FAQS

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Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin) is the one nutrient that vegans need to plan especially for inclusion in their diet. Vitamin B-12 only exists in animal products in nature. Vitamin B-12 works with folic acid in many body processes, which includes DNA synthesis. Vitamin B-12 deficiency may result in a folic acid deficiency if folic acid levels are low. In addition to this, vitamin B-12 deficiency can result in numbness, a burning feeling in the feet, depression, impaired mental function, confusion, and diarrhea.

Fortunately, there are some options for B-12 consumption that do not require ingestion of animal products. Brewer’s yeast can be a good source of vitamin B-12 for vegans. However brewer’s yeast that has been bread for the use as a nutritional supplement is not raw.  It is heated to high enough temperatures in order to avoid its’ fermentation.

The other option for vitamin B-12 for vegans is supplementation. Supplementation may be a good idea because not all nutritional yeast is grown on a medium that is rich in vitamin B-12, and so not all nutritional yeast contains vitamin B-12. The best thing to do is to consult a trusted health care practitioner in order to best plan for your optimal B-12 intake.
 The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin B-12 is 2 micrograms per day. 

Americans tend to worry about their protein intake. However, in reality, protein is the one nutrient we tend to get too much of.  Eating too much protein can actually become harmful for the liver and kidney- the two organs that are responsible for waste removal.  In addition to this, a high protein diet plays a significant role in the number of people suffering from osteoporosis in the United States. In fact, a high intake of protein from animal sources is linked with heart disease, various cancers, hypertension, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. Eating a vegetarian diet reduces your risk for developing the diseases mentioned above.
  The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.37 grams per pound OR 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

For example:

A woman who weighs 140 pounds requires 52 grams of protein per day. (140 lbs. *0.37)

A man who weighs 60 kilograms requires 48 grams of protein per day. (60kg *0.8)

These requirements can easily be met by a well balanced raw vegan diet.  There is protein in every food we eat. In fact, raw foodists who get enough calories and eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted beans and grains are virtually guaranteed to be getting plenty of protein.

The decision of whether or not to eat frozen foods is completely yours. Eating foods that you have grown or purchased from local farms and frozen to eat during the winter months when local raw foods are scarce is an excellent option. Freezing foods does destroy a small amount of the food’s nutritional value. However, foods that are frozen at the peak of their season are definitely nutritionally superior to foods that have been transported from far away. This is because raw foods that have to be shipped thousands of miles will have lost a large percentage of their nutritional value by the time they reach your table. So, for example, people who live in a place like the northern United States are better off consuming foods that they have frozen from their gardens than eating raw foods that have been imported from places like Mexico during the winter. While raw produce straight from the farm is the ideal, foods that are frozen properly are the next best thing. Raw foods that have had to travel over 1000 miles before being consumed will have lost nearly 70% of their nutritional content. So, go ahead and taste your frozen foods and then you can be the judge as to whether or not eating frozen food is right for you.

This depends. Commercially frozen food is generally not raw because it has been blanched prior to being frozen. When food is blanched, it is cooked very quickly to kill the enzymes in the food. This preserves the appearance of the food, but destroys much of his nutritional value. Some commercially frozen food, such as berries, may have been frozen without the blanching process. You can contact the manufacturer and inquire as to whether they blanche their food before it is frozen.
Food that has been frozen at home is considered to be raw, as long as it has not been blanched or cooked in another way prior t o being frozen.

Absolutely not! Adding any number of raw foods to your diet will improve your health and reduce your risk factors for disease later in life. Even if you simply add one serving of raw fruits or vegetables to your daily diet, you begin to improve your health and reduce your risk of long term health disparities.

Cooking destroys a food’s natural enzymes. Enzymes speed up chemical reactions and some of them are required to aid in the break down and digestion of food. Raw food contains its own enzymes. However, the enzymes in cooked foods have been destroyed, which results in our bodies having to produce enzymes for digestion. This causes a lot of extra work for our bodies to have to go through for normal daily processes. Eating foods without enzymes puts stress on our digestive organs, which can lead to impaired digestion and disease.
In addition to destroying the precious enzymes contained in raw foods, cooking also destroys valuable vitamins, minerals, and Phytochemicals. Vitamins and minerals are required for daily biochemical processes, while Phytochemicals have been shown to aid in the prevention of cancer and other diseases. For example, a raw unpeeled apple is abundantly rich in important Phytochemicals called flavonoids. However, when the apple is cooked, these Phytochemicals are completely destroyed.

Raw and living foods are those that have not been heated to a high enough temperature to kill their naturally occurring enzymes. There is some debate in the raw food community about the exact temperate at which enzymes are destroyed. The suggested temperatures are 108, 115, and 118 degrees Fahrenheit. We at Rawpeople.com, suggest that you keep the temperature of your raw foods below 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

More specifically, raw foods are eaten in their natural state, while living foods have been sprouted. For example, a jar of uncooked oat groats sitting in your pantry is a raw food. It is unprocessed and in its natural form. However, when these oat groats are sprouted, they are considered to be living food. The enzyme activity and nutritional content of living foods are much higher than in raw foods.

A raw food lifestyle supports the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed, and preferably organic foods. A vegan raw food diet includes a variety of different foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains and legumes (beans), spices, and herbs. The nutritional content of vegan raw foods is typically much greater than in the cooked form of these foods.
At rawpeople.com, we take a holistic approach toward the raw food lifestyle. Living a raw food lifestyle is not just about eating raw food, it is also about being conscious of how we are treating ourselves, others, and the environment.  It includes mindfulness and living with more awareness. Here at rawpoeple.com, we seek to provide you with the tools you need to nurture your body, mind and spirit.

What is a vegetarian? A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat from animals. This can include beef, pork, chicken, lamb, bison, fish, and others. However, some vegetarians do eat animal products such as milk, cheese, and eggs.

What is a vegan? A vegan does not consume any animal products including meat, dairy products such as milk and cheese, eggs, or honey. Vegans tend to avoid purchasing clothing, shoes, and other products which are made from animal sources.

What is the difference between a vegan and a raw foodist? A vegan does not consume animal products. A raw foodist consumes mostly raw and uncooked foods which have not been heated above approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Some vegans are raw foodists, and consume only raw plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Many raw foodists are vegans, but some are not. There are some raw foodists who consume raw cheese or raw fish (sushi).

Is sushi considered to be a raw food?

Sushi is comprised of raw fish and cooked rice. The fish portion is raw, while the rice portion is not raw.  "Sashimi" refers to the raw fish portion. Sashimi is considered to be a raw food. However, it is raw fish, so vegan raw foodists do not consume it.

Does it matter if the fruits or vegetables are organically labeled? It is always best to purchase organic fruits and vegetables when possible. Organic fruits and vegetables have been grown without the use of harmful chemicals, which is better for the environment and for your health. However, produce does not have to be organic in order to be considered a raw food. If organic produce in not available in your area, you can still eat raw. Just make sure to wash the produce very well.

Are coffee and tea allowed on the raw foods diet?Herbal tea is considered to be acceptable on the raw foods diet, especially for those living in colder climates.  However, most purchased tea is not considered to be raw because it has been heated above 115 Fahrenheit in order to dry it and prevent mold growth. Also, when steeped in hot water, tea is not considered to be raw.  You can grow your own herbs for tea. Good examples include chamomile and peppermint. Then you can make your own raw herbal sun tea on warm sunny days.

Coffee is not a raw beverage. Ideally, coffee intake should be limited as it is very acidic and typically high in caffeine.

If you do purchase tea or coffee, please be mindful about where the products you are purchasing come from and what the consequences of your purchase are.Most tea and coffee is grown in an unsustainable manner that is bad for the environment, and animals, particularly birds. Also, most coffee and tea farmers work in developing countries where they are treated poorly, are  subjected to dangerous working conditions, and do not receive a living wage for their product. Products that are labeled "organic" have been grown without harmful synthetic chemicals. Products that are labeled “Fair trade” guarantees that the farmers received fair pay for their product and receive other types of support and protection.When purchasing tea or coffee, please try to purchase products which carry these labels.

Is alcohol allowed on the raw foods diet?Whether or not to use alcohol is a personal choice. At RawPeople.com, we do not advocate the use of alcohol. If you use alcohol, it should be done in moderation in order to avoid serious long-term health problems.

Beer and distilled spirits are not raw. Some wines can be raw. You can contact individual wine makers to determine if their wines are raw.

Something important to consider is that many wines are vegetarian. Some wine makers use animal products as a clarifying agent. Clarifying agents remove proteins from wine, which prevents the finished product from containing sediment. Examples of animal products that are used as clarifying agents are egg whites, milk, casein, gelatin, and isinglass. Gelatin is a product, which is derived from the connective tissues of cows and pigs. Isinglass is derived from the bladder of the sturgeon fish. Bentonite clay is a popular vegetarian clarifying agent which is typically used in the most inexpensive wines. There are no regulations or labeling laws regarding these products in wine. It is best to contact the specific wine makers to discover whether or not they use animal products as clarifying agents.

Why should I soak nuts?There are a couple of reasons why it is beneficial to soak nuts prior to using them. The first is that they contain enzyme inhibitors, which are nature’s way of adding storage life to the nuts. Soaking your nuts in water will neutralize these enzyme inhibitors and will promote the creation of beneficial enzymes.The second reason for soaking nuts is that they contain small amounts of phytates. Some individuals find that soaking nuts makes them more digestible because of this. Soaking increases the water content of the nut and reduces its’ phytate content. This can also help to increase absorption of calcium, iron, and zinc.

Should I take supplements?The answer to this question is "It depends". It is definitely a good idea for all vegans to consider taking a vitamin B-12 supplement. This is because vitamin B-12 is found almost exclusively in animal products. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can result in impaired nerve and mental function, as well as anemia.It may be a good idea for vegans to take a vitamin D supplement during the winter months when less time is spent outdoors. This is because our bodies are designed to create our own vitamin D, however this process must be triggered by access to sunlight. Active people should have no problem getting enough vitamin D during the summer months.  Some individuals including those who work indoors, live in northern climates, or who use sun block regularly should speak to a healthcare practitioner about taking a vitamin D supplement. The ability to manufacture our own vitamin D may decline with age, so people over the age of 70 may want to consider a supplement as well. Many non-raw vegan foods such as non-dairy milks, breakfast cereals, margarine, and juices are fortified with vitamin D. You should be able to get most of the nutrients you need, with the exception of vitamin B-12 and vitamin D from eating fresh, raw, unprocessed foods. However, if you are just beginning the raw food lifestyle or are reducing your caloric intake to lose weight, a multivitamin may be a good idea. Taking a multivitamin will insure that you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Consult a healthcare practitioner if you feel that you may require a multivitamin.

Are ketchup and mustard raw?

Commercially prepared condiments such as mustard and ketchup are not raw.
They are heated to very high temperatures in order to be cooked and
packaged. Not only are they not raw, many of the most common brands of
condiments contain fillers such as high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Both
of these items are highly refined. It is best to avoid them. In addition to
this, it has been discovered recently that high fructose corn syrup is
contaminated with mercury as a result of its refining process.There are many great recipes for making your own raw ketchup, mustard, vegan
mayonnaise, sauerkraut, pickled ginger, horseradish, barbeque sauce, and
more.

Are Spices Raw?Many spices are raw, but there are some that are not.  Spices that are dried in the sun or shade are raw because they have not been heated about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Some spices are not considered to be raw because they are either boiled or heated by artificial means, which raises their temperature about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Commonly used spices that are not raw in their dried form as a result of their required processing techniques include paprika, saffron, sassafras, turmeric, and vanilla. Please see the article “Are spices raw?” for more information.

Sprouts should not be relied on as a source of vitamin B-12. Sprouts contain little or no vitamin B-12. Cobalamin is the form of vitamin B-12 that is needed by the human body. Some sprouts may contain a vitamin B-12 analog that is similar to Cobalamin; however it cannot be utilized by our bodies. Eating a raw food diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds will provide you with plenty of vitamins and minerals, with the exception of vitamin B-12. In general, raw plant foods are not good sources for vitamin B-12. Supplementation is the best way to ensure that you are achieving an adequate vitamin B-12 intake.

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