What it’s like to try and go raw vegan for a week

I liked having the moral high ground but would never do it again

Vegan: No meat, no fish, no dairy, no animal tested products, no leather, no suede, no chill. Add onto that no food that’s been cooked above 48 degrees Celsius and you’re in for the real treat of a raw vegan diet.

‘It’s really nice, tastes better than real meatballs’

The week started very unhappily when a delivery man turned  up with a prepaid, unclaimed pizza at 1am. Facing the awful dilemma of either turning down free pizza or giving up veganism before I’d even started, we sent the delivery guy away and I enjoyed a mouth-watering late night snack of cucumber.

I was really keen to try and stick to this “lifestyle” because of the supposed health benefits that all vegans and raw vegans bang on about. So it started off pretty well, until I got sick of salad.

A good thing about raw veganism is that you can literally eat as much as you can manage because there’s basically zero calories in the limited food you can eat. You can’t eat sweets as they contain refined sugar which isn’t vegan because refining process involves bone char, no chocolate because it has milk in, no tea, no coffee, no cake. You also can’t eat pretty much any carbohydrates because they all have to be cooked, including bread. As a raw vegan your choices are fruit, salad, vegetables (uncooked of course) or things like nuts and seeds.

How very boring and how very bloating.

I really didn’t enjoy all the detoxing effects of this diet. I did feel healthy and definitely liked the moral high-ground inherent in veganism but needing to pee nearly every hour is not fun for anyone.

Not only are the foods you eat restricted you also have to watch what you drink. Surprisingly wine is suitable for raw vegans (good job too, else I wouldn’t have agreed to do this). But yummy tasting alcopops are off the menu as well as all mixers, beers, ciders and Hooch. Absolutely heartbreaking. Drinking wine all night sounds like it could get pretty pricey but actually I got drunk so quickly because there was nothing substantial in my stomach that I ended up spending a lot less than normal. That’s a bonus.

But on the other hand buying enough salad to fill yourself up for a couple of hours before you pee it all out again costs a bomb. And if you want to indulge in some yummy vegan alternatives like the delicious, cardboard-tasting soya milk, you may find yourself considering a job in Leeds red light district in order to finance it.

On the third day of this challenge I managed to persuade a housemate out to a highly recommended, independent restaurant in York centre. Only catch being, it was a vegan restaurant. El Piano has actually got rave reviews all over the internet for its fantastic food and actually I completely agree. The choice was pretty good and you couldn’t argue with either the portion size or the price. Obviously I had to post a picture of our food on Instagram with all the appropriate hashtags to make sure the whole world knew I was having dinner at a vegan restaurant.

On the fourth day, I quit.

All I could think about was food, and when a mate tested my willpower for the third time that week by shoving a pot of Ben & Jerry’s in my face, I broke.

I did feel better in myself, had more energy and my skin did look a lot clearer, but I wouldn’t do this diet again. I don’t understand how people can live by the ridiculously strict rules. Normal veganism even looks easy now compared to this. I do admire the people that manage to stick to it though. Well done you, just stop telling us carnivores about it.