It combines the principles of veganism with those of raw foodism.
While some people may choose to follow it for ethical or environmental reasons, most do it for its purported health benefits. These include weight loss, improved heart health and a lower risk of diabetes.
However, a fully raw vegan diet may also pose some health risks—especially when it's not well planned.
This article reviews the raw vegan diet—including its benefits and risks.
What Is a Raw Vegan Diet?
Raw veganism is a subset of veganism.
Like veganism, it excludes all foods of animal origin.
Then it adds the concept or raw foodism, which dictates that foods should be eaten completely raw or heated at temperatures below 104–118°F (40–48°C).
The idea of eating only raw foods has existed since the middle of the nineteenth century when Presbyterian minister and dietary reformer Sylvester Graham promoted it as a way to avoid illness (1).
A raw vegan diet is generally rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains and legumes. It also tends to be naturally low in processed foods.
Those choosing to follow a raw vegan diet are often motivated by health reasons.
They believe that raw and minimally heated foods are more nutritious than cooked ones.
Alternative meal preparation methods, such as juicing, blending, soaking, sprouting and dehydrating, are used instead of cooking.
Some proponents also believe that a raw vegan diet provides all the nutrients humans need — which is why supplements are often discouraged.
A raw vegan diet consists of mostly unprocessed, plant-based foods that are either completely raw or heated at very low temperatures.
The raw vegan diet is plentiful in nutrient-rich plant foods. It's also linked to several health benefits.
May Improve Heart Health
A raw vegan diet may improve heart health due to its focus on fruits and vegetables — both of which are consistently linked to lower blood pressures and a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke (2, 3).
This way of eating also includes plenty of nuts, seeds, sprouted whole grains and legumes. Studies show that these foods may improve blood cholesterol levels and further lower your risk of heart disease (4, 5, 6, 7).
Few studies have looked at the effect of raw vegan diets specifically. Yet, their high content of nutrient-rich plant foods may offer similar results — though more studies are needed.
May Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes
A raw vegan diet may also reduce your risk of diabetes.
Again, this may partly be due to its focus on fruits and vegetables, which are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, this diet is rich in fiber — a nutrient linked to lower blood sugar levels and increased insulin sensitivity (14, 15, 16, 17).
That said, few studies have looked at the direct effects of raw vegan diets.
However, since they're likely to include as much — if not more — nutrient- and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables compared to other types of vegan diets, similar benefits may be expected.
May Aid Weight Loss
A raw vegan diet seems very effective at helping people lose weight and keep it off.
In fact, studies consistently link raw food diets — including raw veganism — to lower amounts of body fat (21).
In one study, people following various raw diets for over 3.5 years lost around 22–26 pounds (10–12 kg). What's more, the participants with the highest percentage of raw foods in their diet also had the lowest body mass indexes (BMIs) (22).
In another study, people following a raw vegan diet had a total body fat percentage between 7–9.4% lower than those eating a typical American diet (23).
May Improve Digestion
The high amount of fiber in whole plant foods may help improve your digestion.
Raw vegan diets are high in both soluble and insoluble fibers.
Insoluble fibers add bulk to your stools and help food move more quickly through your gut, reducing the likelihood of constipation.
In turn, these healthy bacteria produce nutrients, such as short-chain fats, which help reduce inflammation in your gut. They may also improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (29, 30, 31, 32).
A raw vegan diet may provide health benefits, including weight loss, a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and improved digestion and heart health.
A raw vegan diet may also come with some risks—especially if you don't plan it well.
May Be Nutritionally Unbalanced
Vegan diets can be appropriate for all life stages—as long as they're well planned.
One of the prerequisites to a well-planned vegan diet is to ensure it provides all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. You can do so by consuming either fortified foods or supplements to compensate for the nutrients it is naturally low in.
Vitamin B12 is one example of a nutrient naturally lacking in a raw vegan diet. Getting too little of this vitamin can lead to anemia, nervous system damage, infertility, heart disease and poor bone health (33, 34, 35).
In fact, one study found that 100% of participants following a raw vegan diet consumed less than the recommended 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 per day. Moreover, more than a third of the participants were vitamin B12 deficient at the time of the study (39).
However, the use of supplements is often discouraged on a raw vegan diet, due to the belief that you can get all the nutrients you need from raw foods alone. This can increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies.
Raw vegan diets also appear to be low in calcium and vitamin D, and proponents often discourage the use of iodized salt, which may further put you at risk of deficiency (23).
May Weaken Muscles and Bones
Several aspects of a raw vegan diet may result in weaker muscles and bones.
For starters, this way of eating tends to be low in calcium and vitamin D—two nutrients needed for strong bones.
In one study, people on a raw vegan diet had lower bone mineral content and density than those following a standard American diet (23).
Some raw vegan foodists may be able to get enough vitamin D from sun exposure.
However, older adults, people living in northern latitudes or those with darker skin may be unable to consistently produce enough vitamin D from sun exposure alone.
What's more, a raw vegan diet tends to provide very little protein—often less than 10% of your total number of calories per day (23).
Though such low protein levels may theoretically be sufficient to meet basic biological needs, some evidence links higher intakes to stronger bones (40).
Protein is also important for preserving muscle mass, especially during periods of low calorie intake that lead to weight loss—such as can be expected on this diet (41).
May Promote Tooth Decay
Raw vegan diets may also increase your likelihood of tooth decay.
These fruits are thought to be more acidic and more likely to cause erosion of your tooth enamel.
In one study, 97.7% of people on a raw vegan diet experienced tooth erosion to some degree, compared to only 86.8% in the control group (42).
However, more studies are needed before strong conclusions can be drawn.
May Reduce Fertility
In some cases, a raw vegan diet may reduce fertility.
In one study, 70% of women following a raw vegan diet experienced irregularities in their menstrual cycle. What's more, about a third developed amenorrhea—a condition in which women stop menstruating entirely (43).
Additionally, it was observed that the higher the proportion of raw foods, the stronger the effects. The researchers calculated that the women eating only raw foods were seven times more likely to experience amenorrhea than other women (43).
Scientists note that one of the main ways a raw vegan diet may impact a woman's fertility is by being very low in calories. This may cause women to drop too much weight, reducing their ability to menstruate.
A raw vegan diet devoid of supplements can be low in vitamin B12, iodine, calcium and vitamin D and may provide too little protein and too few calories, leading to an array of health issues. It may also cause tooth decay and fertility issues.
How to Follow a Raw Vegan Diet
To follow a raw vegan diet, you should first ensure that at least 75% of all the food you eat is raw or cooked at temperatures below 104–118°F (40–48°C).
Animal products should be avoided entirely, while fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds should be plentiful. Grains and legumes can be included but must be soaked or sprouted prior to consumption.
Foods to Eat
- Fresh, dried, juiced or dehydrated fruits
- Raw, juiced or dehydrated vegetables
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Uncooked grains and legumes (sprouted or soaked)
- Raw nut milks
- Raw nut butters
- Cold-pressed oils
- Fermented foods like miso, kimchi and sauerkraut
- Some sweeteners, such as pure maple syrup and unprocessed raw cacao powder
- Condiments, including vinegars and unpasteurized raw soy sauce
Foods to Avoid
- Cooked fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes
- Baked goods
- Roasted nuts and seeds
- Refined oils
- Refined sugars and flours
- Pasteurized juices
- Coffee and tea
- Processed foods and snacks, such as chips and pastries
A raw vegan diet includes raw foods or foods cooked below a certain temperature. Cooked foods, baked goods and refined or highly processed products should be avoided.
The following sample menu can give you an idea of what a few days on a raw vegan diet might look like.
- Breakfast: Tropical green spirulina smoothie
- Lunch: Raw pea, mint and avocado soup
- Dinner: Raw vegan pizza
- Breakfast: Chia seed pudding topped with berries
- Lunch: Raw nori wraps with a spicy dipping sauce
- Dinner: Raw pad thai
- Breakfast: Raw banana pancakes with almond butter
- Lunch: Raw spiralized zucchini topped with a basil pesto sauce
- Dinner: Raw lasagna with marinated veggies, sun-dried tomatoes and a cashew-cilantro sauce
- Pecan energy balls
- Raw vegan granola bar crackers
- Dehydrated fruit
- Chia pudding
- Fruit smoothies
- No-bake chocolate chip cookies
- Veggie salad with guacamole dressing
Many foods typically consumed on a cooked vegan diet can be made raw. The sample menu above provides some ideas of raw vegan meals and snacks.
The Bottom Line
A raw vegan diet includes healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains and legumes—which may lower diabetes and heart disease risk and aid weight loss and digestion when well planned.
Yet, if poorly planned, this diet may increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies, infertility and muscle, bone and teeth weakness.
If you decide to give the raw vegan diet a try, make sure it provides you with enough calories. It's also best to add supplements whenever necessary to meet all your daily nutrient needs.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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By Tim Radford
German scientists now know why so many fish are so vulnerable to ever-warming oceans. Global heating imposes a harsh cost at the most critical time of all: the moment of spawning.
Nearing the Brink<p>Since <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/abundant-fish-need-cool-seas-and-protection/" target="_blank">fish in the temperate zones already experience a wide variation</a> in seasonal water temperatures, it hasn't been obvious why species such as <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/sardines-swim-into-northern-waters-to-keep-cool/" target="_blank">cod have shifted nearer the Arctic, and sardines have migrated to the North Sea</a>.</p><p>But <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/ocean-warming-spurs-marine-life-to-rapid-migration/" target="_blank">marine creatures are on the move</a>, and although there are other factors at work, including overfishing and <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/fish-cant-smell-well-in-more-acidic-seas/" target="_blank">the increasingly alarming changes in ocean chemistry</a>, thanks to ever-higher levels of dissolved carbon dioxide, temperature change is part of the problem.</p><p>The latest answer, Dr Dahlke and his colleagues report in the journal <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aaz3658" target="_blank">Science</a>, is that many fish may already be living near the limits of their thermal tolerance.</p><p>The temperature safety margins during the moments of spawning and embryo might be very precise, and over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, marine and freshwater species have worked out just what is best for the next generation. Rapid global warming upsets this equilibrium.</p>
By Sherry H-Y. Chou, Aarti Sarwal and Neha S. Dangayach
The patient in the case report (let's call him Tom) was 54 and in good health. For two days in May, he felt unwell and was too weak to get out of bed. When his family finally brought him to the hospital, doctors found that he had a fever and signs of a severe infection, or sepsis. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection. In addition to symptoms of COVID-19, he was also too weak to move his legs.
When a neurologist examined him, Tom was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes abnormal sensation and weakness due to delays in sending signals through the nerves. Usually reversible, in severe cases it can cause prolonged paralysis involving breathing muscles, require ventilator support and sometimes leave permanent neurological deficits. Early recognition by expert neurologists is key to proper treatment.
We are neurologists specializing in intensive care and leading studies related to neurological complications from COVID-19. Given the occurrence of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in prior pandemics with other corona viruses like SARS and MERS, we are investigating a possible link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19 and tracking published reports to see if there is any link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19.
Some patients may not seek timely medical care for neurological symptoms like prolonged headache, vision loss and new muscle weakness due to fear of getting exposed to virus in the emergency setting. People need to know that medical facilities have taken full precautions to protect patients. Seeking timely medical evaluation for neurological symptoms can help treat many of these diseases.
What Is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
Guillain-Barre syndrome occurs when the body's own immune system attacks and injures the nerves outside of the spinal cord or brain – the peripheral nervous system. Most commonly, the injury involves the protective sheath, or myelin, that wraps nerves and is essential to nerve function.
Without the myelin sheath, signals that go through a nerve are slowed or lost, which causes the nerve to malfunction.
To diagnose Guillain-Barre Syndrome, neurologists perform a detailed neurological exam. Due to the nerve injury, patients often may have loss of reflexes on examination. Doctors often need to perform a lumbar puncture, otherwise known as spinal tap, to sample spinal fluid and look for signs of inflammation and abnormal antibodies.
Studies have shown that giving patients an infusion of antibodies derived from donated blood or plasma exchange – a process that cleans patients' blood of harmful antibodies - can speed up recovery. A very small subset of patients may need these therapies long-term.
The majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients improve within a few weeks and eventually can make a full recovery. However, some patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome have lingering symptoms including weakness and abnormal sensations in arms and/or legs; rarely patients may be bedridden or disabled long-term.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Pandemics
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, many neurologic specialists have been on the lookout for potentially serious nervous system complications such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Though Guillain-Barre Syndrome is rare, it is well known to emerge following bacterial infections, such as Campylobacter jejuni, a common cause of food poisoning, and a multitude of viral infections including the flu virus, Zika virus and other coronaviruses.
Studies showed an increase in Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases following the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, suggesting a possible connection. The presumed cause for this link is that the body's own immune response to fight the infection turns on itself and attacks the peripheral nerves. This is called an "autoimmune" condition. When a pandemic affects as many people as our current COVID-19 crisis, even a rare complication can become a significant public health problem. That is especially true for one that causes neurological dysfunction where the recovery takes a long time and may be incomplete.
Though there is clear clinical suspicion that COVID-19 can lead to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, many important questions remain. What are the chances that someone gets Guillain-Barre Syndrome during or following a COVID-19 infection? Does Guillain-Barre Syndrome happen more often in those who have been infected with COVID-19 compared to other types of infections, such as the flu?
The only way to get answers is through a prospective study where doctors perform systematic surveillance and collect data on a large group of patients. There are ongoing large research consortia hard at work to figure out answers to these questions.
Understanding the Association Between COVID-19 and Guillain-Barre Syndrome
While large research studies are underway, overall it appears that Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare but serious phenomenon possibly linked to COVID-19. Given that more than 10.7 million cases have been reported for COVID-19, there have been 10 reported cases of COVID-19 patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far – only two reported cases in the U.S., five in Italy, two cases in Iran and one from Wuhan, China.
It is certainly possible that there are other cases that have not been reported. The Global Consortium Study of Neurological Dysfunctions in COVID-19 is actively underway to find out how often neurological problems like Guillain-Barre Syndrome is seen in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Also, just because Guillain-Barre Syndrome occurs in a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, that does not imply that it was caused by the virus; this still may be a coincident occurrence. More research is needed to understand how the two events are related.
Due to the pandemic and infection-containment considerations, diagnostic tests, such as a nerve conduction study that used to be routine for patients with suspected Guillain-Barre Syndrome, are more difficult to do. In both U.S. cases, the initial diagnosis and treatment were all based on clinical examination by a neurological experts rather than any tests. Both patients survived but with significant residual weakness at the time these case reports came out, but that is not uncommon for Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients. The road to recovery may sometimes be long, but many patients can make a full recovery with time.
Though the reported cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far all have severe symptoms, this is not uncommon in a pandemic situation where the less sick patients may stay home and not present for medical care for fear of being exposed to the virus. This, plus the limited COVID-19 testing capability across the U.S., may skew our current detection of Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases toward the sicker patients who have to go to a hospital. In general, the majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients do recover, given enough time. We do not yet know whether this is true for COVID-19-related cases at this stage of the pandemic. We and colleagues around the world are working around the clock to find answers to these critical questions.
Sherry H-Y. Chou is an Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh.
Aarti Sarwal is an Associate Professor, Neurology, Wake Forest University.
Neha S. Dangayach is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Disclosure statement: Sherry H-Y. Chou receives funding from The University of Pittsburgh Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the National Institute of Health, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Dean's Faculty Advancement Award. Sherry H-Y. Chou is a member of Board of Directors for the Neurocritical Care Society. Neha S. Dangayach receives funding from the Bee Foundation, the Friedman Brain Institute, the Neurocritical Care Society, InCHIP-UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media Seed Grant. She is faculty for emcrit.org and for AiSinai. Aarti Sarwal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
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By Jake Johnson
Unity Task Forces formed by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled sweeping party platform recommendations Wednesday that—while falling short of progressive ambitions in a number of areas, from climate to healthcare—were applauded as important steps toward a bold and just policy agenda that matches the severity of the moment.
"We've moved the needle a lot, especially on environmental justice and upping Biden's ambition," said Sunrise Movement co-founder and executive director Varshini Prakash, a member of the Biden-Sanders Climate Task Force. "But there's still more work to do to push Democrats to act at the scale of the climate crisis."
The climate panel—co-chaired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Secretary of State John Kerry—recommended that the Democratic Party commit to "eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035," massively expanding investments in clean energy sources, and "achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings by 2030."
In a series of tweets Wednesday night, Ocasio-Cortez—the lead sponsor of the House Green New Deal resolution—noted that the Climate Task Force "shaved 15 years off Biden's previous target for 100% clean energy."
"Of course, like in any collaborative effort, there are areas of negotiation and compromise," said the New York Democrat. "But I do believe that the Climate Task Force effort meaningfully and substantively improved Biden's positions."
Today the 6 Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces are unveiling final language. The Climate Task Force accomplished a gr… https://t.co/gz3broq2qe— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1594240617.0
The 110 pages of policy recommendations from the six eight-person Unity Task Forces on education, the economy, criminal justice, immigration, climate change, and healthcare are aimed at shaping negotiations over the 2020 Democratic platform at the party's convention next month.
Sanders said that while the "end result isn't what I or my supporters would've written alone, the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country."
"I look forward to working with Vice President Biden to help him win this campaign," the Vermont senator added, "and to move this country forward toward economic, racial, social, and environmental justice."
Biden, for his part, applauded the task forces "for helping build a bold, transformative platform for our party and for our country."
"I am deeply grateful to Bernie Sanders for working with us to unite our party and deliver real, lasting change for generations to come," said the former vice president.
On the life-or-death matter of reforming America's dysfunctional private health insurance system—a subject on which Sanders and Biden clashed repeatedly throughout the Democratic primary process—the Unity Task Force affirmed healthcare as "a right" but did not embrace Medicare for All, the signature policy plank of the Vermont senator's presidential bid.
Instead, the panel recommended building on the Affordable Care Act by establishing a public option, investing in community health centers, and lowering prescription drug costs by allowing the federal government to negotiate prices. The task force also endorsed making all Covid-19 testing, treatments, and potential vaccines free and expanding Medicaid for the duration of the pandemic.
"It has always been a crisis that tens of millions of Americans have no or inadequate health insurance—but in a pandemic, it's potentially catastrophic for public health," the task force wrote.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a former Michigan gubernatorial candidate and Sanders-appointed member of the Healthcare Task Force, said that despite major disagreements, the panel "came to recommendations that will yield one of the most progressive Democratic campaign platforms in history—though we have further yet to go."
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Observers and advocacy groups also applauded the Unity Task Forces for recommending the creation of a postal banking system, endorsing a ban on for-profit charter schools, ending the use of private prisons, and imposing a 100-day moratorium on deportations "while conducting a full-scale study on current practices to develop recommendations for transforming enforcement policies and practices at ICE and CBP."
Marisa Franco, director of immigrant rights group Mijente, said in a statement that "going into these task force negotiations, we knew we were going to have to push Biden past his comfort zone, both to reconcile with past offenses and to carve a new path forward."
"That is exactly what we did, unapologetically," said Franco, a member of the Immigration Task Force. "For years, Mijente, along with the broader immigrant rights movement, has fought to reshape the narrative around immigration towards racial justice and to focus these very demands. We expect Biden and the Democratic Party to implement them in their entirety."
"There is no going back," Franco added. "Not an inch, not a step. We must only move forward from here."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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