Really, Folks: A Raw Vegan Diet Ain't So Bad
Good enough to gorge on
There is one thing that a person on any kind of diet will advise, and that is to be prepared. When hunger strikes, rash decisions are made.
I recently decided to try a new diet for three weeks after a little research. I learned that eating a raw vegan diet -- a diet consisting of mostly, if not exclusively, raw plant products -- could be the key to optimal health and longevity. Eating vegetables is good for you, yeah, but the concept behind the diet is that once foods are cooked past 118 degrees, their nutrients and enzymes begin to break down, reducing the benefits from the food eaten, and toxins begin to form. In a meta-analysis of existing scientific studies, Cornell Professor Emeritus T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Thomas M. Campbell II found that a plant-based diet could even reverse heart disease and certain cancers, among other things.
In other words, the farmers market is the fountain of youth. All that is required is a little self-discipline.
But eating raw vegan isn't easy.
My first obstacle was being home, especially around dinner time. I tried to eat before I got home, or I brought groceries to make a salad, but if I didn't do either one of these things, the small of food sizzling on the skillet had the upper-hand.
Besides the temptation, explaining to my family -- especially my mom -- why I was only eating raw foods was worst. While steaming crab-stuffed ravioli and boiling a can of marinara sauce, she worried about me out loud. She -- like many others -- thinks that someone who only eats raw and vegan foods will become faint and feeble, which is ironic, given studies prove otherwise.
That night my sister complained of stomachaches that she attributed to the ravioli.
I smiled, smugly.
The next big challenge came on the fifth day, when I visited my grandma.
By now, cravings for cooked foods had returned. I kept them at bay, but I knew that I stood no chance if I went to my grandma's hungry. I stopped at Mother's Market and Kitchen for a quinoa salad and a tomato cucumber salad. I also knew that if my grandma made food, and I didn't eat it that she would both be worried and, even worse, offended, so I decided to monopolize our time and disguise my diet as a food adventure.
Photo by Damon Casarez
It wasn't until later that I realized the rice papers aren't raw, but they aren't exactly clogging my arteries either, so they get a pass (If you want to go full raw on the spring rolls, you can make them with lettuce instead of rice paper). Normally peanut sauce isn't raw either, but you can make a nut butter, which I did using a nifty juicer that makes everything from juice to spaghetti.
Together, we julienned the vegetables and wrapped them into "burritos" using the "tortillas," as my grandma called them.
But eventually, despite the plethora of vegetables, everyone got hungry again -- except for me. At that point, I wasn't hungry; I was satisfied (basically how I felt after every meal, except when I stuffed my face at 118 Degrees). Regularly, though, eating raw vegan doesn't procure fullness, but satiety and it's that kind of satiety that gets blown out the water when grandma starts scrambling eggs, drizzling homemade salsa, wrapping handmade tortillas.
"What's one tortilla, even just one bite," I started to think. But I know just as well as the next person that one always becomes two. Instead, I ate more spring rolls until there was virtually no room left in my stomach. Then, I politely declined dessert and went home.
It was close, but I beat the grandma challenge. Now, week two.
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