What is a raw vegan diet?
Vegan diet comprises of plant foods only and excludes animal products of all kinds, that means meat, eggs and milk are not part of this diet. While vegan diet allows cooked and processed plant foods, the raw vegan diet excludes these as well. Only raw- pure, fresh, fully ripe fruits, vegetables, sprouts and some nuts or seeds are used in the raw vegan cuisine. ‘Raw’ means wholesome, unprocessed, ripe fresh food which would transform the original nutrients in the food. Obviously fresh produce is raw, but also dried fruits or nuts are considered raw if they were dried in temperatures below 42 degrees Celsius, because above this temperature thresholds proteins start to denature. By some it is considered important that all the protein content of the food is preserved in its natural state, because some of the proteins are active enzymes, that is why raw food is also called living food. Fresh produce that was frozen is also considered raw. In raw vegan cuisine only fresh, dried or frozen fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are used in recipes.
Why should we go raw vegan?
The health benefits of the raw vegan diet are plentiful. There are many clinics and retreats around the world such as Hippocrates Institute or The Tree of Life where patients with cancer or diebetes are cured by switching to raw food. In practice even an average person who does not have any serious health issue can benefit from raw foods as well. By going fully raw, that is by excluding all cooked and processed foods from the daily menu, in a long run one experiences increased energy levels, greater vitality and overall well-being which makes one realize how damaging processed foods can be to the human body. Especially foods that are prepared in high temperatures, ie. are baked, fried in oils or grilled over open fire can be significantly toxic, because the natural nutrients were transformed by heat into indigestable or even poisonous substances. Also it is a well known fact that many nutrients, such as vitamins or fiber, can be partially or totally lost when food is heated up during cooking. That means that only fresh, natural foods contains the full range of nutrients and therefore are the best for human consumption.
Leading a pure balanced raw vegan lifestyle is also beneficial for all our fellow beings, the environment and Earth as a whole. It promotes peace, non-violence, balance, vitality along with being fully nourishing.
Is this kind of diet suitable to all climates?
Some people think that in certain parts of the world it is not possible to survive without meat or milk, however not every part of this planet is meant to be inhabited. Historically people had to thrive on whatever they could grow, forage or hunt in their local area, but nowadays thanks to the global markets and infrastructure tropical fruits are available even to those who live in the Northern-most part of the planet, so it is the privilege of the modern man that the raw vegan diet is a practical possibility. The fact that raw food is not served warm does not disqualify it from being used in cold weather. Warm drinks or dishes may seem comforting, but are not essential for the human body to sustain its normal temperature, because the body heat is produced internally by burning fuels such as fats and carbohydrates rathen than relying on external sources.
Who can go raw?
People of any age or gender can switch to raw vegan diet and enjoy its benefits. Although those who suffers from nutritional deficiencies or metabolic problems should consult a specialist to make sure that their food is safe for them to be eaten and they are getting all the ingredients that they need.
Does raw vegan food satisfies the human dietary needs?
One needs to make sure the food provides all the essential nutrients. For that it is important to study nutritional profiles of fruits, vegetables, green leaves, nuts and seeds, so one can consciously composed the daily menus to satisfy the body’s needs. Fortunately such information is widely available today in books, magazines, on the internet and sometimes also on the food packaging. Like any other way of living, it is recommended to take blood tests once or twice a year to monitor the blood composition under the guidance of a qualified practitioner and adjust the diet accordingly if any deficiencies are discovered.
What about the vitamins B12 and D?
Vegatarians and vegans are often concerned about their intake of vitamin B12 and D. It is true that plants do not contain vitamin B12, because it is a product of certain bacteria that live in human or animal guts and are also found in the soil. This vitamin can be found in meat, milk or eggs, however one should be avare of the fact that today’s farm animals live in sterile conditions and are fed with antibiotics, so they are not able to develop a bacterial flora in their guts that would produce vitamin B12 for them. These animals are also held in roofed cubicles, so they do not get exposed to sunlight and therefore unable to make their own vitamin D. The animals that are bred for meat and dairy get these vitamins from supplements added to their fodder, that is why these 2 vitamins are present in their blood and then in their milk or eggs. Considering that fact one should decide whether it still makes sense to eat animal foods in order to obtain vitamins B12 and D or rather skip the proxy and take the supplements directly if necessary. Vitamin D should ideally be produces by human bodies due to exposure to direct sunlight. There are plant foods that may contain vitamin D, however the amount of the vitamin per serving may not be sufficient in case of a deficiency. One should consider supplements of vitamin B12 or D when a deficiency occurs, which can be detected by blood tests. The vegan form of vitamin D is known as vitamin D2 and is sourced from mushrooms.