By Anna Steele
I have been thriving on raw vegan food for 13 years now, seven of which were spent in the UK. The ‘Raw Vegan’ diet comprises only raw foods that are uncooked and only vegan foods that are only plant based and do not include any ingredients derived from animals—not even cow’s milk. This means I have not eaten a cooked meal, vegan or otherwise, in the duration mentioned. But it’s not as shocking or difficult as one may surmise! It is certainly sustainable and very rewarding.
Having lived across continents, I can vouch that procuring raw foods is much easier in tropical climates such as prevalent in India, as there is fresh food available through the year, which is such a blessing. So what do I eat as a raw vegan on a typical day? Here goes.
A Typical Raw Day
My day always begins with liquids. During sleep the body has worked hard regenerating and repairing, so it needs hydration to keep everything flowing. A usual beverage includes coconut water with ayurvedic powder such as organic ashwagandha or turmeric.
This is followed by fruits such as papaya blended with the flesh of coconut. I add basil seeds that have presoaked in water to this blend. This is very filling, nourishing, cleansing and satisfying.
I like to drink lime juice through the day.
A salad constitutes my main meal; this is where creativity comes into play. My favourite is a rainbow salad, which incorporates all the colours of the rainbow, with vegetables such as red pepper, carrot, beetroot and whatever is in season. Bean sprouts are included for high protein and enzyme content. Seeds such as sunflower and sesame, combined with a few nuts provide calcium.
A delicious dressing is easy to make and there are limitless combinations available. I like crushed garlic and black pepper together with olive oil and a tsp of cider vinegar combined and shaken up in a jar. I also include fermented vegetables for gut health as they contain beneficial bacteria.
Benefits of Going Raw
When we consume food that remains the closest to how it is grown in nature, we absorb a high level of nutrients, enzymes and life force that actually becomes denatured once it is altered by cooking or by adding artificial flavours and other ingredients.
Natural food has a profound effect on the body. Cellular health becomes stronger and the blood stream is able to filter out toxins easily. Repair and renewal take place in ways that make us feel more alive and energised. There are many cases where even cancer has been reversed through the raw vegan diet and many other illnesses rectified or limited substantially.
What are the Cons?
Personally, I have not experienced one but I have spoken to other raw foodists, who feel alienated socially at meal times if attending parties or eating out. I overcome this by making sure raw food is available wherever I go.
If a raw food diet is something you’d like to try, you could start out with one raw meal a day for a week, and then scale up. Reflect on how your body feels after consuming raw food; notice energy levels and mood swings if any.
Never think that you are depriving yourself; this is detrimental psychologically.
Experiment with new flavours and combinations whilst selecting fresh foods choices. The Internet is teeming with millions of creative and tasty recipes for raw foodists to try.
If initially, you find your digestion is compromised or sluggish, juice some fresh ginger root. This is an amazing tonic for aiding digestion.
Before opting for the raw vegan lifestyle, conduct thorough research and consult your physician if you are on any medication. Raw veganism is not a fad and must be adopted gradually.
I am a raw foodist as it gives me energy, clarity, increased flexibility and connection with nature. Establish why you want to go raw in the first place and then try it out to see if it suits your body and mood cycle.
The author is a practising raw vegan and conducts raw living events in Goa, where she resides