No two raw vegans eat exactly the same way just as no two cooked foodists eat the same way.
We all have our tastes and preferences, and we all get to know what foods agree and disagree with us, as well as how much time, energy and thought we want to put in to making food.
Although varieties of raw vegans are endless, there are a few schools of thought that have marked differences, the most common being:
The No Fruit Diets – anti-fruit people
The All Fruit Diets – anti-veg people
The Low Fat Diets – anti-nuts people
Flexitarian – eats a lot of raw but not strict
High Raw – eats about 75% raw
Where does The Garden Diet fit in to this diaspora?
We call our version of the raw diet “A Balanced Raw Vegan Diet” and sometimes “A Fresh-Based Raw Vegan Diet”.
I will not say our diet is the best raw diet there is. There are other raw diets that are both more and less “restrictive” and at the same time both more and less “purist” that work equally well for other people. We fall somewhere in the middle of these, and in that way too, perhaps, we are “balanced”.
As with all the other raw diets, it came about because it worked well for someone! — This one had to evolve to work well for 7 people, including an adult male athlete, a female nursing, pregnant mother, and 5 children from the womb to the teens.
It also had to be practical in the sense of time-efficiency. It had to be affordable. And it absolutely had to be both nutritious and delicious.
The end result was that…our raw diet includes a huge variety of foods from each of the raw food groups…
The Raw Food Groups
Fruits (all kinds)
Vegetables (a huge variety, including daily dark leafy greens)
Nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios, brazil nuts, etc.)
Seeds (pine nut seeds, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, etc.)
Sprouts (clover, alfalfa, onion, mung bean, sunflower, pea, etc.)
Ocasional sprouted grains (oat groats, buckwheat groats)
Ocasional sprouted lentils (chickpeas, green lentils)
We also use the following condiments…
Seaweeds (laver, nori, dulse, wakame, arame)
Fermented Foods (pickles, sauerkraut, kim chi)
Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg’s “with the mother”)
Organic cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
Organic cold-pressed flaxseed oil
Celtic sea salt (and Himalayan pink salt)
Raw honey (no, it is not vegan)
Herbs and dried herbs
Herbal tea (peppermint, chamomile, hibiscus, rosehip)
Raw Carob Powder
Our Diet Does Not Regularly Include…(and why)
Dehydrated foods (dehydrating for the body)
Raw Cacao (high in caffeine and other toxins/stimulants)
Supplements (processed, synthetic)
Powdered Superfoods (dried, concentrated)
Powdered Greens, Vegetables, Spirulina, Algae, etc. (dried, concentrated)
Powders like Maca, Lucuma, etc. (dried, concentrated)
MSG, Nama Shoyu, Braggs Liquid Aminos, Brewer’s Yeast
Miso, chick-pea miso, coconut miso, etc. (concentrated glutamates)
Coconut oil (clogging, not for internal consumption)
Coconut butter (clogging to pores)
Coco butter (clogging)
Cocoa butter (clogging)
We will sometimes have some things on this list at a raw restaurant or in a raw packaged item that we might buy as a treat or if traveling. It won’t kill you to include some of these sometimes. You might even have some of these on your list of things that works for you. Every body is different. But these are the things I have found don’t work well for me or some other members of my family.
In general they are not living foods but processed, dried or concentrated foods. Some are just very toxic, like raw cacao, however much it is touted as a superfood.
The effects that some of these foods have on me….
Mood swings, depression (raw cacao, MSG)
Heavy cycles (maca, lucuma)
Break-outs (coconut oil, coco butter)
Feeling depleted (raw cacao)
If I overdo too many of these foods for too long I find that I start to crave cooked foods. I believe this is for four reasons…
1. The concentrated flavors cause the palate to become less sensitive to flavors, and therefore I don’t end up enjoying my raw foods as much, and this sets up a desire for more of these concentrated foods.
2. These concentrated foods can deplete the body of nutrients. Like cooked foods, the lack of life force and/or the toxins in them cause them to take more energy (to digest and process) than they give.
3. When we eat more of these foods we eat less of the fresh raw foods we would otherwise eat, and therefore are not replenishing these lost nutrients.
4. The depleting quality of much of this food leads to cravings for a cooked source of these missing nutrients, since we lose our taste for the raw sources.
Finally overuse of these foods have caused me and many others to be unsuccessfully raw (not achieving health) and ultimately derailed from the raw diet.
Staying successfully raw without depletion is a basic twofold balancing act…
1. Avoiding over-much depleting foods – and other lifestyle choices that can be depleting such as not getting enough exercise or sleep or living with a high level of ongoing stress.
2. Including sufficient nourishing foods – a balanced fresh-foods diet, with daily dark leafy greens, and with enough bulk, fiber and protein (nuts, sprouted garbanzo beans), and ocasional fermented foods and seaweeds for B12. Also get 30 minutes per day of sunlight for vitamin D.
This is all going in my new book I just started working on!