What is raw living? Very simply it is not eating anything cooking or processed. Non vegans can be raw too but this section only considers raw vegan living.
The raw food movement is more than the odd smoothie or occasional salad it is a lifestyle choice which has an ever growing number of followers. The raw community is always finding new and interesting ingredients to ensure their diets remain enriched, healthy, nutritious and interesting. The desire for textured, tasteful and interesting food is very important.
A 100% raw food diet contains nothing cooked (or heated above 46 °C / 115 °F), rawists consider cooking food to be detrimental to the nutritional content of food as cooking affects the genetic makeup of food. They believe raw food is better for our digestive system because all the nutrients remain in the food which can then be more easily broken down and digested by our bodies. Or in other words it is more natural for us to consume uncooked and unprocessed food, our bodies can run more efficiently on this diet.
Some of the suggested health benefits of a raw diet are clear skin, bright eyes, more energy, improved immune system, better complexion, weight loss & balance and reduced stomach bloating or digestive problems as well as healing effects. Some rawists are 100% raw all the time, this might be difficult depending on your lifestyle and work hence this is probably why ‘raw till 4’ (eating raw until dinner time) has become a popular approach. It is important to do as much as you can within your lifestyle and heat free Mondays are a good place start.
Some unexpected veggies that can be eaten raw are parsnips (grated and used as a rice alternative), & sweet potato. The usual suspects you already include in salads and then there is the good green stuff to consider, spinach and curly kale which are both rich in iron. Nut milks are raw when the nuts are liquidised with water to make the milk. And don’t forget sprouting which adds a great deal of nutrition into the diet.
As mentioned a raw diet can be more interesting and varied than having a salad every day. It is a totally new way of not cooking with new ingredients you might not have heard of before! Being raw is a way of life but then so is being vegan and don’t forget there is a whole raw community of people out there keen to assist you with your exploration.
Interested in trying raw food? There are plenty of raw websites out there but raw food has entered the mainstream, you can find vegan cakes and even sandwiches in health food shops plus vegan bars in most supermarkets.
Look out for raw restaurants and cafes, raw dishes also feature on the menu of many vegan and vegetarian establishments. If you are going to enjoy raw living then taste and texture are important to keep your food interesting.
The good news is that you don’t even have to give up chocolate! Raw chocolate has an intensity and depth to its flavour which leaves all other chocolate behind. You have to try it to believe it. There are numerous raw chocolate recipes from truffles to cakes which are all delicious. Nuts are used extensively to make cake bases and thicken chocolate. Avocado is also used when making raw chocolate mousse! You can read more about raw chocolate and find some suppliers here.
Key rawist tools include; a juicer, ceramic knives (metal equivalents oxide the food), high spead blender (for making nut flours, nut butters, smoothies, shakes, spiraliser (which slices vegetables into strips resembling spagehetti or noodles) and a dehydrator (which removes the water changing the texture of food giving a raw “cooked” feel and look). This equipment can be expensive and no equipment is essential and it might be better to borrow or buy cheaply at first. Also look out for raw bodycare products and vitamins.
This diet might not suit everyone. It is important you do your own reading and research and speak to a doctor or nutritionist if you have any concerns.