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Vegan Or Raw Vegan: Which is The Right Diet To Follow?

With influencers promoting veganism and raw veganism, it becomes mandatory to know its benefits and drawbacks to understand which one is best for us.

Parvathy Pillai
Vegan Or Raw Vegan: Which One Do You Prefer?
Vegan Or Raw Vegan: Which One Do You Prefer?

The rise of social media has impacted the lives of millions, such as Zhanna D’Art, an influencer who recently died. We have witnessed a surge in social media content whether it included dance reels, hilarious jokes, majestic animations and what not. However, during the recent years an enthralling subject has made its way to the top. That is ‘Veganism’.

Various animal protection organizations put emphasis on spreading the motto that animals are not to satisfy the needs of humans. This has become a revolution on social media, where a large number of people started getting influenced by these practices. A significant number of influencers were seen adapting to the vegan lifestyle and one such was Zhanna D’Art who passed away last month. The Russian raw vegan influencer mainly consumed raw vegan food material that included large quantities of Jackfruit and Durian.

Her death caused a huge spur on social media platforms. Few netizens argued the fact that adopting a vegan lifestyle could never lead to death, while others state that since vegan food items lack a number of vital nutrients sufficient for the human body, it can severely lead to traumatic events. People on social media are interpreting her death as a result of consuming vegan food. Whereas, it’s clearly perceived from her Instagram handle that she used to consume raw vegan food and not the vegan food.

Well, that’s the deal! There is a huge necessity to differentiate between both the terms i.e., ‘Vegan’ and ‘Raw Vegan’.

Vegan Diet

Veganism is defined as the consumption of only ‘plant-based’ food.

Vegan diet includes:

  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Potatoes, bread, bice and other forms of starchy carbohydrates

  • Dairy alternatives such as soya milk, cashew milk that has lower proportions of fat and sugar

  • Beans and pulses and other necessary proteins

  • Nuts and seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids

  • Unsaturated oils and spreads in small amounts

  • Supplements and fortified foods contain nutrients that are difficult to obtain through the vegan diet. It includes vitamin D, vitamin B12, iodine, calcium, iron, and selenium.

Veganism gained huge popularity around the world when mass awareness was generated to cease the ill-treatment and slaughtering of animals for the benefit of mankind. A massive number of celebrities around the world are vegan. It includes one of the prominent international tennis champions, Serena Williams, Academy Award winner, Joaquin Phoenix, Bollywood star Aamir Khan and the list is endless. The primary objective of consuming food is to stay healthy and keep their life processes in action without any hurdles. There is no doubt that a vegan diet can change your lifestyle dramatically. However, the question arises, whether it affects positively or negatively.

Vegan Diet: Benefits

  • Obesity- As per the data from 87 published studies, Berkow SE and Barnard N reported in the peer-reviewed medical journal, ‘Nutrition Reviews’ that a vegan diet is highly effective for weight loss. It was also found that a vegan diet had more calories to be burned as compared to a non-vegetarian diet. Vegans were also found to intake more potassium, magnesium, thiamin, iron, riboflavin, folate, and vitamins and less total fat.

  • Diabetes - Vegan diet or plant-based diet has another advantage with respect to the prevention and management of diabetes. The Adventist Health Studies found that vegans have approximately half the risk of developing diabetes as non- It is seen that a low-fat, plant-based diet with no or little meat may help prevent and treat diabetes, possibly by improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing insulin resistance.

  • Heart Disease -In 1998, a collaborative analysis that used original data from 5 prospective studies was reviewed and reported in the journal ’Public Health Nutrition’. It compared ischemic heart disease-specific death rate ratios of plant-based diets and non-vegetarian diets. It was observed that people consuming the plant-based diet had a 24% reduction in ischemic heart disease death rates compared with individuals consuming the non-vegetarian

  • Mortality - In 2010, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee performed a literature review to determine the effect of plant-based diets on stroke, cardiovascular disease, and total mortality in adults. They found that vegan diets were associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality compared with non-plant-based diets.

Vegan Diet Drawbacks

  • Iron - It is true that vegan diets contain iron, but the iron percentage in meat has high digestibility as compared to the plant-based diet. Iron stores may be lower who consume a vegan diet. However, the American Dietetic Association states that iron-deficiency anemia is rare even in individuals who follow a plant-based diet

  • Vitamin B12- Vitamin B12 is important for cell division and blood formation. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a very serious problem and can lead to macrocytic anemia and irreversible nerve damage. It is to be understood that Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria, not plants or animals. Therefore, Individuals who follow a plant-based diet automatically may be vulnerable to B12 deficiency. In such cases, they need to supplement their diet with vitamin B12 or foods fortified with vitamin B12.

  • Calcium and Vitamin D- It is generally observed that plant-based diets contain adequate levels of calcium in them. Therefore, People who do not consume plants in their diet may be at risk for impaired bone mineralization and fractures. However, studies have shown that fracture risk was similar for vegans, vegetarians, and nonvegetarians. Some significant sources of calcium include paneer, milk, cheese, and yogurt which are avoided by vegans.

  • Vitamin D - Vitamin D deficiency can be generally seen in large In the case of a vegan diet, soy milk and cereal grains may be fortified to provide an adequate source of Vitamin D. Supplements are also recommended for those who are at risk for low bone mineral density and for those found to be deficient in vitamin D.

Raw Vegan

Raw vegan is considered a subset of the vegan diet. Like vegan, it too excludes food of animal origin. However, an interesting principle in this case is that the food should be consumed entirely raw or heated at a temperature below 104 degrees - 118 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees - 80 degrees Celsius). There is some evidence that raw food is healthier than cooked food. Cooking food destroys nutrients and enzymes which alters the structure and, thus, digestibility of food, and creates byproducts that may be harmful.

What all to eat?

  • Raw fruits

  • Raw vegetables

  • Sprouted grains, such as unhulled farro and quinao that have been soaked and not cooked

  • Sprouted legumes, such as lentils and pinto bean that sprout in warm water

  • Raw nuts, which means they were not roasted

  • Raw seeds, which means they were not roasted

  • Almond milk made with raw almonds

  • Raw tofu

Raw Vegan Benefits

  • Improve Heart Health- A raw vegan diet observed to improve heart health due to its focus on fruits and vegetables - both of which are consistently linked to lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies show that these foods may improve blood cholesterol levels and further lower your risk of heart disease.

  • Aid Weight loss -A raw vegan diet seems very effective at helping people lose weight and keep it off. In fact, studies have consistently linked raw food diets ( including raw veganism) to lower amounts of body fat. 

  • May improve digestion - The high amount of fiber in whole plant foods can 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.

Raw Vegan Drawbacks

  • Raw veganism could be nutritionally imbalanced - 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, and infertility. While anyone can have low vitamin B12 levels, vegans not taking supplements are at a higher risk of deficiency

  • Lead to tooth decay - Raw vegan diets may also increase your chances of tooth decay. This may be especially true of diets that include a lot of citrus fruits and berries. These fruits are thought to be more acidic and more likely to cause erosion of your tooth enamel.

A raw vegan diet possesses a number of drawbacks that is alike a vegan diet. Similar to the Russian social media influencer, Zhanna D’Art, there’s another couple in town following the same diet. Simon and Tina have been consuming only fruits for years. The couple states that eating normal food makes them ‘feel high’.


Every individual going on any particular diet must follow the restrictive habits of consuming that food. Getting influenced by a public figure and hoping to receive the same results should never be entertained. It must be taken into consideration that whatever we intake is for our benefit to lead a healthy life and not for some futile experimentation. So, which one do you prefer?

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