Sunday 29 January 2023

Going Raw Vegan? This Is What You Need to Know for the First Week

going raw vegan

So I decided to try going raw vegan for at least one week. The reasons were tenfold, but it was mostly about trying to boost my immune system, be healthier and about trying to distract myself from going completely cold turkey (omg should I say cold tofu?!) from all the (legal) drugs I've been taking for the past years (caffeine, alcohol, and of course, refined sugar). Yey. When I first decided that I was going to try raw veganism I really needed a good raw vegan meal plan for a week but I could not find one! Loads of the plans included things that weren't raw (like one with cooked chickpeas) or weren't even vegan (like one with honey??? Why)? And even when I did find actual raw vegan meal plans they were still problematic for me for 3 reasons:

1. they relied heavily on dehumidifiers which is something I (and many others) don't have and as a travelling vegan isn't exactly something I can carry around (the hand blender is bad enough).

2. they relied heavily on fruit produced in the Global South: avocados, coconuts and bananas  (just to name a few of the most problematic ones) which, as someone who is currently in Europe, aren't exactly environmental for me to get my grubby little paws on (I did relent and end up getting bananas and avocados though, sorry world, sorry child labourers, sorry forced labourers, sorry wage labourers working in sh*t conditions, sorry ecosystems and indigenous cultures ruined by global, eurocentric, colonising capitalism... I'm sure there's a way to do raw veganism with locally grown fruit, veg & fungi tho. More food coops would also be nice!).

3. weird meal plans: a lot of the meal plans I came across just didn't make sense, like I felt like the person (or people) who'd written them hadn't considered how the raw vegan meals went (or rather didn't) go together.

Additionally, not only did I want a decent raw vegan meal plan, I also wanted to know how it felt to go raw vegan - the ins and outs of it, the ups and downs, the feelings, the cravings, the poops physical differences, if any. And maybe you do too. So on the off-chance that you do I've written this guide to going raw vegan for one week, not just with raw vegan meal suggestions, but with, perhaps, an unnecessary ramble about my deep thoughts and feelings on the subject. A raw vegan diary if you will. I hope you enjoy!

P.S. I had a lot of help this week from Tina at @tinacseuz who kindly skyped with me on day one of my first week and gave me so many good tips! We differ a bit on our stance when it comes to juicing and blending - and this may be where I will probably fail in raw veganism, so I point you in her direction. I am a newbie and she is an expert after all. Further, our friends at Veecoco are currently offering a raw vegan fundamentals course where you can learn the essentials from the experts. 

raw veganism

1. What Is Raw Veganism?

First of all, because apparently it's not obvious, what is raw vegan? First take what vegans CAN eat and then take out anything that's cooked, steamed, boiled or roasted. Which actually isn't that obvious... like lots of nuts and seeds are secretly roasted! Instead of focusing on what you can't eat as a raw vegan, here's what you can eat as a raw vegan:
  • raw fruits: many raw vegans juice or blend their fruits, but I personally have an issue with this (see below)
  • raw vegetables: including potatoes!! I thought my bf was crazy the first time he ate a raw potato and I waited for him to get sick. He didn't, and he never has in like 30 years of doing it (still tastes rubbish though imo)... but most other vegetables taste great raw and are better for you (vitamins aren't killed by heating);
  • raw fungi: we found many different kind of wild mushrooms at the farmers' market most of them are edible raw, too (shiitakees, yum!)
  • raw nuts & seeds: kinda hard to find in shops, I was super grateful to find a life-saving walnut tree near my house
  • raw grains & legumes: like oats, quinoa, bulgur and lentils... soak them overnight to help chew and digest them!

2. Why Go Raw Vegan?

I, like most vegans, am vegan quite simply for the animals. Then, as an extension for the environment too (cause it's where the animals live) and as a bonus cause it agrees with my body. Is raw veganism also about caring about animals? Is cooking food also cruel to animals? I mean, kinda, I guess, cooking food uses fossil fuels which hurts ecosystems (fracking, yikes!). To me, raw veganism is much more about my bonus reason for being vegan: for my body. Many raw vegans believe that cooking food simply isn't good for humans (I mean, it's not like any other animal cooks their food, is it? And we are also animals after all). According to @joyfulrawlife:

"Cooking deranges fats, proteins & carbs. In addition, heating food removes one of the most important nutritional needs of the human body: water. Some evidence suggests cooking damages micronutrients in plant foods. Ingesting cooked food causes inflammation."

Read the full post here, it does make a lot of sense the way she puts it, and (spoiler alert) I did definitely feel healthy af as a raw vegan, but there were other things that came to play that meant I didn't last longer than a week (see below). But before we get into that, let's have a look at what you can eat as a raw vegan with some raw vegan meal plans :D 

raw vegan before and after

3. Raw Vegan Meal Plan

Ironically, for a diet that requires no cooking, going raw vegan takes a lot of meal prep and planning. Unlike 'classic' veganism where you can gorge on pasta, bread, fake meats and cheeses, beans, legumes and easily exceed your daily requirements of full tum, raw vegans have to think a bit harder to meet their daily goal. The plus side though, is it's much easier for raw vegans to get all their vitamins and minerals - btw the Chronometer app is highly recommended to keep track of micro and macronutrient intake! I don't think there's a better diet out there for guaranteeing you get all the vitamins you could ever want... provided of course you take your vitamin B12 and eat your seeds (flax seeds esp!) to get your omegas (looking at you, Miley)!

Before raw veganism I liked to have three meals a day, but when I tried going raw vegan for one week I found that I had to have much bigger meals to reach my daily calorie goal, and I couldn't eat them in three sittings (okay, I could, but then I felt full af and couldn't move), in the end I still made three meals, but ate them in bits throughout the day, grazing like a giselle if you will. 

So yeah, ramble aside, my suggestion for your raw vegan meal plan is to go for three meals but eat them all throughout the day, (perks of home office) and to divide your raw vegan meals up into something kind of like this:

  • Breakfast: oat smoothie with fruits (get your fruits in at the beginning of the day to utilise the energy);
  • Lunch: big ass salad (get your 'fatty' nuts and seeds in here);
  • Dinner: random vegan meal experimenting time .

4. Raw Vegan Meals (Some Examples)

Here were some raw vegan meals I really enjoyed, and I sincerely hope you do too:

Raw vegan breakfast smoothies

raw vegan meal plan
  • 1 cup oats 
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple / 0.5 grapefruit / 1 peach / 2 kiwi or any equivalent fruit

All blended together. On top, after the blend, I added a tsp of both flax and chia each day - these are a really great source of omegas. This is, imo, a great start to the day, I also added in my 'immune booster shot' but I understand that many don't like the overpowering taste of turmeric, lemon or garlic (my three faves) so you may want to take that separately and not mix:

Laura's immune booster raw vegan breakfast shot:
  • 0.5 lemon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 fresh garlic clove 
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger

Raw vegan salads meals

raw vegan meals
  • 2 cups leafy greens: spinach, sorrel, Swiss chards, dandelions, rocket etc... whatever is in season!
  • 2 tbsp seeds: pumpkin, sesame, chia, sunflower etc; 
  • 5-10 raw nuts: peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashew etc;
  • 0.5-2 cups vegetables: cucumber, celery, beetroot, mushrooms etc - low in calories, high in vitamins! 
  • 0.5 cup fruits: tomatoes, peppers etc;
  • 0.5 cup grains: sweetcorn, soaked quinoa;
  • optional: dates (watch out, high in sugar!), olives (kinda empty calories but taste great), sun-dried tomatoes (wash off the oil), avocado (if it's not too environmentally detrimental to get to you).

Munching on one of these bad boys throughout the day will get you many of the vitamins you might well have been missing over the years, go seasonal to help the environment and your wallet and opt for a rainbow of colours where possible.

Raw vegan courgette 'spaghetti'

first week raw vegan

  • 1 courgette grated (other recipes used a special spaghetti making grater thing, but like the dehumidifier, what travelling vegan carries on of those around? A grater still makes a nice texture and base and that's all you need imo)
  • Blended:
    • 14 cherry tomatoes
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • hot chilli, basil, salt to taste
    • 1 date
    • 1/2 spring onion
    • 1 stalk celery 
    • 5 peanuts 

Were the courgette noodles like udon noodles? No, did they hit a spot in their own right? Sure. I'd recommend you squeeze the sh*t outta them, to get rid of that excess water. The sauce is really really good, who knew sauces didn't have to be cooked to taste good? Thank you tomatoes and garlic. 

Raw vegan curry

lose weight raw vegan
  • Blend:
    • 1 courgette
    • 10 peanuts
    • 2 dates
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1 spring onion
    • 1 hot chilli
    • 1 celery stalk
    • 1 tbsp ginger
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp coriander seed ground
  • Eat with: mushrooms, red pepper, cauliflower, sweetcorn, raw quinoa, tomatoes whatever you like really... it's your curry now :)

I wanted to make a curry that didn't involve coconut (living on the wrong side of the world) or tomatoes (I already made a tomato sauce for the courgette spag so wanted some variety) but I ended up adding tomatoes to it in the end lol.

5. Did I Lose Weight as a Raw Vegan?

I definitely lost water weight - Tina told me that the body reacts to toxins (coffee, sugar etc) by storing it as water weight, within a few days I looked different, more streamlined, more athletic. I didn't intend to and I didn't actual lose any weight weight. I felt full all the time and I ate a lot, probably more than I do normally. 

If you're overweight and looking for weight loss in raw veganism, veganism will probably be enough, and as with any healthy diet, don't go hungry, but instead fill up on fresh fruit and vegetables. I also recommend the a vegan 'lean and clean' diet (no salt, refined or processed sugar or oil). Avoiding processed foods wherever possible is key to any healthy diet, especially one where you're looking to lose weight, and as a raw vegan it's really easy to avoid processed food, but again you could just do it as a vegan.  

Like I said, weight loss wasn't my intention, but looking more athletic and stream-lined was definitely a positive I felt after being raw vegan for just 1 week, here were some others:

raw vegan meals

6. Raw Vegan Before and After (1 week)

For me personally, after just 1 week I found there to be so many advantages to going raw vegan like:
  • I felt brighter in all senses of the word: brain fog cleared, and I felt ready to solve all the world's problems, that might just from detoxing from coffee and alcohol but...
  • I also felt fitter than ever before in my life: I felt so full of energy like I could run 10 miles and punch 8 people in the face. Quote from my diary "Felt strong af this morning, cut the smoothie with a lot of water and walked (uphill) to Aldi and I felt like I could just run, tear down humans, rip off their faces, harpoon-gun cars and tow them away alone like a prehistoric amazon-hunter, etc. (I didn't lol.)"
  • I felt more in tune with my body: it was amazing how dehydrated I was before without noticing it, going raw vegan helped me connect with my body and see what I was missing;
  • I realised how slacking I'd been on eating the things I know are good for me: similarly to before I went vegan, where I could have eaten fruit, veg and nuts but instead was choosing to fill up on meat and dairy; before I tried going raw vegan, I could have eaten fruit, veg and nuts but instead was choosing to fill up on bread, pasta, fake cheeses, beer and coffee #healthylife 
  • For me, going raw vegan was cheaper, because I wasn't wasting money on said beer, coffee and fake cheeses... I think in a measured experiment 'classic' veganism is cheaper than raw veganism, because 'classic' vegans can fill up on cheap beans and rice, but in practice, being raw vegan was cheaper for me. 
  • There was a lot of mucus coming out of me... that sounds like a gross thing, but it was a beautiful experience that made me feel like my body was detoxing the toxins right in front of my eyes - extract from my diary "woke up at 5.30 to sneeze out a bucket of mucus. probably just the detox of drugs (alcohol, coffee) or possibly cos my house is mouldy.. but possibly detoxing from cooked food too!" and another day: "woke up at 2am and my mouth was like full on salivating, like when i see a bag of salt and vinegar crisps or like a really nice d*ck. Maybe because i ate two bananas and 2 dates before bed lol"
  • It's a great way to quit bad foods: I realised that once I've eaten all the fruit, veg, nuts and seeds that I need for the day, I don't really have room for anything else! Like fried bread. Or bread in general. Or pastries. Any kind of bakery products. (Sob.)

one week raw vegan

There were of course some disadvantages that I felt as a raw vegan too:
  • I got backed up at first: I'd suddenly introduced so much fibre and I was eating way more because lettuce is less filling than beans... after a couple of days I was backed up af. But by introducing more water, more walks, and eating not when I thought it was time to eat but when I really was hungry I found that this cleared up after a few days 
  • I got freaked out about how many calories I should be eating, until I remembered the calorie counting is kinda a scam (imo) and as long as I was eating when I was hungry I'd be fine 
  • I worried that I was eating too much vitamin A, I heard you can overdose (?)
  • I felt restricted, not only was I not allowed to eat most of the things in the supermarket, I now wasn't allowed to eat most of the things I'd eaten before as a vegan. Added on top of that was being not only quarantined but all of my friends being 1000 miles away... I felt like a nun (not my look). I had to do some heavy soul searching as questions like "wouldn't I gladly give away years of my life in return for enjoying my life through sh*tty toxins" kept crossing my mind... But that was a good thing to wonder, I don't want to be ruled by toxins, no no. 
  • I missed steamed potatoes (eating them raw sucks... Tamás loves them raw tho, he has been eating one raw potato every day since he became vegan bc of the health benefits). I also missed beans, lentils and above all chickpeas - hummus!!! 

Overall, though the positives outweighed the negatives, but after one week raw vegan I went back to 'classic' vegan* but, why?

7. My Personal Issues with Raw Veganism

  • too many smoothies: breaking down whole fruit and making it into a puree is - sugar-wise - similar to eating spoonfuls of processed sugars... blood sugar spikes! I don't know really, I'm not an expert, just going to go with what my body says. And my body says 'smoothies make brain go brrrrrr, go on rip human faces off'... maybe I'd get used to it over time or maybe I wouldn't, I was brought up on a low sugar diet (wasn't really allowed sweets/candy), and I think my body just doesn't agree with it. (Salt on the other hand is another matter.) Fruit-heavy, sugary smoothies aren't good for the teeth, either... no need to worry, low-sugar green smoothies could be the solution!
  • too many exotic fruits: I don't usually buy bananas in Europe because of how far they have to come to get there (plus the politico-economic impact - ever heard of 'banana republics'?), but I bought some ones that were going to be thrown out in preparation for going raw vegan. In the last few days of the week, after an abysmal raw potato and onion salad, I said f*ck it and bought mangos, kiwis, more bananas and avocados - all things I wouldn't normally buy, but I felt like I needed them for my health and my sanity. This is where raw veganism clashes with 'classic' veganism: I don't buy these things normally because I don't think it's good for the environment, and the environment is where the animals (and the rest of us live). A lot (not all but a lot) of raw vegans I've come across on instagram seem to be more plant-based than vegan - that is, they follow a vegan diet because it's good for them (they're not necessarily vegan for the animals or the non-human ecosystems these industries are destroying). Hence why they're plant-based not vegan. (Veganism isn't a diet, it's a cult a lifestyle which revolves around caring about animals, in a society that generally doesn't.) 
  • not enough chickpeas: raw veganism is a great way to cut out all the cr*p vegans like myself eat/ate that we don't need, like oil, sugar, salt, msg etc. I can even quit bread and pasta cause they are basically 'empty calories'. But what's wrong with steamed potatoes :( and lentils! And chickpeas!! 
vegan raw

8. Going Forward: Will I Ever Go Raw Vegan Again?

Despite what I said above I didn't go back to being completely 'classic' vegan. I quit the alcohol and coffee (for the most part... it's a process... I'm getting there... Tamás has already been teetotal for the last two weeks), I quit frying and oil, I quit sugar and crisps and chips and vegan burgers (okay, again, for the most part, it's a process lol). I even quit bread and pasta. I have now opted for 'high raw' - which is where you're raw most of the time, but not all of the time. I still have that raw turmeric, garlic, lemon blended oat breakfast, I still eat big raw salads (way more than before)... but I also eat chickpeas, lentils, beans, and steamed potatoes.

At the end of the day, it's about finding what works for you (as long as it doesn't harm non-human animals or human animals). Going raw vegan even for just a week is a great way to tap back into what your body needs and doesn't need, and it's a good exercise in learning new recipes and experimenting with new foods.

I'm grateful to raw veganism for reminding me to drink water, eat more fruit and veg and nuts and seeds. I'm grateful to Tina for helping me out this week and Tamás for helping me out in general. And you - are you going to go raw vegan? Let me know!! <3  

raw vegan food course

I think if I was to do everything over, I'd opt for a raw vegan class, it was harder than I thought to go raw and with raw veganism still being relatively new to the internet there's not that much info out there. With that in mind I recommend the Raw Fund Fundamentals Course by our friends over at Veecoco :) Also, here is a wonderful video/channel of a high raw vegan family - enjoy! :)

P.S.: If you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillionveg. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

Whatsapp Button works on Mobile Device only

Start typing and press Enter to search