No Meat, No Fire, No Problem?

Vegan…whenever this word gets mentioned in class you can audibly hear the chuckles of my flesh eating classmates looking down upon this particular dietary concept. I mean, I get it, in Canada, most of food is protein-forward, but we gotta give the veggies some love too! Veganism is pretty hardcore though, mostly because it’s not just a diet like vegetarianism is, is a whole lifestyle change. So while all the normal “no eating animal” stuff applies, we also have to consider ANYTHING animal derived. Obviously this includes milk, cheese, and eggs, but some things that are overlooked would be certain food dyes, alcohols filtered with fish bladders, HONEY, sugars bleached with animal products etc. BUT WAIT, it gets even more hardcore…those leather boots? Not vegan. Wool sweater? Not vegan. Down jacket? NOT VEGAN.

Now my original plan was to just go vegan, which is actually not too hard for me. My girlfriend is (mostly) vegan, so I naturally ended up developing a taste for vegan food. I’ve actually been vegan for a little bit, and ya know, IT’S NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK. Vegans in 2017 are smart as hell. They’ve developed a substitute for pretty much everything so as long as you can concede the fact that vegan cheese doesn’t really taste like cheese, and never really will, you’re going to be fine. If I wanted a challenge, I needed to go further beyond…

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Veganism? Easy. RAW VEGANISM? PRETTY HARD. 100% RAW VEGANISM? GOD HELP US ALL.

So just to clarify, “raw” veganism means eating at least 75% raw vegan food. For three long, gruesome days, I went 100% raw vegan. Why? Well, I guess I just have masochistic tendencies. Anyways, lets get on with it.

So, on Saturday I did my shopping. I tried my best to get a good mix of fresh foods. Notable pickups are the spinach, which will provide me with me my Vitamin A, Omega-3, and a little bit of calcium. The avocados, pumpkin seeds, raw almonds, and hemp hearts will provide me with the protein and fats that I need. I also have some sprouted soybeans for some additional protein. My goal here was to be at a macro-nutrient split of 80% carbs, 10% fat, and 10% protein. IMG_1196

After stealing 2 of my roommate’s oatmeal cookies at 11:30 PM that night, I said my sweet farewell to cooked food for 3 days.

My meals were generally very simple. I mean, there’s no cooking, it’s more just calculated mixing and chopping. So in the morning I would eat like 3 bananas and a handful of dates, nuts and cranberries. Nothing fancy.

Lunches and most dinners, and pretty much EVERYTHING I ATE felt like some variation of a salad. This is probably what was the hardest thing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me a good salad, but eating salad like 3 times a day just plain sucks. It doesn’t make it any easier that the salads I had to eat to feel satisfied had to be like 3 POUNDS because vegetables don’t have any damn calories.

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Sometimes if I was on the go, and didn’t have time to chop up veggies or fruit, I would take the easy way out and make a smoothie. BUT NOT JUST ANY SMOOTHIE. THIS SMOOTHIE HAD TO BE THE PINNACLE OF HEALTH. So I just blended everything and anything I had…

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Bananas, berries, spinach, and hemp hearts. Sounds pretty damn vegan to me. Looks good eh?

EH?

EHHHH???????

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The colour of this smoothie is an accurate representation of how I’m feeling on day 2. I don’t even miss meat or anything. I miss HOT FOOD. I would KILL for a bowl of rice, or a hot cup of coffee.

Downed the smoothie despite its diarrhea-like appearance. It was actually pretty good.

Day 3, at this point I think I’m supposed to become a wizard or something. My day started as usual, a metric tonne of fruit, a few handfuls of nuts and seeds etc. But for dinner I NEEDED something that wasn’t a salad. HA, obviously that’s impossible as a raw vegan because EVERYTHING IS A SALAD. So my challenge here was disguising my salad as something that was not inherently salad-esque.

God bless the Vietnamese. I ended up finding these rice paper wraps at my local Asian supermarket. Now, i’m going to assume these are just make of dehydrated rice and pressed into sheets. I’m not even going to google this or make an effort to verify how these are made. I’m going to live in blissful ignorance and assume that I was a good raw vegan for 3 days.

My idea was to take my salad wrap it up in these rice paper rolls to make those “summer rolls” you often find on the appetizer menu at Pho restaurants. My secret ingredient were these little chili peppers that I was smart enough to pickle a few weeks ago. Pickling and fermenting are great for adding some “oomph” to raw vegan dishes because everything else is pretty watery and bland. Also, chilies added some sort of fake heat sensation which was SOOOOOOOO refreshing. It made me feel a little less like a rabbit. I cut up all my veggies, rolled them up in lettuce and then rolled them in my soaked rice paper.

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BOOM.

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Not bad, but still needed a little somethin-somethin.

I made a little dipping sauce with some Korean red pepper flakes, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and raw sesame seeds.

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Out of the 6 salads I ate, this was the best one. I really missed salt and spice.

I anxiously waited for 6 hours until I could consume some cooked food. At 12:00 on the dot, I rushed to the kitchen to cook myself a bowl of noodles.

Looking back, 100% raw veganism is probably not for me. No, it’s DEFINITELY NOT FOR ME. I have a newfound admiration for people who can adhere to this diet for so long. It’s one thing to forego meat and animal products, it’s another to get rid of bread and pasta, but when you combine the two, it seems like the diet becomes so limited and bland. I know a lot of raw vegans have dehydrators and spend tons of time fermenting, so that might help it along.

In terms of health, I didn’t really notice anything, but three days is probably too soon to tell. I never really felt low on energy or anything, and I actually had really good sleeps while eating raw vegan. In the long run, you really have to make sure that you’re obtaining all the micro and macro nutrients from your raw vegan diet. It’s really easy to just get lazy and eat 7 bananas a day. Make sure your B-12 and D are supplemented and you’re getting a proper intake of Omega-3 from things like flax or spinach.

Should you go raw vegan? Eh, probably not. A super restrictive diet like this makes it really hard to get the nutrients your body requires, and the plant-based enzyme retention is probably not worth the trade of being malnourished. I’m not saying that it’s impossible, it’s just probably not worth the trouble. If you want to save animals, or help the environment, or reduce your intake of cholesterol, just go normal vegan instead. There are so many more food options for vegans, and it’s actually pretty easy to do (with a little willpower).

I’m going to go put a pot of HOT COFFEE on now, see you all soon!

-Matt

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