Thinking of trying out a raw vegan diet? Whether you call it the "raw foods" or "live or living foods" diet, there's plenty of naysayers out there, but, just as many folks who swear by the benefits of eating all or mostly raw and living foods. If you're exploring adding more raw vegan foods to your diet or even going full-on raw, here's six myths that get repeated time and time again but are surprisingly and pleasantly NOT true!
Myth #1: You need to eat 100% raw foods and nothing else in order to get the benefits of the raw food diet.
While many people adhere to this myth, the reality is that for most of us who are eating an average American diet high in processed and fast foods, any increase in fresh, raw vegan foods is beneficial. Simple changes such as eating fruit for breakfast instead of pancakes or sausage will improve your health. Eating a vegan green salad for lunch will give you more energy than a hamburger, soda, and fries. Most people agree, however, that in order to get all of the many benefits of the raw vegan diet, you do need to eat mostly raw foods, about 90-95% of your diet. If you'd like to increase the amount of raw foods in your diet, but aren't concerned about going all the way, check out the Almost Raw Recipes section on this site.
Link: Almost Raw Recipes
Myth #2: Everything you eat on the raw foods diet will be cold.
This is a myth that many long-term raw foodists still don't know is false! In fact, anything you eat can be warmed up, so long as it doesn't get heated above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Food can be warmed up in a dehydrator, or, for a more handy method, warm up soups and dishes by using the warming plate of a coffee maker.
Myth #3: The raw vegan diet consists of only raw fruits and vegetables.
Just like the myth that a vegan diet consists of nothing more than tofu and sprouts, this one is also false. A raw food diet consists of much more than fruits and vegetables. Seeds, nuts, nut "milks", sprouted grains, seaweeds and juices are all included on a raw diet, as well as some fermented and processed foods such as raw soy sauce, kimchee, miso, raw nut butters and cold pressed raw oils.
Link: What are raw foods?
Myth #4: The raw food diet is more expensive than other diets.
Any diet can be more or less expensive, depending on your tastes. Some of the most expensive foods on the planet are certainly not raw foods or even vegetarian or vegan for that matter! Filet mignon and caviar are not raw foods! Certain pre-made raw items will be rather expensive, but some of the best bang for your grocery buck will be found in the produce section of your grocery store.
Myth #5: You will have to eat all your meals at home when on the raw food diet.
More and more raw food restaurants are popping up around the country! Most big cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and New York have one or even more raw food restaurants, and even most mid-sized cities have a bustling raw foods scene: Check out local co-ops or Whole Foods for a raw foods section and, these days, many vegetarian and vegan restaurants also cater to the raw crowd with at least one raw vegan entree on the menu. Salads and fruit smoothies can be found many places - just bring your own raw vegan salad dressing, or ask for oil and vinegar.
Myth #6: You will spend all your time in the kitchen chopping vegetables and dehydrating foods for hours on end.
Well, you could. But who wants to do that? Salads, smoothies and many raw soups are quick to prepare. Realizing that many people get frustrated with complex recipes, I've selected and created the raw food recipes on this site precisely because they don't require fancy and expensive equipment and hours of preparation time. That being said, investing in a food processor will save you many hours of chopping and grating. If you're serious about raw foods, I recommend you at least invest in a blender and a food processor. You may find that eventually, you will want to purchase a dehydrator and a juicer as well.