You might be wondering, what’s the deal with the raw food diet? I’m sometimes asked why I’m a raw vegan and the main reason is because I want to try to avoid or delay diseases that run in my family. My motivation is to live as well as I can. Being a raw vegan is based on the premise that cooked foods can create toxic byproducts, where as raw foods will retain vital nutrients and natural enzymes that our bodies need. Some folks have a hard time thinking of raw foods, but it could be easier to make meals from raw foods because you don’t have to cook the vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and seeds that you find. Most of what I need is in the produce aisle of grocery stores or grown in nature and can be picked straight from the earth. Picture whole, not processed, fresh, plant-based foods. More restaurants are adding vegan options to their menu these days but it does take discipline to avoid ordering cooked foods (unless I’m really hungry, although the human body can last for over 21 days without food) considering the fact that most food places will cook most things. Guacamole, salads, smoothies and fruit bowls are my go-to options when I’m out because they are usually still in their raw state. Meal prepping, looking for interesting fruits to try and having snacks available at home also keeps me fully prepared and invested in continuing this lifestyle. Being prepared with food can be fun because I’m learning a lot, but it can also be a struggle because I have people around me that aren’t used to this lifestyle and that repeatedly offer me meat, dairy, bread, pasta and cooked or processed items to eat; this lifestyle is not supported by the main system that I live in. I’m not so much a raw vegan to save the environment, I believe change starts within, so I do it this for my health.
The follow up question I usually receive after why I’m a raw vegan is: where do I get my protein from? I get it from the same place that meat eaters get theirs from but skipping the middle animal. I get protein from plants, nuts and seeds. I have lost some weight and I’m already slim so I’m consciously making an effort to eat more meals that are high in protein and healthy fats. The biggest challenge so far is feeling full on a raw diet because I’m not as weighed down from meat, but I solve that by always having a snack available in between meals. I jumped from eating everything to becoming a vegan for 4 months and then from vegan to a raw vegan and I’m learning as I go along.
My main support system has been groups on social media that discuss raw vegan life, books and blogs. I noticed that there are two types of raw vegans that I’ve encountered so far, those that are OCD and those that are simply disciplined enough to maintain this lifestyle (it’s is a lifestyle, not a diet). I’m honestly neither, because I’ll still eat things like cashews knowing they’re rarely truly raw, maple syrup knowing it’s been processed, coconut oil knowing it was refined over 107 degrees, salt and cocoa nibs knowing it’s technically toxic and honey knowing it still came from an insect. But I’m learning and gathering information from the 100% truest raw vegans out there. I’m about 80% raw on a technical level but it’s important for me to maintain a sense of flexibility. I’ll sometimes compromise and have a cooked vegan meal when I’m traveling as long as the main ingredient is mono and still comes from the earth, like beans or fried plantains. I don’t want to be an extremist. On the spectrum that I’m aware of, raw vegan is right in the middle between omnivores, vegetarians, vegans and fruitarians, mono-fruitarians, liquidations, breatharians. I’d like to be able to maintain a sense for how to connect with others in the spectrum on both an earthy and spiritually level. For me, this lifestyle is more about enjoying the process than reaching an end destination.
Some of the benefits of this lifestyle that I’ve experienced to date are no more stomach aches from being lactose intolerant, feeling lighter and I’ve been using the bathroom regularly and daily. This is just the beginning. It’s hard to say if I’ll be a raw forever but I also enjoy meeting other raw vegans, trying new foods and recipes, sprouting my own seeds, and learning about the various effects of different foods.