Is Raw Vegan Right For Me? [3 Myths About Transitioning to Raw]

I’ve decided to try my hand at eating an all raw, plant foods diet again. I tried about 2 years ago but it didn’t last long. I learned about this diet from Dr. Robert Morse on YouTube and if I wasn’t spiritually inclined in the same direction that he is, I would have written him off as a quack. However I believe what he says and so I’m going to at least try it out and see for myself.

I also saw an interesting portion of one of his videos (31:57 – 34:01) where he talks about vaginal dryness being related to issues with the pituitary and adrenal glands. And while I have not had a full hysterectomy, I have had bilateral salpingectomy which is the complete removal of both fallopian tubes while leaving the ovaries and uterus intact. So my ultimate goal with this new diet, aside from overall improved health, is an increase in vaginal wetness and all-around improved sexual functioning.

31:57 – 34:01

I am already a generally healthy person. I don’t have any chronic conditions, serious health issues, and if I went to a doctor to run some tests, I’m fairly positive they would tell me that my pituitary and adrenal glands are normal and I doubt that most doctors would view a mild lack of wetness as a sign of issues with my pituitary. The only things “wrong with me” are low iron and low B12 but I feel fine aside from being cold all the time.

So while I won’t be able to attest to any miraculous claims about curing cancer or IBS or arthritis with fruits and herbs, I am still going to try this raw fruit-based diet and see if it improves my iron and B12 levels by fixing digestion, absorption and utilization, as Dr. Morse claims. I know from my past experience that learning from my own personal experience is best, no matter what anyone else says, including medical professionals.

I had acne starting in the 5th grade. When Proactive didn’t work, I started seeing a dermatologist in 7th grade for many years until I graduated from high school. Not once in 5 years did anyone in the dermatologist’s office suggest that I try changing my diet nor did anyone mention diet or high-glycemic foods having an impact on acne for some people. I had excessively oily skin so they gave me topical prescriptions and sent me on my way, gradually increasing the dosage at each check up to the highest strength tretinoin cream and tazorac gel possible. There was no explanation for why my skin was so much more oily than most teenagers. And believe you me, I had the most oily skin out of anyone in my entire school, no question. Other kids would complain about their skin being oily and I was jealous of how normal their supposedly oily skin looked.

It wasn’t until my last year in high school that I learned about a vegan diet. Initially, it was “for the animals” and to get a flat stomach, but as I went down the vegan YouTube rabbit hole, I learned that dairy can have an impact on acne. I also found an interesting book at the local thrift store about eating for clear skin and what recipes to make. And sure enough, removing the diary from my diet cleared up 85% of my acne. Later on, I discovered for myself that the other 15% of my acne was being caused whenever I would eat sugary treats like vegan ice cream, carob, or soda pop.

I’ve been vegan for about 3 and a half years now and I know that any major diet change is not easy. Getting rid of cheese was especially difficult and I’ve heard it said that cheese is literally addictive (the same way caffeine or refined sugar is addictive) because it impacts certain neurotransmitters in the brain. But it was worth it to have clear skin.

Part of why I failed the last time I tried to eat all raw is that I held a few incorrect assumptions about going raw vegan that only set me up for failure:

3 Myths About Going Raw Vegan

1. Eating a raw vegan diet means buying bananas (or oranges or whatever) by the case load.

I don’t even like bananas that much but I actually did this. I went to a produce wholesaler and bought a whole 20 pound case of bananas because that’s what the raw vegan YouTubers were eating. I like oranges and apples and I should have bought a case load of those instead. I don’t love bananas. I don’t like the texture and they make me gag after eating just 1. So like you’d expect, a lot went to waste because I just had too many bananas that were growing overripe by the day and I couldn’t keep up. The ones that were salvaged got frozen for smoothies or turned into banana bread which obviously is not raw.

For me at least, part of eating raw vegan is going to mean more frequent trips to the grocery store and/or lots of smoothies. You can’t exactly stock up on fruits and veggies like with canned or processed foods unless you want to freeze all your produce. And, you have to know what fruits you enjoy eating regardless of what anyone else says the staple fruits of a raw diet should be.

2. Meal times and frequency can stay the same as when you eat cooked food.

People on raw vegan diets always stress the volume of fruits and veggies that need to be eaten in order to maintain this diet but holy shit, I still underestimated it. Just to give you a mental picture, a lot of people on raw diets eat several pounds of fruit and veggies every single day. Not “servings” (which is only 1/2 cup per serving of fruit). Pounds.

With cooked foods as well as higher fat raw foods like avocados, I can go a long time between meals. This is not the case when eating raw foods. The last time I tried eating raw vegan I would go so long between meals that I would feel light-headed and weak but the second I took one bite of an apple, I would feel better instantaneously. That tells me I that had low blood sugar because I wasn’t eating enough.

The thing about fruits and veggies is they are primarily made of simple carbohydrates which digest faster than complex carbs, especially with all the fiber that raw plant foods have which moves the fruit through the digestive system fast. The upside of this is that compared to complex carbs like pasta, potatoes, and other grains, I don’t feel like I need to take an afternoon nap right after I eat fruits because the energy needed for digesting a heavy starchy meal was draining me and causing the afternoon slump. The “downside” to this, however, is that if I wasn’t eating enough volume of fruit in one sitting, my blood sugar levels wouldn’t be sustained for as long as I was used to eating cooked food, hence the lightheadedness.

As of right now, I see two solutions to this.

Option 1 is to eat 3 square meals a day with some smaller snacks in between just like normal. The only difference is that those 3 meals have to be HUGE! Think Thanksgiving dinner and I couldn’t possibly take another bite or I’ll throw up kind of huge. The problem with this is that after many years of eating more dense, cooked food and being so concerned with eating too much and gaining weight, our stomachs aren’t used to stretching to accommodate the massive volume of fruits and veggies that we need to eat in one sitting. I think this would be less of a problem as time goes on and I get more acclimated to the volume of food needed. Yes, smoothies are an option too but then with all the added water along with the water content in the fruit, I’ll be running to the bathroom 5 times every hour.

Another thing to mention is that I’m a slow eater when it comes to raw fruits and veggies. I suspect that it’s because fruits and veggies require more chewing than softer foods like breads, pastas, and potatoes, which are a lot easier to just inhale without thoroughly chewing. So having a big enough meal on one short, 30 minute lunch break during an 8 hour shift back when I had a retail job wasn’t working for me as a slow eater.

Option 2 is to just constantly be eating. Some people see this as more “natural” because that’s what animals in nature do- they graze all day- and there’s been a lot of hype around eating smaller meals more frequently. It sounds great in theory but in reality, we have classes and jobs and things to do that require our hands to be free so not everyone can be peeling oranges and munching all day.

I’m not sure what option I’ll be going with. I’ll have to play around with it. Option 2 feels like it would work during a quarantine at home or lazy weekends at home on the couch, whereas Option 1 would be better for when I’m working or taking classes all day- I just need to chew faster or guzzle down smoothies and deal with running to the bathroom. Maybe my bladder would stretch to some degree to hold more water like my stomach…

3. You can go raw vegan/fruitarian overnight.

I tried this last time and I totally failed. Maybe some people can do this but I certainly cannot and the emphasis on eating all fruits and eating within certain macronutrient ratios like 80-10-10 didn’t help either. No transition is perfect. Even when I was giving up cheese and transitioning to a vegan diet, it was never a cold turkey thing. I got it down to one meal with cheese per week and it still took a lot of time and effort to cut the cheese out completely.

Something I’ve noticed is that when I get cravings for the heavy, dense cooked foods that I’m used to, having a high fat raw alternative like homemade guacamole (avocados are technically fruit right?) helps me achieve the same feeling of density in my stomach that I’m used to without me binging on pasta. The drawback to this is that eating too much guacamole makes me feel bloated but there is a clear divide between the guacamole satisfying my cravings and me just ignoring my body’s signal to stop eating. I just need to listen better.

This is something I also did when I was removing cheese from my diet. If everyone else in my family was having pizza night, making my own pizza with homemade cashew cheese or having a Daiya pizza with fake cheese helped me satisfy my cravings without giving in to the temptation. I also did the same with dairy ice cream versus almond milk ice cream (until I realized that the sugar was breaking me out). Now I’m at the point where I don’t need to have a 1 for 1 substitute when the rest of the family is eating pizza in order to resist eating cheese because the cravings just aren’t there anymore. And if they are, they aren’t nearly as strong as they were at first.

Conclusion

People can have a lot of preconceived notions about what being vegan or raw vegan is supposed to look like and how transitioning should go. There’s nothing wrong with going very slow when transitioning to a new diet and using “cheats” or substitutes that are less than ideal.

Listening to our bodies is essential because when we are ready to move on, they will tell us that the substitutes (like Daiya pizza, my excessive guac consumption, or even having a baked potato and steamed veggies) are no longer serving us. This allows us to comfortably move to the next level of eating raw without giving up and going back to old patterns of eating that we were trying to get away from in the first place.

I know that cookies aren’t exactly healthy but to notice and experience the uncomfortable feeling of dehydration and the resulting acne when I would eat them makes it effortless to ignore them now even when other family members keep bringing them into the house. It’s one thing to know or suspect that certain foods are not serving us but to actually experience the contrast between one diet or another for ourselves is much more powerful.

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