“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
Due in no small part to the “food as medicine” philosophy of Hippocrates receiving more scientific validation and real-world applicability, interest in vegan diets has surged globally in the past decade.
Evidence of veganism on the rise is easily observable from in our local supermarkets where there are often whole aisles dedicated to vegan food. The world's top athletes are living proof of the potential of veganism! Among them are: Lewis Hamilton, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, to name just a few.
As an elite personal trainer located in London, I will offer my first-hand knowledge of how eating a colorful, diverse, vibrant, and fresh raw vegan diet can optimize your physical performance, alter your mind and body, and contribute to environmental preservation.
What about vegan cuisine that is raw though? That being vegan food that is obviously undercooked and free of all animal products?
Did you know that research shows that the concept of the raw vegan diets dates back to the Pythagorean era of the ancient world? (1)
Research shows that the raw vegan diet comprises the very basic veganism rules of including everything plant-based, without anything from animal sources, and in addition to it, without cooking or subjecting it to heat above 118° F. (2)
Scientific evidence points to very important raw vegan diet benefits that arise as the food retains its nutrition as you do not cook it or denature it with heat. (3)
However, this is not the new kid on the block.
In 1956 Viktoras Kulvinskas and Ann Wigmore founded the Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI) and created a unique nutrition philosophy setting up a forward-thinking strong foundation of a healthy nutrition alternative.
They created a very clear and structured way of eating known also as the Hippocrates diet and the scientific foundation for a fresh, plenty, varied and colorful raw vegan nutrition was born.
Some of the things advocated by Ann Wigmore a cancer survivor were fermented foods and consuming more fiber.
Eating plant based good quality fats including omega-3, only or as much as possible organic fresh and colorful whole foods and favoring many varied greens, sprouts, were other principles they’ve introduced.
Consuming with each main meal about 25g of protein coming from plant sources, limit and avoid intakes of heavily processed foods (SAD), practice exercise like Yoga and use meditation to connect better with yourself etc.
At the time some of these were dismissed as a fad. However, time is the best judge, so what does the science say about HHI pioneering principles? The scientific list of raw vegan lifestyle validation is very long whilst the space I have here is short.
However, here are just two examples of things that have validated the Hippocrates lifestyle that Viktoras Kulvinskas and Ann Wigmore created:
Macrobiota and gut health is now scientifically recognised throughout the world as a neuroprotector enhancer. Think gut brain axis and also about customised “nutrition psychiatry” applications - a term coined by Harvard university.
Also did you know that macrobiota has been officially added on the list as an anti-ageing mechanism?
Nutrition science shows with certainty that there is a direct correlation between your good bacteria in the gut, less inflammation and better telomers length.
Studies shown that western SAD diet is destroying your mitochondria health, energy levels whilst opens up your body to a host of diseases.
Research shows that eating fresh and colorful whole foods to a large extent will protect your mitochondria health. In addition to all these benefits Mitochondria has become an official anti-ageing hallmark. Research shows that a healthy mitochondria could means a healthier and better quality of your lifespan.
Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI) and renowned Brian Clement have spent decades meticulously honing and transforming optimum health nutrition for human health and they do this by using body transformation programs.
Therefore, in this article, I will share evidence-based research and benefits of the raw vegan diet lifestyle.
According to research, eating a raw vegan diet promotes lifespan, clear, healthy skin, weight loss, improved digestive health, and natural detoxification. (4) This concept has gone on to become widely acknowledged in my different food cultures.
Raw Vegan foods are rich in the nutrients your body needs.
Food that is consumed raw maintains its natural nutritional value. Vegan cuisine is rich in many vital vitamins and minerals. Research publications have publicly shown athletes who followed a raw vegan diet and finished the hardest Ironman challenge. (5) Microgreens including spinach, kale, broccoli, radish, green peas, and amaranth are high in polyphenols, L-ascorbic acid, carotenoids, chlorophylls, amino acids, organic acid, and pectin, in addition to iron and calcium (6). Sprouts are powerhouses of primary and secondary metabolites that flood them during the sprouting process. They are so easy to digest that you may have them in their raw and most nutritious form. Adding Quinoa, Soyabean or buckwheat sprouts enriched with vitamins B1, B6, and C to your daily intake add variety to a raw vegan diet. (6-8)
Following a Raw Vegan diet could help lose weight.
Research shows that one of the many veganism benefits is the potential for weight loss; raw vegan food choices promote a psychosocial relationship with food. (9) It isn’t merely weight loss but a complete body transformation that gives you the necessary confidence and energy to carry out your routine activities. Eating raw vegan food can assist you in navigating this process. Making wise dietary selections and utilizing this nutritional pattern to its fullest will help you achieve physical transformation. You might follow this evidence based advice and adopt a vegan diet to successfully lose weight: (10)
Have a colorful fiber-rich plate with local greens, lettuce, cabbage, peas, carrots, amaranth, kale and beet.
Decorate your salads with sprouts to get nutrition and sprouted proteins and keep carbs at bay.
Get the essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids from flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds.
Avoid salad dressings, just a little cold pressed virgin olive oil, if you like it.
Snack on nuts like walnuts, pistachios, and almonds when hungry.
Go for an oat green smoothie with strong anti-inflammatory compounds like ginger and turmeric root.
Drink plenty of water.
Improve your gut microflora with some special naturally home made fermented drinks.
Exercise and a raw vegan diet both increase your gut metabolism, which enables you to finally achieve the complete body transformation you've been dreaming of. It also helps you shape your body in a healthy way. Vegan diet and weight loss thus go hand in hand.
A Raw Vegan diet may help alleviate PCOS symptoms.
Some of the many vegan diet health benefits may help with overcoming menstrual problems. While Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects millions of females worldwide, a simple change in food choice may alleviate some PCOS symptoms. Research shows that PCOS is associated with abnormal glucose metabolism, weight gain, disrupted menstrual cycles, and infertility (11). The PCOS Vegan Diet Meal Plan helps you focus on organic produce, colorful and fresh raw vegan foods and research shows that plant based nutrition was studied even as a physician guide. (10)
What to include?
Leafy green vegetables in their raw form.
Chia and flaxseeds.
Raw walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts.
Unsweetened almond or soy milk.
Fresh green juices with anti-inflammatory ginger.
Is a vegan diet good for PCOS? Research shows that a carefully crafted PCOS vegan diet meal plan helps in improving your metabolism, keeps inflammatory markers at bay, and reduces your BMI. (12)
Customized Raw Vegan nutrition may help prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Globally, type-2 diabetes is already reaching pandemic proportions. While medications can be helpful, diet is more crucial because certain foods will convert to other sugars like fructose and glucose. According to research, the best method to maintain normal blood glucose levels and prevent nutritional shortages is to customize your diet plan to account for the decreased glucose metabolism associated with type-2 diabetes (13). Since each person's level of impaired glucose metabolism is unique, a customized diet plan will be the most effective for you.
Another of the vegan diet benefits is its potential to help improve glycemic control. Request that your nutritionist create a vegan diet plan specifically for you, taking into account your weight, blood sugar levels, and other medical issues. You can select which foods to eat and which to avoid, as listed below:
Say no to canned and sugary juices.
Restrict and eliminate carbonated beverages.
Choose foods with low glycemic index and more fiber slowing down the sugar absorption.
Get your vitamins and proteins from soy, vegetables, and sprouts from legumes and seeds.
While you embark on the raw vegan diet journey with type-2 diabetes, take care not to become hypoglycemic. (14) At Hippocrates Health Institute, you will learn about the life-transforming journeys of people who learned how to do this and now thrive using the raw vegan diet lifestyle.
Eating a Raw Vegan diet can reduce the pain of Arthritis.
Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis are associated with severe pain. There has been strong research-based evidence that shows the raw vegan diet benefits for people who suffer from arthritis: your food choices can reduce the inflammatory markers that cause discomfort. Studies reveal that eating a vegan diet helps arthritis sufferers feel less pain (16, 15). The following could be a few of the underlying causes (17):
By reducing the exposure to certain antigens that trigger inflammatory markers and reduces inflammation, a raw diet another veganism benefit.
Changes in gut microflora by switching to a raw vegan diet also result in better digestion and a reduction in inflammatory chemicals released in the body.
A vegan diet typically lacks an acid known as arachidonic acid which is responsible for the inflammatory reactions occurring in the cascade. Thus, a vegan diet benefits people with arthritis. (18)
Clinical studies have shown a reduction in pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis when adopting a vegan diet. Research shows that the lactobacilli in fermented food, fibers in vegetables, and antioxidants in raw and fresh vegan diets play a role in reducing inflammation. (15)
A Vegan diet may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
There are many different kinds and forms of cancer, and millions of people worldwide are currently impacted by it. Studies have shown that nutrition plays a significant role in approximately 30% of cancer incidences worldwide, even though genetic predisposition and unfavorable environmental factors also play a role. Therefore, research shows that changing your diet and consuming vegan cuisine may lower your chance of developing several types of cancer (19). Studies indicate that a vegan diet's high fiber content, antioxidants, and beneficial phytoconstituents may help reduce the incidence of cancer (20).
Certain types of Breast Cancer
In the US, breast cancer ranks second in terms of both death and prevalence. Research indicates that adopting a vegan diet lowers the risk of breast cancer. According to one such study, women who followed a vegan diet had lower Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) because they avoided animal-derived saturated fat. This inflammatory form of fat increases your chance of becoming obese by activating TLR4 signaling in the hypothalamus. Studies indicate that they gain advantages from consuming a high-fiber diet consisting of whole grains and raw vegetables (21). High-protein, vitamin-rich plant-based foods were found to have a decreased incidence of breast cancer than other diet-following women (21).
Certain types of Prostate Cancer
Did you know that prostate cancer is the third leading cause of death in men? Certain dietary interventional studies that have demonstrated a negative correlation between a vegan diet and prostate cancer (22) clearly highlight the raw vegan diet benefits. In a similar vein, when raw and processed tomatoes were contrasted in a different study, those who followed a raw vegan diet and ate tomatoes had a lower risk of prostate cancer. (23) Therefore, ultimately, it has been demonstrated by science that vegan nutrition benefits may mitigate some of the risks associated with prostate cancer.
Raw Vegan food may keep your heart health and lower blood pressure.
Are you aware that the number of adults with raised blood pressure is rapidly increasing? In the last four decades, heart diseases have become a worldwide trend. (24) A study has recommended a plant-based diet as a healthy and environmentally sustainable eating pattern that would help lower the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. (25)
Research indicates that a raw vegan diet that is abundant in fiber, folic acid, vitamin C and E, potassium, magnesium, and several phytochemicals and also important since it has a healthy fat profile that is devoid of inflammatory saturated fat.
As a result, it possesses greater anti-inflammatory qualities that could aid in lowering the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, which is considered a cardiovascular disease risk factor. (26) Thus, research shows that in comparison to other vegan diets, raw vegan diets typically have higher dietary fiber content and lower cholesterol and saturated fat content (27). As a result, those who choose a raw vegan diet typically tend to be thinner, have reduced blood pressure, serum cholesterol, and body weight, all of which lower the risk of heart disease (27).
Vegan fermented food is very beneficial for your “second brain” gut health.
Have you come across slogans saying that your gut is the foundation of your health?
Well, our gut is often called the body’s “second brain”. What do you need to eat in order to ensure good gut health?
It is a proven truth that gut health is ensured by the ratio of beneficial to dangerous bacteria (28). Research shows that the formation of more stable and diversified microbial communities is aided by a vegan diet (29). A diet high in fermentable dietary fibers, also known as prebiotics, has been shown in several trials to lower body weight gain, the formation of fat mass, decreases insulin resistance, and energy consumption (28). Studies indicate that fermented soy products, or "nut vegan cheeses," prepared from macadamias, almonds, or other nuts, enhance food's flavor and texture while also improving its nutritional value in terms of a desirable unsaturated-to-saturated fatty acid ratio (30).
A Raw Vegan diet may go a long way in supporting healthy, glowing skin.
Diet plays a major role in skin health too! Studies have demonstrated that a well-balanced and conscientiously planned vegan diet can adequately provide the required amounts of proteins, vitamins, and minerals to support skin health. (31) Leading international nutrition organizations have concluded that a well-planned and balanced plant-based diet is rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients that protect against inflammatory skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis (32). Research shows that a raw vegan diet maximizes the antioxidant potential within our cells by providing essential vitamins, including vitamins A, C, and E. (33) It also fights against harmful carcinogens and toxins within our blood. These ingredients further help to lengthen telomeres, which prevents cellular damage and can contribute to preventing and reversing the aging of the skin. (33)
A customized Raw Vegan diet may result in better mental health.
Diet plays an important role not only in physical health but also in cognitive and mental health (34). Dietary intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has a significant positive role in brain function. According to a research study, a vegetarian diet customized to include a higher intake of total polyunsaturated fat and negligible arachidonic acid intake may contribute to a favorable mood profile. (35) Also, a randomized controlled clinical trial has revealed a decrease in stress, anxiety, and improved mood in vegan diet followers. (36)
Eating vegan may improve the body oxygenation in athletes.
What do Novak Djokovic, Lewis Hamilton, Venus Williams, and Mike Tyson have in common?
They're all vegans and elite athletes!
Applications of veganism in nutrition are carefully employed in the sports and health and fitness sectors. Based on scientific research, a vegan diet that is well-balanced and rich in nutrients can be tailored to meet the dietary requirements of most athletes (37). An athlete's performance and well-being can be supported with a tailored vegan diet plan that offers enough energy and the necessary intakes of protein, fat, and carbohydrates (38). A vegan diet boosted strength and endurance in this brief interventional research of cross-fit athletes with a moderate level of training (39). Eating a vegan diet rich in complex carbs, such as those found in grains and legumes, promotes efficient glycogen storage. Research indicates that a vegan diet may be anticipated to enhance vascular flow and tissue oxygenation by lowering blood viscosity and enhancing arterial flexibility and endothelial function.
Raw vegan diets have been shown in studies to offer protection against a number of chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and several malignancies, including prostate and colorectal cancer. This may result from consuming less saturated fat and more dietary fiber, polyunsaturated fats, vitamins, and various phytobioactives. Since they are all anti-inflammatory, these nutrients aid in lowering inflammation levels in our bodies. Additionally, people who follow a raw vegan diet typically report being more physically active, being less sedentary, and drinking less alcohol—all of which point to a healthy way of living.
Just to summarize for you: If you want to improve your performance, health or recover faster after an accident or a sports injury, all you need is a correct nutrition and health assessment, a laser-sharp personalized nutritionist and bespoke exercise rehab for the best outcome.
Who is Jazz Alessi?
Jazz is the founder of Personal Training Master, a well-known Elite Personal Trainer based in London who teaches nutrition at the London School of Economics Athletic Division and Cameron McKenna. He is a long-term expert in PCOS rehab, a body transformation specialist, and an expert in a herniated disc, knee injury rehabilitation, and training world-class athletes.
Frequently asked questions
1. Is a vegan diet risky?
No. A vegan diet, when well-balanced including all nutrients you need and varied, can help in achieving and maintaining an optimal state of health. Also, research shows that it helps reducing health related risks but, as with any diet when you make any changes, it is always recommended that you work with a vegan dietician or a long term vegan nutritionist.
2. Do vegans live longer?
Vegan diets avoids inflammatory saturated fat and it may increase your lifespan by giving you more fiber, plant protein, and antioxidants to eat. Research shows that a well-planned vegan diet is associated with better health and lowering the risk of many life-threatening diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. A well-planned vegan diet can also have anti-aging benefits.
3. Is a vegan diet safe for all ages?
Yes. Research suggests that a vegan diet can have benefits for all ages including kids and pregnant women. However, the diet needs to be well-balanced and customized to fulfill the nutritional demands of their age, activity and stress levels.
4. How do vegans get protein?
Vegan sources of protein are plentiful. They include pulses and legumes (Chickpeas, peanuts, soybeans, etc.), sprouted pulses, nuts and seeds (Chia seeds, almonds, etc.), whole grains, quinoa, oats, mushrooms, vegetables, and blue-green algae spirulina.
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