My Week As a Raw Vegan

 

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The challenge? Accepted. For the first time in my life, I spent one week as a raw vegan. Oh golly gosh!

Most of you know my food philosophy and mantra by now – I eat real wholefoods, nothing processed. I am sugar free and gluten free. I treat myself to foods I love, and I don’t like to put too many limits on myself. I believe in the power of mindful eating.

So when I heard Aro Ha, the wellness retreat I recently attended, was totally raw vegan food – I was excited by this challenge. And perhaps a little afraid. So many JSHealth readers as well as my patients in clinic are vegan. And in all honesty, as a nutritionist I am truthfully not the biggest fan. Many of my patients suffer from not getting enough of the essential nutrients you would normally receive from eating a more varied diet.

But it was only for a week, so I took up the challenge!

This was me on 7 days of only raw vegan food.

How I felt:

  • Fine! I was surprisingly energised!
  • I wasn’t as full and as satiated after each meal – a consequence of not having any animal protein. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient.
  • I didn’t fall asleep as quickly
  • I felt bloated and more gassy (there’s the honesty, ha!)

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What I liked:

  • So many interesting flavours – truly incredible
  • How creative you can be with vegetables and other plant-based foods
  • It’s great for a seasonal, short-term cleanse – your can really detox from eating these foods
  • In spite of bloat, I mostly did feel lighter

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What I didn’t like:

  • Lack of protein, animal or otherwise
  • Less variety
  • Not enough energy to keep my blood sugar stable or to feel full
  • I got skin blemishes! I am genetically blessed with my skin – I rarely break out, and I started to get little bumps on my cheek. Remember, amino acids (found in proteins) help repair skin cells. I didn’t feel I was eating enough protein.

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My final nutritional thoughts:

  • If you suffer from digestive issues – raw vegan may not suit you. It could cause bloating and discomfort.
  • I don’t believe it’s sustainable – being so strict can cause people to have a complicated relationship with food
  • For some, it can cause complexion issues
  • In the short term it’s great as a cleanser
  • Long term, it may have negative effects on the body as you may miss out on certain vitamins and minerals.

I know that a lot of people choose to live a vegan lifestyle for ethical reasons. I want you to know that I really respect those who make this choice, however as a nutritionist my advice is that it’s important to educate yourself in the right way to be sure you can get the nutrients you need from a plant-based lifestyle. If you are vegan, I truly believe you need to monitor your B12 and iron levels and supplement appropriately with the help of your physician or naturopath.

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  • Soph

    Thanks for your honesty Jess, its refreshing. As someone who has recovered from an eating disorder I notice that labels such as “vegan” and “paleo” ect. make my relationship with food really unhealthy. I love your blog, thanks again.

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