Food & Fitness

Six-month adventure into eating high-raw and mostly-vegan

I’ve been thinking about raw food again.

The weather’s been warmer, and in February I stopped keeping my pantry totally stocked. Instead I’ve just been buying fruits and vegetables on a regular basis (and other staples, when I run out – oatmeal, canned beans, etc). My fridge has been emptier. I stopped buying bread again.

In fact, these days, the only thing in my kitchen that isn’t vegan is grass-fed locally-grown beef from a farm that I visited last autumn. The only things that aren’t whole, unprocessed, natural foods in my kitchen essentially boil down to gluten-free brown rice pasta, greens powder and vegan protein powder.

I’ve been having lots more oatmeal again, particularly in the form of oat cakes (also known as “breakfast cookies” to you bloggers out there). I’ve been making lots of sweet potato chips to enjoy with homemade ketchup and such. I’ve been focusing more and more on vegan, lightly-cooked food, and I’ve come to the realization that now that winter is behind us (sort of ;)), I’m ready to try an entire summer of eating a high-raw, mostly-vegan diet.

I’m really excited to try this again, and to do it for longer than a month. Starting on April 1st and going until September 30th, I plan on eating a high-raw mostly-vegan diet. That’s six whole months!

My plan is to basically eat this way when I’m at home or at work. When I’m with other people, I’ll relax about eating meat or animal products and I won’t worry about the raw part. This is mainly because I don’t want to deal with the difficulty of food choices in social situations, and also so that I can avoid dealing with food judgment. Much of the reason why I wasn’t eating very clean this past winter was because I just got tired of the attitude that I’d get from others. Plus this will also give me a way to deal with cravings if my body wants eggs.

I’m going to focus on dehydrating foods and lightly steaming or baking them. I’ve also scouted out some “pre-packaged” raw foods, such as cheezy kale chips and raw granola bars, to help me make the transition if I feel I need it. I think it’s important to have those kinds of options on hand at the beginning of this journey to deal with cravings and such.

I’m also more concerned with eating a natural vegan diet, more so than the raw part. If I find the raw part to be problematic, that’s okay – I’ll focus on the veganism and gradually phase in the raw. But the most important thing is the natural part. There are so many vegan processed foods, like fake ground “beef” and such. I believe more in conscious eating… I’d rather, for example, be eating the locally-grown grass-fed beef from a farmer whom I have met and whose farm I’ve visited than eat fake “vegan beef” that was made in a factory thousands of miles away and has all kinds of strange ingredients in it. Raw pre-packaged products are, by definition, natural foods, so those ones are generally going to be better for you (and possibly for the environment) than vegan pre-packaged products. That being said, I want to use the raw pre-packaged foods for transition purposes only – ideally I’d prefer to not use them at all, and my hope is that by the end of the summer I won’t need any of them.

I’ve spent the past month working my way up to this, by having oats as my whole grains, and fruits/vegetables to make up the majority of the rest of my meals. Since I’ve been pretty good with making those three items my mainstays, the next part of my “project” is to reduce portion sizes.

Lastly, I don’t want to rely too too much on the protein powder in my oat cakes, so I’m thinking about adding a little ground flax or chia seeds to my green shakes for that extra protein/fat in my diet.

What do you think? Are you interested in trying out eating a high-raw, mostly-vegan diet for the summer of 2011? Do you have any advice for making the transition? Would you like some suggestions for how to transform your diet? Hit me up in the comments section!


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  2. Stephen

    I’ve wanted to try this for a while. Are you planning on eating organic as well? Where do you do your grocery shopping? Also do you have a fair amount of raw foods recipes to use or are you planning on experimenting with whatever you can create?

    1. Sagan Morrow

      The short answer: yes, I’m planning on eating organic and local as well. For the long answer, check back on Wednesday! I’ve got a special blog post already set up on that very topic.

      I do my grocery shopping all over the place… primarily Safeway, Vita Health, and Organic Planet. I also go to my local Downtown IGA and the Giant Tiger down the street when I’m in a pinch.

      I’ve got a wide variety of raw food recipes that I’ll be using (which I’ll write about in the future for you!). Some of them I got from last year when I did my month-long raw challenge; others are from Natalia Rose’s “The Raw Food Detox Diet”, and others are from raw food blogs. But I also intend on doing a lot of experimenting, because that’s always so much fun!

  3. westwood

    You = awesome.

    And no way in hell I would ever do it 🙂 Being a vegetarian athlete is challenging enough. Plus my body and my taste buds are never happier than when I’m omnomnom-ing eggs and cheese. Preferably together.

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Oh my goodness I can’t believe I never even THOUGHT about the fact that you’re a vegetarian athlete *smacks forehead* Will you do us the honour of writing a guest post about being a vegetarian athlete sometime when you don’t have five million other things to do?

      I love eggs.

      Also, surprise! The cheeses that I bought for our wine & cheese last night were all raw 😀

  4. Geosomin

    I agree with you on the unprocessed, but the raw thing for me would be hard – I love warm cooked things. A lot of what I eat could be considered raw when I think about it, but I love oven roasted veg, and rice and quinoa. It’s be hard to step back from those…especially when I can cook up a bunch at a time and eat off it all week.
    I like to cook from sratch and have gone as whole foods as I can in that way. I only eat ethically raised local meat, so I don’t feel too bad about what meat do eat. My current struggle is with sweetners. I know they help keep the calories down, but it’s a chemical. I’m waffling and trying to find the reserve to kick it out once and for all…

    1. Sagan Morrow

      The raw part is tough for me too. I’m a big fan of warming foods! That’s why I’m doing this during the warmer part of the year.

      I hear you on the sweeteners. I had a similar issue with reduced-calorie margarine: there are some out there that are something like 1/4 of the calories and fat of regular butter and margarine, and they actually tasted really fantastic on popcorn. But even the ones that don’t have hydrogenated oils are still full of crap, so it took me a while to kick that habit. It’s tougher when they’re low in calories and if weight loss is part of the goal! I guess that’s when we find out if it’s health or calories that we’re more concerned about… (and I’m not going to lie, there have definitely been a lot of times when calories have won out over health. I want to change that!)

  5. Mimi (Gingersnaps)

    I’ve been thinking about it. Ok, you want my honest to goodness answer– I’m EQUALLY attracted to a more paleo-style eating as I am high raw vegan! I know it sounds batshit, but hear me out…

    – Both emphasize whole, natural, minimally processed foods.
    – Both push quality ingredients (for example, there’s a push in paleo for local organic beef)
    – Both shun processed sugars and refined foods. Heck, paleos shun sugar period.
    – Both strive for being conscience of your food.
    – Both push for a lot of fruits and veggies.

    Really, the biggest difference is one has a lot more cows.

    I’m honestly not sure which “style” I feel better with. It honestly changes day to day. The simple answer would be “combine them, dummmy.” But right now fat loss is my goal, so popping everything on my plate in one go might be hard. I realize now I don’t always like miniscule portions of multiple items. I’m debating just having a schizo kitchen with my nooch, quinoa, and chia seeds on one side, and my grass-fed beef and pastured butter on the other. It’s like a twisted version of Natalia Rose’s food combining! Haha, have you ever felt anything like this?

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Hehe! YES. So very much so. Actually, I think that’s part of the reason why I want to go vegan and raw: when I have too many options, I wind up just eating a lot. So I feel the need to simplify my diet so that I don’t go overboard.

      Re: paleo and raw vegan: you’ve made such a great point here. I think there’s a lot of value to the paleo style of eating as well. The only thing I’m adamantly AGAINST about it is the ketosis thing. I don’t like that concept. But that’s just my opinion!

      Otherwise, I definitely think that you’re right: basically, both styles of eating are focusing on WHOLE, NATURAL foods. And that’s awesome. Exactly why I’m planning on incorporating things like grass-fed beef and nest-laid free-range eggs when I dine with others 🙂

      1. Mimi (Gingersnaps)

        Glad to see you know where I’m coming from!

        Ketosis isn’t a mainstay of paleo though. While carbohydrates are lower than, say, a vegetarian diet, they aren’t nixed. Sweet potatoes and parsnips are a quite popular. Lowering carbs is just usually the suggestion for those wanting to lose weight. And even those don’t have to be ketosis level.

        I’m really curious about your current eats, as you seem to be really rocking the high raw/natural vegan thing. Any way you could show me a typical Sagan day?

        1. Sagan Morrow

          I must admit that my knowledge of the paleo diet is dismal – I think I just read one blog which promoted ketosis and I was scared off. Must learn more about it.

          I’ll document my food every day next week here at Living Healthy so you can check it out! And I’ve also got my food diary blog ( if you want to continue seeing my eats beyond next week 🙂

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