Imagine a meal prep that wasn’t followed by any cooking. That’s what a raw vegan diet looks like. A raw vegan meal is void of much more than just animal products. It also gives up the heating process. To eat like a raw vegan, one must eat foods uncooked or exclusively heated below 118°F.
Sound kind of archaic? Maybe. But there’s reasoning behind consuming foods in their purest form. “Eating things in the raw state helps to protect the nutrient contents,” says Debbie Petitpain, MS, RDN, a media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. When some foods are cooked or boiled, they can often lose water-soluble nutrients, like vitamin C and potassium. Keeping heat to a minimum can help preserve them.
Aside from preserving nutrients, Petitpain also says that a raw vegan diet can encourage you to add more nutrients and veggies to your diet, which are full of fiber that can aid your satiety levels and digestive health.
On the other side, though, living completely on a raw vegan diet can bring its own set of issues, too. Eating raw forces you to exclude a lot of foods, and that can put you at risk of unhealthy weight loss that can often lead to other health issues, like menstrual cycle irregularity and vitamin deficiency. For example, vegans should be extra vigilant of getting enough vitamin B12, since it’s a nutrient that’s often found in foods excluded from a vegan diet, like fish, poultry, and eggs.
That doesn’t mean you should quit on your raw vegan dishes completely, though. Incorporating them into a balanced diet regularly is a pretty great way to experiment with your veggie creativity and level up your intake. If you want to add a few dishes to your menu this week, here are 40 raw vegan recipes you and your dinner guests will love.