I'm relatively new to veganism, but am considering progressing to a raw food diet. I've spoken to my kinesiologist (who is also a nutritionist) about going raw, and her advice was to only go partially raw, particularly now that we're well into the winter months.
I have also read that according to Chinese medicine, the stomach / spleen needs a certain amount of warm food in order to 'maintain long term function' (http://deepesthealth.com/2007/7-keys-to-a-balanced-vegan-diet-in...). I know there are a lot of arguments against raw veganism floating around on the web, but this one intrigued me, as I am a strong believer in Eastern medicine / philosophy. Is anyone able to shed any light on this debate?
In conclusion, I'm definitely going to start incorporating more raw foods into my diet, but will i still gain the same life-changing benefits that the majority of raw-vegans rejoice over, on a 50/50 raw diet (75/25 in the summer months)?
Also, what are your thoughts on grains? I've come across a few articles arguing that they are not suitable for human consumption, which makes sense, as humans only started consuming them recently, and of course, most of them need to be cooked in order to be eaten (with the exception of oats).
Sorry for all the questions, I'm quite new to all this!
This is just my opinion - I'm sure you'll get plenty of posts that give you a wide range of opinions. Personally with the health issues I have, I do very well on a high raw diet. I feel sluggish if I consume many grains (particularly rice - I'm celiac and don't eat any gluten containing grains). I do OK on some quinoa (amaranth or teff are OK too), limited beans (no soy), and plenty of raw fruits, vegetables, and some cooked vegetables. I've noticed my needs are seasonal. I crave more soups and cooked foods when the weather is cold, and in the summer I tend to digest the colder foods a bit better.
That being said, there are plenty of foods that can still be considered warming without being cooked. Chinese medicine argues that high temperatures or low and slow cooking can add to the heat element of food, and people with a heat deficiency should not eat cold, raw foods. I believe that you can still achieve warmth by eating things at room temperature so your body doesn't have to expend a lot of energy heating the food up during the digestive process. Cinnamon, ginger, and several other Hot foods are warm even without cooking. In the winters I do eat soy free miso with hot water poured over raw veggies and miso to help me get the heat I need without cooking things too much. Sometimes I eat stir fries, and I tend to eat less salads. Raw fruit is something I gravitate to all year round.
I think diet is a very individual thing and it takes experimentation to find out what works for you. Some people do great on fruit only, others like to keep some cooked food in their diet, while others do higher fat high vegetable. Over the last few years, I've noticed my needs change. At first I did really well on a 100% raw diet that was fairly moderate, then I did better on high veggie, high fat. Now I seem to do well with some cooked, plenty of fruit, and very little fat intake. I think diet is an individual journey that should be taken with nutrition in mind - otherwise don't listen too much to the rules. Chinese medicine practitioners I know have pushed me to incorporate meat into my diet in the past and are always amazed at how much better I have done since going vegan. Rules are made, but there will always be exceptions.
since going vegan, i've started to feel the weight of eating grains too, which i found surprising, as i never really questioned whether grains were good or bad for humans.
i suppose i had the same attitude towards dairy before turning vegan however (19 years of being told 'YOU NEED DAIRY FOR CALCIUM' really worked its magic), so it figures.
you also make a really good point about warming food... i'll definitely start using lots more spices in my food from now on. i can really appreciate that quite a few members of this site seem more focused on their health and doing what feels right for them, rather than allowing themselves to be tied down by the whole 'raw vegan dogma'.
Based on my experience you'll definitely reap lots of benefits going 50% raw (not as many as say 80% to 100%), but still some very noticeable results. BUT, that does largely depend on what else you're eating. If the remainder of your diet is healthy i.e. largely vegan and low in meat and processed foods you'll see results, but if it's full of junk or tons of meat you may not notice much of a difference. I've been an on again off again vegan, vegetarian, raw foodist for years so I've seen the differences between the different ways I've eaten over the years.
I base health information on what the source looks like. If she/he is attractive and at least 10 years younger looking, their advice is easy to apply and possibly right, it's working for them.
I eat soaked wild rice, with dijon, and love it. But I don't eat other grains.
I don't eat anything cold from the fridge, it makes good bacteria very unhappy. I drink a lot of very warm herb tea. Asians also eat most of their fruit right after meals. This definitely is the wrong way for me to go.
I think everyone should go as slow as they need to. Detox is rough. I'm still detoxing after 1 year 8 months 95-98% raw.