11 Things I Discovered After Eating Raw Vegan For a Week
For the first week of 2019, I hosted and participated in a one-week raw vegan challenge with some amazing Craving a Peace Insiders.
Yeah, it was a different kinda week.
I had wondered about the raw vegan diet for a while, even thinking it was extreme (and sometimes it felt like it was while I was in it), but I knew I needed to give it a real shot for at least a week at some point in my life.
I knew it would mean eating clean and organizing food intentionally.
Plus, I wanted an encouraging reason to do it.
So, I decided that ringing in the New Year with a cleansed slate, healthy meal plan, and a new way of trying things sounded like an epic way to kick off 2019.
I learned a crap ton from that week and I want to share it with you.
1. Eating raw vegan is way more expensive than a “normal” vegan diet
Since vegans get a lot of calories from cooked foods like rice, pasta, noodles, bread, potatoes, lentils, cous cous, quinoa, etc., when going raw, you need to replace those dense sources of foods with raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Rice, potatoes, pasta, and the like are pretty cheap in the grocery store.
Even a bag of gluten-free, vegan pasta costs $2.50 here in Queenstown, New Zealand.
We don’t have access to a local wholesale fruit and vegetable supplier, so getting my weekly calories in raw food more than tripled my usual spending.
If I could afford to eat raw regularly, had access to a bulk fruit and veg supplier, or a massive garden of my own (that’s the plan one day!) I’d probably be able to eat a lot more raw meals.
If you’re thinking about going raw vegan, I encourage it for sure – the benefits are incredible – but let your food budget be warned ahead of time.
2. A raw vegan diet takes a lot of chewing…a lot
When they say your jaw gets sore from eating raw vegan, they weren’t lying.
For the first time ever, there’s a diet that doesn’t make you limit the amount you eat!
The volume of food is, in fact, the hardest part of the whole thing!
I ended up grazing one meal over the course of a few hours instead of stuffing it all down in one sitting.
I just didn’t have the room for that, but I did chip away at the big raw meals slowly to ensure I got all the nutrients and calories I needed.
3. Eating raw vegan for a week made me lose 2.5kg (approximately 5.5lbs)
I didn’t eat raw vegan to lose weight.
I ate a raw vegan diet to try it out and to eat cleaner.
Removing the carbs, processed foods, and cooked veggies and replacing them with fresh, water-dense vegetables and fruits, I noticed my weight dropped steadily over the course of the week.
I felt trim and light, which made the weight loss feel noticeable.
4. After eating raw vegan for 7 days, I felt less bloated.
As mentioned previously, I felt quite light after eating raw for a week.
I guess it’s obvious when you think about it, but when the bloating wasn’t there it really made a difference in my stomach area.
I wouldn’t say I’m usually bloated, but consuming zero salt or processed carbs for the week probably assisted in that.
5. A raw vegan diet made the brain haze (brain fog?) disappear that I didn’t even know I had
I have heard of this brain haze or brain fog thing, but I had never experienced its absence. The reason is because I didn’t even know it was there in the first place!
The more days that went by during raw vegan week, the more my brain started to feel a bit sharper.
Like bloating, once it’s gone you realize brain fog had been there without you knowing it and you noticeably feel so much clearer and focused.
It’s different than getting rid of a headache or coffee withdrawal.
It actually feels like your mind is just working better and faster.
Who knew eating raw could do that!
6. Going raw vegan for a week was harder than going vegan in the first place
Eating vegan is easier than it’s ever been before.
Granted not all restaurants have vegan options, but just about every single grocery store does.
Meat alternatives are getting more and more innovative and vegans can find just about anything they want sans animal product.
Sausages, burgers, pizza, cheese, burritos, sour cream, aioli, butter, milk, ice cream, etc. can all be made vegan. Yes, most are processed, but vegan replacements exist for just about everything.
Going raw meant no processed stuff. No hot stuff. No classic “comfort” foods. Nada.
Raw vegan food isn’t necessarily available anywhere but a garden or the fruit & veg section of the grocery store. Raw vegan meals mean getting creative and crafty, but working with simple ingredients.
I give creative raw vegan recipes mucho mucho credit. I didn’t get bored of them and I certainly didn’t feel like there was a lack of flavor.
I just learned that I have become attached to some creature comforts like boiling soups, warm stir-fries, and piping hot potatoes.
It was really good to get back into a beginner’s mind-frame and learn what it’s like to eat a whole new diet again. It certainly helped me flex my empathetic muscle for those dramatically changing their food habits to eat healthier.
7. Eating raw vegan made my skin clearer
As you’d expect, less toxins and processed stuff going in meant less mess for my body to manage.
My insides were happy and my skin reflected that.
I could see small bumps were gone from my face relatively quickly and the ever-present chin pimple actually failed to show up, which made me feel like a Vogue super model.
8. Eating raw vegan didn’t change my poop much
Yeah, sorry. Gotta talk about poop here. Skip ahead if you’re grossed out by it!
I was expecting more regular bowel movements, but it didn’t happen.
I’m not one to go very often, so I was hopeful eating raw would change that.Unfortunately, it barely changed any patterns, but maybe you’ll have a different experience on a raw vegan diet.
9. Raw veganism takes significant planning ahead
I touched on this a bit before, but I learned that I couldn’t really leave the house without a prepared raw vegan meal.
Restaurants & cafes don’t really know what to do with you when you ask for raw vegan food.
Salads are the usual go-to, which is great, but not always what you want.
I had to get up earlier to prepare my breakfast and lunch well ahead of time. I had to make sure I had my snacks chopped up or blended ‘cause I can’t really do that at work.
I’d often throw a few extra pieces of fruit into my bag if I was worried about getting hungry, which also helped me stress less about getting enough calories for the day.
10. Raw vegan means lots of slicing, blending, and juicing
This diet was not only a test of preparedness; it was also about re-acquainting myself with our kitchen gadgets.
I don’t think I’d enjoy the raw vegan week as much if I didn’t have the tools I’m fortunate to have.
I wouldn’t be able to make sauces, juices, hummus, and spreads if I didn’t have a blender, juicer, and food processor. It took me a while to accumulate these gadgets, so if you’re working your way up to a raw vegan diet, get a few kitchen machines over time before you make the leap.
Aside from blending and juicing, chopping was a big part of the diet.
Prepping raw vegan food wasn’t the same as sticking some potatoes in the oven and waiting an hour, it was more like going into a meditative state of slicing and dicing until you’re so zenned out, you’re basically Buddha.
The raw veggie rolls take the longest to physically prepare of all the meals I ate, but it was worth it because they tasted so damn good. I highly recommend them for either a meal, snack, or appetizer.
11. Going raw vegan tasted significantly better than I expected
During the meal planning stage of the raw vegan week, I made sure to keep the number of salads present as low as possible.
Salads can be delicious as hell, but they’re also super cliché for healthy eating and I wanted to prove to the participants and myself that raw veganism isn’t boring, one-dimensional way to eat.
There was only one recipe I’d never make again – the mango salad – but the rest I definitely plan to eat on the reg…in between my pasta and rice dishes.
My favorite one, by far, was the raw lasagne.
The flavors were stupid good and the mix of textures was just perfect.
I’ll share that one with you very soon!
Does this article make you want to try a raw vegan challenge?
Or does it make you want to run in the direction like a ghost is chasing you?