The Raw Vegan Diet: Benefits, Risks, and Meal Plan

Medically Reviewed on 8/25/2022
Raw Vegan Diet
A raw vegan diet does not engage in the typical cooking methods including boiling, baking, or sautéing.

The raw vegan diet has been around since the mid-19th century, but in the last few years, it has seen increasing popularity. This diet is a subtype of the regular vegan diet (avoiding all foods of animal origin), which combines the principles of veganism with raw foodism.

Proponents of the raw vegan diet claim it to be an effective method to:

They perpetuate that raw veganism can aid in weight loss because it does not require calorie counting or portion restriction.

What is the raw vegan diet?

The raw vegan diet consists of food that is eaten uncooked or heated at temperatures below 104°F to 118°F (40°C to 48°C) and excludes all animal-origin foods.

Its proponents recommend this style of eating based on the principle that:

  • Heating food destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes.
  • Foods maintain their highest nutritional value if they are uncooked.

Which foods are allowed and avoided in the raw vegan diet?

Animal products including honey should be avoided entirely, whereas fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds should be plentiful.

Foods that are allowed and considered raw include:

  • Fresh, dried, and juiced fruits
  • Raw and juiced vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sprouted beans, legumes, and grains
  • Raw nut butter
  • Fermented foods such as miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut
  • Seaweed
  • Whole, unprocessed foods such as cold-pressed oils, seaweed, or sweeteners such as cocoa powder and maple syrup
  • Condiments, vinegar, and unpasteurized raw soy sauce
  • Plant-based milk

Foods that are avoided include:

  • Cooked fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes
  • Baked goods
  • Roasted nuts and seeds
  • Refined oils
  • Salt
  • Refined sugars and flours
  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products, including yogurt and milk
  • Pasteurized juices
  • Coffee and tea
  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods and snacks, such as chips, cookies, burgers, and pastries

How can you incorporate the raw vegan diet?

A raw vegan diet does not engage in the typical cooking methods including boiling, baking, or sautéing.

You can prepare foods by using the following means:

  • Blending: Blended soups, smoothies, and juices
  • Fermenting: Three basic steps to fermentation include
    • Prepare the vegetables
    • Add brine
    • Let the fermentation process begin
  • Dehydrating: Cook your food at about 105°F (40.5°C), which will keep the raw status of the food intact

Food preparation can involve other methods such as juicing, soaking, and sprouting, instead of traditional cooking methods.


Foods That Aren't as Healthy as You Think See Slideshow

What are the pros of a raw vegan diet?

Like any other diet, there are pros and cons to the raw vegan diet.

Some of the pros include:

  • Aids in weight loss:
    • Because most of its foods are low in calories, fat, and sodium; high in fiber, and primarily based on consuming healthy whole-plant foods, it is particularly effective for weight loss.
  • Improves digestion:
    • High in both soluble and insoluble fibers, which may help improve your digestion.
    • Soluble fiber helps feed the growth of good bacteria in the intestines, and insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools by promoting quick and easy food movement through the gut.
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes:
    • Losing weight and keeping it off can help prevent or manage type II diabetes.
    • Vegan diets are rich in nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, and legumes, which may further help lower blood sugar levels.
    • In addition, this diet is rich in fiber, a nutrient linked to lower blood sugar levels and increased insulin sensitivity.
  • Promotes heart health:

What are the cons of a raw vegan diet?

Some of the cons include:

  • Nutritionally unbalanced or inadequate:
    • The diet is difficult to follow and inadequate in many essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.
    • Proponents of this diet often discourage the use of supplements and iodized salt, which may further put you at risk of deficiency. 
  • May lead to weak bones and muscles:
    • This diet tends to be low in calcium and vitamin D—two vital nutrients essential for strong bones.
    • Additionally, the raw vegan diet tends to provide very little protein (less than 10 percent of the total number of calories per day), which could further negatively affect bone mineral content and density.
  • Can cause tooth decay:
    • Because this diet includes a lot of citrus fruits and berries, it can cause tooth enamel erosion and thus increase the likelihood of tooth decay.
  • May affect fertility:
    • Some studies have reported that one of the main ways a raw vegan diet may affect a woman’s fertility is by being very low in calories. 
    • This may cause women to drop excess weight, reducing their ability to menstruate and fertility quotient.
  • Risk of food poisoning:
    • Cooking boosts some nutrients such as beta-carotene and lycopene and kills bacteria, which helps you avoid the risk of food poisoning.
    • Due to the risk of food poisoning, the raw vegan diet is not recommended for pregnant women, young children, older age groups, people with weak immune systems, and those with chronic medical conditions.
  • Not accessible to everyone:
    • A raw vegan diet may not be sustainable in the long term, and some preparation methods, such as dehydrating, chopping produce, juicing, and sprouting, can be time-consuming making it unattainable for many.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

7-day raw vegan diet meal plan

Table 1. A 7-day sample meal plan of the raw vegan diet.
Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
Day 1 Two homemade date energy bites with a serving of berries Raw tacos with cabbage, carrots, avocado, sprouted lentils, and cashew dressing Pizza on a flaxseed crust topped with tomatoes, pine nuts, and basil Grapes and two raw vegan cookies
Day 2 Smoothie made with fruit, rolled oats, chia seeds, and raw almond butter Raw zucchini noodles with creamy garlic cashew sauce Thai-style raw peanut zoodle salad with sliced veggies Two homemade energy bites, fruit salad, and a raw vegan brownie
Day 3 Banana with two spoonfuls of raw almond butter Chilled cucumber soup with avocado slices and sprouted quinoa Lettuce wraps stuffed with raw sprouted lentil patties, sprouted quinoa, diced peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado Trail mix with dried fruit and raw nuts
Day 4 Smoothie made with fruit, rolled oats, chia seeds, and raw almond butter Spiralized carrots with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, basil, and cashew dressing Raw vegan lasagna with a side of gazpacho and slices of avocado Raw vegan brownie
Day 5 Raw overnight oats with a spoonful of nut butter and banana slices Spinach salad with raw sprouted quinoa, raspberries, walnuts, edamame, and avocado dressing Kale salad with diced veggies, raw sprouted lentil patties, and cashew dressing A spoonful of raw almond butter and raw seeds and a bowl of mixed fruit
Day 6 Smoothie bowl with rolled oats and topped with sliced banana, raw nuts, coconut, and chia seeds Salad topped with broccoli, sliced carrots, sprouts, and lentil patties Cauliflower rice with smashed avocado, mushrooms, and sprouted lentils Two homemade energy balls and a slice of raw carrot cake
Day 7 Acai bowl with fresh fruit, sliced banana, nuts, seeds, and raw nut butter Greek salad with tomato, cucumber, onion, olives, olive oil, and sprouted quinoa Spiralized zucchini with fresh tomatoes, basil, and creamy cashew dressing Smoothie made with banana, raw vegan protein powder, coconut water, and nut butter

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Medically Reviewed on 8/25/2022
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