THERE ARE A number of steps on the meat-free path. The first and easiest is to go vegetarian. I’ve been vegetarian since 1996 and haven’t felt particularly inconvenienced in that time but I have definitely noticed the health benefits, not to mention just generally feeling good about not eating animals.
The next step is to go vegan, that’s a tougher lifestyle to maintain but there’s no doubt that it’s more rewarding and satisfying to take all the animal products out of the lifestyle and live (please note that’s live, not exist) on plant based foods.
From there, some will take the plunge and go raw vegan. The raw part of the equation doesn’t have any bearing on the animals, it’s seemingly purely for health reasons, although some do bring spirituality into the discussion. I’ve seen the benefits of going raw vegan first hand – friends of mine went from eating lots of meat, to vegetarian to vegan to raw vegan in a time frame of well under a year. One of them had major degenerative knee problems, which completely vanished once he’d been raw for a while. Modern medical science told him he had to live with it, but the raw vegan diet disagreed.
The “raw” doesn’t necessarily have to be entirely raw though, food can be heated to a certain point but it can’t be cooked – there are however raw vegans who totally adhere to being raw and don’t cook anything at all. Being a raw vegan isn’t easy; it would be doable at home where you’ve got control over shopping and food preparation but all other aspects of food including eating out, socialising or traveling strike me as being more than a little bit of a mission.
From raw veganism, there’s still another step – going fruitarian. As the title implies, fruitarians should theoretically eat only fruit but seeds and nuts are fine according to certain interpretations, as are peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and the like. A common approach is to eat nothing that would involve killing the plant – so an apple is fine because the tree keeps on living but a carrot obviously isn’t part of the menu seeing as the entire plant is effectively history once it’s eaten.
This lifestyle is definitely the hardest to maintain, although advocates of the fruitarian approach would argue that it’s the simplest routine of all. After all, you mostly eat fruit, and how hard can that be? Many of them seem to thrive and there’s certainly a voluble internet presence promoting the fruitarian way. Take a look at this video for example:
As far as my own meat-free journey goes, I’m not kidding myself. I know that I’m on the road to going vegan. If I lived in the USA, I’d already be vegan because the massive range of vegan foods and products means that it’s so much easier to do there, especially if you’re into sports. The raw vegans and fruitarians that I watch online have inspired me to add a lot more raw food into my diet and I’m absolutely loving the extra energy I have every day. I’m by no means fully raw but some days I’m up to around 60-70%, and those are the times when I’m at my best. The more raw food I eat, the better I feel, which makes me want to eat more raw food – it’s a very pleasant cycle.
If you’re a happy vegetarian, then adding raw food to your diet will in all probability make you even happier. Going vegan may make you that much healthier and allow you to feel even better about your overall lifestyle choices as far as animal welfare goes. If you’re still eating meat, I’d urge you to try cutting back and seeing how you feel – it certainly worked for me. ASHLEY KRAMER