Raw Vegan Diet Weight Loss
Raw food dietary plan is not a new order; it has been around for a long time even though it is becoming more popular. Part of the reason for this is the health benefits that it grants and how it contributes to weight loss. The dietary plan is motivated by the understanding that when we heat food, certain enzymes are destroyed in the process. This means that some of the nutrients and natural enzymes that would have benefited the human body are lost through heating (2). Therefore, in trying to strike a balance between veganism, eating uncooked food, and achieving a weight loss goal, it is essential to have a grounded understanding of how a raw vegan diet weight loss plan works.
It is a diet plan that puts a balance between veganism and raw diet. While the vegan diet places the dieter on certain restrictive principles, adding the principles governing unprocessed food consumption, otherwise known as raw foodism, means that the dieter is taking veganism to a higher level. Although not so many studies have been carried out on this diet, there is still some research showing the importance of veganism and raw foodism, and on how they could help in managing weight, putting blood pressure under control, and limiting one’s risk of heart disease.
The idea behind eating fresh food
The idea behind eating fresh food is to ensure that the nutrients in what a person is consuming are preserved and that for every food intake, the dieter gets the best of the health benefits in such meals. For instance, when a person consumes meals that are composed of vegetables and fruits, or raw, it will imply that the body is fed with more minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that will keep them healthy and also keep certain diseases like type 2 diabetics and obesity at bay.
When someone is practicing this diet plan, their focus is on unprocessed, uncooked, and mostly organic foods. What the person consumes can either be cold or warmed a bit, as long as it’s not beyond 115-118 degrees Fahrenheit (46-48 degrees Celsius). If the person decides, they can blend their foods depending on what they are eating. Despite some of the health benefits of the said diet plan, it should be noted that it also has some health risks. This is why the dietary plan is usually not recommended for pregnant women, children, those who have chronic health conditions, and others whose immune systems are weak.
What is a raw vegan diet?
The dietary plan combines the principles that operate in veganism and raw foodism. The principle in veganism means that any food that has anything to do with animals will not be consumed. Also, the raw foodism principle encourages consuming only unprocessed foods that have not been cooked or have been partially heated. Dieters who subscribe to this plan believe that they have more nutrition benefits than foods that have been cooked. So, the diet encourages the consumption of plant-based, unprocessed foods that are either uncooked or have undergone heat at a very low temperature.
When foods to be consumed go through a very low temperature, certain enzymes that are contained in vegetables and fruits which supply the human body with energy will be preserved and not damaged. So, as the body enjoys these essential nutrients, a healthy lifestyle is promoted thereby. When you observe this diet plan, you must not roast, steam, or sautee whatever you are eating. However, you have the privilege of blending, soaking, juicing, dehydrating, and sprouting whatever you want to consume.
Just as the rules apply in veganism, practicing this dietary plan encourages the consumption of plant-based meals. A study conducted on a plant-based diet explained that this dietary plan is cost-effective and reduces the risk of blood pressure and has the potential to reduce body mass index (10). Although some dieters focus on plant-based foods alone, some other dieters incorporate raw eggs, raw fish, and meats, as well as a dairy, in low quantity to their diet (1).
What to eat in a raw vegan diet plan for weight loss?
As mentioned earlier, when you are on this diet plan, there are restrictions on what you should and should not eat, especially if you want to lose weight. Due to low calories, sodium, fat, and high fiber containing this meal plan, a dieter whose goal is to lose weight can achieve that successfully. Some of the most suitable foods that can be consumed when on this plan include the following (13):
- nutritional yeast
- dried fruits
- green food powder, such as dried wheatgrass or algae
- raw fruits and raw vegetables
- dried fruits and vegetables
- freshly made fruit and vegetable juices
- raw nut kinds of butter, such as peanut butter and almond butter
- nut milk, including almond milk
- soaked and sprouted beans, other legumes, and grains
- unprocessed nuts and seeds
- fermented foods, including kimchi and sauerkraut
- purified water, but not tap water
- coconut milk
- cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil
- other organic, natural, or foods that are not processed
However, there are certain foods that you have to avoid when you are on this plan. Foods like table salt, pasta, refined sugar and flour, cooked or processed foods, refined oils, and drinks like alcohol, tea, and coffee should not be consumed since they have all been refined and/or pasteurized and/or processed.
Raw vegan diet plan for weight loss
The diet plan can be as straightforward or complex as a dieter decides it to be. However, when creating a meal plan, a dieter should endeavor to add meals and snacks that they love to eat naturally. Enjoying the meals is critical to staying on the diet because they will motivate the person to keep at it. Also, there must be a balance in the meals, which means that whatever food is consumed should include different kinds of raw food groups. Below is a raw vegan diet weight loss plan that a dieter may want to adopt (11):
- Raw blackberry chocolate cake
- Cacao maca energizing smoothie
- Breakfast berry smoothie with cacao drizzle and chia seed pudding
- Winter glow smoothie (this is also good for summer)
- Green superfood smoothie
- Fresh banana pancakes with almond butter and caramel paste
- Tropical green spirulina smoothies
- Easy avocado salad
- Fresh oranges and figs with raw massaged kale salad
- Fresh pea, mint, and avocado soup
- Uncooked spicy dipping sauce with nori wraps
- Rainbow salad
- Marinated mushrooms with creamy uncooked butternut squash soup
- 5-minute Basil pesto raw zucchini pasta
- Uncooked zucchini noodles with tomato basil sauce containing portobello meatless balls
- Uncooked vegan enchiladas with cheese sauce, chunky salsa, and spicy nutmeat
- Raw vegan zucchini and tomato lasagna with cashew herb cheese sauce
- Crazy delicious raw pad thai
- Uncooked lasagna with marinated veggies and cilantro pesto tomatoes (sun-dried)
For snacks, the dieter can take unprocessed vegan granola bar crackers, fresh banana bread energy bars, creamy chai coconut chia pudding, pistachio, and matcha truffles. Pecan pie bliss balls, raw vegan speculoos with fig almond crumble, or fresh ginger energy bites are also worth considering.
Anyone looking for a way to lose weight while following a raw vegan diet can also alternate between the lists of foods above for each day.
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7 days of vegan raw food diet plan for weight loss
- Two date energy bites (homemade) served with berries
- Uncooked tacos with sprouted lentils, cabbage, avocado, carrots, and cashew dressing
- Pizza on a flaxseed crust topped with pine nuts, tomatoes, and basil
For your snacks, you can take raw vegan cookies and grapes.
- Smoothie made with rolled oats, fruit, fresh nuts, chia seeds, and raw almond butter (made from fresh and not roasted almonds)
- Uncooked zucchini noodles with creamy garlic cashew sauce
- Sliced veggies and Thai-style raw peanut zoodle salad
You can take fruit salad, two energy bites (homemade), and a raw vegan brownie for your snack.
- Raw almond butter (two spoonfuls) with banana
- Chilled cucumber soup with sprouted quinoa and avocado slices
- Lettuce wraps containing enough sprouted unprocessed lentil patties, sprouted quinoa, diced peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado
As for your snack, fresh nuts and dried fruit mixed inside the snack trail mix will do well.
- Smoothie made with fruit, raw almond butter, chia seeds, rolled oats, and raw nuts
- Spiralized carrots dressed with tomatoes (sun-dried and fresh), basil, and cashew
- Uncooked vegan lasagna with slices of avocado and a side of gazpacho
You can snack on an uncooked vegan brownie.
- Go for overnight raw oats containing banana slices and a spoonful of nut butter
- Consume spinach salad dressed in fresh raspberries, sprouted quinoa, walnuts, avocado, and edamame
- Consume kale salad dressed with sprouted uncooked lentil patties, diced veggies, and cashew
Snack on almond butter and seeds, both of which must be fresh, and a bowl of a variety of fruits.
- Smoothie bowl with rolled oats and sliced banana, chia seeds, raw nuts, and coconut toppings
- Salad having broccoli, sprouts, sliced carrots, and lentil patty toppings
- Cauliflower rice containing mushrooms, smashed avocado, and sprouted lentils
Get a slice of unprocessed carrot cake and two homemade energy balls for your snack.
- Acai bowl containing fresh fruit, nuts, sliced banana, raw nut butter, and seeds
- Greek salad containing olives, cucumber, tomato, onion, sprouted quinoa, and olive oil
- Spiralized zucchini dressed with basil, fresh tomatoes, and creamy cashew
For your snack, you can have a smoothie made with unprocessed vegan protein powder, nut butter, coconut water, and banana.
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Health benefits of raw vegan diet plan
One of the possible questions that a person who might consider practicing this plan may ask is whether uncooked foods are healthier than cooked foods. From research, some health benefits can be derived from following this dietary plan, part of which are explained below:
Improvement in the state of heart
By focusing on vegetables and fruits, which are said to be contributing factors to a reduced risk of heart diseases, stroke, and high blood pressure, following this plan can grant one such benefit. Studies reveal that consuming more vegetables and fruits can help reduce a person’s risk of coronary heart disease (7).
Reduced risk of diabetes
This diet has a considerable number of sprouted grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts that are capable of reducing a dieter’s blood sugar levels. A reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetics has also been linked to the consumption of fruits and vegetables (5).
Improvement in the digestion process
By consuming fruits that contain high fiber, digestion may become more comfortable. The diet has both soluble fibers, which help feed good bacteria in human intestines and insoluble fibers, assisting in the movement of food through the guts, thereby reducing the possibility of having constipation (12).
Promotion of weight loss
It is a proven fact that consistently consuming fresh food can significantly reduce the total fat in the body. So, how many calories on a raw vegan diet for weight loss can you lose? A study conducted revealed that people who fed on different unprocessed foods lost about 26 pounds after about three and a half years and that they also had very low body mass indexes (3). Eating a broad variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis also ensures that we get all vitamins and minerals to boost our immunity and metabolism.
Health risks of the raw food vegan diet plan
Having discussed some of the health benefits of following the raw vegan diet plan, it is also worth considering some of the health risks to make an informed decision. Therefore, some of the disadvantages of this plan are explained below:
Lacks essential nutrients
One of the potential disadvantages of this dietary plan is that certain nutrients that are needed for a healthy lifestyle are missing in it. For instance, a dieter on the raw vegan diet is not assured of getting enough vitamin B12. Unfortunately, any deficiency in this vitamin may lead to damage in the nervous system, anemia, poor bone health, weakness, and heart disease (14). Sadly, it is not encouraged to use supplements when a person is practicing this diet because of the belief that all the nutrients that the body needs can be found in raw foods alone. You should therefore consider taking vitamin B12 supplements if you decide to follow a raw vegan diet in the long run.
A weakness of bones and muscles
Vitamin D and calcium, which are needed for strong bones, may be lacking from this diet. A study conducted found out that dieters on a raw vegan diet plan were deprived of bone mineral contents (9). There may be an insufficiency of protein, which is needed to help preserve muscle mass, especially when the number of calories consumed is not adequate, even though that may promote weight loss. Another study carried out in 2005 explains that even though following the diet for a long time can produce the total triglyceride and cholesterol, it can also reduce the total level of high-density lipoprotein because of vitamin B12 deficiency (8).
The possibility of having tooth decay is present when on this dietary plan. Diets that contain berries and citrus fruits are likely to make a person fall a victim of this. Although these fruits may have more acid, they are likely to cause erosion of the tooth enamel. A study carried out to discover the possibility of dental erosion in subjects living on a raw food diet revealed that 97.7% of the diet went through a certain level of tooth erosion compared to 86.8% who made up the control group (4).
Risk of exposure to foodborne illness
Dieters who have unpasteurized dairy, uncooked meat, or eggs, as part of what they consume are more prone to being exposed to foodborne illnesses caused by harmful pathogenic agents like bacterias and parasites. The recommendation from nutrition experts is that these foods should only be eaten when they have been pasteurized or fully cooked (6).
A note of caution
Before you decide to follow the raw vegan diet plan, you need to find out the classes of foods, including fruits and vegetables, which are safe for your consumption. It is no doubt that you can achieve your weight loss goal through this plan, but then, it is essential to find out if weight loss will be helpful for you or not. At the same time, you should organize and prepare yourself to ensure that the essential nutrients that you consume while on this plan are adequate for your body. Don’t forget that if you don’t plan for this very well, the risk of weakness, nutrient deficiencies, weakness of muscles, and bones are likely to increase.
In conclusion, raw vegan diet weight loss is a good plan for anyone who aims to banish some extra pounds in their body. However, before a dieter embarks on this plan, it is advised that they seek professional counsel from dieticians or doctors for the necessary guidance on how to go about the program.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 7-Day Plan to Start a Raw Food, Vegan Diet (2017, ecowatch.com)
- A Detailed Guide to Following a Raw Vegan Diet: Benefits, Risks, a Meal Plan, and More (2019, everydayhealth.com)
- Consequences of a Long-Term Raw Food Diet on Body Weight and Menstruation: Results of a Questionnaire Survey (1999, karger.com)
- Dental Erosions in Subjects Living on a Raw Food Diet (1993, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of Pistachio Nut Supplementation on Blood Glucose in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Crossover Trial (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Food safety (2005, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Increased Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables Is Related to a Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Long-Term Consumption of a Raw Food Diet Is Associated with Favorable Serum LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides but Also with Elevated Plasma Homocysteine and Low Serum HDL Cholesterol in Humans (2015, academic.oup.com)
- Low Bone Mass in Subjects on a Long-Term Raw Vegetarian Diet (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Plant-Based Weekly Meal Plan By Diet: RAW VEGAN MENU (2015, onegreenplanet.org)
- Review Article: Prebiotics in the Gastrointestinal Tract (2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The raw food diet: Should I try it? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Vitamin B12 (2019, medlineplus.gov)