Lots of celebs and influencers seem to be on the raw food diet. Their trim figures and glowing skin make it seem like the best choice for swift and healthy weight-loss – but is it safe to go fully raw for fertility?
Some of the benefits of the diet include rapid weight loss, sometimes while eating huge amounts of food (definitely more fun than cutting calories), as well as the kind of glow you’d expect from a week at a yoga retreat.
Can raw vegan food help hormonal acne?
Those plagued by spotty skin as the result of hormonal injections, as well the stress of fertility issues and IVF may benefit from the skin-soothing diet. Some people break out in spots for the first few weeks as their body adjusts, but graduate to softer, clearer skin with fewer breakouts when it settles down.
Can I get my BMI down with a raw vegan diet?
Dropping weight can help you to be more fertile, improve other health conditions and overall fitness, and help to get your BMI to a level where you’re entitled to IVF on the NHS.
Can raw vegan food give me more energy?
Clearer skin, more energy and less brain fog are often reported by raw devotees. However, the science is not quite clear on whether that’s because of the amount of good stuff they’re eating – or if it’s because they’ve cut out all less healthy foods. It could also be all in the mind.
Finally, raw food diets can offer long-term benefits, such as protection from – and even the reversal of diabetes. Lower risk of heart disease and other killer illnesses can also be the result of this type of diet.
Risks of a raw vegan diet for fertility
When we say “raw food diet”, we’re talking raw vegan – not raw meat! Un-pasturised dairy, raw eggs and the like can be dangerous in early pregnancy, as well as having the potential to give you food poisoning and introduce parasites to your system. You want a baby, not a tapeworm, so give raw meat and other animal products a big miss on this diet.
Some of the risks include running low on some vital nutrients, having low energy, too much weight loss, and triggering an eating disorder. It’s very important to pay attention to proper nutrition when you’re trying for a baby, and not lose too much weight.
It’s also vital to avoid negatively impacting your mental health with an overly restrictive eating pattern. Raw food is amazing – but if you would feel deeply unhappy about eating a cooked carrot, then you’ve definitely gone too far.
What is the raw vegan diet?
The raw diet we’re talking about is the raw plant-based or raw vegan diet. They’re almost identical, only vegans are avoiding animal products for ethical reasons as well as for health.
Any and all edible fruits, nuts and grains are yours for the taking on this diet -provided you can safely eat them raw. Obviously, fruit and salad are raw plant-based foods, but there are so many other foods that you may not have even tried, or realised that you can eat raw.
Will eating raw vegan give you a huge nutrient boost?
Absolutely yes! Devotees and gurus claim that this can help your body to heal, balance your internal gut flora and remove “toxins” from your body. Scientists, who don’t really believe in “toxins” point out that eating a lot of amazing fruits, vegetables and seeds while avoiding processed and overly sugary and salty foods, is obviously going to have a positive impact on your health, and that’s a good enough reason to feel happy about a raw food diet.
Is raw vegan food good for you?
Again, devotees and scientists different in their explanations of why rawsome is so awesome. Both sides agree that many of the nutrients in foods are destroyed by cooking. Keeping the food raw allows the nutrients to enter your body unaltered. So far so sensible.
However, scientists say that your body is very efficient at extracting nutrients from food, and we can only absorb a certain amount per day anyway. Any extra nutrients are only going to be excreted by the body, so eating raw is simply overloading the body with extra nutrients. This is fine – it won’t do you any harm. But scientists say it’s also fine to eat the same foods cooked as well, and that they’re still very nutritious.
Is raw vegan food easier to digest?
Hardcore raw vegan foodists claim that the body digests raw food much easier than cooked. Again, not everyone agrees with this claim. Cooking food can partly break it down and make it easier to digest. Cooking also compresses many foods, making them more calorie dense.
Is raw vegan better than cooked vegan food?
Some foods become more nutritious when they are cooked, and of course some nutritious foods can’t be eaten at all until they are cooked. By only eating raw food, a lot of the complications and decisions are simplified, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, do beware of gurus and “experts” who tell you that all cooked food is unhealthy or poisonous – it’s simply not true. All plant foods are nutritious and healthy, cooked and uncooked.
Will raw vegan food make me lose weight?
One of the factors that makes the raw vegan way of life compatible with your skinniest pair of jeans is that it takes an awful lot of raw food – and a lot of chewing, to get enough calories to not feel hungry. All food takes a certain amount of calories to digest, and uncooked food can in many cases, take slightly more energy to digest than cooked. The combination of eating fewer calories, and those calories taking more energy to digest, tends to be fairly rapid weight loss. This is fantastic if you need to lose weight for your health, but it can be a bit of a disaster if you need to maintain or increase your body weight.
Do I need to take Omega-3 on the raw vegan diet?
While the raw vegan diet can increase the levels of some nutrients in your body, it can mean you’re running low on others. Omega-3 in the form of DHA is a very important nutrient for anybody trying to get pregnant. While some types of Omega-3 can be found in walnuts and other sources, it’s not quite the ideal type for your body to make babies with! The traditional source for this is fish and fish oil, but raw fish is often full of parasites, so it’s best avoided – particularly if you are trying for a baby and you might actually be pregnant. You can get a fully plant-based source of DHA Omega-3 that vegans use, which is harvested from the algae that fish feed from. If you want to know more about vegan Omega-3, we have a full article on it here.
Do I need B12 for fertility on the raw vegan diet?
A raw vegan diet can also be low in vitamin B12, iodine and calcium. These are all absolutely essential for anybody trying for a baby, so you must take a good quality supplement, to ensure that you’re not risking your fertility and future pregnancy and health.
What is the raw vegan diet best for?
Overall, the raw vegan diet is fabulous for your health, if you want to do the following:
- Lose weight without being too hungry
- Eat lots of healthy food and avoid unhealthy food
- Wean yourself off sugar, takeaways and other unhealthy eating habits
- Bombard your body with an amazing array of nutrients and antioxidants
- Establish new eating habits – replacing crisps with carrot sticks for example, or just eating more vegetables
- Improve your skin or energy levels (not guaranteed, but lots of people claim this is the case)
- Improve your egg health and overall fertility (again not guaranteed, but overall health and nutrition is a great place to start)
You need to be careful about the raw diet if you:
- Have or have had an eating disorder
- Are underweight or struggling to maintain weight
- Have gut issues that make it hard for you to digest certain foods
Finally, always speak to your doctor before you make any drastic changes to your diet!
We’ll be publishing some delicious raw recipes and tips especially for fertility soon, so keep in touch on our Facebook and Instagram!