Below I compiled several raw vegan research studies: with good and no-to-so good observations, human and non-human.
Clinical human trials
Sedentary raw vegans = endurance exercisers!
The results of this study sound amazing.
Researchers found that some health parameters of SEDENTARY raw vegans are similar to those of ENDURANCE EXERCISERS!
Health characteristics of 21 sedentary vegans who followed a long-term raw vegan diet were found to be comparable to that of endurance exercisers, with reduced BMI, lipids, lipoproteins, glucose, insulin, C-reactive protein, blood pressure and carotid artery intima-media thickness when compared to 21 sedentary subjects following a Western diet. (1)
Raw vegans = more underweight & women are more likely to skip their cycle
The results of this one may not sound positive. But for those who are struggling to lose weight it’s a good news.
So, here is it. The more raw foods you consume, the higher the chance you may be underweight, or if you are a lady, experience absence of menstruation.
– Body mass index was below the normal weight range in 14.7% of male and 25.0% of female subjects and was negatively related to the amount of raw food consumed and the duration of the raw food diet.
– About 30% of the women under 45 years of age had partial to complete amenorrhea [absence of menstruation); subjects eating high amounts of raw food (>90%) were affected more frequently than moderate raw food dieters.
– The consumption of a raw food diet is associated with a high loss of body weight. Since many raw food dieters exhibited underweight and amenorrhea, a very strict raw food diet cannot be recommended on a long-term basis. (2)
Being too underweight is not desirable, of course. However, in order to determine if one is underweight, many factors need to be accounted for. Such as bone structure, muscle mass, age. Going by BMI is far too generic and doesn’t give accurate results.
Now, if you are indeed underweight. Usually there are two reasons behind that and each requires a different solution.
First reason – not enough fat in the body. Second, not enough muscle mass (protein) in the body.
How to gain weight (adipose tissue) on a raw vegan diet
This is fairly easy to do.
Eat more raw fat and simple carbs and eat them in one meal. The combination of fat and sugar in one meal is not ideal from a digestion point of view but it works good when trying to put on some fatty tissue! Once you reach your desired weight, return to your regular menu.
I would suggest you eat more fast-digestible fats such as coconut flesh or coconut oil. That’s because your body treats these fats (medium chain triglycerides) similar to simple sugars!
You can also eat a little more avocados, olives, and a bit of nuts and seeds. However, don’t mix these with simple sugars. Otherwise, you might feel lethargic, and have trouble with digestion.
Here are a few examples of raw fat/simple sugar meals:
– Blend 1 cup of dates +3 tbsp of cold-pressed coconut oil (satisfying spread)
– Blend 1 mango + 1 tbsp of sun-dried raisins + 3 tbsp of shredded coconut (smoothie)
– Blend 1 orange + 4 dates + 1 tbsp of cold-pressed coconut oil (smoothie)
How to build lean muscle mass on a raw vegan diet
The solution is to add more protein into your diet.
Excellent digestible sources of whole raw protein include sprouted quinoa, soaked teff flour, soaked amaranth grain or flour, sprouted mung beans.
If you still need more protein, consider raw vegan protein powders. I’d suggest Garden of Life brand. They carry high-quality, raw, certified organic raw vegan protein powders (try vanilla first).
The other solution, is to exercise more regularly 🙂
How to fix amenorrhea on a raw vegan diet
Amenorrhea is the absence of periods. This is fixable with more fat and more calories in your diet. If this doesn’t help, try taking dong quai (3) or black cohosh (4). I’d suggest tinctures because they are more therapeutic (more concentrated) and contain less fillers.
If the above doesn’t return your periods, then maybe it’s an indication that you shouldn’t worry about it! Read this post to find out why.
Now animal studies…. We are not animals but the four-legged are a close indication of would happen to humans.
If you check this page on the Hypocrites Health Institute website, it summarizes how feeding raw foods versus cooked foods affects the health of various animals such as cats, guinea pigs, rats, and calves. Some results are catastrophic.
Cats on a cooked diet = sterile in the third generation
For example, let’s take a 10-year study on 900 cats. Cats were divided into two groups. One group was fed raw foods, the other group was fed the identical food but cooked.
The “cooked” group developed similar chronic diseases that human experience.
As a result, the “cooked” group cats gave birth to abnormally developed or ill kittens (that’s the first generation). In turn, these cats gave birth to either diseases or dead offsprings (that’s the second generation). Now, because cats were sterile in the second generation there was no third generation!
– The first group of cats fed raw food remained healthy, had good bone structure and density, were playful, were easy to handle, and they produced healthy kittens year after year with ease.
– The second group of cats that were fed cooked food developed cancer, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, glandular malfunctioning, kidney disease, sexual impotency, paralysis, skin diseases, allergies, pneumonia, difficulty in labor and severe irritability (making the cats difficult to handle.)
– The first generation of kittens born to the cooked food cats was ill or abnormal.
– The second generation was born either already diseased or dead.
– The experiment had to be terminated early because by the third generation the mothers were sterile!
– The excrement from the cooked food cats was so toxic that the plants fertilized with it were stunted and weak; whereas the plants grown in soil fertilized by the excrement of the raw food cats grew normally.
Calves on a pasteurized milk diet = early death
This experiment involved pasteurizing the mother’s milk before giving it to calves.
As a result… 90% of calves died before reaching maturity…
Out of what I went through above, it sounds that there are more advantages to a raw vegan diet than disadvantages. Besides, those disadvantages are far from life-threatening and relatively simple to fix.
I’d say a raw vegan diet or at least having a bulk of calories (>80%) coming from raw, organic, plant foods is a way to go!