A raw food diet can be a transformational method for assisting the body to eliminate toxins and addressing chronic health concerns that may not respond to traditional medical approaches. One of the reasons why a raw food diet is generally so effective for reducing symptoms related to immunity and digestive challenges is because it eliminates many of the foods that act as inflammatory triggers in the body.
While nutritional deficiencies are generally not a concern when following a short-term detox program, it is possible to become deficient in key nutrients if you follow a restrictive plan for more than three to six months, or if you continue to experience poor digestion where you are not able to efficiently extract the nutrients from food to be absorbed. For the most part, those eating a raw vegan diet actually have a higher quality nutritional intake, however there are certain key nutrients that have the potential to become depleted if you aren’t paying close attention.
A well-planned raw vegan diet can avoid most issues but in some cases supplementation can be helpful. The most common deficiency is vitamin B-12, and not getting enough can potentially lead to serious health issues including permanent nerve damage and cognitive decline. Note that B-12 deficiency is not a problem only associated with a vegan diet and many omnivores also experience reduced levels.
It can take many years for the amount of B-12 in the body to become depleted but it is important to be aware of your B-12 status because by the time that symptoms become apparent it is often too late to reverse the damage. Also because B-12 doesn’t tell the whole story it is important to measure levels of homocysteine in the blood for a more accurate assessment of B-12 reserves in the body.
Some vegans, can become deficient in iron, especially those who do not consume an adequate intake of leafy green vegetables. There are also not that many sources of zinc on a raw vegan diet – and foods that are quoted as being good sources, such as pumpkin seeds – often contain high levels of phytic acid, which can limit their absorption.
Read more >>> Everything You Need To Know About Phytic Acid On A Raw Food Diet
If you have been following a vegan diet for a while and are concerned about whether you are getting enough nutrients you may be interested in a new test available on HealthLabs.com tailored specifically towards vegans.
The Vegan Nutritional Maintenance Panel is designed for those eating plant-based who want to ensure that their diet is adequate. This panel contains tests for eleven potential nutrient deficiencies that you may encounter if your diet is unbalanced or if you are not adequately absorbing the nutrients from your food.
Once you get the results if you find that you don’t have any deficiencies, this can give you assurance that you are on the right path. If the panel does identify deficiencies in key nutrients, then you can work with your health practitioner to adjust your diet and/or include targeted supplements to ensure you are getting what you need. After modifying your diet for at least eight weeks, you can then repeat the test again to ensure that your nutrient levels are in the ideal range.
If you are not yet vegan and are considering adopting a plant-based diet for its established health benefits they also offer “Should You be Vegan” testing panels, which look for food allergies that may be triggered by eating animal products. Foods high in protein have the greatest potential to cause food allergies and intolerances, so if you are still eating animal products and experiencing symptoms like stomach pains, sluggishness, headaches, or just generally feeling unwell, this is something to consider.
The Comprehensive Should You Be Vegan test panel can identify 38 different food allergies, looking for lactose intolerance as well as allergies to eggs, seafood, meat, and more. The Basic Should You Be Vegan test panels is a less extensive version and will look for the more common animal-derived food allergies.
Though it is possible to get all the nutrients you need from a plant-based diet with the exception of vitamin B-12, it’s always a good idea to see how you are going for peace of mind and to make sure you are on the right track.
These tests are available in the United States and can be ordered online at HealthLabs.com. Readers of Raw Food Solution can receive a 25 percent discount by calling their customer service (800-579-3914) and mentioning that they’re a reader of Raw Food Solution, which has a partnership with HealthLabs. Their customer service representatives will apply the discount over the phone. After ordering the tests you will then receive your results within one to three days.
Disclosure: The post is a collaboration with HealthLabs.com. All views expressed are my own.