If I were to explain all the amazing benefits of a raw vegan lifestyle, I’d need around 647 pages, and about 18 hours of your time. Fortunately, I know you’re busy, so I’ve picked out the essentials, which will hopefully persuade you to give this life-changing diet a go. Fancy more energy, a longer life and beautiful skin? Course you do. Then read on for the 7 most epic benefits of the raw vegan lifestyle…
1.Your energy levels will spike
If you find yourself fatigued for the majority of the day, and wish your workplace would allow for daily siestas, dreading the seemingly never-ending list of chores you’re desperate for the energy to complete, then look no further than a raw food diet. As Erica Palmcrantz Aziz, raw food educator, explains in ‘Fabulous Raw Food’, the energy we have correlates with how well our cells are doing at keeping our body running. If we continually fill those cells with toxic waste, is it any wonder they have little energy left to offer us, after using it all fighting to maintain our health? Instead, fill those cells to the brim with live enzymes and give your body and mind enough energy to maintain healthy function, with enough left over to power through your day. You’ll be zipping round like no-one’s business, ticking jobs off the list in a Usain-Bolt-fashion, even feeling incredible afterwards.
2. You could extend your life
We are bombarded, day in and day out, with adverts for pills, pills and yet more pills: pills to cure one ailment, and then another pill to cure the side of effects the original pill, and so on, and so on, until we have bathroom cupboards that would rival even the most prolific of dealers. Whilst I’m not telling you stop taking anything that you’ve been prescribed by a medical doctor, it is worth giving raw vegan a go to see the incredibly powerful healing effects of healthy food first-hand. After all, food as medicine is not a new concept, and is one that could change, and even extend your life.
From cancer to heart disease, to type 2 diabetes and joint pains, thanks to our diet, the Western world is suffering. If you take a look at the dangerous chemicals we ingest, often at every meal, it’s really no wonder that we’re feeling the fatal effects. Meat and dairy are similarly two of the biggest culprits when it comes to crimes against our health. Physician and nutrition expert Michael Greger, in his book, ‘How Not to Die’, describes studies showing how the consumption of meat leads to an increased risk of colon cancer and how processed meat, well-cooked meat and fried foods may correlate with a higher risk of one of the most aggressive forms of cancer: pancreatic. If this isn’t horrifying enough, he explains how a high-intake of dairy products appears to increase the risk of prostate cancer and how a Harvard University team of nutrition experts found that hormones in dairy products could stimulate the growth of hormone-sensitive tumours. It all sounds pretty terrifying, but, luckily, there is a simple, and life-altering answer…
Extensive research has been carried out into the healing effects of a plant-based diet. As Mark Reinfield explains in ‘Healing the Vegan Way’, those following a vegan diet eat less sodium, leading to lower blood pressure, more fibre, helping our digestive systems and preventing bowel diseases, and more phytonutrients, helping to fight against the risk of cancer and no cholesterol, one of the main culprits responsible for heart diseases. If that’s not enough to convince you, Dr Esselstyn, M.D, has proved that a whole foods vegan diet can reverse heart disease. Even though some cooked foods, such as beans and legumes, are part of these plant-based diets, fruits and veggies in their natural state are some of the main sources of disease-preventing goodness. In fact, Greger explains how a plant-based diet can fight against one of the leading killer diseases: cancer.
A raw vegan diet, then, abundant with vitamin and mineral-rich fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, could help you to extend your life. Now that’s as good a reason as any to give it a go.
3. Your digestion will improve
It may not be the most elegant of topics, but a healthy digestive system is crucial to our wellbeing. A lack of fibre in the Western diet may be to blame for a variety of ailments, including bloating, constipation and cancer of the colon. Luckily, you’ll have no such issue with a raw vegan diet, for obvious reasons that I’m sure you don’t need me to describe in detail.
An array of hydrating, fibre-filled, vitamin-packed foods help to prevent digestive issues by allowing for the easy absorption of fibre, leading to a, suffice to say, much lighter you.
So why spend a fortune on drugstore digestion aids when you can rely on the raw vegan diet to, ahem, move you along nicely? Enjoy!
4. You will have super-clear skin
Take a look at the back of any pack of processed food – cookies, chips, ready meals – and you’ll find an ingredients list to rival any chemistry thesis. I’ll give you a thousand bucks if you can tell me what any of the seemingly made-up ingredients actually are. Okay, that’s a lie, but I’ll be very impressed.
When the ‘ingredients’ list more numbers than words, we clearly have a problem, and one of the biggest casualties of this toxic diet is our skin. We have no choice but to wear it, so we need to look after it. Is it any wonder that we face a plethora of issues, from acne to dull, aging skin, considering the garbage we ingest on a daily basis? But we can combat this with the nutrition powerhouse that is the raw vegan diet.
Here’s why: raw food has more enzymes than cooked and enzymes are vital to the maintenance of a healthy body, including our skin cells. A lack of them in our diet can lead to a toxin overload as the body struggles to deal with the excess waste. As a consequence, we’re left with dull complexions to rival any winter’s day in England. But instead of reaching for those bank-account-busting aging creams, full of chemicals themselves, see the healing power of raw food first-hand. The enzymes present will help to purge toxins and repair cells, leaving your skin brighter, smoother and clearer. And when you’re approached by leading ‘skincare’ brands, asking you to advertise their products, tell them they can stuff their thousands of dollars, and give them some bananas for good measure. That’ll teach ‘em.
5. Your weight could stabilise
One of the biggest global health issues in the 21st century is obesity. We have such an unhealthy relationship with food, especially in the Western world, simultaneously fearing food, and using it to ‘treat’ everything from stress, anxiety and depression. This results not only in low self-esteem and an unhealthy weight, but a variety of health complications too.
But what if there was a true solution to the problem, and one which doesn’t involve counting calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates, micronutrients, points, time spent on the treadmill, or the number of cabbages eaten in any given day? What if you could eat as much as you need to feel full of vigor?
A raw vegan diet is the gift that keeps on giving, because by following it, you can.
Eating is about sustaining energy, not calorie counting. Even though nuts and seeds have a higher energy density, they provide vital fats and proteins, which help you to look and feel your best. What’s more, the carbohydrate content of fruits and vegetables is vital, considering it’s the main source of our body’s energy, as well as fuel for our brain, red blood cells and nervous system. So stop feeling afraid of food and allow it to nourish your body.
It’s likely that you’ll lose excess weight on a diet rich in raw fruits, vegetables, and moderate amounts of nuts and seeds, although the main thing is that you feel the benefits. We’re all for body positivity, and the most important thing, ultimately, is that you feel happy with you.
With all those vitamins and minerals, supporting the excellent functioning of your brain and blood cells, don’t be surprised to find that your mood also improves significantly. In particular, the B vitamins in leafy green vegetables, berries, ginger and turmeric have all been linked with improving depressed moods. You’ll feel lighter, brighter, and ready to take on the world.
6. Preparing raw vegan is faster, easier and cheaper
Although these 7 kitchen essentials will have you whipping up a raw vegan feasts to rival Fully Raw Kristina’s, if you’re in a hurry and want something to grab on the go, fruit, in its never-ending amazingness, comes in its own handy packaging, ready to pick up and eat with no preparation whatsoever. Apart from the watermelon. And the mango. And the pineapple. Okay, so most fruits are completely ready to eat. Incidentally, for fruit that you wouldn’t want to bite straight into, at least if you want to keep your teeth, this knife will do the job quickly and efficiently. Smoothies are so easy with this blender, and we are now spoilt for choice for ready-to-go juices, dried fruits, raw fruit and nut bars, nut and seed mixes and fruit and vegetable chips (dehydrated, of course) in supermarkets and cafes. If you’re anything like me, you’ll stare longingly at the huge variety of raw vegan treats in Whole Foods, wondering what to pick from this abundance of goodness, and after 48 minutes, decide it’s easier to just buy it all.
Despite my frequent lapses in financial judgement, I actually find that eating raw vegan is no more expensive than eating any other diet, and can, in fact, be much cheaper. Meat, dairy and even some meat alternatives are not only full of disease-inducing toxins, but they can also be bad for your wallet. Pound for pound, bananas average around 56 cents, compared to beef at a whopping $3.71. Whilst you’ll probably branch out from the humble banana, it shows you how significant the cost difference can be. So whether you’re on a budget, or ready to splash out on the fanciest of medjool dates and organic goji berries, raw veganism will work for your wallet.
7. You will save the animals and the planet
Whether you’re giving raw vegan a try for health, environmental or animal rights reasons (or a combination of all three!), you will be a hero in the eyes of the animals and the planet. Not only is animal agriculture a bigger contributor of greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined, but billions of animals are slaughtered needlessly every year. We just don’t need to eat them. Period.
But before you rush to click on something else, I’m certainly not a fan of the hardcore preaching corner of the vegan world, so you’re safe. But I will say that it’s an incredible feeling knowing that you’re not contributing to any animal suffering. Take a look at @estherthewonderpig on Instagram and tell me she’s not crazy adorable.
What’s more, a raw vegan diet can help to protect the planet for the next generation. If we carry on producing greenhouse gases at their current rate, our children and grandchildren will feel the devastating consequences of our destructive actions. By choosing raw vegan, you’re helping to create a better future for you, for the animals, and for the planet.
So you now want to experience all of these benefits for yourself…
The best way to discover these benefits, and an infinite number of others, is to give it a go. Have a read about what raw vegan really is here, try a guide to the nutritional basics of the lifestyle, like Judita Wignall’s ‘Going Raw’, and check out YouTube and Instagram raw vegans like @FullyRawKristina and @rawvana to inspire you to make these incredible changes. Whether you start by introducing more fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds into your diet, or whether you dive straight in to red pepper flax pizzas, lemon cashew cream tarts and raw truffles, you’ll be well on your way to increased energy, clear skin and a long, healthy life.
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