diet?
Now that you understand what the restrictions of each diet are, you can probably appreciate that this is an incredibly restrictive diet to work with. The good news is that the vegan side of the diet does a lot to remove some of the inherent health risks of the raw foodism side. You are not allowed to eat animal products, and raw animal products are some of the most common sources of salmonella. That being said, it is possible though less common to get the infection from fruits and vegetables as well.
The next point of concern is that it is incredibly challenging to get the necessary nutrients that your body needs to survive on the raw vegan diet. There are already critics who claim that veganism alone is dangerous to your health but add raw foodism into that mix, and you will have to be extremely careful with your diet to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. Now, let’s take a look at where those nutrients are going come from.
The natural place to start is with fruit since it is both vegan and most commonly eaten raw anyway. Of course, it is not as simple as just popping down to your local grocery store and picking up a bunch of bananas. Veganism complicates things by requiring the bananas not to have benefited from any kind of animal exploitation, which rules out certain kinds of pesticides that use bone char and other animal extracts.
None of this is a problem, however, because raw foodism takes things one step further by putting the breaks on foods that use any kind of pesticides or fertilizer. This all but eliminates any kind of mass-produced fruit, which will make it incredibly difficult for you to source acceptable fruit for your meals, especially if you live in a developed area, such as a large city.
If you are in a position to grow your own fruit, you will find it much easier to adhere to the raw vegan diet.
Much of the details about vegetables on the raw vegan diet are the same as fruit. Not being able to eat food that was grown using pesticides and fertilizer will all but eliminate mass-produced vegetables from your shopping list, which in turn will strike any typical supermarkets or grocery stores from your options.
In terms of the actual meals you make with vegetables, things are a little different. While fruit is often eaten as is, vegetables are mostly used as ingredients in a meal, and that meal will typically be a cooked meal. Most vegetables are fine to eat raw, of course, it’s just that they don’t necessarily taste great.
Whether or not you find the thought of a raw potato appealing is between you and the potato, but you should be aware that vegetables do not typically lend themselves to being eaten raw as easily as fruit does. In short, you can eat just about any raw vegetable, but you may find yourself sticking to certain more palatable options, such as carrots, rhubarb, celery, and other vegetables that make a nice snack on their own.
Nuts and Seeds
There is not much to say about nuts and seeds that we haven’t covered with fruits and vegetables in terms of suitability for this diet. Nuts and seeds are a very versatile food that can be used as a nice snack or an ingredient in a larger meal. They are often consumed raw, so there is no issue there, and there is a very wide selection of different nuts and seeds to choose from, which should help stave off the feelings of stagnation that a restrictive diet can sometimes cause.
There isn’t necessarily anything new to say about every kind of food you can eat on the raw vegan diet, so rather than waffle on and repeat ourselves, we’ve put the rest of this list below;
- Raw grains
- Legumes (sprouted or soaked)
- Cold-pressed olive and coconut oils
- Nut milks
Please note that this is not a definitive list. Hopefully, after reading this post, you will be informed enough to determine which foods are suitable for your raw vegan adventure. But these are the main examples of foods you can eat on this diet.
And, just to reiterate, none of this can be cooked or processed. Specifically, food that has been heated above 40ÂC is not allowed, even if the heating somehow occurred naturally.
Tips for Making Raw Vegan Meals
As nice as an apple or a bag of cashews may be, eating the same foods over and over will quickly lead to you feeling disinterested in your diet, which can lead to problems with your mood, slip-ups with your diet, and even malnutrition in the worst cases. To combat this, you should try to vary things up as much as possible. Resist the urge to just grab another apple from the fruit bowl because it’s easier than making a full meal, and don’t be shy about trying new recipes.
If you are not particularly adventurous in the kitchen, make full use of online resources to find out what combinations of ingredients works. Even with a diet as restrictive as raw vegan, you might be surprised at the range of flavors and textures you can simulate with seemingly random ingredients.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
It can’t be stressed enough that it is much harder to ensure you get an adequate blend of nutrients in your diet when eating the raw vegan way. Things like protein, omega3, vitamin D all of these are necessary for a healthy body but they are much harder to find with raw vegan foods.
If you decide to use this diet, you will have to put careful thought and planning into your meals to ensure that you are getting enough of everything. This may need a bit of research on your part since the exact quantities of any particular nutrient that you need will vary depending on your physiology.
It can help to keep a journal so that you know exactly what you’ve eaten and what you still need to eat to meet your physiological requirements. There are also plenty of apps that can take on this role if journals aren’t really your thing.