Back in late 2008, I became really interested in different kinds of diets. I had already been on Weight Watchers but I saw that there were a lot of other ways people ate.
I stumbled across the raw vegan diet one day when I was at the health food store in town. There was a raw food cookbook displayed at the register and it really intrigued me. I ended up buying it and then embarked on a raw vegan lifestyle until late 2009.
I just decided to do a post discussing a little bit about the diet (I am sure most people know about it) as well as my experiences with it.
For part of this time in my life, I was anorexic. I will not be going into that in this post though.
What the raw vegan diet is
You have probably heard/read about a vegan diet. It involves not eating any animal products or by-products. Everything is plant-based.
Raw veganism takes this one step further where no food is cooked at all. The idea is that food should not be altered from its natural state. Some raw vegans do allow for the dehydrating of food (oven set to 105 degrees Fahrenheit).
The kind of foods they consume include sprouts, vegetables, fruits, nuts, avocadoes, some oils, raw honey, stevia, raw maple syrup and vinegar. Tea and coffee are not considered raw due to the process it goes through to be created.
There are some people who are completely raw vegan and some that will eat two raw meals with one cooked meal a day.
Raw vegan restaurants/cafes and restaurants/cafes that have raw vegan options do exist. An example of one is Ezra’s Enlightened Café in Indiana (see here: https://ezrasenlightenedcafe.com/menu/). There are vegan and raw vegan menu items offered.
Alleged benefits of raw veganism
There are a variety of reasons why people have switched to a raw vegan lifestyle. When reading up on this type of eating, one will see benefits that are touted and all sorts of success stories (if they are looking for them). This might influence them on whether they want to start eating that way.
Here are the alleged benefits when living the raw vegan lifestyle:
- Decreases risk of heart disease- Lower LDL levels, lower triglyceride levels
- Controls weight
- Improves energy levels
- Decreases risk of cancer
- Decreases blood pressure
- Increases digestion
- Cuts down on inflammation in the body
Problems that can occur with raw veganism
There have been some drawbacks noted by people who have either been on the diet and/or studied it. It is safe to say though that every way of eating might have some negatives to them.
Here are some issues that could arise with raw veganism:
- Disordered eating- If a person is prone to eating disorders, this lifestyle might ignite that part of their brain. Or it could be that they were already suffering from an eating disorder and that is why they chose to start a raw vegan way of life. Either way it isn’t good.
- Difficulty in social situations- Many people are not raw vegans and most restaurants do not serve that type of food. Because of this it can be hard to be in social settings with friends and family where food is being eaten. One would have to bring their own food.
- Low in certain nutrients- Many raw vegans miss out on some nutrients due to the scope of food they get to consume. These nutrients include B12, vitamin D and calcium.
- Fertility issues- This can happen due to the nutrients that one might not be getting. Another reason may be that they have lost too much weight.
- Teeth problems- Decay and loosening may occur. This is due to nutrient deficiencies and possibly eating too much of certain things.
My story: the beginning and middle of my raw veganism
So that wonderful cookbook I talked about in the first part of this post was an eye-opener for me. It was well written with great pictures to boot.
The diet was introduced in a simple but informative way which drew me in. Also, the recipes were interesting and looked delicious. I couldn’t way to get started on that way of life!
I began by planning out my meals and all of the things I wanted to try/eat. At this point I was still living with my parents and they were graciously helping me pay for the food I wanted to buy.
To start out the diet, I eased into it by replacing cooked meals I would usually eat for raw vegan meals. For the first week or two, one meal was raw vegan. Then I changed it to two raw vegan meals.Eventually, all the meals and snacks were that way too.
I was loving the recipes that I found to make. Some of them were more elaborate and expensive than others so I didn’t eat them very much. They were just occasional, special treats.
This is an example of my day of eating as a raw vegan:
Breakfast- Green smoothie (banana, spinach, dates, kale)
Snack- Cucumber slices
Lunch-Spinach mixed with smashed avocado, diced tomatoes, sliced green peppers
Dinner- Raw vegan lasagna (like this: https://www.learnrawfood.com/recipes/comments/lasagne/#.Xo4cN6hKg2w)
My absolute favorite things to eat were Cashew Cookie LaraBars (see here: https://www.larabar.com/our-products/larabar/cashew-cookie) and key lime pie (kind of like this: https://food52.com/recipes/23220-raw-key-lime-pie). Super tasty!
My healthy enjoyment of this lifestyle went on for a few months. I did lose some weight and didn’t catch any illnesses that were going around with the special needs children I took care of (not sure if that was because of the raw vegan diet or not).
My story: the end of my raw vegan lifestyle
Towards the end of my raw veganism, I spiraled into anorexia. Before then, however, I was experiencing a bad effect of the diet. This was the loosening of my teeth.
Yikes! Let me tell you, it was not a pleasant feeling at all. Even just talking made it feel like they were going to fall out. I had heard of this possibly happening with the lifestyle and I thought it would never happen to me.
When I went to college in another city, I started moving further away from the lifestyle. I went from my snacks not being raw vegan and then eventually my meals weren’t either.
I know that there are people out there who were able to continue being raw vegan while in college, but I wasn’t one of them. Maybe I wasn’t disciplined like they are/were? I completely fell off with the making and buying of the raw meals/ingredients.
After a while, I realized that if I wanted to be successful in college- I needed to work on getting better (mentally and physically). I decided to not beat myself up over not following the raw vegan lifestyle anymore and get on the path of beating my eating disorder.
I started eating what I consider a healthy diet that included all food groups. Just like how I ate when I was on Weight Watchers. I have never looked back.
I do not blame my eating disorder on raw veganism. Although I will not go back to it, the beginning and middle part of my time on the diet was great.
At this point in my life, I feel better watching my carbs. It seems to help my wacky hormones. I believe that I am just as healthy without eating raw food. Vegetarians, vegans and raw vegans may not agree with that, but we all have our opinions so that is okay!
If you are interested in this way of eating, I would recommend checking out some raw vegan recipes. They can be delicious. Here are some good ones I found:
Have any of you guys been on a raw vegan diet? How did you like it?
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy, STAY HOME!
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