Raw veganism brings together the vegan diet and the concept of raw foodism. Essentially, raw veganism eschews all foods of animal origin and all cooked foods. Even if you’re open-minded, adventurous and actively want to explore raw veganism, it can still be difficult to know where to start. If you find the prospect of switching to an all-raw diet daunting, you may prefer to make the change slowly.
In this post, I share five steps for anyone who wants to begin exploring raw veganism. Whether your ultimate goal is to go all-raw, or you just want to introduce more raw meals into your vegan diet, this is the no-fuss, stress-free way to get started with raw foodstuffs.
1) Break the All-Cooked Habit
For many people, the concept of big, cooked meals is so ingrained that it’s difficult to imagine sitting down to a plate of raw food, day after day, especially when it comes to that all-important evening meal or Sunday lunch. The first step to breaking this habit is preparing your cooked meals as normal, and then either adding something raw to your plate, or substituting a cooked item for its raw counterpart. This might mean serving your favourite tofu scramble with vegetable crudités and a raw dip (try raw bean or avocado dip) or hunting down a raw version of your usual side dish of mashed potatoes or potato chips.
2) Raw Meals: The Easy Way
Preparing all-raw meals doesn’t mean a complete dietary overhaul. Most people are already eating raw meals and snacks without even thinking about it: salads, smoothies, or nibbling on raw veggies and fruit, for example. Simply make a conscious decision to feature these more heavily in your diet - it’s as easy as that!
3) Be More Adventurous
Now you’re eating more raw meals, it’s time to start experimenting with new ingredients. Do a bit of research and work some new raw foodstuffs into your meals. Try jicama, dandelion greens, nama shoyu, raw agave, or use shredded raw coconut flesh to give your salads extra crunch.
4) Prepare something you never thought could be raw!
It’s time to shake things up - raw veganism isn’t all about salads and snacking on fruit, after all! Branch out by finding a raw version of a popular cooked dish, such as raw soup, raw burritos (made with lettuce wraps) or raw sauces like sour ‘cream’ or raw ketchup. If you have adventurous friends, invite them round and wow them with some ingenious raw dishes. You’re more likely to stick at something if you’re having fun doing it!
5) Take the Plunge
You’ve probably heard about Meat Free Monday, where non-vegans and non-veggies are encouraged to give up meat for the day. Take this concept and apply it to your raw diet by setting aside one day a week where you’ll eat nothing but raw food. The benefit is that you’ll have a whole week to plan your menu, and because it’s only one day you’re less likely to feel deprived or get cravings. Again, you can make this day fun by preparing a raw meal for friends or family.