The raw vegan diet currently has a lot of buzz growing around it, with YouTubers and celebrities boasting about its wonders. If you’ve ever wondered what being a raw vegan means, it is basically being a vegan with the added rule of not consuming anything heated above 118oF.
I decided to challenge myself to a five-day raw vegan diet. I already consume a good quantity of fruits and vegetables daily so that was no biggie for me. My skepticism came from the thought of not being able to consume cooked food, but since I enjoy new challenges I decided to jump right in.
The day before I began the challenge, I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. I mostly bought the fruits and vegetables in season to be more cost effective. Dinner on this day was a bit difficult, I tried consuming all the cooked food my stomach could possibly take in preparation for the challenge. All I remember is filling up on a lot of animal protein.
With my fridge stocked with the tools I needed, I was ready for the challenge. I woke up excited to be starting something new. For breakfast, I opted for a monster green smoothie.
I had a serious peanut butter craving and what joy I felt when I discovered PB without any added ingredients is considered raw. So for lunch, I fed my craving with a huge veggie platter and peanut butter. I ended the day with a salad topped with hemp hearts. Overall, day one went pretty well mostly because I was quite busy and distracted from food.
I surprisingly didn’t wake up hungry despite how little I ate the previous day. I had my first meal pretty late, around 2:30 pm, which was a smoothie and a side of carrots with peanut butter
By dinner time, the pressure started kicking in. With the smell of my sister’s tofu quinoa salad in the air, I sat down to eat my own boring salad, imagining it was full of things that were actually cooked.
I went to bed dreaming of a food paradise where I had the power to eat whatever I wanted. Reality hit me hard the next day.
I woke up really hungry. I kept trying to convincing myself that the challenge was over only for a voice to keep reminding me that I had two days left. I couldn’t stand the thought of consuming another boring salad or smoothie.
My mantra this day was to have the most delicious raw vegan meals I could possibly create. At this point, I wanted a warm, delicious bowl of oatmeal but since that wasn’t an option, I settled for what turned out to be an extremely tasty berry-peanut butter-spinach smoothie.
I basically grazed on fruits through lunch and by dinner time I was craving sweet potatoes with a side of brown rice. My sister teased me by having sweet potatoes for dinner but with my culinary creative side coming into full bloom, I made a spinach butter lettuce salad with carrot ribbons. It was still delicious.
Remembering my failed tricolour carrot ribbons, I decided to perfect it today by dinner. I had the berry spinach smoothie for breakfast again as I was in love with it and lunch was a veggie platter. It dawned on me that I had just a day left and that thought helped to keep cravings at bay (a tiny little bit).
My obsession with having a perfect dinner helped me discover the secret to making the perfect kale salad. With this new information, I made a kale salad topped with my almost perfect carrot ribbons and went to bed very satisfied.
I wanted to quit. However, the anticipation of the benefits and rewards kept me motivated but I was depleted of excitement. Today’s meals were basically for survival as I had become tired and bored of the things I was eating.
Breakfast was a terrible0tasting smoothie. I slept through lunch but by dinner I had a bit more positivity and recreated my kale salad. After dinner I was hungry and made banana nice cream, which oddly kept me very satisfied…or maybe the thought that I made it created that feeling. I was just glad to be done.
After these 5 days of uncooked food, here are the things I learned:
1. A certain level of determination and commitment is needed. Being raw vegan is both an emotional and mental journey. The key to success is to make sure you are doing it for all the right reasons.
2. Surviving as a raw vegan is harder without a dehydrator. Most good raw recipes I found required one. If you aren’t familiar with a dehydrator, it is a kitchen equipment that doesn’t heat food above 118°F. Unfortunately, it also happens that it can be expensive and very limited in its usefulness.
3. Did I mention how much I missed my grains?! The thought of not being able to eat sweet potatoes or brown rice was the deal breaker for me. Spiralized meals quickly became my saving grace.
4. Thinking of eating out? Think again. Most restaurants are not exactly familiar with raw veganism which translates to very limited options on their menu. Restaurants tend to have more vegan options but rarely any raw vegan options. Let’s just say, my house saw more of me during this five days than it has in a long time.
5. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is the key component of the raw vegan diet. I already eat a lot fruits and vegetables and I was still quite taken back by how much more I consumed as a raw vegan. If you’re considering raw veganism, you might want to start thinking of increasing the fruits and vegetables in your diet in preparation.
6. Those five days helped me cultivate the habit of reaching for fruits as snacks. It made it easier to incorporate a LOT more vegetables into my diet like it was my second nature.
7. I also learned how to be more creative in the kitchen. Due to the heavy restrictions and resulting boredom, I had to think out of box and come up with interesting dishes to sustain my raw veganism.
The heavy restrictions associated with it made it boring for me which goes against my belief of what and how food should be. Food to me is an experience. It should be well-balanced, satisfying, adventurous and fun in addition to being nutritious.
Although I didn’t stick to this lifestyle long enough to get the full benefits and rewards often spoken about, I definitely picked up good habits. That being said, I am definitely not converting to raw veganism anytime soon. This lifestyle is suitable for some people, which I totally support and respect, but clearly not for me.