Lately, we have seen many trends on the topic of diet and nutrition – one of those is the relatively new raw vegan diet. Most people think it is really restrictive while others consider it a cure for many diseases found in our modern world.
So what is the truth about raw vegan food?
A raw vegan diet is based on the consumption of organic plant-based food, without cooking. This specialised diet excludes all food and products of animal origin. Foods are eaten fresh and are prepared without cooking – they are usually dehydrated with low heat or fermented. Raw food dishes are never cooked or prepared at temperatures above 48 °C (118 °F).
There are 3 reasons why raw vegan food followers think that food should not be cooked:
- At high temperatures, the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can be destroyed during the cooking process, so most of the nutritional benefits from the food will no longer be available.
- The enzymes in the food that help with digestion are also vulnerable during the cooking process, making food and nutrient absorption more difficult.
- Fun fact: cooking is technically a chemical transformation, so all factors – the food, the pot, the heat – change. As with all processes, there are unwanted chemical substances – in this case, toxins –created during the transormation. These toxins are consumed and stored in the body, causing future diseases.
A raw vegan diet has many benefits.
As there is minimal processing, all the nutrients in the food are at their maximum availability. The foods remain rich in enzymes that are easy for the body to digest without the unwanted toxins from the cooking process or any sort of food processing. This is the reason why raw veganism is considered an unmatched, effective detoxifying diet wherein foods remain rich in nutrients, compared to other “clean” eating diets and cleanses.
Some scientifically-proven benefits of this diet include:
- Increase in strength of the immune system
- Anti-aging properties
- Anti-cancer properties
- Effective weight management
- Energy boost for the body and brain
What can we eat raw and what should be avoided?
When starting a raw vegan diet, you have to be careful in choosing the which foods can be eaten raw.
Raw vegan food includes fresh fruits and fresh vegetables, fresh sprouts, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and vegetables, seaweeds, cold pressed oils, organic green powders and natural spices.
Food that should not be eaten uncooked are wheat, rice, other hard grains, certain types of mushrooms, some legumes like beans or peas, potato, sweet potato, and soy among others.
Drinks that fit in this diet are purified or filtered water (not regular tap water), fruit and vegetable juices, coconut water and milk, and nut milk. Alcohol, coffee, tea, and any drinks that contain caffeine do not fit in this diet.
How is raw vegan food prepared?
Raw veganism is more than just eating a salad and drinking juices. In order for you to have your complete nutritional requirements fulfilled, a raw vegan diet takes some preparation, planning, and creativity.
Some tools you will need are a powerful blender, food processor, dehydrator, juicer, spiralizer, mandolin slicer, and water filter. You will need to germinate and sprout grains, dehydrate some vegetables and fruits, soak nuts and dried fruits, etc. It is a whole new and exciting science!
It is also really important that when you prepare raw vegan food, you ensure good hygiene in all the processes since there will be no cooking to kill any contaminating agents.
Now there are lots of chefs that specialise in raw vegan food, who are constantly creating new flavours and original combinations that are equally nutritious as they are amazing. Some dishes are made to mimic regular cooked meals but with unique flavours and (most importantly,) mindfully prepared with organic unprocessed plant-based products with no added sugar, unhealthy fats or chemicals.
At the Thanyapura Divine restaurant, we are about to launch a new Raw Vegan Menu as part of our goal to Optimise Your Life. We are excited to provide you with more of the healthiest options available with our original recipes. Click here to learn more about Mindful Meals.
Here is a great recipe that you can try and prepare at home. Enjoy!
RECIPE: Raw Cauliflower Couscous
Nutritional benefit of this dish:
This dish is raw, vegan, and gluten-free.
Raw cauliflower couscous can be used instead of cooked grains in dishes and salads. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that gives to your body detox support, with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- 1 cup cauliflower (cored, broken into florets)
- ¾ cup carrots
- 2/3 cup red pepper (without the seeds)
- ¾ cup sundried tomato (soaked for softness)
- 1 tbsp black olive (chef suggestion is Kalamanta olives)
- 1 tbsp sweet basil (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp parsley (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp caper (finely chopped)
- ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 pinch Himalayan salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 tbsp avocado (diced)
- 1 ½ tbsp snow peas
- 1-2 leaves of fresh spinach
- 1 dash pumpkin seeds
- 1 dash flax seeds
- Grate the cauliflower and carrots using a food processor.
- Chop (not finely) the red pepper, sundried tomato and the black olives.
- Make sure the parsley, the sweet basil and the caper are finely chopped.
- Mix all these ingredients together, adding up the olive oil, lemon juice, Himalayan salt and pepper.
- Put it in a plate as if it was a regular couscous.
- Add on top the diced avocado, the snow peas and the seeds.
- Top it up with the spinach leaves.
- Serve and enjoy!
ABOUT THANYAPURA SPORTS NUTRITIONIST
Licensed Sports Nutritionist
& Muay Thai Fighter
Marcela Soto is a Nutritionist and Dietitian, with a specialization in Sports Nutrition. She earned her undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition at the University of Costa Rica in 2008, then completed her masters degree in Integrative Health and Human Movement in the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica in 2010 and a postgraduate degree in Integral Health and Human Movement with emphasis in Athletes and Sports Nutrition. She has clocked more than 2,400 hours of supervised practice and more than 75 hours of continuing educational units, ensuring she stays on the cutting edge of her field.
Marcela also contributed to nutrition science with the publication of her graduate and master’s degree theses, and an article published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Food Science.
Marcela has worked as a private nutritionist for top athletes, gaining experience in running weight loss, detox, and sports nutrition programs to help athletes improve their performance. She has also worked as a nutritionist in fitness gyms, cross-fit gyms, boxing, MMA and Muay Thai gyms.
She is also a professional Muay Thai fighter, with more than 8 years experience, still competing in events for Thanyapura throughout Thailand.
Marcela is able to use her experience as an athlete, as well as her sports nutrition background, to provide all her clients with the best nutritional advice possible. Her focus is on Science and Healthy Lifestyles, promoting an active, natural, balanced lifestyle where what you eat is the base of all.