Here are some of the common contraindications of eating strict raw vegan.
5 Reasons Why A Raw Vegan Diet Is Unhealthy
1. Nutrient Deficiencies
Strict raw vegan diets come with the risk of developing many serious nutritional deficiencies. Some of these common vegan deficiencies include Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA, conditionally essential amino acids such as taurine and carnitine and many more.
This is one of the main reasons why strict raw vegan diets are not healthy to follow. When you start eliminating many food groups from your diet, you significantly increase the risk of developing many nutritional deficiencies.
Garden of Life, Vitamin Code, Raw Zinc, 60 Veggie Caps is available from IHERB and is a good source of Zinc for raw vegans.
2. Difficult To Get Enough Calories
It is very difficult to consistently derive enough calories from an all raw vegan diet, especially if you are an active individual, which can increase your caloric needs further.
Most raw plant foods are very high in volume and fiber, whilst being relatively low in calories. Many individuals cannot tolerate the large volume required and end up not being able to get enough calories.
This can result in extreme weight loss and again malnutrition.
3. Lack Of Quality Protein Sources
Raw vegans tend to eliminate the half decent plant-based protein sources from their diets such as beans, legumes, soy and even some wholegrains such as quinoa for example.
Many individuals have trouble balancing their blood sugar without consuming a small amount of protein rich foods at each meal.
This is probably the most common difficulty those encounter when trying to eat all raw, they experience low blood sugar symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, fatigue, shakeyness and individuals are commonly told by raw vegan gurus that these are "detoxification" symptoms.
Algaes, seaweeds, sprouts and bee pollen are good plant sources of amino acids but again these foods are often limited or not recommended on many types of raw diets.
4. Nutrient Absorption
Many raw foods are not very digestible in their raw state due to the tough fibrous cell walls these plant foods contain.
Light cooking such as with steaming helps to soften these tough fibers, which aids digestion and the bio-availibility of nutrients. Many studies show that despite levels of many nutrients being lower after cooking, that we absorb and uptake significantly more than we do from many raw plant foods.
I believe that many vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach etc are much more digestible when lightly cooked. Despite many raw foodists consuming large bowfuls of raw greens, they often still end up developing multiple nutrient deficiencies, which says to me that they aren't breaking down these foods optimally.
The excessive amount of fiber that comes with eating all raw vegan diets may be another factor which interferes with nutrient absorption. Too much fiber can be just as problematic as low fiber diets and they can cause too rapid intestinal transit time, which doesn't give your body enough time to break down and digest foods.
5. Sugar Or Fats ?
Due to the lack of quality protein sources, most raw vegan diets end up making up the remaining calories by consuming more carbohydrates or fat.
This leads to terribly imbalanced diets as we have seen with Doug Grahams raw 80/10/10 diet. 80/10/10 is a diet which derives eighty percent of its calories from sugar, ten percent from fats and ten percent from protein.
Out of all of the different raw vegan diets, 80/10/10 and the high fruit based diets have anecdotally shown to be the biggest failures and most likely to cause health problems.