Thinking of trying out a raw vegan diet? While there are many who swear by the benefits of eating raw and living foods, there are naysayers and those who pass along common myths. If you're exploring adding more raw vegan foods to your diet or even going full-on raw, learn the truth behind six myths that get repeated time and time again. You'll be delighted to hear that they are not true.
Myth: You Must Eat Only Raw Foods
Some say you need to eat only 100 percent raw foods and nothing else in order to get the benefits of the raw food diet. While many people adhere to this myth, the reality is that any increase in fresh, raw vegan foods would be beneficial for those who eat an average American diet high in processed and fast foods.
Simple changes such as eating fruit for breakfast instead of pancakes or sausage will improve your health. Eating a vegan green salad for lunch will give you more energy than a hamburger, soda, and fries.
Most people agree, however, that in order to get all of the many benefits of the raw vegan diet, you do need to eat mostly raw foods, about 90 to 95 percent of your diet. Start increasing the amount of raw food in your diet by trying a few new raw food recipes.
Myth: Everything You Eat Will Be Cold
You won't be limited to cold food on a raw food diet. This is a myth that many long-term raw foodists still don't know is false. In fact, anything you eat can be warmed up, so long as it doesn't get heated above 104 F. Food can be warmed up in a dehydrator, or, for a more handy method, warm up soups and dishes by using the warming plate of a coffee maker.
Myth: You Can Only Eat Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Just like the myth that a vegan diet consists of nothing more than tofu and sprouts, this one is also false. A raw food diet consists of much more than fruits and vegetables. Seeds, nuts, nut "milks", sprouted grains, seaweeds and juices are all included on a raw diet, as well as some fermented and processed foods such as raw soy sauce (nama shoyu), kimchee, miso, raw nut butters and cold pressed raw oils.
Myth: The Raw Food Diet Is Expensive
Any diet can be more or less expensive, depending on your tastes. Some of the most expensive foods on the planet are certainly not raw foods or even vegetarian or vegan for that matter. Filet mignon and lobster are not raw foods. Certain pre-made raw items will be rather expensive, but some of the best bang for your grocery buck will be found in the produce section of your grocery store. Apples, bananas, salad greens, and many vegetables are all a bargain compared with meat. And, you can grow your own practically free.
Myth: You Can't Dine out on the Raw Food Diet
More and more raw food restaurants are popping up around the country. Most big cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York have one or even more raw food restaurants, and even most mid-sized cities have a bustling raw foods scene. Check out local co-ops or Whole Foods for a raw foods section. Many vegetarian and vegan restaurants also cater to the raw crowd with at least one raw vegan entree on the menu. Salads and fruit smoothies can be found many places—just bring your own raw vegan salad dressing, or ask for oil and vinegar.
Myth: Making Raw Foods Takes Hours in the Kitchen
You may fear you will spend all your time in the kitchen chopping vegetables and dehydrating foods for hours on end. While you could, you have many options. Salads, smoothies and many raw soups are quick to prepare. Look for raw vegan food recipes that are quick, easy, and don't require expensive equipment. That being said, investing in a food processor and a blender will save you many hours of chopping and grating. You may find that eventually, you will want to purchase a dehydrator and a juicer as well. These end up being labor-saving devices.