While many are trying to adjust to a vegetarian or flexitarian diet or simply add more vegetables to their regular diet, along come the vegans. And if that seems a bit extreme, consider the raw vegans. Raw vegans claim that raw foods are filled with vital life energy and that cooking destroys that energy. Although cooking can destroy some nutrients, cooking also breaks up fibers and cellular walls and releases nutrients that would not be absorbed from an uncooked version. Cooking also reduces certain chemicals in vegetables that inhibit the absorption of important minerals.
By limiting the diet to raw foods, the raw vegan greatly reduces the variety and types of foods that can be eaten. Nutritional deficiencies, particularly in vitamins B12 and D, selenium, zinc, iron and two omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA., can be a problem. Most of the medical world supports a plant based diet but recommends eating both raw and cooked foods.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who helped Bill Clinton reverse heart disease by prescribing a plant-based diet, cautions that foods like nuts and bananas eaten in excess are not healthy and that excessive fruit acids and dried fruit sugars can wear down tooth enamel.
With all that said, Houston's Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram is a glowing and vivacious fully raw vegan who claims to have overcome hyperglycemia with her raw vegan diet. A quote from her Facebook says "To be FullyRaw is to live a lifestyle that includes eating a diet composed of 100% organic fruits & vegetables, nuts, and seeds in their natural and uncooked states." Her facebook further states that as the founder of the largest raw, organic produce co-operative in the U.S., she has been 100% raw for almost 7 years. This organic produce co-op, Rawfully Organic, in Houston grew from 12 people in her living room to over 6000 families in the greater Houston city limits, and offers organics at affordable prices.
Her site, Fully Raw with Kristina, is filled with colorful, inviting pictures of melons, berries, salads and smoothies. But that's not all. She has another site called Fully Raw and it seems raw vegans even have their own version of raw vegan chili. Even those not willing to take the plunge to totally raw, must agree Kristina offers some great nutritional information and recipes to incorporate into any diet.
And don't miss the above video about Beyonce and her trial of Kristina's raw vegan foods.