Raw Vegan Diet Plan – Is It The Best Way To Lose Weight?

Raw vegan diet

​Raw Vegan Meal Plan: ​The Healthy Way To Cut Down Your Calories!

Introduction

I first discovered the wonders of raw vegan foods around five years ago, and since that time I’ve managed to transform my health. Gone is that hard-to-shift fat and not so good skin, to be replaced by a slim body and skin that positively glows.

I didn’t have diabetes, but my blood sugar level was in the pre-diabetes range, which is a huge risk factor for developing diabetes. I am glad to say that my blood sugar level is now back to normal.

When I first started the raw vegan diet I didn’t really know what I was doing, and therefore ending up making lots of elementary mistakes. For example, I ate more nuts and fats than I should have, and this didn’t do my body any favors.

Over the years I have also seen many others make the same mistakes. Because they have heard that following a raw ​vegan meal plan is great, they just jump headlong into it without first educating themselves on what following a raw food diet entails.

With lots of trial and error, and also by taking the time to educate myself on eating raw foods, I discovered what worked for me and what didn’t.

Friends are always asking for my advice, so I thought I would put everything I know about eating raw food into a guide, so that others who want to eat more raw foods can get off to a flying start.

​My plan with this guide is firstly to tell you a little about raw vegan foods and how they can benefit your health. I’ll then introduce you to the raw superfoods. These are the foods that will give you the most nutrition. I’ll tell you what each one is, why it good for you and how you can use it.
A man eating healthy food

I’ll also let you know what basic equipment you need to have in your kitchen if you want to prepare delicious and tasty raw food meals in minutes.

There will also be ​a raw vegan food list that you should always try keep handy. There is nothing worse than starting to prepare a meal, only to realize that you don't have all the ingredients.

Then I’ll give some simple, but delicious, raw vegan recipes to get you started. I find that when people are new to something they need to start with the basics, as that will give them a better chance of sticking with it.

When I started out I found that most raw food recipes were overly complicated and took far too much time to prepare. These recipes have a place, but when starting out you need to start at step one.

And step one is to start with simple recipes that are easy to make and that you will actually enjoying making. Too many raw food recipe guides are full of gourmet dishes that can take hours to prepare.

This is not how most people eat on a day to day basis, so don't think that every raw vegan meal needs to be a gourmet meal.

​I would say that the complete opposite is true. Gourmet meals should be left for special occasions, and not be part of your normal diet. I no longer visit raw gourmet restaurants, because I always felt very bloated and tired after visiting them.
Gourmet meal

I find that they use far too many nuts in their recipes, and these can be very difficult for most people to digest. I have heard many people remark that they don't feel too good after eating a large gourmet raw meal. So keep it simple.

I’ll also give plenty of tips along the way, as it’s sometimes the little things that are the most important. And these are the things that you sometimes don’t get told. And my first tip is not to try to go 100% raw right away.

In fact, most people I know that follow a raw food diet successfully only eat between 50-90% raw food. I myself usually eat around 50% raw food, hence the title of this epic blog post. This works well for me and should work well for you as well.

Once you get started you realize that raw vegan is not gross and can experiment a little to see what suits you best. Don’t just listen to what some raw vegan diet guru says, but listen to what your body is telling you. This might sound difficult to some, but I can assure you that you will get the hang of it quite quickly.

Eating lots of raw food is very beneficial for your health, but I'm not convinced that eating 100% raw is the way to go.

Dr Joel Fuhrman, an American board-certified family physician who specializes in nutrition-based treatments for obesity and chronic disease, comes out firmly against a 100% raw food diet.

He is of the opinion that excluding all cooked foods narrows the diversity of the nutrients you consume, and tends to favor calories from fruit and nuts over vegetables.

​He goes on to say that our caloric needs can only be met on a raw food diet by eating large amounts of nuts, seeds, fruit and avocado.
Nuts, seeds, fruits and avocado for weight loss

While he thinks this may be or for some people, he has seen many people on raw ​vegan meal plan and vegan diets that have weakened their health because of it. So he is in favor of eating raw foods, but not eating them exclusively. I am in agreement with his assessment.

It is simply not true that all cooked food is bad for you. In fact, many nutrients in cooked foods are more absorbable than the equivalent raw food, so you need to take that into consideration.

There is also the fact that many people don't have a strong enough digestive system to cope with a 100% raw diet. Raw ​vegan foods are more difficult to digest, so going from 100% cooked to 100% raw can be problematic for many people.

Some people can also get quite obsessive about whether their food is 100% raw or not. My advice is to follow the basics and not to worry about whether something is totally raw or not.

If you don’t usually eat any raw food and then move to a 50% raw ​vegan diet plan, you should notice a big difference in your health. If you eat 98% raw instead of 100% I doubt you would notice any difference at all. So please don’t obsess about the little details. Always keep the big picture in mind.

​Another tip that will really help is the fact that the bad foods that you avoid will do you as much good as the good foods that you eat. Cut the really bad foods out of your diet and you will see a big improvement in your health, even if that is all that you change about your diet.

But avoid the bad stuff and add the good stuff, and you will really be doing your body a favor. Later in the guide there is a section on what foods are best avoided. Don't worry, there are only a few of them. And there's plenty of great stuff to add.

A woman avoiding bad food

I have tried to keep this guide to the basics, as I don’t want you getting overwhelmed with information. I want you to be able to read this guide over a day or two and get started on your new life.

You have the rest of your life to delve into more advanced stuff. But for now just get started, as that is the first, and most important, step.

So all you really need to know with to begin with is what foods to avoid, what foods to eat more of, and how to get more raw food into your diet. This is very simple to do. If it's something that you don't think you can do, then it's ok to just change one thing at a time until you get used to it.

​Then a week or a month later you can make another change, and so on. That way you'll hardly notice the changes at all, but you'll definitely notice the new, healthy you.

Why You Don't Need to Follow 100% Raw Vegan Diet Plan?

The reason you don't need to eat 100% raw is simply because you can greatly improve your health by just eating 50% raw foods. If you later decide that you'd like to try eating closer to 100% raw vegan meals, then that is fine, so feel free to experiment.

But for people who have just discovered the benefits of raw food, I think they have a much greater chance of success if they aim for 50% to begin with.

Even eating 10% raw is a big step for those that never eat any raw food. So don't be put off by the numbers, and don't feel that you have to achieve some target that someone else set.

I have seen so many people try to go 100% raw vegan, and then give up completely after only a few days because they think it's too difficult. And because they think they failed, they just revert back to their old ways.

I think it's far more important to get people eating even a little extra raw food, rather than not eating any at all. And aiming for 100% and failing may mean they end up not eating any at all.

But you shouldn't use all this as an excuse to not make an effort to change your diet. 10% raw is better than 0% raw. But 50% raw is even better.

But it's up to each individual to decide what they want to get out of this. You will achieve the best results if you eat around 50% raw or more. And that also includes cutting out the bad stuff.

Raw ​vegan diet plan gurus often tell you that you need to go 100% raw, and will read lots of stories about people that improved their health by swapping their Standard American Diet for a 100% raw vegan diet.

But what I have never seen is them comparing a 100% raw diet to a diet that's part raw, and that doesn't include the usual junk food that most people eat these days.

It is plain common sense that if you give up eating junk food, that almost any diet will improve your health. Health can be improved in two basic ways - ditch junk food or eat healthy food.

​Both benefit your health. From my own experience I'm convinced that eating raw food helps greatly, but once you give up junk food and eat 50% raw, I don't see any real benefit of going 100% raw.
man eating salad

There may be certain individuals that benefit from a higher proportion of raw food in their diets, but you'll need to experiment a little to find out what's right for you. But there is no point in setting yourself up for failure by trying to do too much too soon.

For the vast majority of people, a more gradual approach is likely to give better results. It is also easier to stick to a new diet if you change gradually, as you tend not to notice the changes so much.

​But when you look back after a few months, you'll be amazed at how much progress you have made. What seems impossible at the beginning can seem normal once you have achieved the transition.

​Why What You Don't Eat Makes A Huge Difference?

To me, this is one of the keys to getting and staying healthy. I'm sure we all know what foods are really bad for us, even if we sometimes won't even admit it to ourselves. I'm sure that you'll agree that eating burgers, donuts and soft drinks isn't the way to great health.

​We all know this, but we still make excuses and pretend they're ok. These foods, and others, cause a huge amount of damage to our bodies, and simply removing them means that this damage is no longer being caused.

The damage can range from bad skin and lack of energy, all the way to diabetes, heart disease and death. But if we all know what's bad for us, then why do we continue to eat it? Do we all have a death wish?

​And there are so many other clearly unhealthy people out there offering advice. Be very careful about taking advice from these people. They may be well-meaning, but by listening to them you could end up damaging your own health.
Donuts and soft drinks

I think part of the answer is that many people are really confused about what's really good for us and what's not, especially when the popular press seem to love stories about how bad foods are really good for us.

Remember that the popular press exists to entertain us, not to educate or inform us. Much of what they print is just PR for large companies and large food organizations.

They are happy to print a story of how research shows that a certain food is good for us, but they tend not to mention the hundreds of other pieces of research that show that it's bad.

This is often because they take these stories directly from PR companies and don't bother to research the story properly, or at all. They also usually fail to mention that the research was funded by either a food company or industry lobby group.

And many publishes also accept advertisements from these companies, so there is a clear conflict of interest. So my advice is not to get your health advice from the popular press.

I always get my health advice from holistic doctors that have many years of clinical experience. I also get educated by healthy people. There are so many charlatans out there offering health advice that you need to be very careful.

I have seen obese people offering weigh loss advice, but don't really understand why anyone would listen to them, although plenty do. If they can't control their own weight, I don't think they should be advising others, as there is a clear lack of credibility.

​Foods To Avoid

Deep Fried Foods

Deep fried food

If I was only going to avoid one type of food, then deep fried foods would definitely be top of my list. Deep fried foods are known to increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Deep fried foods are also high in calories, and can therefore lead to obesity. Research has also shown links between deep fried foods and diabetes. This is one food that really needs to be avoided by everyone.

​Carbonated Sodas

I don't drink any carbonated soda or soft drinks at all, as I consider them to be one of the worst things you could include in your diet.

Some US states are starting to ban soft drinks and sodas from school vending machines, and some cities are banning the sale of large serving sizes of these drinks.

Carbonated sodas and other soft drinks have way too much sugar, and many consider them to play a large part in the current obesity epidemic sweeping the US and other countries.

​I have heard of many people that have lost substantial amounts of weight just only cutting soda out of their diets. I consider these drinks to be too dangerous to include in my diet.

​Cakes and Pastries

Cakes and pastries

I think these are almost as bad as soft drinks. They are usually packed with sugar and are severely lacking in nutrition.

​A muffin can have 400 calories or more, which is around a fifth most people's recommended daily intake. Have a muffin and a soft drink and your getting close to half your daily calories already. They have no real place in a healthy diet.

​Processed Meats

These is lots of debate about whether meat is good or bad for you. I don't eat meat, but respect the right of other people to eat it if they choose to.

I can certainly see how eating fish or lean organic meat a few times a week could contribute to a healthy diet, but processed meats just don't seem healthy to me. Processing any food takes more away than it adds.

​Simple processing is fine, but if you buy processed meats that are from animals that have had growth hormones or antibiotics added to their feed, I just can't see how that can be good your health.

​Sugar

Chocolate mousse

I think sugar is very destructive to human health, especially if eaten in large quantities. And in the US and other countries we certainly overindulge in sugar.

​Sugar seems to be in almost every food that most people eat - soft drinks, sweets, cakes, and even many processed meat and vegetable dishes. I would avoid all sugar if you want to stay healthy.

​White Flour Products

I don't eat much bread at all, but I have wholemeal bread a few times a month. My body tolerates this well, although some people don't do well at all on bread.

​But I wouldn't eat white bread. It has a very high GI rating, and you can really pile on the pounds quickly if you eat a lot of it. I also avoid other white flour products, such as pasta.

​White Rice

White rice

Brown rice is great for your health and great for keeping your blood sugar levels balanced. But white rice is a different story altogether.

Most white rice has a high GI rating and is best avoided. As with white flour products, you can pile on the pounds quickly if you eat white rice regularly.

​Why Eat Raw Food?

They are numerous reasons that people follow a raw food diet. For many it is simply because they want to lose weight. For others it’s because they want to regain their health and vitality. For better skin is also a reason I hear often.

And many others have decided to follow a raw food diet in order to recover from diseases such as diabetes. So there are plenty of reasons why someone would follow this diet.

More and more people these days have come to realize that following the Standard American Diet just doesn’t work. Obesity in the USA and other parts of the world are at epidemic levels, as are levels of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and others.

So people are searching for something different. They want a diet that will allow them to eat healthy, nutritious and tasty food, yet stay at a healthy weight and avoid all the health problems that are so common these days. Many diet fads come and go, but a raw food diet is different.

​A raw food diet isn’t some fad that you follow for a few weeks only to then go back to your old ways of eating. It’s much more than that. It’s a way of getting back to basics and giving your body what it needs – high-quality nutrients that are as near to their natural state as possible.

You should know that there is actually a definition for raw food. It’s defined as food that hasn’t been heated above 115°F. But don’t worry about this. As I said earlier, just stick to the basics and don’t obsess about the details.

​Benefits of Raw Vegan Meals

​More Enzymes

Cooking food kills the enzymes, so by eating your food raw your body will be getting a large amount of them. Many people know the value of vitamins and minerals, but enzymes are often overlooked.

But they are a very important element in keeping the body healthy. The process of living depletes our enzymes stores, so eat raw foods will help to replenish them. This means that we should age more slowly, and stay healthier for longer.

​More Vitamins​

It is a well know fact that when foods are cooked, a large amount of vitamins are lost. This can best be seen by the way of an example. A raw carrot contains around 9.3 grams of Vitamin C per 100 grams of carrot.

A boiled carrot only contains around 2.3 grams of Vitamin C per 100 grams. So as you can see, just by eating your carrots raw, you can quadruple your intake of Vitamin C.

​So for less money (no cooking costs) you are getting four times the amount of nutrients. So, you save time and money, and also get to improve your health. What more could you ask for? You could even add raw vegan salad  dressings to your raw vegan breakfast menu. ​

​More Protein

Cooking food also destroys protein. The Max Plank Institute in Germany noted that 50% of proteins are destroyed when foods are cooked. As you will probably know, protein is a very important nutrient that is critical for good health.

​Healthier Blood Cells

Eating cooked foods produces a negative white blood cell response. The white blood cells do not recognize cooked foods and attack it in the same way as it would a foreign substance. When raw foods are eaten, this reaction doesn’t happen.

​Very Cleansing

Raw vegan food has the ability to cleanse and alkalize the body, which is one reason that many people who want to detox follow a raw food diet.

An acidic body leads to degenerative diseases, so eating more raw foods can bring the pH of your body back into balance.

​No Degenerative Disease

There was an interesting experiment done in the 1940s by Dr. Frances Pottenger, where he fed cooked food to half his cats and raw food to the other half.

Over a ten year period the cats that were fed a raw ​vegan diet remained healthy, while those eating a cooked food diet got progressively unhealthier and weaker with each generation. Is this why human health is currently in decline?

​The story is told in the guide Pottenger’s Cats. It is a pity that he didn't have a third group of cats that were fed a 50% raw vegan diet and 50% cooked diet. Just because a 100% raw diet was better than a 100% cooked diet, it doesn't follow that 100% raw diet is the best diet.

​Less Pollution

​Cooking obviously causes pollution, due to the fact that large amounts of fuels need to be used in the process. As raw foods don’t require cooking, you will be helping the environment as well as yourself.

​How Can Eating Raw Foods Help Me?

​Eating Raw Foods Can Help You Lose Weight

Fruits

The number one reason why most people start following a raw food diet is to lose weight. In my opinion this is one of the best ways of losing weight.

But as well as helping you to lose weight, it will also help you maintain a bodyweight that’s appropriate for you. And the great thing about it is that you won’t feel deprived, because you’ll still be eating delicious food.

The USA, along with many other Western countries, currently has an obesity epidemic, and losing weight has become a multi-billion dollar industry. But the problem is that most diets either don’t work, or only work in the short-term.

If these diets were as good as they are claimed to be, then Americans would be very slim people.

But the obesity epidemic continues to worsen, so instead of looking for the latest fad diet we actually need to take a step back and take an objective look at our current eating habits and lifestyle.

This is where following a raw food diet can help. Thousands of people who eat over 50% raw food have managed to slim down to their ideal size, and to also stay at that ideal size.

In the process, they have also gained in many other areas; better skin, more energy, and a whole new outlook on life.

​One of the main reasons that people are able to lose weight by following a raw ​vegan meal plan is because they are eating whole foods that are very nutritious, and not just filling their bodies with the junk food that so many Americans eat. And once you make the transition you just won’t want to go back.

​A raw vegan diet weight loss program can help you tremendously as it is rich in nutrition and low in unwanted calories. 

​Eating Raw Foods Can Help You Detox

A few years ago a group of people that had ‘incurable’ diabetes switched to eating a raw ​vegan diet. The end result was that they reversed their diabetes and no longer had to take insulin. This shows the true power of what following a raw food diet can do for you.

Just think about this for a few minutes. These people had been told by their doctors that their diabetes was incurable and that they would need insulin injections for the rest of their lives.

There are millions of people in this position. But these people decided to do something about their diabetes. They followed a raw food diet for 30 days and their diabetes was reversed.

To me, it is astounding the medical profession don't seem to be taking much notice of these results. So what do you want to do?

Do you want to listen to doctors that tell you that you can’t be cured. Or do you prove them wrong and follow a diet that can reverse your diabetes.

​But this is not a medical guide, so if you have serious issues such as diabetes, you really need to work with a practitioner that has experience in the field. Also check out the DVD Simply Raw, as it follows each participant’s remarkable journey to reversing diabetes.

​Eating Raw Foods Can Give You Glowing Skin

When people start following a raw ​vegan diet plan one of the first things they notice is that their skin improves. People who have been eating a raw food diet for a while will usually have glowing, radiant skin.

Gone will be the acne, pimples, spots and other blemishes, to be replaced by clear, healthy-looking skin. If you have issues with acne, then this could be a great reason to start on a raw food diet and see the results for yourself.

​There is no need to eat 100% raw though. Just try eating 50% raw for 30 days and see how your skin changes. Think of it as an experiment.

​Eating Raw Foods Can Increase Your Energy

For me, this is one of the main benefits of eating a mostly raw food diet. Your energy levels should increase dramatically and you will be able to do things that you never thought you’d have enough energy for.

And with the extra energy comes more mental clarity and better concentration. I’m a writer, and for me there is a vast difference between my daily output before and after eating mostly raw foods.

I always tried my best to follow a healthy diet, but I still found it a struggle to get up in the mornings. I then had to have two or three cups of coffee before I could even think about doing any work. Also, my sleep was always pretty disturbed.

But now I get a very restful night’s sleep and get up around 7am. By 10am I’ve done more work than I did in whole day previously. This is great because it means I have more time to relax with family and friends.

​And at the end of the day I still have lots of energy left over, so don’t just slump in front of the TV like I did in the old days. Eating more raw foods has really transformed my life.

​Antioxidants in Raw Food

It is a well-known fact that oxidation is one of the primary factors in the aging process. If you cut an apple in half and leave it, it will turn brown quite quickly; this is oxygen causing the apple to degenerate.

​You may be aware that if you cut an apple in half and then rub lemon juice on it, it will take much, much longer to turn brown. This is because lemon juice contains large amounts of Vitamin C, which is a water soluble antioxidant.
Lemon juice

In the same way, we can protect our bodies against oxidation by eating foods that are high in antioxidants. By eating these foods, we can drastically slow down the rate at which our bodies degenerate. People who eat foods high in antioxidants are also less likely to get degenerative diseases.

Antioxidant levels are usually measured using a test know as ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity). This test was designed by UDSA research scientist Gouhua Cao at Tufts University. The test measures the antioxidant capacity in food as a whole.

​It is probably no surprise to anyone that it is fruit and vegetables that have the highest ORAC scores. So to stay healthy it's good to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, especially those with the highest scores.

​Fruits and Vegetables with Super Antioxidant Levels

Raw Food per 100 grams

ORAC Score

Goji Berries

​22,000

​Blueberries

​2,400

Blackberries

2,036

Garlic

1,939

Kale

1,770

Cranberries

1,750

Strawberries

1,540

Spinach

1,210

Raspberries

1,227

Brussel Sprouts

980

Plums

949

Alfalfa Sprouts

931

Broccoli Florets

888

Beetroot

841

Avocado

782

Orange

750

Red Grapes

739

Red Pepper

731

Cherries

670

Kiwi Fruit

602

Pink Grapefruits

483

Onions

449

White Grapes

446

Sweet Corn

402

Eggplant

386

Cauliflower

377

Peas (Frozen)

364

Potatoes (Cooked)

313

Sweet Potatoes (Cooked)

301

Cabbages

298

Leaf Lettuce

298

Cantaloupe Melons

252

Bananas

221

Apples

218

Carrots

207

String Beans

201

Tomatoes

189

Zucchinis

176

Apricots

164

Peaches

158

Yellow Squash

150

Iceberg Lettuce

116

Pears

134

Watermelons

104

Honeydew Melons

97

Celery

61

Cucumbers

54

​Basic Equipment for Preparing Raw Food

If you want to make delicious raw​ vegan recipes then you are eventually going to need some specialized equipment. There is no need to go out and buy everything at once. Instead, have a read through this section and see what takes your fancy.

Buy one item and use it often, as you will get used to it much more quickly that way. If you go out and buy five different pieces of equipment in one go you are likely to become overwhelmed trying to use them all at once.

Most are easy to use but still have a learning curve. Trying to learn to use everything at once is a recipe for failure. I know, because I've already been there and done that. Learn from my mistakes.

​Raw Milk Maker

Raw milk makes

I use the Soyabella Soya Milk Maker, as it can be used to make raw milk as well as soya milk. It is one of my favorite pieces of equipment, and I use it a few times a week to make delicious nut milks.

I have tried a few different milk makers over the years and many have broken down quickly. But the Soyabella has lasted well and is super-easy to use. Also, it's super-easy to clean, which is more important than most people realize.

​When something is difficult to clean, people tend to put off using it. And there's no point spending money of equipment that you're not going to use regularly.

​Juicer

Green juices are one of the best things you can drink if you're looking to improve your health. I have a least one green juice every day, and really miss them if I'm away from home and don't have access to a juicer.

Personally, I use the Omega 8004 Juicer, as I find it to be the perfect combination of being easy to use, easy to clean, and producing a high-quality juice. All these aspects are important to me.

There are juicers that produce a high-quality juice, but they can be difficult to use and difficult to clean. For me, and many others, it's important that I actually juice daily, and not put it off because cleaning the juicer is too much of a chore.

There are many other great juicers on the market and what you choose will also come down to price. See the How To Choose A Great Juicer chapter below if you need help with deciding what juicer to get.

​The Omega 8004 juicer can also make a delicious dessert from frozen fruit. Just feed through some frozen fruit, such as bananas, and you have a dessert that's as good as ice cream, but without all the sugar and other bad ingredients.

​Blender​​​​​​​​​​

Blender

A good blender is also important to me, as I love my smoothies, especially at breakfast time. Smoothies are a great way to start the day, and having the correct blender is essential. I use the Vitamix, but the Blendtec range of blenders are also pretty awesome.

​I'd get one of those if you can afford it, but a cheaper blender will also do a good job of making basic smoothies. Don't buy a blender that's too cheap though, as these tend to break down quite quickly.

​Food Processor

​I only use my food processor a few times a month and don't see it as such an essential item. But depending on what foods you eat, you may use it more than I do. I have a Cuisinart food processor, and I'm very happy with it. But there are lots of great food processors on the market, so take a look around and find the one that suits you best.

​Dehydrator

Dehydrator

A dehydrator certainly isn't essential, but if you really get into raw food eating then it's very useful to have. It is great for making dried fruits, raw vegan cakes, raw vegan breads, raw vegan brownies, raw flax crackers, and lots more.

I have an Excalibur dehydrator, as it's one of the best on the market. If you think you'll use a dehydrator many times a week, it's worth getting an Excalibur. But if you will only use it once in a while, then a cheaper brand will be fine.

There are many on the market, so choose one that suits your needs. Please note though, that some dehydrators are very large and take up a huge amount of kitchen space. So if you have a very small kitchen, you may want to use it in another room, or maybe do without one.

​Mortar and Pestle ​​​​​​

​I've never seen a raw food chef suggest getting a mortar and pestle, but after spending some time in Thailand, it is something I use often. I mostly make Spicy Cucumber Salad and Spicy Papaya Salad.​

​Basic Raw Food Staples

When eating raw ​vegan diet it helps to be prepared, and to keep a good stock of staple items that you'll use regularly.

​What items you decided to keep will depend on what foods you enjoy eating, but here's a list to help you get started. There's no need to stock all of these - just pick and choose what suits you best. And add any favorites of yours that I haven't included.

​Dried Herbs and Spices

​These always come in handy whether you're eating raw or cooked food. They add flavor to food and make eating more enjoyable.

  • ​Basil
  • ​Black pepper
  • ​Cayenne pepper
  • ​Cinnamon
  • ​Coriander powder
  • ​Cumin powder
  • ​Oregano
  • ​Paprika

​Frozen Fruits

Frozen mango and banana

It's great to keep some frozen fruit at the ready, so that you can make a delicious no-added-sugar dessert in minutes.

​Keep whatever fruit you like. But don't forget to cut up the fruit into small pieces before freezing it. Trying to cut frozen fruit is not good, and can often result in injury due to the knife slipping suddenly.
  • ​Banana
  • ​Cherries
  • ​Mango
  • ​Strawberries

​Miscellaneous

  • ​Cocoa or carob powder
  • ​Nori sheets
  • ​Rolled oats
  • ​Tahini

​Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, walnuts and pecans
  • ​Almonds
  • ​Cashews
  • ​Desiccated coconut
  • ​Pecans
  • ​Sesame seeds
  • ​Sunflower seeds
  • ​Walnuts

​Oils and Vinegars

  • ​Apple cider vinegar
  • ​Balsamic vinegar
  • ​Extra-virgin olive oil

As well as keeping the above stock of staple foods, you will also need to buy a range of fresh fruit and vegetables every few days if possible, or at least weekly.

​Fresh produce is always better. I usually buy a range of the following, and tend to buy whatever's in season. We each have our own favorite foods, so this list is just a guide.
  • ​Apples
  • ​Avocadoes
  • ​Carrots
  • ​Celery
  • ​Chili peppers
  • ​Fresh herbs - basil, cilantro, parsley
  • ​Garlic
  • ​Lemons
  • ​Lettuce
  • ​Limes
  • ​Onions
  • ​Seasonal fruit
  • ​Tomatoes
  • ​Zucchini

​Basic Raw ​Vegan Meals Preparation Tips

​Soaking Nuts and Seeds

Soaking nuts and seeds makes them easier to digest, and also makes them easier to work with. You will get much better results from your nut milks and pates if the nuts have been soaked, as they will be softer and much easier to blend or mix in a food processor.

Some guides suggest soaking different nuts for different amounts of time, usually ranging from around 2 hours for cashew nuts to 8-12 hours for almonds. But I usually soak all my nuts and seeds overnight, and have never had a problem with them.

This is very convenient, and avoids the hassle of having to note the start and end times for a variety of nuts and seeds. I like to keep things simple, but it's up to you whether you want to be more precise or not.

I suggest you try overnight soaking, and adjust the times if necessary. We're all different, so do what works best for you. There is no absolute right and wrong when it comes to soaking nuts and seeds.

​​I usually soak a fresh batch every night, but once soaked they will usually keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. So if you're really busy you can soak them a couple of times a week. But it's no real work to add some water to some nuts and seeds, so soaking daily works well for most people.

​Soaking Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are also better if soaked, as they taste better and are easier to work with. They will also blend much more easily once they've been soaked. If using dried fruit in salads I usually soak them for 3-5 minutes.

​When using in a raw vegan recipe that requires a blender or food processor, I usually soak them for 10-30 minutes. The one exception is if dried fruit is being used for raw cakes or cookies, in which case I don't soak them at all, otherwise the cakes and cookies can become soggy.

​Sprouting

Sprounted chickpeas and mung beans

​Sprouts are very nutritious and very easy to grow. You can sprout almost any legume, seed or nut, but I'll just get you started with alfalfa sprouts here.

​Alfalfa Sprouts

For alfalfa sprouts, and any other sprouts, you'll need a mason jar and some cheesecloth or mesh.

To grow alfalfa sprouts put 2 tablespoons of alfalfa seeds in your mason jar and fill with warm (not hot) water, screw on the lid, and leave for 8-12 hours.

Then remove the lid and replace with the cheesecloth, holding it in place with an elastic band. Empty the water and rinse the seeds with fresh water, which should then be discarded.

Then lay the mason jar at an angle on your draining board so that any excess water can be drained away. Repeat the rinsing process once every morning and once every evening for 5 days.

The sprouts will then be ready to eat. It's such a simple process to grow organic and nutritious food right in your home that I would encourage everyone to give it a go.

​If sprouting isn't for you, you can always buy them already sprouted at your local store. This will cost a little extra, but sprouts can be a great addition to your diet.

​Superfoods

Most of us have heard the term superfoods being used, but what exactly are superfoods and why should you eat them?

There is no agreed definition for what is or is not a superfood, but superfoods are generally considered to be foods that have a high phytonutrient content, and that are generally beneficial to health and well-being. So which foods are superfoods?

​There is no agreed list, but the following list is made up of the foods that I eat regular and that I personally consider to be superfoods. I think that most people in the raw food movement would agree with all or most items on this list.

​Almonds

​Almonds are nuts that are usually grown in Asia and Africa, and are known for being a rich source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium.

​Why are they so good?

  • ​They can help with development of the brain
  • ​They can regulate cholesterol
  • ​They help keep your heart healthy
  • ​They can regulate blood pressure
  • ​They can help protect you against cancer
  • ​They can help protect you against diabetes
  • ​They are great to eat during pregnancy
  • ​Can help with weight loss

​What else do I need to know about them?

Almonds are one of my favorite nuts and I use them mostly for making almond milk, which is truly delicious.

Compared to other nuts, almonds are the ones that contain the most nutrients. As well as those mentioned above, they also contain zinc, selenium, copper, niacin and folic acid. The folic acid content makes them an ideal nut to eat during pregnancy.

Almond milk is added to some soaps, as it is known to improve the complexion of the skin.

Regular consumption of almonds can raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

​One important point to note though is that people that have kidney or gallbladder problems should probably avoid eating almonds. This is because they contain oxalates. Excessive oxalates can cause crystallization, which is not good for the kidneys or the gallbladder.

​How can I use them?

​Almonds can be eaten on their own or mixed with other nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Best of all is that you can use them to make almond milk. Almond milk is as delicious as it is healthy, and it’s great for people that can’t tolerate dairy products. I usually soak my almonds overnight, as I find them easier to digest.

​Aloe Vera

​Aloe vera is a succulent plant (similar to cactus) that is thought to have originated in northern Africa.

​Why is it so good?

  • ​It promotes healthy skin via collagen production
  • ​It benefits digestive health
  • ​It accelerates healing from cuts and sunburn
  • ​It’s a great skin treatment, as it helps reduce inflammation
  • ​They can help protect you against cancer
  • ​It helps purify the blood and liver

​What else do I need to know about it?

It is said that aloe vera has the ability to keep us looking young and healthy. This is most likely due to its ability to stimulate collagen production. Collagen is a critical component in building healthy bone, tendon, ligament and joint tissue. It is also an important substance for skin health.

Collagen production tends to reduce as we age, and this is partly why we start to look older as well. But with aloe vera’s ability to kick-start collagen production, your body will once again take on a more youthful appearance.

If you have any wounds, cuts, sunburn, acne or inflamed skin, you can rub the aloe vera gel directly onto it. You can get aloe vera gel at your local pharmacy, but I prefer to use fresh aloe vera.

​It can sometimes be difficult to find, but you can easily grow your own if you live in a warm climate. Or ask at your local health store to see if they can order to for you.

​How can I use it?

Aloe vera juice

​The way I use aloe vera is to take a whole leaf and trim off the rind. I then blend the inner gel with my morning smoothie. It can also be blended with lemon juice and water. This is great drink to have after a workout.

​Blueberries

​As the name suggests, blueberries are dark blue berries!

​Why are they so good?

  • ​They are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods known to man
  • ​They help boost the immune system
  • ​They help reduce the risk of age-related disease
  • ​They help reduce the risk of cancer
  • ​They help promote urinary tract health
  • ​They help promote healthy digestive systems
  • ​They help reduce the risk of heart disease

​What else do I need to know about them?

Blueberries are popular the world over, mainly for their delicious taste, but also because of their superb nutritional qualities.

The reason that they are classed as a superfood is because they have such a high level of antioxidants, which leads to them being a great food for promoting good health.

Recent studies have shown that eating blueberries can lower cholesterol, and for many people this is a major benefit. This means that cholesterol can be lowered without resorting to dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.

Blueberries have also been shown to help people improve their vision, and are also good for people with dry or tired eyes.

The high antioxidant levels of blueberries can also play in part in slowing down the aging process. It can also help with degenerative diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

​A recent study concluded that supplementing with blueberries may be able to reduce, and even reverse, mental decline. As people get older, this is something that they should be very interested in.

​How can I use them?

​They can be eaten on their own, with desserts or can be blended in smoothies.

Brazil Nuts

​As the name suggests, these are wild nuts from Brazil, and are noted for their high selenium content.

​Why are they so good?

  • ​They contain exceptionally high levels of selenium
  • ​They are a very good source of vitamin E
  • ​They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol
  • ​They are an excellent source of B-complex vitamins
  • ​They contain a whole range of minerals, such as copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, iron and zinc

​What else do I need to know about them?

In December 1996, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported the results on a 9-year study that showed that those that took 200 mcg of selenium a day had a 50% less chance of dying from cancer than those that did not take selenium supplements.

Brazil nuts contain around to 10-100 mcg of selenium per nut, depending on what area they are grown in. That means that if you eat just 2-20 Brazil nuts a day you can cut your cancer risk in half.

​Most people are deficient in selenium, mainly due to fact that our food is grown in selenium-deficient soils. So eating Brazil nuts is a great way to ensure your body is getting its daily dose of selenium.

​How can I use them?

Brazil nuts

As with other nuts, you can eat Brazil nuts on their own, or mix them with other nuts, seeds and fruits. You can also use Brazil nuts to make milk, which is particularly creamy.

​I like to alternate between using almonds and Brazil nuts for my nut milk. I soak the Brazil nuts overnight before using them, as the soaking helps make the more digestible. Throw away the water they’ve been soaked in and rinse in fresh water before eating.

​Coconut Oil

​Coconut oil is an edible oil that’s extracted from either the kernel or meat of mature coconuts.

​Why is it so good?

  • ​It’s beneficial for the heart
  • ​It helps with weight loss
  • ​It improves digestion
  • ​It enhances the immune system
  • ​It’s a superb massage oil for the skin
  • ​It’s a great natural nutrition for hair

​What else do I need to know about it?

Coconut oil has so many wonderful benefits that I would recommend everyone to give it a try.

Personally, I mostly use it for skin care, as I find that it is a great moisturizer and I don’t have to worry about whether there are any chemical additives in the moisturizer, as is often the case with commercial moisturizers. As I keep saying, I like to keep things simple.

Coconut oil contains high levels of lauric acid, a substance that is known to help prevent both high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This makes it an ideal food to help prevent heart disease.

It has antimicrobial properties, and this is what makes it a good digestive aid; it is able to keep down bacteria, fungi and parasites that can cause indigestion.

​Coconut oil is also great for strengthening the immune system; due to the fact that it has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

​How can I use it?

​You can use coconut oil in many different ways, from eating it raw to using it in cooking instead of other oils. You can also rub it onto your skin and also your hair. If the oil has solidified, then just leave it in a warm place and it will quickly melt.

​Flax Seeds

​Flax seeds come from the flax plant and are very rich in Omega-3 oil.

​Why are they so good?

  • ​They contain Omega-3 essential fatty acids
  • ​They are a good source of lignans (has plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities)
  • ​They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber
  • ​They help fight heart disease
  • ​They help fight cancer
  • ​They help fight diabetes

​What else do I need to know about them?

Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, and as the name suggests it is essential for good health.

Omega-3 oils are found mainly in oily fish, and this is something that the majority of people don’t consume enough of. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, it is especially important that you make sure you get enough Omega-3 oils.

The ideal intake of Omega-6 to Omega-3 oils is 1:1 to 4:1, but in Western countries the ratio for many people is around 20:1, or even 50:1.

This is due to that fact that most people consume products that contain Omega-6 oil, but consume very few that have Omega-3 oil. Eating flax seeds is a great way to get your ratio back in balance.

Products that are high in Omega-6 oil include corn, soy and sunflower oils.

​Many people prefer to get their Omega-3 oils by eating flax seed oil rather than the seeds. You can also by the oil in capsule form, and some people prefer this method for getting their daily dose of Omega-3 oil.

​How can I use them?

Flax seeds smoothie

​Flax seeds can be used to make flax seeds crackers. You can also grind them in a coffee grinder and add to your smoothies. But make sure that you dink your smoothie quickly, because the drink will set quite quickly once flax seeds are added.

​Goji Berries

​Goji berries are small and soft red fruits that are popular in Chinese medicine.

​Why are they so good?

  • ​They contain 6 vitamins
  • ​They contain a range of phytonutrients
  • ​They contain an exceptionally high level of antioxidants
  • ​They contain many trace and essential minerals
  • ​They contain unsaturated fatty acids
  • ​They contain all 9 essential amino acids

​What else do I need to know about them?

Goji berries, also called Wolfberries, are an extremely nutritionally dense food and very popular in the raw vegan diet community. But since they have been touted as a superfood, the price seems to have risen and they are now mostly sold as an expensive health food.

But the Chinese have been using these berries for thousands of years, and if you have a Chinese market near you, then you should be able to get them at a fraction of the price that you’d pay at a regular store.

Goji berries contain 18 amino acids, including all the essential amino acids, so are a good source of protein.

They also contain a whole range of trace minerals, including iron, copper, zinc, germanium, calcium, selenium and phosphorous.

By weight, Goji berries contain 500 times the amount of Vitamin C than oranges. But you’d have to eat a huge amount of Goji berries compared to eating a large orange. So don’t forget that it is still worth eating a whole range of other fruits as well.

 I know some people that follow a raw food that neglect many nutritious fruits because they read how wonderful goji berries are. Make sure you don’t do this, as you will end up missing out on some important nutrients.

​How can I use them?

​As with other dried fruits, they can be eaten on their own or mixed with other dried fruits, nuts and seeds. If you want to use them in your smoothies, then soak them for a couple of hours until they are soft. This will ensure that they blend more easily.

​Green Tea

​Green tea is a drink made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.

​Why is it so good?

  • ​It helps control blood sugar level
  • ​It can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer
  • It ​can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • ​It is claimed to delay the onset of Alzheimer's Disease
  • ​It can destroy some bacteria and viruses
  • ​It is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure
  • ​It is packed with antioxidants
  • ​It has anti-inflammatory properties

​What else do I need to know about it?

Green tea has been used as a medicine in China, and other parts of Asia, for thousands of years. It has been used for many things, including lowering blood pressure and inhibiting cancer.

Green tea is processed in a different way to black tea, which means that it retains higher amounts antioxidants and polyphenols. These are the substances that are thought to give green tea its many benefits.

Many people also drink it because it is thought to help weight loss. This is because green tea raises the metabolism and therefore helps burn a little more fat. It also suppresses the appetite, which also helps in weight loss.

​How can I use it?

Green tea

​The best way to take green tea is to add hot water and drink it as a tea. It is also available in capsule and powder form, which means it can be taken as a supplement. Personally I think drinking it as a tea is the best option.

​Hemp Seeds

​Hemp seeds come from the hemp plant and are an excellent source of protein.

​Why are they so good?

  • ​They are an excellent source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids
  • ​They are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, including Omega 3, Omega 6 and GLA
  • ​They are rich in Vitamin E
  • ​They can increase energy levels
  • ​They are known to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • ​They are known to lower blood pressure
  • ​They improve immunity levels
  • ​They are high in minerals
  • ​They help muscles recover after exercise
  • ​They help improve skin condition

​What else do I need to know about them?

Many people consider hemp seeds to be among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are packed with protein and contain very high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Most experts agree that the optimum ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 ranges from 1:1 to 4:1. Hemp seeds are the only seeds that have this perfect balance of these oils.

​Many diseases are thought to be the result of deficiencies or imbalances of certain essential fatty acids. So using hemp seeds, or hemp seed oil, can ensure you are getting enough EFAs, and getting them in the correct ratios.

​How can I use them?

​Hemp seeds can be eaten in the same way as other seeds, such as sesame. They are also used by many people in the raw food movement to make hemp milk. The easiest way to make this is to use a milk maker, such as the Soyabella Soya Milk Maker. As well as making soya milk, this machine will also make raw milk from nuts and seeds.

​Maca

Maca is a root plant that is eaten both for food and for its medicinal properties.

​Why is it so good?

  • ​It will increase your energy
  • ​It will give you a stamina boost
  • ​It can help with fertility problems
  • ​It can enhance your libido
  • ​It will boost your immune system
  • ​It can enhance memory, focus and mental clarity
  • ​It helps reduce menopause symptoms

​What else do I need to know about it?

Maca is a tuberous plant that grows in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia and Peru, at 3,000-4,000 feet above sea level.

The area where the plants grow are extremely rich in minerals, and this is thought to be one of the reasons why Maca has such a high nutritional content. It is known mainly for its ability to increase stamina and improve sexual function in both men and women.

For women suffering from menopause, it is known to provide relief from hot flashes, vaginal dryness, itchy skin, palpitations, indigestion and tenderness of the breasts.

For men the benefits include increased libido and virility, increased sperm production and the enhanced production of testosterone.

It will not be surprising to know that both men and women use Maca as an aid to fertility.

But Maca is very potent, and side effects have also been reported, so caution is urged before considering using it. Using large amounts can cause hyperactivity, insomnia and anxiety.

I don't take Maca myself, but know others who have had good results with it. If you plan to use it, then make sure you consult with a medical practitioner first.

​How can I use it?

Maca powder

​Maca is usually taken in powder or capsule form.

​Mesquite Meal

​Mesquite meal is a gluten-free low-glycemic flour produced by grinding dried pods from the mesquite tree.

​Why is it so good?

  • ​It's gluten free, so great for those with gluten problems
  • ​It's a low-glycemic flour, so great for those with diabetes

​What else do I need to know about it?

Mesquite meal was a staple food for Native American Indians, who used it to make soups, drinks, porridge and cakes. Because mesquite is a low-glycemic food, it is great for keeping your blood sugar balanced.

It was only after mesquite was replaced with white wheat flour that Native American Indians started to develop diabetes. This disease was unheard of while they were eating mesquite.

​Because mesquite meal is naturally sweet, you can make cakes and bread without sugar, so this will also help control your blood sugar levels. The taste of cooked mesquite can be a little strong for some people though, so many people mix it 50-50 with wheat flour.

​How can I use it?

​It can be used as a substitute for wheat flour to make bread, cakes, etc.

​Pumpkin Seeds

​Pumpkin seeds are simply the seeds from pumpkins.

​Why are they so good?

  • ​They contain high levels of zinc
  • ​They contain high levels of magnesium
  • ​They promote prostate health
  • ​They protect against osteoporosis
  • ​They have anti-inflammatory effects
  • ​They can be used as a treatment for tapeworms and other parasites
  • ​They can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol

​What else do I need to know about them?

Too many people these days eat a diet that is too acidic, so it's good to know that pumpkin seeds are an alkaline food.

It is thought that pumpkin seeds have been eaten by man for at least 5,000 years, but possibly a lot longer.

Most foods lose their nutritional value as they get older, but the opposite is true with pumpkin seeds. The nutritional value actually increases as the seeds age.

​One thing to note is that pumpkin seeds are very high in calories, containing around 560 calories per 100 grams.

​How can I use them?

Pumpkin seeds

​Pumpkin seeds can be eaten in the same way as other seeds, and are great as a snack with some dried fruit and nuts.

​Sea Vegetables

​Sea vegetables are quite simply plants that grow in the sea.

​Why are they so good?

  • ​They have a very high mineral content
  • ​They contain large amounts of chlorophyll
  • ​Kelp has large amounts of iodine, which is great for the thyroid

​What else do I need to know about them?

The sea contains over 90 types of minerals, and it is this abundance that makes sea vegetable so good for your health. This is especially important when we consider the fact that land-grown fruit and vegetables are often extremely low in minerals. This is mostly due to the depletion of minerals in the soil in recent decades.

If we can't get enough minerals from other foods in our diet, then adding sea vegetables will gives us a large boost of them.

Sea vegetables also include generous amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine and selenium.

​Many studies have shown that people that eat sea vegetables have a higher mineral content in their bodies than people that don't eat sea vegetables. The people of Okinawa, who are known for their longevity, eat lots of sea vegetables.

​How can I use them?

​Sea vegetables can be used in salads, soups and other dishes. But be aware that they are very salty, so don't eat too many of them, as excess salt can cause high blood pressure in susceptible individuals.

​Spirulina

Spirulina is a green-blue algae that grows on mineral-rich lakes in many places around the world.

​Why is it so good?

  • ​It improves sports performance, and is used by many athletes
  • ​It contains around 65% protein
  • ​It contains a good amount of iron  It contains calcium, magnesium, potassium and other trace minerals
  • ​It contains Vitamin B12 and other B-complex vitamins
  • ​It helps improve immunity
  • ​It helps keep the heart healthy
  • ​It helps keep the skin clear and healthy

​What else do I need to know about it?

​Spirulina is also known to help digestion, reduce fatigue, build endurance, boost energy levels and reduce inflammation. It is as close as you can get to a complete food, and is a great supplement to take for general health.

​How can I use it?

Spirulina

​Spirulina is available in tablet and powder form. The powder form can be mixed with both fruit and vegetable juices, and smoothies.

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