UN-PROCESSED foods is what is important to me and my family. In getting rid of all the processed foods in our pantry, it made sense to increase foods that were at the other end of the spectrum: raw, fresh, organic, in-season fruits and vegetables. For the past 2 years, my husband and son opted to eat at least 50% Raw Vegan Foods, with the other 50% cooked whole foods made from scratch. I am on my 3rd year as a Raw Vegan (about 100%) and although I feel great, I am now contemplating adding more cooked whole Vegan foods into my diet. Like I state below a few times, in my opinion, it would be a better choice to eat a plain steamed sweet potato than a big piece of raw cheese cake loaded with cashews and sweetener. Also, some foods just taste better when they are slightly cooked (artichokes for example). And some foods are not toxic when cooked (raw green beans were horrible for me for example). However, on the whole, it is important for people to consider adding more RAW fruits and vegetables into their family’s diets because of the added nutritional and health benefits. To help you understand what we have learned about adding more Raw Vegan Foods into our diets, here are the top 10 questions we get asked regularly.
1. Will my skin glow on a Raw Vegan Diet?
YES. No doubt about it!
Although I have always looked young, I don’t think I’ve aged much either. And since switching to a Raw Vegan Diet, I’ve had my share of compliments on my glowing facial skin. Not only that, but my overall skin is clearer. I grew up with constant whiteheads all over my arms and blackheads all over my legs. My dermatologists would charge me for different creams, shampoos and other quick-fixes which never worked. Just 1 month after I turned Raw Vegan, all of these skin inflammations were gone and I had not one white or black head on my body. I have since discovered that it is after I eat some foods sautéed in oil that I usually break out with a bump or two.
My son, who has had terrible eczema, now is at least 50% Raw also has beautiful flawless skin. Hubby’s skin looks the same.
2. Will I have a lot of energy on the Raw Vegan Diet?
YES. On a balanced Raw Vegan Diet, I have more energy ‘to go the extra mile’ in situations where I did not before. My husband has noted that I do much more and complain much less, especially when I need to clean up… 😉
3. Will I sleep less on the Raw Vegan Diet?
DEPENDS. A lot of Raw Foodies really believe that they don’t need much sleep. I used to get by with 5 hours of sleep a night on my first year of raw. Now, on my third, I prefer about 7 hours. If I don’t get enough sleep, I am more inclined to get sick. So, I think this depends on the person. Also, having a lot of energy while awake doesn’t equate to needing less sleep.
4. Can I eat whatever I want on a Raw Vegan Diet?
NO. I met a Raw Vegan once and she said on a Raw Vegan diet there isn’t a pyramid or plate chart to follow, “just eat whatever you feel like.” Well… some famous Raw Vegans have become sick from an unbalanced diet of too many sweets and heavy foods (such as fruit, sweeteners, nuts), and too little greens (where the bulk of raw vegan nutrition is). Many long-time Raw Vegans have added raw dairy, raw egg and raw fish back into their diets because they felt something was missing. Like any diet, a Raw Vegan must pay attention to daily balanced nutrition. In my opinion, it would be a better choice to eat a plain steamed sweet potato than a big piece of raw cheese cake loaded with cashews and sweetener, for example.
What I have discovered on a Raw Vegan Diet is that I can easily pinpoint what my body needs by being sensitive to little changes. I have found that I need to supplement with iodine, zinc and B12, for example.
5. Can I gain weight on a Raw Vegan Diet?
YES. You actually can gain weight and some people have! If you eat a lot of nuts, avocados and oils, you can gain weight on a Raw Vegan Diet. That said, it is easy to maintain your weight on a Raw Vegan Diet if you have a tendency to gain weight. But you can also lose a lot of weight and have difficulty putting on some.
One thing that I have discovered is that I crave a lot of GREENS. When I do crave other foods, I don’t eat a whole lot of it to feel satisfied. When I get hungry, I don’t get “I-need-to-eat-now!!!” mad like I used to.
6. Will I get sick on a Raw Vegan Diet?
People have cured themselves off many diseases on the Raw Vegan Diet, which is testament to its efficacy. But, YES. It’s not that we never get sick by adding more raw produce into our diets, but we get sick much less.
On 100% Cooked Foods, my husband and son were sick at least once a month. I was sick less, but perhaps more than a few times a year. After adding more Raw Vegan foods into our diet, we are all sick much less and our immune systems are much stronger. By combining more Raw foods with exercise, sleep, time outdoors for sun and fresh air and more time to relax, we are creating a much healthier lifestyle for our family.
Note: The one thing that Raw Vegans must watch out for is food poisoning. We have to be vigilant in washing our produce before we feed our family. Animal foods are not the only foods that carry E. coli these days! Also look at question #4.
7. 100% Raw Vegan is the only way to go!
NO. Some people add only 25% Raw – and still feel the added benefits. Many prefer to eat 50% Raw, but the term Raw Vegan describes people who are at least 75% Raw. Although your family may prefer cooked foods, by adding live foods to your diet a little at a time, you and your family may be surprised how much Raw foods you are actually eating and enjoying in the process: a fresh fruit for breakfast, big salads for lunch and dinner, green smoothies and fresh juices at mealtimes or snack times, and raw desserts.
8. Is All Cooked Food poison?
NO. Although a lot of Raw Vegans believe all cooked food is poison, I cannot make such a blanket statement. What I like to say instead is that processed foods are poison! What is most important is to UN-PROCESS the foods our families eat to improve their health. We need to focus on foods prepared from raw, fresh, organic, local and seasonal whole foods – whether Raw or Lightly Cooked. Like I said before, in my opinion, eating a plain steamed sweet potato is better than eating a big piece of raw cheesecake loaded with cashews and sweetener, for example.
9. Is it more expensive to add Raw Vegan foods to my family’s diet?
YES and NO. It is true that buying organic produce is expensive, but I buy them on sale. In our favourite health food store, produce is 30% off on certain days. That’s when I buy! A savings of 30% is tremendous. And, if I cooked all the produce I already buy, I’d have to buy even more. My family would want to eat double the amount of servings of cooked foods as they would the same food served fresh, which is more filling.
10. I won’t be able to eat out on a Raw Vegan Diet and I’ll have to learn to be satisfied with boring food!
NO. Most restaurants have fruit and vegetables on the menu. I order salads or slightly cooked vegetables for my family when we eat out. There are also so many options available today for eating more Raw Vegan Fare. In my own city, for example, we have our local Good Life Café. In DC, we love going to Java Green where they serve Raw and Cooked Vegan fare. In NYC, we have loved Pure Foods and Wine. In London, we visit SAF Kensington on top of Whole Foods. All their menus are interesting and their food delicious! Just look at my Food Photos and you can see that Raw Vegan Food is far from boring. There is an abundance of fruits, vegetables and dishes to eat and enjoy!