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Raw vegan detoxes: do they work and how should you do one?

You’re most likely aware that a vegan diet is based on plants like vegetables, grains, nuts and fruit. But a raw vegan detox goes one step further. Many people commit to raw vegan detox diet with the aim of cleansing their bodies of toxins. If you’re thinking of trying a vegan detox, we take a closer look at their possible health benefits with some tips to help you get started.

What is a raw vegan detox?

A raw food detox is all about dedicating your daily diet to eating unprocessed and uncooked foods. Food that is considered raw has never been heated above 42°C, is organic and free of preservatives. People who follow a raw food diet believe that the enzymes and nutrients that are found naturally in food are destroyed by cooking. The idea behind a raw vegan detox is that you’ll get all of the nutrients you need, fresh and uncooked, without the additives found in processed food. Like other diet detoxes, the main principle is that a raw food detox will help eliminate toxins from your body faster.

What can you eat on a raw vegan detox?

Say goodbye to processed and cooked food and pile your plate with mainly raw vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and sprouts that haven’t been heated above 42°C. Simply enjoy them unprocessed and uncooked as they are, in a salad or juice them. You can also include a small amount of food that has been minimally processed such as vinegar and dried fruit and vegetables. Don’t forget - organic fruit and vegetables should be washed carefully before eating.

A raw vegan detox can include the following food:

  • Cold pressed oils
  • Dried fruits and vegetables
  • Fermented foods such as miso and sauerkraut
  • Fresh herbs and raw spices
  • Herbal tea
  • Nama Shoyu (unpasteurised raw soy sauce)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Raw fruit and vegetables and their juices
  • Raw nut butters
  • Raw nut milks
  • Roots, root vegetables and squashes
  • Seaweed
  • Sprouts
  • Unprocessed olives
  • Unprocessed raw cacao
  • Vinegars and foods cured in vinegar

What are the benefits of eating a raw food diet?

Clearer skin, weight loss and improved energy are just some of health claims supporters of a raw food diet make. Whilst there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to back this, many of these haven’t been proven.

However, a study on people with rheumatoid arthritis showed that a raw vegan diet reduced symptoms more successfully than a standard diet that included meat. A further study on the same participants resulted in increased weight loss after two to three months after following the same diet.

There is no proof that eating a raw food diet will get rid of toxins any quicker than natural digestion and elimination. But as you munch your way through fresh vegetables and fruits and stay clear of chemicals additives and preservatives, you are supplying your body with naturally healthy nutrients that are bound to do your body some good.

In fact, there is proof that eating a meat-free diet could have several health benefits. A 12 year study carried out on 6,000 vegetarians and 5,000 non-vegetarians revealed that those that ate a meat-free diet had lower rates of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Not eating meat could also contribute to a longer life; the study also reported lower death rates in non-meat-eaters compared to meat eaters.

How do you start a raw vegan detox?

Stock up with the right food

As with any new eating plan, if you’re committing to eating raw foods make a shopping trip to stock your cupboards with the kinds of food you’re going to be eating. Whilst you’re at it, clear your cupboards and your fridge of any processed food so you’re not tempted to stray from your new eating plan.

Plan your meals ahead

Any detox or short-term diet is doomed to fail without proper planning. Whilst many start with good intentions, when you’re tired or stressed a new diet and lifestyle often goes out the window. To avoid this, make a weekly plan of what you’re going to eat.

Make food ahead for convenience

Prepare your meals and some snacks ahead of time. Knowing you’ve got something tasty and already prepared waiting for you in the fridge can be a comforting thought if you ever get close to throwing in the towel.

Prepare to be sociable

If you’re following a detox plan, being surrounded by colleagues or family members tucking into processed food can trigger temptation or leave you feeling like you’re missing out. Take any social encounters like parties or office tea breaks into account and make sure you’ve got something just as delicious to dine on. Pack delicious raw food treats and snacks so you’ll always have something on hand.

Set yourself up for winter

When it’s cold outside, the first instinct for many people is to have hot, stodgy food. On a raw vegan diet, spices like cayenne, chilli and ginger are a way to add warmth to your food. Add them to smoothies and juices or chop them up into salad for a hit of heat. On the other hand, you could also warm your plate in the often before serving your meal.

So, whether you plan to try a raw vegan detox for a few days, or you feel that you could follow a raw vegan diet permanently, the key is to make the most of a healthy, balanced diet packed with nutritious fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

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