What is a Raw Vegan Diet?

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The raw vegan diet is one that has become more and more popular in recent times, thanks in part to the host of well-known personalities and sports people who have publicly gushed about their love of the raw food movement. Tennis player Venus Williams for example credits the diet [link http://venuswilliams.com/tennis/nutrition-and-fitness/ ] with helping her to reduce the symptoms of an autoimmune disease.  But just what is a raw vegan diet and what are the benefits?

Simply put, raw veganism is a diet that excludes all foods and products of an animal origin, that’s the vegan part, but it also removes food that has been heated above 48 °C (118 °F).  The food is essentially eaten raw and in its most natural form, the theory being that the cooking process can damage some of the foods precious, essential nutrients and enzymes which makes them less useful for your body.  Eating the food raw on the other hand, is thought to give the individual a cleaner, more nutrient packed meal, unlocking the foods precious potential including the enzymes and phyto-nutrients that are better for your body.  However, keep in mind that cooking actually frees some nutrients, such as beta-carotene and other antioxidants, for easier absorption.

While there hasn’t been a huge amount of research carried out on the area, you simply need to ‘Google Raw Vegan Diet,’ and you’ll be instantly presented with a host of vibrant food bloggers anecdotally detailing the benefits of the diet.  Many report feeling cleaner, inside and out, with improved energy levels, clearer skin, improved digestion and even a change in taste buds! Going raw means you’ll also be avoiding processed foods that are often heavy in sugars, salt and a host of additives.

But just what can a raw vegan eat? Well surprisingly, the menu is a varied one with any amount of exotic and local fruits and vegetables, a variety of leafy greens, nuts, seeds, sprouts such as alfalfa, sunflower, broccoli, mung beans, lentils, and chickpeas, as well as soaked grains such as amaranth, millet, barley and a variety of oils.  Some raw vegans also include fermented foods such as sauerkraut and sea vegetables.

However, those considering moving from a vegan diet to a raw vegan diet should also bear in mind that the restrictive nature of the regime means you’ll need to monitor your health closely and get to know the recommended daily nutrition amounts for vegans [ http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/dailyrecs  ]. Individuals also need to be aware of the dangers of eating food that could be contaminated with bacteria, which otherwise be killed off in the cooking process and should ensure all food is cleaned carefully and thoroughly to reduce the risk.

Ultimately, if you are considering moving to a raw vegan diet, then take it slowly and perhaps pick 2 days a week in which you’ll go raw and see how you cope and if in doubt consult your doctor or nutritionist for more information.

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Author: Dee

‘Goodness is Tasty!’ It’s a philosophy I’ve always believed in, but it’s something I’ve found hard to see in reality on the shelves of my local supermarket when buying food. The situation was vividly brought home to me after completing my degree in Food Science at UCC. I was suddenly confronted with the truth about the array of additives that are routinely pumped into our foods and the effect it has on our health. They say knowledge is power and after my degree I was put on the path to a more natural, wholefood and plant-based diet.