The raw vegan diet, although not new, has been slowly gaining popularity, especially in the whole food plant-based community. But is it healthy? And should you really be including more raw foods in your WFPB diet? Here's what you need to know.
Before We Begin: The Easiest Way to Eat a WFPB Diet
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A raw vegan diet consists of plant-based foods that are completely raw or heated at temperatures below 104-118°F. Raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted legumes and grains are the main food groups for a raw vegan.
A word of caution: consuming more raw foods is great for your health and your waistline, but a completely raw vegan diet comes with its own risks. Certain minerals need heat in order to become bioavailable, such as lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects against prostate cancer, and is found in tomatoes. In addition, by excluding cooked foods you omit important food groups such legumes and whole grains.
While a completely raw vegan diet can be challenging to follow long-term, incorporating more raw foods into your whole foods plant-based diet comes with a range of health benefits.
Benefits of eating more plant-based raw foods include:
- More energy
- Improved mental clarity
- Lower body-mass-index
- Clearer skin
- Lower risk for a number of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer
Raw fruits and vegetables are also nutritional powerhouses! By adding more raw plant-based foods to your WFPB diet you get more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, and you effortlessly stay away from processed junk, saturated and hydrogenated fats, added sugars, and additives.
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3 Easy Ways to Add More Raw Foods to Your WFPB Diet
1. Start Your Morning with a Smoothie
One of the easiest and most popular way to get more raw fruits and vegetables into your WFPB diet is to enjoy vegan smoothies in the morning. Try to make it a green smoothie too, by increasing the ratio of leafy greens compared to the fruits.
2. Eat at Least One Salad Every Day
An easy way to add more raw foods to your diet is to eat at least one salad every day. Load it up with vibrant leafy greens, raw vegetables such as cucumber, tomato, red pepper, cabbage (choose purple for more antioxidants), avocado, berries, carrot, beetroot, and any other vegetable or fruit you like to eat raw. Top it with your favorite raw seeds and nuts and a delicious raw dressing and you’re set.
3. Snack Smart
Snacks don’t have to be packaged or cooked! Fruits and vegetables make the perfect snacks, loaded with fiber that keeps you full, and vitamins and minerals for energy and health. Think apples with natural raw peanut butter, crudites with avocado dip, dates, and a handful of berries with a side of raw nuts.
- A raw vegan diet consists of plant-based foods that are completely raw or heated at temperatures below 104-118°F.
- While a completely raw vegan diet can be challenging to follow long-term and may even not be optimal for health, adding more raw foods to your WFPB diet can be extremely beneficial.
- Want to add more raw foods to your WFPB life? Start your day with a smoothie, enjoy a hearty vegan salad every day, choose raw foods as snacks.
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.