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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. Shedding excess pounds will be the cherry on top of your (raw vegan) cake.
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!
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 fibre content. Fruits and veggies are, of course, absolutely jam-packed with fibre goodness, doing wonders for your digestion, and helping you to feel full and satiated, preventing overeating. There’ll be no room for rollercoaster 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 colour round for every meal. These BFFs can’t cancel plans and will not let you down.
What should I eat?
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.
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.
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 wellbeing.
And that’s ultimately what we’re after with any lifestyle change.
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.