Food / Health and Wellness

The Raw and Living Food Vegan Diet

When it comes to doing something about (1) climate change that is more effective than purchasing a hybrid car, and (2) reducing obesity in children and in adults, then switching to a meat free diet is at the top of the list.

Overview – Vegan Diets are Healthier for the Planet and for People
The WHO (World Health Organization) says humans need about 5% of their daily calories to come from protein to be healthy. The USDA puts this figure at 6.5%. On average, fruits have about 5% of their calories from protein. Vegetables have from 20-50% of their calories from protein. Sprouted seeds, beans, and grains contain from 10-25% of their calories from protein. So if you are eating any variety of living plant foods, you are getting more than adequate protein.

Numerous scientific studies have shown the daily need for protein to be about 25-35 grams per day. So if you ate 2,000 calories per day, and ate raw plant foods that had an average of 10% of their calories from protein, you would get 200 calories worth of protein, or 50 grams. This is more than adequate to support optimal well-being.

Other studies have shown that heat treating a protein (such as with cooking) makes about half of it unusable to the human body. So some believe raw plant food protein is even a better source than cooked plant foods or animal foods.

Dispelling Myths
There is still a huge, foolish, misguided idea that plant protein is not “complete” and meat is required. This is based on studies done on rats in the 1940’s. This false conclusion was drawn before we discovered the body’s protein recycling mechanism and its ability to “complete” any amino acid mix from our bodies amino acid pool, no matter what the amino acid composition of a meal consumed. This false idea is still perpetuated by the meat and dairy industries, in an attempt to influence people to continue consuming their products.

The truth plant proteins are incomplete proteins, but when you combine them, you will get all of the amino acids you need.

The Raw-Vegan Diet
The Raw-Vegan Diet which consists of fruits, vegetables, sprouted grains, sprouted legumes, seeds and nuts, is moving from the fringe to the mainstream attracting the attention of top chefs around the world. Raw-vegan food is considered healthy because of its living enzymes. The enzymes in food aid in digestion and are destroyed at 118 degrees of heat. Heating also depletes food of vitamins and minerals which is why cooked food is thought to lead to excessive food consumption in the body’s attempt to gain adequate nutrition.

Here’s a list of books compiled by the American Dietetic Association:

* “The Raw Life: Becoming Natural in an Unnatural World,” by Paul Nison
Nison is a raw-foodist and chef who has authored many books on spirituality and health. According to his Web site, this 352-page book is a “must have” for anyone new to the raw food diet.

* “Raw: The Uncook Book,” by Juliano Brotman and Erika Lenkert
Co-author Brotman owns a raw-food restaurant and catering service in Santa Monica, Calif. According to HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, “Raw” does not focus on “100 variations of salads” but instead offers recipes for foods such as sun-baked pizza, vegan sushi and burritos.

* “Conscious Eating,” by Dr. Gabriel Cousens


5 thoughts on “The Raw and Living Food Vegan Diet

  1. Thanks for your comments Mina. Although many of our friends are vegans, my husband and I are not. We are primarily ovo-lacto vegetarians but we do eat small amounts of meat and fish. We also supplement with B12 and we know it is derived from animal sources.

    Unlike most people, we are fortunate enough to know each animal that we eat personally while they are alive. We are fully aware of exactly what they are fed, how they are treated and slaughtered. Most people can’t say the same. They really haven’t a clue as to what they are ingesting or how the animals they eat are kept, fed and slaughtered.

    The growth of the agri-food corporations has led to high density animal production that is not only inhumane but is also responsible for contributing to climate change. Obesity is pandemic in North American adults and children. Moreover, vegetable and fruit consumption in North America is very low. IMO any movement towards increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and cutting down on eating factory farmed meats and fish will be a blessing to our planet.

    I certainly hope that people will click through the links I provided to the articles on vitamins and minerals and that they will take the time to learn enough to balance their nutritional intake properly.

    For the past 30 years we have heard (and later laughed) at those who have adamantly stated. “You cannot have a balanced diet unless you eat meat.”

    This is not true. Provided one learns how to properly combine foods and supplement correctly eating meat is not a necessity.

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  3. This is a really interesting article! Thanks for posting. I do, however, disagree with many points that have been made. The reality is that it isn’t as simple as ‘complete’ versus ‘incomplete’ proteins. This is only one part of protein quality. Eggs are considered the gold standard of protein quality -against- which all other proteins are measured and even when combining vegetable proteins, the availability is poorer versus fish, for example. Animal sources of protein are superior in terms of the protein efficiency ratio and biological value. This is cited in countless studies in reputable journals.

    ‘This false conclusion was drawn before we discovered the body’s protein recycling mechanism and its ability to “complete” any amino acid mix from our bodies amino acid pool, no matter what the amino acid composition of a meal consumed.’

    This statement you made is not true. The reason we call certain amino acids ‘essential’ is because they cannot be manufactured by the body and -must- be ingested in the diet. Proteins aren’t ‘stored’ in our body as such and there is a constant turnover. Most people will be in nitrogen balance with the exception of growing kids/teens and those who are recovering from injury, for example. If you are missing an essential amino acid, your body does not have a pool to simply draw from to replace that missing essential amino acid! I wish! :)

    Also, a vegan diet -must- supplement with B12. There is no bioavailable source of B12 from plant foods. At one time, it was thought that spirulina B12 was useful but studies showed that this is not metabolically useful. The fact that B12 can only be gained from animal sources and because it is a required micronutrient means that vegan diets must supplement B12.

    At the same time, I think that the emphasis on whole foods and vegetables/fruits that vegan diets tend to have is wonderful and it’s one that everyone can learn from, whether they eat animal products or not. In terms of raw, you actually -lose- valuable nutrients with raw foods because of the fiber, which binds nutrients to some extent. Very lightly steamed vegetables are superior to raw if you’re looking at it from a health perspective. Yet, anything that gets people eating vegetables is great, whether it’s cooked, raw or just a bit steamed! :) Myself, I think that a balanced and varied diet that incorporates all food groups is ideal but I respect that we each have our own ideas about what is ‘healthy.’

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