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Raw Diets

Raw Vegan Meal Plan: How to Follow a Raw Vegan Diet

While you may be familiar with vegan diets and even raw food diets, have you ever considered combining the two?

The “raw vegan diet” blends these concepts to create a plant-based, raw vegan meal plan with lots of whole foods. 

Let’s explore the basics, benefits and drawbacks of the raw vegan diet to see if it’s appropriate for you. Then you can try out this diet, starting with a 7-day raw vegan meal plan below.

Raw Vegan Diet Overview

As mentioned, the raw vegan diet combines concepts of “raw food eating” and veganism. Below is a table that shows the components of the raw vegan meal plan.

Raw Vegan Diet Philosophy

Raw Food Diet PrinciplesVegan Diet Principles
Eat only raw, uncooked foods like fruits, vegetables and nutsAvoid all animal foods like meat, poultry and seafood
Emphasize unprocessed foods like soaked grains and fresh juicesAvoid all animal-based foods like milk, butter, gelatin, honey and eggs
Eat lots of simple, whole foodsAvoid foods that contain animal ingredients and/or animal-based ingredients
Avoid refined sugars, packaged snack foods and bakery itemsEat only foods that come from plants, nuts and seeds
Raw foods contain more nutrition than cooked foods (allegedly)Use alternative dairy sources like almond milk, soy milk and vegan cheese

A big benefit of the raw vegan diet is that it’s high in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. It also emphasizes limiting processed foods for whole, more natural foods. 

Is a raw vegan diet safe?

Before you jump straight into a raw vegan meal plan, there are important things to consider. This diet is not suitable for everyone. Talk to your healthcare team prior to starting.

Raw Vegan Diet Drawbacks

Raw Food Diet IssuesVegan Diet Issues
There’s little evidence to support that raw foods have more nutrition than properly cooked foods. 4Can put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies in protein, calcium, B12, iron, and vitamin D. 3
Not cooking food to proper temperatures can put you at risk of foodborne illness. 2Not necessarily healthier than a diet that includes animal-based foods.
Should not be consumed by people with a compromised immune system.Won’t make you lose more weight than a non-vegan diet (even vegan diets need a calorie restriction).
Requires strict, safe food handling like washing your hands, cleaning your produce and avoiding cross-contamination. 1Need lots of planning to make it a well-rounded diet with complete nutrition.

How to Follow a Raw Vegan Diet

Let’s go over what you need and how to get started. Plus, don’t forget about our 7-day raw vegan meal plan below!

Step 1: Load Up on Vegan Foods

The best way to do this diet is to make sure you’re well-equipped with nutritious foods. The more variety, the more complete your nutrition profile will be. Any good vegan diet (and especially a raw vegan meal plan!) should be rich in:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Plain, frozen fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Plain, frozen vegetables
  • Dried fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains (such as quinoa)
  • Legumes (such as beans)
  • Soy (such as edamame)

Step 2: Store Your Foods Properly

You’re supposed to eat uncooked food while on a raw vegan meal plan. But, don’t just leave stuff on your countertop.

Make sure you store items in the fridge, freezer or at room temperature, depending on the food. Here’s a handy fruit and vegetable storage guide!

Step 3: Wash Your Hands and Surfaces Before Prepping

Cooking helps to kill certain bacteria, but since the goal is to consume raw food, you’ll have to minimize contamination risk in other areas. 

Wash your hands and cooking surfaces before, during and after meal prepping. 

Step 4: Properly Wash and Prep Your Food

Here’s another safeguard against foodborne illness. Many fruits and vegetables should be properly rinsed and cleaned prior to eating. 

Contaminants from animals, soil, water — and even bacteria on someone’s hand — can end up on your produce. That’s why it’s really important to wash your produce before cutting and peeling. Otherwise, bacteria can enter through a cut in the fruit or vegetable’s skin!

Some quick washing tips from the FDA: 5

  • Rinse produce before peeling and cutting
  • Only use clean, running water to rinse (no soap or soaking)
  • Cut away bruised areas
  • Use a vegetable brush for tough and firm produce like melons and apples
  • Dry produce with a clean towel or paper towel
  • Remove outer leaves of leafy vegetables like cabbage

7-Day Raw Vegan Meal Plan

Want to try the raw vegan diet? Here’s a simple raw vegan meal plan to help you get started. Remember: A true raw diet involves no heating or cooking your meals, so if you want to follow a raw vegan meal plan don’t use heat when making your meals.

Day 1

Breakfast: Chia pudding with fresh sliced peaches and raspberries. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts if desired. 

Lunch: Salad bowl with julienned carrots, cabbage and zucchini. Add edamame and bell peppers. Drizzle with cold-pressed avocado oil and sesame seeds.

Dinner: Raw miso soup with marinated mushrooms, dried wakame and blended cashews for creaminess.

Snack: Mixed nuts.

Day 2

Breakfast: Cobbler with a crust made from ground almonds, coconut oil and dates (all blended in a food processor). Add mango and garnish with mint leaves and agave. 

Lunch: Raw carrot zoodles topped with homemade peanut sauce, ginger and lime.

Dinner: Riced cauliflower sushi wrapped in raw nori. 

Snack: Fresh fruit.

Day 3 

Breakfast: Banana “sushi” (sliced banana) topped with nut butter, seeds and goji berries.

Lunch: Creamy gazpacho made from soaked cashews, coconut milk and cucumbers (all blended). Add lemon juice, garlic and other spices. Garnish with pine nuts. 

Dinner: Stuffed avocado halves with chickpeas, cucumber and soaked quinoa.

Snack: Apple with homemade nut butter.

Day 4

Breakfast: Fruit skewers with pineapple, strawberries and melon. Dip into maple syrup, honey and/or chia seed pudding.

Lunch: Lettuce boats filled with avocado, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, julienned carrots and shredded cabbage. Add a dollop of homemade lemon-tahini dressing. 

Dinner: Cauliflower rice with raw veggies and edamame. Top with lime juice and cold-pressed oil.  

Snack: Banana “nice” cream (frozen banana blended with non-dairy milk).

Day 5

Breakfast: Smoothie made with banana, pineapple, non-dairy milk and ground flax seeds. 

Lunch: Stuffed peppers (or mini peppers) with thick garlic, lemon and cashew schmear.

Dinner: Zoodles with avocado pesto sauce.

Snack: Homemade hummus with veggies.

Day 6

Breakfast: Raw oatmeal (soaked overnight) with homemade nut butter, apple slices and cinnamon.

Lunch: Tomato, basil and avocado salad. Slice the tomatoes and avocados into disk-shaped pieces. Top with basil and a drizzle of cold-pressed olive oil.

Dinner: Raw zucchini lasagna with tomato, hummus and pesto.

Snack: Dried fruit with nuts.

Day 7

Breakfast: Peanut butter and banana smoothie with homemade nut butter, frozen banana, unsweetened cocoa powder and soy milk.

Lunch: Veggie lettuce wraps with savory dipping sauce.

Dinner: Raw veggie pizza. Blend the crust with ground pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, water and lots of seasoning. Spread on a pesto blend and add raw veggies like tomato and soaked mushrooms.

Snack: Raw flaxseed crackers with guacamole.

This simple raw vegan meal plan is a great start for anyone looking to try a raw and vegan diet. If you’re interested in other raw diets, check out our raw food detox diet guide.

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Raw Diets

Raw Food Detox Diet: A Dietitian’s Guide

Raw food and detox diets have been around for decades. They can be really appealing since they’re filled with healthy produce and make you drink lots of fluids.

You may be inspired by success stories about weight loss, energy boosts and toxin shedding. But, before you go full-fledged into a raw food detox, here are a few things to know. 

Raw Food Detox Diet Overview

The raw food detox diet is based on several principles that are thought to help detox, lose weight and make you healthier. 

Uncooked foods have more nutrition than cooked foods.

It’s thought that cooking your food will decrease the nutritive value. However, there’s little evidence to support this. 1 Uncooked food comes with it’s own set of risks, which we’ll discuss below. 

Fill your plate with whole, plant-based foods.

Plant-based eating does have its perks! Substantial research shows that plant-based diets with less meat may decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and other chronic diseases. 2  

Cut out processed foods and refined sugars.

These items tend to be high in calories, sugar, sodium and/or fat. So, if you’re trying to lose weight and eat healthier, cutting out foods like sweets, soda, salami and chips is a good idea. 

Small amounts of cooked foods and animal products may be allowed.

There are all sorts of raw food detox diets — some more restrictive than others. Some raw food diets allow for 25% of your food to be cooked. While many raw food detox diets are vegan, some are lenient with meat, eggs and dairy. 

Benefits of Raw Food Detox Diets

Despite lack of research behind all its claims, there are some good things that come with raw food detox eating:

Lots of Fruits and Vegetables

We all could use more fruits and veggies! Most detox diets are highly plant-based or even 100% vegan. Regardless of which type of diet you follow, try to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. 3

Adequate Hydration

Detox diets typically promote lots of water, smoothies and juices. Drinking fluids throughout the day is very important to reduce the risk of dehydration. And if adding some fruit or veggies to your liquids helps you drink more, then that’s a good thing!

Quick Weight Loss Possible

Diets like the raw food detox diet tend to promote rapid weight loss in a few different ways. The tactics:

  1. Drinking lots of fluids can help fill your stomach and prevent overeating. 
  1. Fruits and veggies are low in calories. Plus, they’re high in water and fiber to keep you full. 
  1. Detox diets tend to have a steep calorie restriction, which can help you lose weight. 

No Alcohol

Alcohol is a toxin, so it’s often avoided on a detox diet. That’s a good thing, because the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests men drink 0-2 alcoholic drinks per day and women 0-1 per day. 4

Healthy Gut Support

Eating a diet rich in plant-based foods can give you a healthy intake of probiotics and prebiotics. 

Probiotics are living organisms that help with digestion and nutrient metabolism in the gut. On a raw food detox, you might eat foods that contain probiotics like pickled foods, sauerkraut, raw yogurt or raw Kombucha. 

Prebiotics are non-living food substances that feed probiotics. On a raw food detox, most of your meals probably contain prebiotics from plant-based foods like bananas, soaked oats and apples. 

Drawbacks of Raw Food Detox Diets

Should you start the raw food detox diet? Hold up until you read the problems with following this diet:

Risk of Constipation

Believe it or not, eating fruits and veggies isn’t always a good thing. Some people experience constipation when they eat tons of fruits, vegetables and other sources of fiber. If you suddenly feel constipated on a raw food detox diet, here are a couple reasons why:

  1. You increased your fiber intake too quickly. Instead, gradually add fruits, veggies and legumes to your diet.
  1. You increased your fiber, but not your water intake. Fiber adds bulk to your stool, but fluid makes it easy to pass. Make sure your water intake increases when you start eating fruits and vegetables.

Bloating is Possible

Some fruits and veggies are high in FODMAPs (Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). FODMAPs can cause gut distress like bloating, gas and belly pain in certain people. 

If your bloating is frequent, limit high FODMAP foods such as apple, mango, pear, watermelon, cauliflower, green bell pepper, sweet corn, mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, garlic and onion.

Won’t Detox You

Even though the goal of a detox diet is to detox… they don’t really work. Your body has plenty of ways to naturally detox. And if you’re healthy, you’re likely already able to get rid of toxins! Natural detoxers in healthy people:

  • Your liver constantly works to remove poisons and toxins from alcohol, medication and other substances. 5
  • Your skin protects you from outside threats. Sweat can help hydrate the skin and excrete salts and ammonium. 6
  • Your kidneys regulate your fluid and sodium balance to prevent water retention and/or dehydration. 
  • Your lungs bring in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide as a byproduct. 
  • Your gut has all sorts of ways to manage foreign threats. Saliva enzymes and stomach acid are the first defenses to stop outside pathogens from entering the gut. If all else fails, vomiting and diarrhea help to quickly rid your body of a toxin. 

Risk of Foodborne Illness

Since cooking is not recommended on the raw food detox diet, you may be at increased risk of contamination and foodborne illness. Proper food handling, handwashing and surface cleaning is essential to minimize your risk. 7  

Hard to Stick With

Raw food detox diets are pretty restrictive and only recommended for short-term eating. Not only does uncooked food carry contamination risk, but it also lacks variety and practicality. You might get bored of the same meals each day. Plus, most restaurants can’t accommodate 100% raw meals. 

Detox diets tend to be very low in calories and cut out entire food groups. While you might lose weight, you’ll likely struggle with cravings and incomplete nutrition. 

Before Starting the Raw Food Detox Diet

Always talk to your healthcare team before starting a restrictive diet like the raw food detox. Certain medications are very sensitive to diet changes. Plus, people with eating disorders and disordered patterns should not engage in this diet.  

If you’re looking for other raw food diets, make sure to read our raw vegan meal plan.