14 June 2012

Raw Vegan Diet : Explained | PART 2

***Guest Blog by Registered Dietitian, Kareen***
In this second and final part of our discussion on eating raw vegan, Kareen breaks it down so you can better understand what a raw food diet really entails and how she has adapted it to suit her preferences. She caps this discussion off by supplying us with one of her fave recipes. Thank you so much Kareen!  Kareen is a regular contributor to the blog as she has written extensively for our Health Naturally! Series. To read up on PART 1 of this current series, please see 'Why Raw Vegan.'


What is a raw whole-food plant-based diet?
Also known as a raw vegan diet, here are some of its guiding principles: 
  • Foods are not heated above 118oF (47.7oC). So you’re not forced to eat only cold food; it can be warmed!
  • Foods heated above 118oF are believed to have lost nutritional value and therefore are not as potent.
  • Food can be frozen depending on the raw foodist to whom you are speaking. This is an area of debate because the viability of frozen enzymes is compromised. I enjoy frozen fruits and vegetables so it's not an area of concern for me.
  • Foods typically eaten are fruits; vegetables; soaked nuts and seeds; sprouted grains and legumes.
Why Raw Food?
  • Increased intake of digestive enzymes, helps promote optimal digestion. Digestive enzymes are destroyed when heated above 115oF.
  • Greater intake of unprocessed foods leads to better health, increased energy and sustainable weight management. 
  • Reduced intake of processed foods decreases exposure to excitotoxins
Types of Raw Diets
There are raw diets that include meat. I won't discuss that here but I will say meat is especially unsafe raw so it's a practice to either eliminate or significantly reduce.

1. Low Fat, aka 80/10/10
This type of raw diet was brought to popularity by Douglas Graham, MD in his book "The 80/10/10 Diet" http://foodnsport.com/shop/books/the-80-10-10-diet.php. He proposes a fruit, vegetable, nut and seed intake in a ratio of 80% carbohydrate, 10% protein, 10% fat of our daily caloric intake.

Proponents of this way of eating find themselves eating a significant amount of fruit for energy throughout the day. For example, 30 bananas or entire watermelons are eaten in a sitting. Vegetable intake is strongly encouraged for adequate mineral intake. Nuts are limited to pine nuts and overt fats are eaten sparingly. Concentrated fats such as coconut or olive oils are avoided.

2. Gourmet Raw
This type of raw diet was the one that first caught my eye. You can make raw pizza? Pasta? Desserts? The pictures were beautiful and the food even more delicious.

In Gourmet Raw there are no ratios to follow. Overt fats are part of many meals such as coconut oil, walnut pate, cashew cheesecake crust or almond milk. Gourmet raw foodists use the dehydrator a lot to mimic familar foods like pizza crusts, bread, crackers and chips. All other aspects remain the same: lots of fruits and vegetables.

Where Do I Fall In?
Because I am not strict with low fat, I fall into the Gourmet category. Like most gourmet raw foodists, most of my meals are low fat although I love avocados and eat one at almost every meal. On the weekends or special occassions, I like to splurge with a higher healthy fat meal or even raw sweets. My body has responded well to this pattern so for now, I'm sticking with it. I also appreciate the endless possibilities with creating new dishes and don't want to be limited.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not 100% raw. I am blessed to have a husband who enjoys cooking and makes excellent vegan meals and I eat them :)

I don't fit into a neat square and most of us don't. When starting a new plan, eating or otherwise, it's important to evaluate what will work for you and what won't. Don't feel like you have to stick with someone else's ideas. Instead use them as a launching pad to discover your best path. 

Food Preparation
In general, food prep is easy as fruits and vegetables are naturally ready-to-eat! Soaking, sprouting and dehydrating require more planning. Otherwise, most meals involve washing, cutting and occassionally blending or using a food processor. Yes, it does take more time but my health is worth the effort.

What Do I Normally Eat?
I eat a lot of fruit, salad with yummy dressings and include juices and green smoothies. I don't get bored because every meal is a different combination. I rarely eat the exact same meal twice.

Here's a view of what I typically eat in a day.

On a parting note, I would like to share my favorite go-to recipe! 
Walnut Taco Meat 

This recipe is revised from The Rawtarian. But the original recipe can be found HERE

1 cup walnuts, soaked for at least one hour
10 sundried tomatoes, soaked for at least one hour
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper flakes - you can also use crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne or chili powder to add heat but start with a little and add to taste
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until the tomatoes, walnuts and garlic are incorporated into each other. Do not process until smooth. You want a semi-crumbly texture.

2. Enjoy with tortilla chips, sliced zucchini or cucumber, mini bell peppers. The possibilites are endless and delicious!

If you are interested in a raw whole-food plant-based diet or have any questions related to nutrition or weight management, please visit me on my Facebook Page 

Thank you Tasha for hosting this series on diet!

- Kareen, RD

Final Note
If you should have any questions whatsoever, please leave your comments in the box below. Kareen will be more than happy to respond to any queries or observations that you might have. Kareen's other social links:
Twitter: @i_amEatingRight 
Google Plus: Kareen EatingRight


  1. I am not vegan but I am considering changing my diet. I like the dish shown with the fruit, and seeing that I like fruits more than veggies, I would take that avenue to eating better. But, Kareen, what would be the best step to begin on a healthy lifestyle change? I think I am more the Low fat type of person. So should I just change over into it? Or, change some meals gradually?

    Looking forward to your response. And thanks for the post!

  2. I do a lot of "alternative eating" and the raw food diet was one of the most impactful and beneficial diets I have ever committed to. I noticed an increase in energy and stamina, very noticeable weight loss in only 2 weeks! I mean, it is the truth!! Unfortunately, I just wasn't able to commit to the time needed to really prepare foods, etc. I came up with a plan to make (prep) meals on Sunday to last throughout the week. Thanks for the post Tasha, very informative!

  3. Iameatingright14 June 2012 at 23:52

    Thanks for your question! My favorite method for changing a habit is gradually. To move to a lower fat diet, pick one food a week that you would like to eliminate or reduce. Replace that food item with a delicious salad, homemade dressing or fruit. Each week select another food you would like to remove from your usual habit and continue to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. I hope this helps but don't hesitate to contact me with more questions.

  4. Yes, the prep work is a lot but it's a good plan to pick a day and get everything done.

  5. Thanks ladies for your feedback!! 


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