Raw Vegans

Raw Vegans

raw-veganVegetarians are classified into many different categories as spelled out in “A Vegetarian Lifestyle”. Under the banner of a true vegan, lies the raw vegan. The belief in a raw vegan diet stems from the concept that cooking depletes the nutrient value of the food by destroying the complex balance of micronutrients. Raw vegans typically urge a complete raw diet but some choose to loosen the restrictions a bit and allow for a diet with at least 75% of food being completely raw.

A diet of purely raw foods combines veganism and raw foodism. Variant forms of a raw food diet include diets consisting of strictly juices, sprouts or fruit. Although a raw diet always means a totally animal free diet, some who adhere to raw diets include some foods slightly cooked below a 118 degree threshold.

Following the ideals of other vegetarians, some raw vegans base their choice to go raw because of environmental factors, fossil fuels, greenhouse gas and pollution. Others may tend toward the spiritual side of eating raw and how eating raw food actually balances our quest for physical, spiritual and mental health.

The science of whether or not raw is better than cooked, is debatable on both sides. Under varying circumstances, one may out shine the other and a blanket recommendation is not given to either side. The health benefits to eating raw vegetables are evident but then the benefits of cooked veggies score equally as high in other tests including digestion. The contradictions and controversy will continue.

What is not debatable is the need for supplements in a raw vegan diet. Ensuring the intake of vitamins is essential in a vegan diet but particularly in a raw food diet. Vitamin B12 is one such vitamin that is not found reliably in plant foods since it produced by bacteria. Deficiencies in this family of B vitamins can have serious health consequences, anemia being the most prevalent. Although there are natural foods containing B12 sources such as seaweed, they are not adequate sources for dietary needs. The Vegan Society and Vegan Outreach as well as other support programs for vegans recommend supplements to complement a diet rich in fortified foods.

Testimonials from raw vegans tell us of the trials when the raw honeymoon is over. As you start a raw vegan diet, you feel energized and full of vitality. As your body adjusts and readjusts to this new diet, which can vary from months to even years, the energy levels plummet. The aches and pains that at first disappeared have resurfaced with a vengeance. This is a common problem among the raw vegans and has caused many to rethink their diet.

What works at the start of this diet may not always work later on. Many, who have experienced this phase, have simply tweaked their raw diets and changed their routines. However, it is at this point, when the energy drops, that blood test are needed. The manifestation of iron and vitamin deficiencies is a drop in energy levels. So find out what you are missing in your diet and take your vitamins.