First appeared on Food Riot, by Susie Rodarme
You know that thing where, like, you know, you need a change in your eating life and you're watching YouTube and then, like, a week later you decide you're going to be a raw vegan so you do that?
I did that. Clearly, it did not last.
At the time in my life that I thought maybe I would be a raw vegan for awhile, I was eating, like, complete garbage and thought maybe I could get myself back on track if I did some kind of cleanse thing. I don't do actual cleanses because I couldn't go more than a few hours without eating; I would gnaw my own arm off. I was clicking around on YouTube looking for alternative ideas and somehow stumbled across raw food guru Megan Elizabeth's channel. I dig Megan Elizabeth and actually still subscribe to her channel; she's very positive, upbeat, and nonjudgmental when it comes to people trying out the raw lifestyle.
After several hours of educating myself (some people would call this "binge-watching") on YouTube about the raw food lifestyle, I thought, huh, maybe I should try this. I couldn't see a downside, really. It was all really fresh, beautiful, delicious food. Fruit, veg. Raw nuts and coconut and stuff. And hey, look, they turned raw zucchini into lasagna and spaghetti! There's even cheese made of cashews! (This is actually pretty delicious and I still eat it, without the nooch*.) Being a raw vegan is healthy AND I can be creative!
Yeah, it's both of those things, but it was also sad in my mouth.
First, the genius that I am, I decided to try this out in fucking December. Do you know what happens when you don't cook food? Everything you eat is cold. Room temperature AT BEST. You can heat things up slightly using hot water or a dehydrator, but I don't own a dehydrator and warming something in hot water just makes it seem even more depressing.
Do you know what's fresh and seasonal in December? Fuck-all. Like, lemons or something. Definitely not all of the amazing things I would want to eat if I were on a raw diet.
And honestly, I couldn't even go fully raw. Hardcore raw people don't really use salt, or olive oil, and I could not have survived as long as I did without cashew cheese that had both of these ingredients. I love fresh fruit and everything, but nothing else had any flavor because it was all uncooked. Raw "marinara" didn't taste anything like actual marinara; it lacked the beautiful melding of flavors that you get with a slow simmer. And I seriously could only eat so many under-seasoned raw lettuce wraps.
I honestly don't even think I made it a full three weeks. Christmas came along and I was like "Welp, fuck this" and ate a bitchload of ham and stuffing.
I salute people who are able to do this lifestyle and stick to it. I love food, and I love vegan food, and I even love a good salad, but what I crave most is high variety (and also hot food that is supposed to be hot -- if I tucked into one more bowl of cold zucchini noodles, I would have cried.) I was paralyzed as a raw vegan and totally unable to commit to the lifestyle.
Have you ever tried raw veganism or another specialized way of eating? How did that go?
*nooch = shorthand for nutritional yeast. I hate nutritional yeast. But now you know an insider term.