It’s a good question and one that I was asked many, many times throughout my journey of being a raw vegan. Yes, I was a raw vegan for around 6 years and a fruitarian for 2 years (yes I ate just fruit). I must admit it was a great journey—a little difficult at times but I wouldn’t change a thing. Towards the end of when I was a fruitarian, my energy levels started to drop, my skin tone was uneven, my nails were thin, and my hair was dull, flat, and dry. Yuck! I just wasn’t getting enough nutrients from fruit. Strangely enough, when I started eating just fruit, my eyes glowed and I felt great! So, would I recommend this lifestyle? Yes and no. Being a fruitarian? No way, no how, plain and simple. But being a raw vegan, absolutely! Although I am not 100% raw anymore, I still prefer eating raw foods so I can reap the full nutritional value and natural enzymes from the food I eat. After all, you are what you eat so who wants to eat over-processed garbage?
Definition time: a raw vegan is someone that eats only raw, unprocessed foods—fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, these foods can be juiced, chopped, dehydrated, minced, pureed, blended and combined to make some amazing flavor combinations . I know you’re rolling your eyes but really, it’s not as boring as it sounds. These ingredients are all you need to make great-tasting pizza, burgers, cakes, chocolate, and many other delectable treats. When you transition from SAD (Standard American Diet) to raw, you eat way more of these types of foods and it’s common to eat many of them dehydrated, using temperatures under 120 degrees to keep their enzymes alive. The dehydration process takes a long time though so, although I bought a dehydrator when I converted to raw food, I barely used it. It was usually easier to just buy raw crackers, crusts, or burgers. It’s always fun to find new options from local restaurants for the raw vegan diet. It shows how popular this lifestyle choice is.
Is the Raw Vegan Lifestyle Right For You?
Raw vegans aren’t supposed to be concerned with fat or calories but that doesn’t mean you should be swallowing bags full of nuts. In the raw lifestyle you are suppose to soak your nuts to release the toxic enzyme inhibitors to ease digestion and increase the nutrients you can absorb. You usually soak most harder nuts for around 6-8 hours and softer nuts like walnuts for 4. Some vegans really rely heavily on nuts to fill up. Eat nuts with caution since you don’t want your waistline doing opposite of what you really expect. I find some raw foodists can eat nuts by the bagful without any ill effects. Lucky! I had to be a little more careful. The more nuts I ate, the more I would notice a bit of weight gain. Also, if you’re prone to Candida, be careful about how much fruit you eat and how you combine that with nuts. There are raw vegans that have some pretty nasty issues with that combination. Luckily I wasn’t one of them.
So, does it matter how raw you are? People would always ask about percentages, are you 70% or 100%? Let’s be honest, who really who cares? There are no raw police coming to arrest you if you eat some cooked food. In my opinion, if you eat over 80% raw you are a “raw vegan” . If you eat 50% raw, are you a labelled raw vegan, who cares? You’re already much healthier for making that food choice. Labels and percentages do NOT matter but eating foods that make you healthy and happy do.
So, why go raw? The raw vegan food diet has many health and beauty benefits to offer, besides the obvious natural eating philosophy behind it. Naturally, your health, well-being, and beauty are closely related. The most beautiful radiant beauty comes only from natural, unprocessed foods. So, let’s take a look at some benefits for going raw:
Raw vegan foods are rich in living enzymes. They haven’t been neutralized or removed through factory processing or cooking. These enzymes help our bodies digest foods.
Raw vegan foods are also rich with minerals and vitamins however these essentials are fairly heat sensitive. They are quickly destroyed during cooking. Most raw foods lose their vitamins, enzymes, and minerals when they are heated past 120 F. This means our bodies have to use up their own stockpiled inner resources of enzymes to digest cooked or highly processed types of food, without the benefit of gaining the enzymes to replace what the body uses. Most cooked foods have been cooked past the state of having a lot of nutritional benefits left for your body. Eating food that doesn’t add to your body’s energy reserves is just a waste. After all, you picked those veggies over a chocolate bar to eat healthier, didn’t you?
Are you thinking of becoming raw vegan? Please let me know if you have any questions or even just need some tasty recipe ideas. I was lucky enough to eat raw around the world so I may even know a good raw restaurant close to you! I’m in the mood to make some of my favorite raw vegan chocolate this week. Stay tuned for the recipe, pictures, and a happy chocolate-filled post from chocolate-filled yours truly.