When I first told people that I was a Raw Vegan, the question I was often asked is ‘But what do you eat?’, ‘Just salads?’
Far from it! There is so much more to raw foods than carrot sticks and lettuce leaves, and those so called ‘diet’ foods that people starve themselves with in pursuit for a healthier body. To some ‘Raw’ may sound uninspiring, but it’s far from dull. Raw foods are far more vibrant and colourful than many other foods.
With raw and living foods, you can create as diverse a range of recipes as you can with cooked foods, from salads to the most amazing gourmet meals. It is possible to create raw versions of many cooked foods such as lasagne, granola, pate, crackers and yes, chocolate! This is far from deprivation!
Raw foods fall into four main categories, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
(This is an incomplete list of what many raw foodists consume as there are far too many edible plants, fruits, nuts, and seeds to list here.)
Make sure your shopping basket is a rainbow of colour! Buy organic wherever possible – it’s pesticide free and higher in minerals.
(e.g. spinach, kale, romaine, spring greens)
Fresh & Dried Herbs
In order for these foods to remain raw, most raw foodists agree that the foods must never be heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. I prefer not to heat my food above body fever temperature, 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
What about raw fish, meat and dairy?
For a small percentage of people, eating raw foods does include raw fish, meat and dairy. Personally, I believe that a raw vegan diet, i.e. no animal products whatsoever, is the healthiest diet for the human body, and certainly makes me feel the most energised and alive. I recommend that if you do choose to eat raw animal products, you research about them beforehand.
What isn’t ‘Raw’?
Cooked foods are not raw. It is believed that any food heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) will be dead.
If you were to heat a seed, it will never be able to germinate and produce a living plant. However, a seed can survive in a dormant state for many years and, as long as it has never been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, it may still sprout and grow.
The following foods are not raw:-* Pasta and rice* Sugar* Cartons or jars of juice* Tinned beans and vegetables* Frozen vegetables (these are blanched before they’re frozen)* Baked bread* Almost all packaged foods* Most condiments
There are some foods which cause confusion for those new to raw, and are often featured in raw food recipes. Many raw foodists have a ‘high raw’ philosophy which allows for the use of such foods. The following items are not raw, unless specifically labelled as such. Usually raw versions of these are available online only and have been produced specifically for the raw food market.
Agave – has to be heated from its natural state in order to be sweet
Dried fruit – often blanched and gassed and coated with preservatives
Frozen vegetables – blanched prior to freezing
Juice – most packaged juice is pasteurised
Maple syrup – boiled to increase sweetness
Miso – made from cooked ingredients
Nama Shoyu – made from a base of cooked ingredients
Nori – both black and green are dried at high temperatures
Nutritional yeast – cooked to kill the yeast
Nuts - many are heat treated to remove the shells
Nut butters – many are made from nuts as above
Oats – steamed to keep out worms in storage
Olives – if in a tin or jar, they are usually cooked
Olive oil – must say cold pressed and unfiltered
Tahini – heat treated during processing
Wild rice – neither raw nor wild!
What is a Typical Raw Food Meal?
Firstly, there is no typical raw food meal! The diet of a raw foodists is as varied as that of a person eating cooked foods. There are healthy and less healthy ways of eating raw just as there are healthy and unhealthy ways of consuming cooked foods. We are all different and have different nutritional needs and preferences.
Many raw foodists consume fruit for breakfast, salads for lunch and heavier nut based meals for dinner. Others eat fruit all day long, or nourish their bodies with green smoothies. During my transition to raw I ate the former, but after a while, my body’s needs changed. Now I have green juice for breakfast, green smoothies for lunch and salads for dinner, occasionally eating heavier nut based dishes such as pates or burgers. Experiment for yourself, listen to your body, feel free to do what feels good and right for you.
Corn on the cob
Apple Cider Vinegar
What is Raw?
Sign Up Here!