What I have encountered in my journey to a whole foods, plant-based diet, is that there are a lot of misunderstandings. That's okay - I questioned a great deal in the beginning as well. That is why I started reading like crazy (both sides of the picture) and ultimately created the Sanity Health Challenge.
While I have embraced plant based after my extensive research, I have sought to find what would work best for me and my family. I encourage anyone interested in plant based eating to do the same.
Which brings me to the question - Are all vegans raw?
By raw I mean uncooked whole foods, or foods that have been dehydrated or heated at temperatures no higher than around 116 degrees, with the idea that the enzymes in food that our bodies need for digestion are destroyed above that temperature. Many people who eat raw use a dehydrator to create recipes.
The answer to the question is, no, not all vegans are raw. In fact, most eat a mix of raw and cooked foods depending on their lifestyle. An example of completely raw Vegans are the Raw Family (Boutenkos). Their diet consists of green smoothies, wild edibles, and raw whole foods. An example of a partially raw Vegan is Alicia Silverstone.
Most Vegans and Vegetarians have a substantially higher ratio of raw foods compared to the general population. I would say that right now my diet is probably around 50% raw, and during the summer when fruits and vegetables are abundant it will probably increase to around 80%. Raw, whole foods include all of the wonderful nutrients like fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Raw diets also make it pretty simple to give up dietary cholesterol, animal products, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, as well as trans fatty acids.
Raw diets can include fresh, dried, and frozen fruits, fresh and frozen vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, and sprouted vegetables, grains, and legumes. It's just a new way of preparing food and one that may take a little practice. Soaking, sprouting, juicing, and blending take the place of sauteing, grilling, baking, and boiling.
In the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., it talks about the powerhouse foods for nutrients - Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Beans, Berries, Nuts/Seeds or GOMBBS.
The Sonoma Diet touts 10 foods that they consider their Superfoods - Almonds, Bell Peppers (all colors, possibly particularly red), Blueberries, Broccoli, Grapes, Olive Oil (extra virginpreferred), Spinach, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Whole Grains
Food Matters talks about the Green Superfoods - Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Wild Blue-green algae, Spirulina, Chlorella, and green leafy vegetables