When you become vegan, there are many expectations put on you by your peers. One of them is that you’re supposed to enjoy raw food. Like most stereotypes, this one – that all vegans like raw food – does not apply to everyone. But in order to keep up appearances, we all have to pretend. None of us really like raw food, but we keep it to ourselves (except for me, right now, but I trust you all not to tell anyone).
What is raw food anyway? Well, like every topic that’s relevant to vegans, we argue over it. Basically, it means food that is unprocessed and uncooked – at least up to a particular temperature, at which it is said that the nutrients get cooked out. Often, you’ll find grated veggies used in place of noodles, flax seeds and nuts used to form crackers or “dough” and fruits and beans and such used to make desserts typically made with flour and sugar. You know what, though? You can read more about it on Wikipedia if you want to, because I don’t care enough to explain it in depth (remember, I’m just pretending to like it).
Why is this Important?
Yes, it’s true: if given the choice between warm spaghetti noodles and room temperature zucchini strips, I’m going to pick the warm option. Is this the wrong choice? No. Hot food is scientifically proven to be tastier than cold food (no source). Does this make me a bad vegan though? Yes. Because I’m supposed to care about more than just animal welfare. I’m supposed to care about human health. And do you know why? Two reasons.
- Caring about human health is less threatening to people than caring about animals’ lives. It’s easier for non-vegans to understand and accept. “Oh, you’re doing this for your health? That’s selfish and it makes sense to me. For a second there, I thought you were doing this to save animals’ lives, in which case I would have felt judged by you, because I don’t care about helping animals (or farm workers, or the environment).”
- Eating raw food puts you a step ahead of other vegans. See, there are different levels of food morality (below), and eating raw vegan food puts you at the top of the pile, at the far end of the spectrum, in a position to look down on all six lower levels. So, you see, liking raw food is the way to go. Even if you’re lying.
- meat eater who says eating meat is okay as long as you’re getting it from farms on which the animals are mistreated but then he eats at McDonald’s and steakhouse chains all the time so WTF?
- Meatless Monday person
- vegetarian who met a vegan and is now questioning the ethics of taking milk from baby cows but hasn’t quite decided to give it up yet
- raw vegan
What are the Rewards?
- Moral superiority.
- You can further limit the number of restaurants you’ll eat at, thus saving yourself money. And friends.
- You can buy all of your groceries from the farmer’s market (see first bullet).
- You can sell your oven, toaster oven and microwave. All you need is a dehydrator, which takes up minimal money and kitchen space. I don’t know why that’s a reward. I’m reaching.
What are the Challenges?
- Further alienation.
- Lying takes a lot of effort, but so does preparing raw food dishes. You’ll have to find a good balance.
- You’ll never live it down when you get caught red-handed with a cooked veggie burger made with beets (thus the red hands).
In developing this website, I’ve found that there are actually quite a few people who aren’t vegan. Weird, I know! Most of these folks are thoughtful, compassionate and great critical thinkers, so the only reason for them not to be vegan must be a lack of information. For these people, I decided to include some tips on how to be vegan, so they can get started right away.