What is a Raw Vegan Diet?
Rich in fruits and vegetables, a raw vegan diet has grown in popularity in recent years. In this post, we’ll highlight the do’s and don’ts of a raw vegan diet, so you can decide if it’s right for you.
What Can You Eat on a Raw Vegan Diet?
With veganism, you can eat anything so long as it does not contain animal products. Raw diets, however, are more restrictive. Raw diets include only foods that are completely raw or warmed below a certain temperature. It also excludes foods that require processing, such as refined oils or coffees and teas.
With so many limitations, you may be wondering what you can eat on a raw vegan diet. Surprisingly, there are many different types of foods that you can enjoy, so long as they’re not cooked above 104–118°F, require no processing, and do not contain animal products.
Some of the foods you can enjoy on a raw vegan diet include:
- Fresh, juiced or dehydrated fruits and vegetables
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Sprouted or soaked grains and legumes
- Raw nut milk
- Raw nut butter
- Cold-pressed oil
- Pure maple syrup
- And more
Processing does not include blending. In fact, many people who stick to a raw vegan diet like to use fruits and vegetables in salads, dressings, and even smoothies.
Common Foods to Avoid
When you’re eating a raw vegan diet, you’ll need to avoid anything that is non-vegan, such as dairy or meat, as well as anything that requires processing. This can include things like:
- Cooked produce such as fruits, vegetables, grains, or legumes
- Baked goods
- Roasted nuts
- Refined goods like oils
- Processed foods such as chips and pastries
Benefits of a Raw Vegan Diet
One of the main reasons that raw veganism has been growing in popularity is because of the variety of benefits it offers.
Raw veganism is one of the most significant forms of clean eating, because it restricts meals to foods only in their natural state—or as close to it as possible. Some people believe this can help promote better health and reverse side effects caused by negative dietary habits. Raw veganism is also better for the environment, because it helps to reduce waste.
Some of the top benefits for switching to a raw vegan diet can include:
- Improved health and well-being
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Weight loss
- Improved digestion
Risks of a Raw Vegan Diet
As with any form of diet, it’s important to assess the risks as well. Raw veganism is no exception, and though it promotes a variety of benefits, there are some factors to be wary of.
Some of the risks of raw veganism include:
- Weakened bones and muscles
- Dental complications
What to Know About the Risks
The risks associated with a raw vegan diet can be intimidating. However, it’s important to recognize that many of the risks occur as a result of incorrect nutrition, which is more common with a raw vegan diet but not unavoidable.
Moderation and guidance are the most important aspects of a healthy diet. Speaking with a certified nutrition specialist can help you to understand the different nutrients your body needs and how to achieve them with dietary restrictions.
Is A Raw Vegan Diet Sustainable?
While side effects may be minor or nonexistent at first, years with such a restrictive diet may not be what the body needs. Many scientists agree that raw veganism is sustainable but mostly only for short periods of time—as you can see in this study here from researchers at Banat University.
How to Adopt a Raw Vegan Diet
The most important step in adopting a raw vegan diet is to speak to a professional nutritionist or otherwise certified health care provider. The biggest risk with this diet is malnutrition and vitamin deficiency, which can lead to a variety of other health problems.
You’ll also need to determine if a raw vegan diet is right for your body. This diet isn’t recommended for pregnant women, children, older adults, people with weak immune systems, and those with medical conditions due to the fact that it is so restrictive—as well as the fact that cooking is what decreases the chance for food-borne illnesses.
Once you’ve decided if a raw vegan diet is right for you by speaking to a health practitioner, you should sit down and create a structured meal plan that ensures you’re getting the right amounts of nutrients each day. This will also give you time to be creative and experiment with dishes you like.