You may have heard of the raw food diet meal plan as being helpful for reducing inflammation and healing the gut. But is a raw diet meal plan really healthy? And what is the best way to follow a raw food diet meal plan? Here we go over tips for following a raw diet in a way that supports your health, as well as recipe ideas for making a raw diet tasty and filling.
What Is a Raw Food Diet?
A raw food diet is a meal plan that only includes foods that have not been subjected to heat. The theory behind the raw food diet is that heat has a negative impact on food because it destroys certain proteins and compounds that are naturally present in food and beneficial for our health. Champions of the raw food diet believe that eating raw foods helps preserve natural enzymes and components of food that protect our health. Most raw food diets rely on a foundation of plant-based whole foods. However, there are several variants of the raw food diet:
- Raw omnivores: Individuals following a raw omnivorous diet might consume raw animal products such as eggs, dried meat products, and certain forms of raw meat.
- Raw vegetarians: Following a raw vegetarian diet entails eating primarily plant-based products as well as unpasteurized dairy and eggs.
- Raw vegans: A raw vegan is someone who only eats raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other plant-based products.
Is a Raw Food Diet Healthy?
Is it true that cooking food destroys nutrients? Well, not necessarily. In fact, we now know that cooking certain foods helps unleash nutrients, making them more bioavailable. Nevertheless, there are health benefits associated with eating raw foods.
Many things are perfectly healthy when eaten raw, and there are positives to following a raw food diet. For example, following a raw diet encourages the consumption of fruits and vegetables that afford loads of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Eating an abundance of fruits and veggies affords polyphenols, beta carotene, lycopene, vitamin C, and a host of other micronutrients. Eating more raw foods can also help promote weight loss.
The primary downside to following a raw diet is that it tends to be very restrictive. Many raw food dieters even shun foods that have been pasteurized or treated with any type of chemicals.
In particular, raw veganism is super restrictive and should not be rigidly followed. Following a raw vegan diet indefinitely puts you at risk for certain nutrient deficiencies, especially protein deficiencies, since beans and whole grains are taken out of the equation. Instead, raw veganism should be viewed as a detox method to be followed for a short period of time.
Tips for Following a Raw Food Diet Meal Plan
If you are planning to follow a raw food diet meal plan, you want to make sure that you do it right and in a way that supports your health.
1. Take a Balanced Approach to the Raw Food Diet Meal Plan
This tip is the most important to consider. It’s crucial to use the raw food diet as a general guideline and not as strict rules. If you want to follow a raw food diet as a general framework for a diet, then that is totally fine. However, your diet should not be composed solely of raw foods. Incorporating cooked foods on occasion is crucial since heating veggies helps to release more nutrients and make them more bioavailable to the body.
2. Make Sure That You Get Enough Protein
In connection with #1, it’s vital to your health to get adequate protein in your diet on a daily basis. Even when following a raw omnivorous or raw vegetarian diet, proteins will make up a much smaller proportion of your diet than it would when following a balanced diet. Protein deficiency is one of the biggest concerns when following the raw food diet plan, especially if you are following the raw vegan variant. Protein is so important because it supplies essential amino acids, which are vital for immune system function as well as the synthesis of muscle tissue, enzymes, and neurotransmitters. It’s critical to get balanced ratios of essential amino acids on a daily basis to make sure you’re supporting your health. Essential amino acids can come from soaked beans and grains, nuts, tofu, dried meats, protein supplements, and essential amino acid supplements.
3. Make Sure You Get Enough Fat
Many raw foodies are in danger of getting insufficient amounts of fat in their diet. Dietary fat plays a very important role in helping promote the structural integrity of all cells throughout your body. Dietary fat is also a crucial source of energy since it can help you get an adequate number of calories when following a raw food diet.
4. Supplement Your Meals with Cooked Fish
Regularly getting fatty fish in your diet will make a world of difference for your health when it comes to getting omega-3 fatty acids and essential amino acids. You don’t necessarily have to have a huge portion of fish in order to fortify your diet with healthy fats and essential amino acids.
5. Invest in Other Kitchen Appliances
If you’re following a primarily raw diet, then you won’t be using your oven and stovetop quite as often. As a result, it will be helpful to use a variety of other kitchen appliances that can help you make the most of your raw food:
- Blender: A blender can help you make creamy sauces and shakes that are packed with nutrients.
- Dehydrator: Using dehydrating methods can help you prepare foods without cooking. You can use a dehydrator to remove moisture from fruits and vegetables, or if you do not follow a vegan diet, you can even use a dehydrator to prepare meat.
- Juicer: The juicer is an important part of a rough food diet. Juicing allows you to get tons of antioxidants and nutrients out of different fruits and vegetables, and it helps you do this in an efficient way.
6. Be Careful with Raw Animal Products
When following a raw food diet, exercise caution when eating raw eggs, raw fish, and raw meat. If you choose to consume animal products, make sure they are prepared in a clean environment and that the animals have also been raised in a clean environment.
Keep in mind that only certain animal foods prepared a certain way can be acceptably eaten raw. Even then, you are consuming raw animal products at your own risk.
Generally, eggs, fish found in sushi, and certain red meats can be eaten raw. For example, tuna tartare and beef tartare are common dishes that are consumed raw. However, it’s important to realize that eating these foods raw still comes at a risk. For example, some eggs contain salmonella.
Another good rule of thumb when following a raw diet is never consuming raw chicken, turkey, or pork.
Raw Vegan Recipes
In this section, we’re going to focus primarily on how to make raw vegan foods taste good. We’re focusing on raw veganism simply because it’s the most challenging. However, keep in mind that it is a good idea to also eat animal products to ensure adequate protein intake. A raw vegan meal plan may be restrictive, but it’s still possible to make tasty and satisfying meals.
Raw Vegan Breakfast Ideas
If you’ve been an “eggs and bacon” kind of person, you might find it tricky to suddenly consume a diet heavy in raw, plant-based foods. However, we promise there are ways to make raw vegan breakfasts taste good!
1. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seed pudding is a staple food of a raw vegan diet. So, how do you prepare chia seed pudding? You can whip up a large batch of chia seed pudding Sunday night to have breakfast for the whole week. In a large sealable container, pour in about 1 1/2 cups of Chia seeds and combine with almond milk or coconut milk. Stir well, and add about a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Place in the refrigerator to sit overnight. In the morning, scoop some Chia seeds into a bowl. Top with a drizzle of agave nectar, a handful of blueberries, a handful of crushed walnuts, and a sliced banana.
2. Overnight Oats
Overnight oats or another staple of the raw vegan world because they don’t require any cooking. Simply combine rolled oats with your favorite plant-based milk, such as cashew milk or almond milk. Because it can be difficult to get an adequate number of calories when following a raw vegan diet, it is important to bulk up the caloric value of your breakfasts. After you let the oats sit overnight, you can now mix in whatever ingredients you desire. First, mix in a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseeds. Top with an entire sliced banana, chopped dates, walnuts, and a spoonful of peanut butter.
A popular European variation of oatmeal, muesli essentially is raw oats. You can spice up your muesli by adding in nuts and dried fruits. A tasty combination includes rolled oats, raisins, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. Simply treat your muesli like cereal in the morning, and drench your oats in a generous helping of plant-based milk. Top with a variety of fruit of your choice, such as banana, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. To make your muesli a little more decadent, drizzle with a little bit of melted coconut oil.
Raw Vegan Lunch Ideas
Try different raw vegan wraps. Wraps can be easily prepared ahead of time and taken on the go. Instead of conventional grain wraps, use a big lettuce leaf or cabbage leaf. When using beans, always make sure that they are soaked and sprouted in a safe way. Here are a couple of ideas for what to use to fill the wraps on a raw vegan diet.
1. Hummus Wraps
To prepare hummus wraps, spread a generous layer of hummus on large lettuce leaves. Then top with lots of sprouted beans, crumbled nuts, and chopped raw vegetables like spinach and peppers. Top with fresh chopped mint, a squeeze of lemon, and salt and pepper.
2. Burrito and Taco Wraps
To prepare burrito and taco wraps, spread fresh guacamole on lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves. Top with pico de gallo, prepared black beans, chopped peppers, fresh cilantro, seasoned tofu, and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Raw Vegan Dinner Ideas
What can you eat when you’re following a raw vegan diet? Here we come up with a few tasty recipes that are also filling.
Zoodles make a fantastic cold, raw meal. Zoodles are spiralized zucchini noodles, and they can be eaten raw. To create a tasty sauce for your zoodles, use a blender to combine cashews, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. If you like a little heat, add in a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper. Douse your doodles in a generous helping of cashew “cheese” sauce. If you like your zoodles warm, heat them up gently but avoid cooking. A good rule of thumb is to avoid bringing your food past the temperature of 118°F. To add a little bit of texture to your zoodles dish, add some chopped peppers, onions, and spinach.
Looking for an alternative to a creamy sauce? Try preparing a herbaceous raw pesto by combining fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Toss your zoodles in the fresh pesto and enjoy!
A raw vegan salad can be surprisingly filling. First, to create your salad base, chop up leafy greens into bite-size pieces. Kale, spinach, and dandelion greens are excellent options that can be combined for a pleasant flavor. Top your salad with a variety of vegetables, such as avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, and celery. It’s also a good idea to top your salads with beans and grains. Make sure to prepare your beans and grains accordingly if you don’t want to cook them. Consuming soaked and sprouted beans and grains is a healthy way to make sure that they’re edible and that nutrients are bioavailable
It’s also a good idea to top your salad with a helping of fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut or kimchi. Both sauerkraut and kimchi offer probiotics that help support gut health while also adding a tangy, delicious flavor to your salad.
Raw Vegan Snacks
If you’re following a raw vegan diet, it’s important to get used to eating lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and raw nuts. Here are some ways to incorporate healthy snacks into your daily routine.
1. Fruit Salad
When you’re parched, and it’s a hot summer day, nothing quite hits the spot like a cool and refreshing fruit salad. Simply combine a variety of fruits of your choice, such as mango, strawberries, watermelon, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, and cantaloupe. To add a spark of flavor in a little interest to the fruit salad, prepare a light dressing using fresh-squeezed orange juice, a drizzle of raw honey, a dash of cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg. Toss until the fruit is coated, and sprinkle with crumbled pecans.
2. Trail Mix
Trail mix is an excellent way to make sure you’re getting protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Combine your favorite nuts with dried fruit. For example, toss together walnuts, shelled pistachios, and dates. Just make sure that the nuts are raw and not roasted. For an extra punch of flavor and antioxidants, add raw cacao nibs to your trail mix.
3. Ants on a Log
Though ants on a log might be considered a kids’ snack, it’s also a perfect snack for adults who are following a raw diet! Clean in rinse two celery stalks and top with almond butter and raisins.
The possibilities for smoothies are endless when following a raw diet. Fresh fruit, nut milk, and protein supplements are all you need to make a tasty and nutrient-packed smoothie.
Prepare a green smoothie by combining frozen banana, spinach, sliced apples, and orange juice in a blender. Add a sprinkle of turmeric for an extra punch of antioxidants.
Raw Vegan Juicing Ideas
Juicing is a very convenient preparation technique when following a raw vegan diet. This is because juicing is a fast way to glean phytonutrients and other micronutrients from fruits and vegetables while also ingesting them quickly. Juicing is a very convenient preparation technique when following a raw vegan diet. Having a juicer on hand allows you to gain the benefits of fruits and vegetables without the hassle of preparing them.
Pro-tip for including more protein in your raw vegan diet: add an essential amino acid supplement to your juices to make sure you’re getting optimal ratios of essential amino acids.
1. Carrot Ginger Zinger
This juice is packed with anti-inflammatory carotenoids from carrots, as well as ginger’s soothing properties for the gastrointestinal tract. Using your juicer, combine raw carrots, ginger root, turmeric route, one apple, and half a lemon.
2. Beet Burst
This superfood juice is packed with nitrates and antioxidants from beets, as well as an abundance of polyphenols from berries. To prepare this drink, combine beets, blueberries, ginger, apples, and oranges.
Raw Food Diet Meal Plan: Conclusion
Following a raw food diet without ever deviating is extremely restrictive, especially if you follow a raw vegan diet. A strictly raw vegan diet leaves you at risk for numerous nutrient deficiencies, especially when it comes to protein. It’s important to view the raw food diet as a guideline rather than a hard rule. Balancing raw food with cooked foods is important in order to protect your health. Raw food diet recipes are helpful to have on hand to help make meal preparation easier and less time-consuming.