Did you know there is something even more elevated than being vegan? I've been transitioning to eating raw since March 2021, keep reading below why I decided to embark this journey!
What—Raw vegan is eating 100% plant-derived foods in their raw form. This means:
NO COOKING (over 100-120 degrees)
NO PROCESSED/PACKAGED products like cookies, pasta, oils, or cooked grains
YES to nuts, seeds, sprouts, fermented foods, fruits, vegetables, fresh juices, smoothies, raw nut milks, etc.
For more definitions, see "Raw Vegan, Vegan, Whole Foods Plant-Based"
Why—I don’t know about you but I am a person that LOVES A CHALLENGE. I've been vegan for FOUR YEARS now and I've gone through many phases—the unhealthy vegan, the starving vegan and now, THE HEALTHY VEGAN. My journey on being raw vegan first started last March when I found a free book called THE GREEN SMOOTHIE DIET and completed a 30-DAY CLEANSE (read more about that journey here: “30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge”). After this mini-challenge, I realized I had much to learn about veggies and I realized how filling and energized I felt. I was also REALLY SURPRISED that smoothies with 50% veggies were so REFRESHING and TASTY. I loved the journey so much I still drink a veggie-based smoothie EVERY DAY or at least every other day. I stopped drinking coffee YEARS AGO, but now I have found a HEALTHIER NON-ADDICTIVE energy replacement.
Then, I bought a cookbook on cooking plant-based dinners. I wanted to explore more on veggies and food combinations I had never eaten before. I had purposefully bought a cookbook that strayed away from deep-frying and instead more fresh-ingredient recipes.
Tastebuds/immune/digestive system has changed—in just a short time, I noticed my body was changing, again. Since I am still a BIG FOODIE, I didn't stop going to vegan restaurants, but I did notice I STARTED CRAVING and ordering dishes that had a lot of veggies. I wasn't craving oily, fried, or processed vegan meats. Just the other day, I ordered a vegan burger (made out of Beyond meat) which came with an oily dressing on the salad and my STOMACH FELT VERY UNSETTLED, I felt like I needed to throw up (no, I didn't). I’m realizing that my STOMACH IS VERY HAPPY with my clean eating and is NOT HAPPY with processed or oily foods well.
MY IMMUNE SYSTEM JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER. In 2020 I got COVID, although very minor symptoms, I still had symptoms and throughout my FOUR YEARS going vegan, I have gotten the common cold and sore throats during the changes in season. 2021 came and left and I HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED ANY HEALTH ISSUES. This to me is amazing, I have been around countless COVID-positive and other non-COVID contagious people and nothing. "LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD" (Hippocrates).
How—here are four things to consider when going raw:
Time-the biggest issue I have encountered. Because I am a personal trainer and nutrition consultant full-time, I always have somewhere to be in-person. This leaves me with little time to cook and even meal prep. Being raw, there is more prepping involved which is time-consuming.
Fitness-since I train my own body 5-6 days a week, I need to consume specific foods and amount of food so that I do not lose weight or muscle. This is why I am in a transition phase to going raw and will not be going 100% raw anytime soon. I am very happy with my body results from my strength training but I’m also very happy with my body changes to eating 65% raw.
Accessibility-not everyone has access to raw foods or even vegan-friendly restaurants near them which can be discouraging and make the process harder. If you find yourself in this scenario, the best thing is to do your RESEARCH and PREPARE. Look for grocery stores near your job or on the route to your job. Get groceries delivered to your door (Shipt, Walmart, Amazon) or try looking for farmers markets so that you can have more options to fresh produce which is what raw plant-based eating is all about!
Micronutrients—as a healthy vegan, I have no doubt on whether I am getting enough macro or micronutrients. Read more on my blog post “Which Vitamins to Eat” As a raw vegan, your intake on processed foods is limited which means your availability on fortified foods which are foods that companies intentionally put vitamins such as folate, iron and vitamin D. My main suggestion is to really do your research on foods high in vitamins, eat a wide-range of foods and if you already have concerns take a lab test (you can buy in-home or request one at the doctors office) and compare them with the national average based on your age group, health status, sex, etc.
My favorite things to eat raw:
Smoothies and Juices (I consume as a side)
Soaked Oats (topped with lots of fruits and seeds)
Root Noodles (made from beets, zucchini, squash)
Fresh Sauces (made from nuts, seeds, etc.)
I still have a long way to go, but I am very happy with the results so far and excited for the journey. If you are INTERESTED IN GOING VEGAN, take a 7-day challenge, my 7-DAY VEGAN MEAL PLAN IS OUT and available for sale! Click here to see pricing and how to start.