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Are you completely fed up with weight loss fad after weight loss fad leaving you so unsatisfied and downright hungry that you start dreaming about burger-bingeing?
You may have seen famous raw vegans on YouTube and Instagram, showing off their ridiculously massive fruit platters, 7-banana smoothies and decadent raw desserts, and wonder how on earth they eat that much and manage to stay so trim.
It goes without saying that eating a balanced raw food diet is one of the best ways to protect your health and the planet, but it’s also a fantastic way to shed excess weight too.
It seems too good to be true, but fortunately for us, it isn’t. It’s legit, and you need to try it.
Compare the standard American diet of toxic meat, hormone-filled dairy and processed food that belongs in a bin more than it does in the cupboard of your home to a diet rich in life-giving, vitamin and mineral-packed, natural goodness, and it’s easy to see why you’ll feel energized and satiated.
Weight loss is a bonus of the lifestyle, but the main draw is that you’ll feel amazing. And when you feel it inside, you’ll glow on the outside. So get on the #bodyposi train, and focus on what’s going on inside your body first.
What is raw food/raw vegan diet?
A raw vegan diet is, contrary to popular belief, not at all complicated. It simply puts health at the heart of everything – eat an abundance of foods that will your fill body and mind with goodness, and enjoy reaping the endless benefits.
I’m talking beautiful fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds in the form of salads, smoothies, soups and even raw versions of ‘typical’ western meals like pizza and sushi.
However you like your fresh produce, it should be eaten raw. This simply means that it shouldn’t be heated above 115F, because the enzymes present in fruits and veggies that fill us with energy are damaged when cooked, which makes them harder for our body to digest.
Related Post: Raw Vegan Diet: The Revolutionary Way of Eating Which Can Change Your Life
Given that eating fresh fruits and veggies can help prevent and fight everything from diabetes to cancer, filling your body with them doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
Especially when pizza and sushi are involved.
Can you lose weight on a raw vegan diet?
Yes, yes and yes again. In fact, if you want to lose excess weight, without depriving yourself, raw vegan is the only way to go. No counting calories or portion restriction required… Sounds too good to be true?
Luckily for our health, taste buds and our sanity, it really is true.
Why should you try a raw vegan diet for weight loss?
You may have heard of the 80/10/10 raw vegan lifestyle, created by Dr Douglas Graham, which is based on the idea that, for optimum health, around 80% of our total calories should come from carbohydrates, along with 10% from protein, and 10% from fats. Before you panic, wondering how on earth you’re going to dig up that long-lost calculus from the dark, high-school corner of your brain, never fear. This way of living isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
Essentially, to feel your best and lose excess weight on a raw food diet, you should be getting the majority of your calories from raw fruits and veggies, with a handful of nuts a day and seeds for vital proteins and fats. And before you run a mile, convinced by all the false nutrition information that encourages us to binge on cancer-causing meat and dairy, please ignore it!
Related Post: What is 80/10/10 diet? Just Another Fad, or Vital to Our Health?
So, the first thing to do is address the carb myth. They are not evil, and in fact, should be your BFFs when it comes to improving your health.
Of course, not all carbs are created equal. Whilst processed carbs like white bread and pasta should be avoided, healthy and natural carbohydrates, found in fruits and veggies, are vital for the proper functioning of our brain, red blood cells, and nervous system.
As Dr Colin Campbell explains in ‘The China Study’, diets high in complex carbohydrates can not only help to shed excess weight, but prevent a range of chronic illnesses.
In fact, researchers, in a study of high carb, plant-based diets, found that body weight decreased in the participants who ate lots of complex carbohydrates, with no animal products or oil in sight. What’s more, those who eat meat-heavy, low-carb diets have a shorter life expectancy than those who eat a diet abundant in healthy plant carbs.
Weight loss on this diet is also partly attributed to the high fiber content.
Fruits and veggies are, of course, absolutely jam-packed with fiber goodness, doing wonders for your digestion, and helping you to feel full and satiated, preventing overeating. There’ll be no room for roller coaster moods and sugar cravings on this diet, with plenty of vital fruit sugars to fuel your mind and body.
Suffice to say, you should be inviting a rainbow of color round for every meal. These BFFs can’t cancel plans and will not let you down.
Is the raw food diet a healthy way to lose weight?
So it’s clear that you can lose weight on the raw vegan diet, but is it healthy?
It’s probably pretty clear at this point, what with the abundance of vitamins, minerals and beautiful fresh produce involved, but yes. Yes it is.
In fact, the raw vegan way of living is about as healthy as you can get. From preventing and healing major diseases to increasing your energy, the list of benefits that accompany the raw food diet are endless.
What do you eat on a raw food diet to lose weight?
As tempting as it is at the beginning to eat meal after meal of decadently beautiful raw cakes, desserts and cookies, it’s probably best not to eat too much fat, especially if you’re wanting to shed excess pounds. Whilst the occasional sweet treat is a must – raw cheesecake is simply heavenly – sticking predominantly to raw fruits and veggies will help you to feel great, look great, and banish unwanted pounds.
At the same time, if I haven’t talked about it enough already, you should eat plenty.
You are not, I repeat, not, supposed to be side-salading it up for every meal. This isn’t what it means to be raw vegan and is a mistake people often make when first transitioning. You’ll get next to no calories, and wind up so frustrated that you decide not to bother with it anymore, go back to the toxic American diet, and continue to feel unwell, inside and out.
Related Post: What can I eat on raw food diet? List of raw foods.
To avoid the temptation of fatty, processed snack foods, Rawvana suggests that you meal prep. Here, she very handily offers a shopping list of all the fruits and veggies you’ll need for a typical raw vegan weight loss plan, including beautifully colorful soups, smoothies and salads, along with an approximate costs for this list of vegan goodness: around $30 in total. So you’ll be losing pounds off your body, and gaining them in your purse!
She also explains how to prep your haul, as well as recipes for meals to eat throughout the week and there’s even videos to accompany her blog.
Of course, you don’t have to stick to a specific meal plan to lose weight on a raw foods lifestyle.
As long as you’re completely avoiding animal products and eating a rainbow of raw fruits and veggies, with small amounts of vital proteins and fats, found in avocados, nuts and seeds, you will detoxify your body and lose excess weight. And there are so many amazing raw recipes online and in cookbooks that make going raw vegan a doddle. Check out my 10 steps to making this amazing lifestyle change here, which includes a selection of my favorites.
Why am I not losing weight on a raw food diet?
1. Are you eating too much fat?
It’s actually surprisingly easy to eat too much fat on a raw vegan diet. And if you’ve ever perused a raw vegan dessert cookbook (and salivated, a lot), you’ll understand why. Raw vegan cheesecakes, cookies and desserts are simply divine, but eating too many of them can certainly slow down weight loss.
For excess, healthy weight loss, aim to get around 10% of your daily calories from fat. Whether from nuts, seeds or avocado, it’s important to have a little of these healthy fats, but not too much.
2. Are you eating plenty of green veggies?
We’re not calorie counting as part of this lifestyle, of course, but green veggies like zucchini, kale, cucumbers and celery are jam-packed with nutrients, whilst containing very few calories. So make sure you’re getting plenty of these, to help fill you up and keep you satiated, whilst filling your body with vitamin and mineral-packed goodness.
3. Are you exercising enough?
Make sure that you’re getting at least 20-30 minutes of exercise a day when you can. The raw vegan lifestyle is about holistic wellness, and exercise will not only support excess weight loss, but help you feel great too.
Can you gain weight on a raw vegan diet?
Yes, it’s certainly possible to gain weight on a raw vegan diet, and for those who are looking to gain weight to achieve optimum health, it’s a fantastic way to do it.
If you’re looking to increase your weight because you’re currently underweight, it’s still important to make sure you’re not eating too much fat, but an extra small handful of nuts and seeds a day, as well as larger portions of fresh fruits and veggies should support you to gain weight in a healthy way.
Tips to lose weight on any diet
1. Eat slowly
Eating slowly means your body has longer to realize that it’s feeling satiated, supporting you to lose weight if needed. Eating quickly often results in overeating, bloating and feeling uncomfortably full.
So, in order to lose excess weight, make sure you’re eating slowly and taking note of when you’re satisfied, which I’m able to do… until someone sticks a raw cake in front of me, in which case, it’s normally gone in about 6.5 seconds.
2. Drink water before meals (but not during!)
It goes without saying that drinking water regularly is crucial – we’ve all heard the 8 glasses a day rule! But if you drink lots of water with your meal, you may be negatively affecting your digestive health. In fact, too much water during meals can affect the levels of acid needed in your stomach to properly digest your food. If we fill our stomach with excess fluids when eating, this can lead to indigestion and bloating. And we all know how irritating those can be…
But, what you can do to support both digestion, and therefore weight loss, is drink plenty of water before you eat. Studies have shown that drinking around 16 ounces of water about half an hour before meals helps you to lose weight more effectively. So get sipping!
3. Do not eat when you are upset
I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed, I usually want to reach for the raw cookies/cheesecake/desserts – anything sweet and creamy, essentially. Whilst eating raw vegan sweets is infinitely better for your health than munching on refined sugar-filled junk food, as is any raw vegan ‘alternative’, it’s much better to deal with your emotions in a way that doesn’t involve eating… as tough as this is!
There are so many ways to deal with anger, stress and feeling low that don’t involve emotional eating: meditation, calling a friend, gardening, growing your own veggies, going for a walk, going to the movies, posting endless photos on Instagram of this morning’s acai bowl, etc. The list is endless!
4. Wake up early
Believe it or not, being a morning person has actually been linked in scientific studies to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Early in the morning is said to be the best time to workout, as it gets your metabolism up and running, helping you to burn more energy throughout the day.
5. Get enough sleep
There’s nothing worse than a poor night’s sleep. Sluggishness, an inability to concentrate and sugar cravings await. The body hasn’t had chance to refuel if you’re not getting enough, and so it looks for high sugar/high caffeine foods for a pick me up. You’re much more likely to overeat after a poor night’s sleep, which isn’t great for your health, nor is it great for weight loss. Obviously.
But how can I get enough sleep when you told me to wake up early a minute ago? That’s right, you should go to bed earlier, preferably before 10 pm for the best sleep.
6. Exercise (however you want to)!
Now, I’m certainly not a preachy gym-goer. You know the ones: posting endless photos of #legday and bragging about how they reached 843 press-ups last session. No they didn’t. My exercise tends to be less of a routine and more of a, ‘Ooh, I’ve got 20 minutes. I’ll go for a walk’ kind of deal. Okay, so I might be jealous of the ardent, superhero gym-goers. Just a smidge.
Whatever kind of exercise you enjoy doing, or have the time to do, that’s fine, just do some. It’s pretty obvious that moving can help you on your weight loss journey, but, for me at least, it’s more about achieving that feeling of health and happiness. Doing any exercise at all, even if it’s ‘just’ the housework (which must burn as many calories as marathon-running when the kids have been left to destroy the place), can help to improve your mental health and overall well being.
And that’s ultimately what we’re after with any lifestyle change.
How to start a raw food diet
► Stock up on raw vegan produce!
Get your kitchen ready by getting rid of any processed food, meats and dairy, and replacing it with beautiful fresh fruits and veggies and other raw essentials. Check out my raw vegan pantry list for inspiration! Just make sure you’re not paying over the odds for your food, by reading my guide to raw veganism on a budget.
I know, I’m too nice.
► Make gradual changes
The key to any lifestyle change is to give yourself time to get there. If you’re not ready to go fully raw straight away, try starting the first week with a raw vegan breakfast, and build up to adding a raw vegan lunch, and finally a dinner.
You’re more likely to stick with this incredible lifestyle long term if you adapt your current one gradually.
► Get creative in the kitchen
There are endless raw vegan recipes online and in cookbooks, from simple and quick meals to fancy creations. So get prepped with my raw vegan kitchen essentials, and get creative! And make sure to send any delicious samples my way…
► Grab some cookbooks and guides
From guides to transitioning to a raw lifestyle like ‘The Fully Raw Diet’ to ‘Going Raw’, jam-packed full of raw vegan recipes, there’s some fab books out there for every raw vegan’s bookshelf. Check my out my review of the best ones here!
► Invest in essential kitchen tech
Okay, so I know I’ve already mentioned this, but it can’t really be stressed enough. Whilst you don’t need to spend thousands on new appliances, getting good quality essentials like a blender and a chopping knife is an absolute must. Allow me to guide you through the world of raw vegan kitchen must-haves! Without spending so much that you can no longer afford to eat…
Need more info on how to start living your best raw food life? Read my full ‘How To Start A Raw Vegan Lifestyle’ article here!
► Eat enough!
Whilst you may be attempting to lose weight initially on the raw vegan diet, it’s still crucial that you’re getting plenty of calories. A banana and a couple of salads ain’t gonna cut it. As long as you’re not consuming too much fat, you’re golden, so eat those fruits and veggies like your life depends on it! Or until you’re satiated… either or.
► Find fellow raw veganistas
Any lifestyle change is made easier with a good support network. Hopefully your friends and family will be on board (or they will be when you serve up those delish meals you start making), but it’s great to find fellow raw vegans online or locally, who share your passion for food, health and fruits and veggies.
► YouTube it!
If you’re after some quick info and inspo, YouTube is the place to go. There are thousands of videos on raw veganism, from recipes to how-to videos to what people typically eat in a day.
► Get enough exercise
Again, I’m anything but a gym-goer, but any form of exercise is better than none and will make you happier and support your digestive health. A walk, a run, a swim and even cleaning all counts!
► Don’t worry if you fall off the track
A significant lifestyle change like transitioning to raw veganism won’t necessarily be plain sailing.
Whilst it’s undoubtedly the best diet for your health, the animals and the planet, if you’re used to something similar to the standard American diet, it might be a shock to the system.
Start swapping out breakfasts first, then lunches, then dinners, and go at your own pace. And if you fall off track, don’t worry – just get back on it when you can! Rome wasn’t built in a day…
It might have been if they were raw vegan though.
So, if you’re wanting to lose the excess pounds, the raw vegan diet is the way to go. But what’s infinitely more important is health and happiness. My advice is to not focus on how many pounds you’re losing, but how you’re feeling, both on the inside and on the outside. A diet rich in raw fruits and veggies, with some nuts and seeds thrown into the mix, will give your body the energy it needs to tackle the toughest of days, and maintain healthy function.
Excess weight loss will simply be a lovely addition – think finding 20 bucks down the back of the sofa, avoiding the rush hour traffic on your commute to work, or being unexpectedly upgraded to first class on your flight.
And going raw vegan will certainly be an upgrade for your health, both physical and mental.
Enjoy the journey.