What is a raw food vegan diet?

by Bart on September 26, 2009

Most of the people reading this blog will likely already know what a raw food vegan diet is. This post is mostly for those who have never heard of it.

A raw food vegan diet is a diet based around plant based foods, majority of which have not been exposed to temperatures above a certain level – around 115F.

The foods that are part of raw food diet can be divided into:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Greens, even though they are vegetables, can be categorized separately, because of the great role they play in this diet. Spinach, lettuces, kale, chards, various herbs, and many other leafy greens provide a significant amount of nutrition (although not calories) for raw foodists. In addition to being consumed in salads, they are often juiced or used in smoothies.

Although at a first glance the idea of putting lettuce or spinach in a smoothie might sound strange, this is one of the best (and tastiest!) ways of getting a huge amount of greens into your diet. Even if you eat as most americans do, there is only so much nutrition you can get from a side salad… try combining half a cup of water, two ice cubes, two medium bananas and few handfuls of spinach leaves in your blender – you’ll be amazed.

There are, of course, certain foods in the five groups I mentioned above that are not edible raw – white potatoes, for example, would not be very palatable without cooking. The same is true of many grains, which is why they are either avoided by raw foodist, or eaten sprouted.

From what I have learned, it appears that majority of those who call themselves raw foodists do not eat raw foods exclusively. Because raw foodism is much about improving one’s health, for some people eating about 75% of calories from raw foods works better than eating all, or virtually all of their calories from raw foods. This percentage may be fairly constant from day to day for some, while others might eat raw foods only for several days straight, then have a meal that contains cooked ingredients. There are no specific rules, or standardized definitions.

Raw food vegan diet might seem very extreme, so why would anyone want to eat this way?

The answer is very simple – there is a very good possibility that such diet is extremely healthy. There are hundreds of examples of people who have lost tremendous amounts of weight, reversed diabetes, and even had tumors shrink and disappear after adapting raw food vegan diet. If those are true, and I have no reason to believe they are not – just imagine how protective this diet might be in respect to health.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much scientific research into raw foodism and health as of yet. This is probably due to number of factors, the two largest being: there is still only a relatively small population of raw foodists, and it’s really hard to patent lettuce – there is little economic incentive to perform such studies.

Before I finish this post, I’d like to share with you three videos featuring some of the people who inspired me to give the raw vegan lifestyle a trial run. The first video is a short segment from CNN.

This second video is an interview with Clent Manich, who not only lost a tremendous amount of weight on a raw food diet, but also cured himself of a few “minor” ailments. This interview was filmed in June of 2009, during the preparations for the Raw Union Festival – a ceremony during which Angela Stokes (from the video above), and Matt – the interviewer in this video, were married.

And finally, in case you think this whole vegan raw food lifestyle is fit for liberal hippies only… Let’s hear from Dave, the raw food trucker… and don’t mind all the hugging – he gets back to his story eventually! :-)

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