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Details of the Food Pyramid for an Almost Raw Vegan (ARV)!



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Almost Raw Vegan Food Groups ~ An Almost Raw Vegan (ARV) diet follows the same principles as a raw vegan approach to eating, the only difference is an Almost Raw Vegan will also enjoy some cooked foods ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the main philosophies here at Almost Raw Vegan is we are “Almost”, it’s not about being 100%, it’s not about adhering strictly to any one approach. Instead it’s about listening to your body and doing what feels right for you. We are all different, and it’s important to tap into what works best for your body and being flexible and adaptable while still enjoying a healthy plant-based diet & lifestyle.

Almost Raw Vegan (ARV) Food Pyramid

arv food pyramid

The Almost Raw Vegan approach includes a strong foundation of dark leafy greens with lots of fresh vegetables, some fruits, topped with protein rich sprouts and legumes, a few nuts & seeds including flaxseed & hempseed, followed by herbs, microgreens, sea vegetables, wheatgrass and finally a dabble of healthy oils and nutritional yeast.

Almost Raw Vegan’ers thrive on a foundation of lots of RAW leafy greans, fruits & vegetables plus SOME cooked foods – I recommend a ratio of approximately 80% raw and 20% cooked.  Check out my article on Why Eat “Almost Raw” for insight on why including high proportion of raw greens, veggies & fruits is important for your health & wellness. You may also enjoy my article about Buying Fruits & Vegetables. which includes a handy-dandy organic produce reference Dirty Dozen ~ Clean 15. A super helpful guide you on when to buy organic fruits & vegetables.

Leafy Greens

Greens are essential to an Almost Raw Vegan diet. They are chocked full of nutrients, a great source of protein, include tons of  essential minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium.  Some of my favourites include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, romaine and bok choy.  And remember the leafy greens are all about  chlorophyll.  And the consumption of chlorophyll can increase energy levels, aid in digestion, support immune function & help in fighting major lifestyle diseases.  In other words: Chlorophyll very VERY Good!! ๐Ÿ˜‰


You can pretty much eat any vegetable raw (or I can :-)) – some of our regulars include cucumber, celery, beets, zuchini, broccoli, cauliflower, avocados and tomatoes (hmm, although technically both fruits), bell peppers, asparagus, brussel sprouts, green beans and carrots.


Loaded with vitamins and good carbohydrates to fuel your body, there are tons of fruits to choose from. We prefer the low glycemic fruits like apples, pears, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc.) and citrus (lemons, limes and oranges).  I also love bananas, mangos and dried friuts, including apricots, cranberries – but we tend to use these higher sugar fruits much less frequently – for dried fruits make sure you choose those “dark” in colour – if the dried fruit is a bright colour (i.e. bright orange dried apricots) this means that sulphites have been added to preserve the colour!

Sprouts & Legumes

Almost Raw Vegan Food Pyramid

Sprouts are seeds/legumes that have started to grow, they are “living” and during this early stage of growth when they “sprout”, they have TONS more nutrients then they do in their dormant state – enjoying sprouts every day is super way to boost your daily nutrients. 

You can sprout seeds and legumes yourself, it’s VERY cheap and VERY easy to make at home. Check out my article How to Make Sprouts in 4 Easy Steps.  

Some of my favourite sprouts include alfalfa, sunflower, broccoli, lentil and chickpea. To make sprouts you must always start with raw uncooked seeds and legumes.

For cooked legumes that I use in my stir-frys, chili & caseroles, I like chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans the most – I normally buy canned, my favourite brand is Eden Organics as they have no added salt but use sea vegetables such as kombu seaweed instead of salt plus the cans are EBP free. If you buy canned, always rinse very well before using canned the legumes.

Nuts & Seeds 

Almost Raw Vegan Food PyramidNuts & seeds tend to be higher in fats so it’s important to limit the amounts you consume – the way I think of it is your body can only process so much fat – so proceed with care.  Both nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and essential minerals. Some of my favourites nuts include cashews, almonds, pine nuts and macadamia nuts. My favourite seeds are pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds, hemp, flax and chia seeds.  For all nuts and seeds it’s best to buy “raw” as they are easier to digest. Oh, and I absolutely love raw almond butter. If you are buying nut butters make sure the only ingredient it nuts, and it’s best if nuts are “raw” vs. roasted. You can also make nut butters very easily in your Blendtec Twister Jar or Cuisinart. To further aid digestion make sure you soak the nuts & seeds before eating. 

Why Soak Nuts & Seeds?  

Nuts & seeds have enzyme inhibitors, so before you eat or start to sprout them you need to first remove the enzyme inhibitor. Think of it this way, when a nut/seed falls from the plant it is designed to lay dormant, it’s the enzyme inhibitor that keeps the nut/seed dormant – but when (for example) a bird picks up the seed and/or moisture touches the seed/nut, the enzyme inhibitors are released so that the nut/seed is able to grow.  Soaking nuts/seeds before you eat them (and rinse well), removes the enzyme inhibitor which decreasing the acidity, the bitterness and makes it much easier to digest. Once soaked this also starts the growth process and soaking is also the first step to making sprouts


The grains I use most are quinoa, buckwheat (both gluten free), wild & brown rice and oats. We do have pasta occasionally, but lately we have been really limiting (if not eliminating) any wheat based grains (and we feel like a million bucks when we eliminate wheat AND we always seem to drop a few pounds in the process – so our bodies really do feel better without). 


I love fresh herbs and find they always add amazing flavour to our meals.  I especially love basil, cilantro, parsley and chives. Cilantro & parsley are also super cleansing and I use them regularly in my green smoothies.

Sea Vegetables (Seaweed) 

Sea vegetables are full of nutrients, and have tons of minerals.  Seaweed is rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and iodine.  As well they contain vitamins A and C.  Seaweed flakes are also a great substitute for salt.  Dulse is the one I use most in salads and smoothies, but I also use raw nori for my Raw Vegan Sushi Rolls and kelp noodles.


Almost Raw Vegan Food PyramidFats have been given a bad rap!!  As with anything, moderation is the key and your body can only absorb and process so much fat.  Some great sources include avocado, coconut, and some cold-pressed extra virgin oils like flaxseed, hemp seed, olive oils.  I so also love sesame oil.


There are so many natural sweeteners that are wonderful – my favourites are medjool dates. I also occasionally use maple syrup and agave nectar. Banana’s are also perfect sweetner in smoothies & ice creams!

Fermented Foods 

Fermented foods help provide a healthy environment in the intestine by introducing healthy bacteria into the colon which contribute to better digestion, better absorption of nutrients and strengthen our immune system. The process of fermentation, breaks down complex proteins, fats and starches into their simpler components which makes the foods easier to digest and assimilate.  Fermenting essentially takes soaking one step further to provide even more benefits.  Fermented foods are in essence probiotics and are alkaline and very cleansing for the body. Some sources of fermented foods include:

  • nut cheese [try this Herbed Cashew Cheese Spread Mmmm, it’s sooo good!]
  • nut yogurt
  • raw sauerkraut
  • nutritional yeast
  • unpasteurized non-GMO miso paste (genetically modified organisms – most non-organic soy is genetically modified; also unpasteurized as the pasteurizing process destroys enzymes and reduces nutritional content).

Stock Your Pantry

There are a few other key ingredients that I use regularly ~ Nutritional Yeast – nutritional yeast is not the same as yeasts used in breads. It is an inactive yeast and it’s a great source for vitamin B12 and has a bit of a cheesy flavour and is a great substitute in recipes where you might use parmesan cheese. Other foods include, maca powder, blue-green algae (e3Live), wheatgrass (I buy it frozen and use 1 or 2 cubes in smoothies), cacao (many of my sweets include cacao, as well as one of the smoothies).  We also use only a very small amount of soy, our only soy sources are miso and Bragg’s Liquid Soy – in my mind soy is processed, plus most if it is genetically modified, as well our bodies are not built to consume high amounts of soy (i.e. many use it as a meat/protein substitute), I believe it’s best to only consume soy as a condiment.

You can get the complete list of these and other foods that I have stocked in my Almost Raw Vegan pantry, check out my Stock Your Pantry Guide. It’s a handy reference to guide you as you decide what to stock in your kitchen cupboards.

  1. Karina says:

    Thank you so much for this app! I’ve been vegan for almost a year (woo-hoo!), but lately the idea of eating less processed/cooked vegan food has been coming to my mind. I will definitely keep reading your articles and browsing through your recipes for inspiration and ideas. Thank you, thank you, thank you !

    1. You are most welcome Karina, I’m so glad you are finding the recipes and articles useful, enjoy! Oh and congrats on vegan for almost a year, that’s FANtastic! xo

  2. Laura M says:

    I’m hypothyroid and goitrogens such as those in the brassica family ( broccoli, boy choy, cabbage, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, rapini etc ) suppress the function of the thyroid gland. Do you suggest loading up on other vegetables such as your basic lettuce types instead? I’d love to enjoy the above vegetables I mentioned but my hypothyroid is trumping them right now.

    1. Hi Laura – we are all different and many of us have foods we cannot eat for a variety of reasons. That’s great that you are aware of what works (or in this case doesn’t work) for your hypothyroid. As I alwyas say, we are all different and as such it’s important to tune into your body and choose those foods (or dismiss those) that work for your body – so absolutely load up on any other vegetables and dark leafy greens that work best for you. I’m not a medical professions so I cannot provide advice specific to your hypothyroid and what might/might not work, you may wish to consult someone for more targetted insight. I hope that helps. Cat xo

  3. Jess Piet says:

    Wonderful stuff! So glad I came along your site and look forward to keeping up with it ๐Ÿ™‚ Check me out at jessundressed.com, maybe we can even team up! Either way, F.A.B. (and y.u.m.m.y.)

    1. Thanks Jess, I’m also glad you came across my site ๐Ÿ˜‰ Visited your site and love it…you have amazing energy! Always open to teaming! Have a great day xox

  4. Melania says:

    Came across to your bebsite, and I was so happy to see another almost raw vegan person. I am calling myself now like that. I think this is a great life living green. and I printed some of your recipes. Thank you . Melania for California

    1. I’m so excited you found my site Melania, and that’s so great you are now calling yourself an almost raw vegan ๐Ÿ™‚ I love it! You’ll have to let me know how you like the recipes! xox

  5. Becky says:

    Do you ever worry about eating too many fruits in a day? I would love to make a green smoothie first thing in the morning with about 2-3 fruits but I still want my oatmeal with a fruit a couple hours later, and sometimes have another fruit as a snack possibly later in the day, so about 4-5 fruits in a day is that too many do you think? Thanks.

    1. Hi Becky,

      I don’t really worry about having too much fruit. I generally only have fruit in my smoothies and don’t normally have fruit through the day. That said, we are all different and I know some how have much more fruit throughout the day, I’m not sure my body would like that as I tend to get a bit sluggish if I have too much fruit. I would say to listen to your body, and if you aren’t affected by fruit then I say go for it. I do know that having fruit on an empty stomach is better for you and easier on the digestive system as fruit digest quickly – and if you have other foods in your stomach the fruit will take longer to digest and sit in your stomach… which can cause some discomfort for some. So listen to your body and you’ll know if 4-5 fruits works for you.

      I hope that helps? Catherine xox

  6. Allison Smith says:

    Thank you for the Raw Food Pyramid I would love to get a large ‘poster’ of this to hang up in my kitchen. I am like you I eat some cooked food however I am aiming for a 80-100% raw food diet it is easy this time of year in Australia as it is summer to there is an abundance of beautiful summer fruits and vegetables (and its too hot to put the oven on). Thank you for enlightening me to Kim Carr’s book (and Kim Carr) and I will be ordering her new book through The Book Depository, I love your posts of Facebook too keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Allison – thank you so much for your note, it’s so wonderful to hear that you are on a similar path to me ๐Ÿ™‚ I love that there so are many kindred spirits out there!! Ooooo summer and fresh veggies/fruits…. we are in the dead of winter and it will be -21C this weekend, so I’m a little envious of summer right now ;-). Yes Kris Carr is amazing, I will attend her Dinner Telejam on January 23rd, will you be able to connect with that? She is such an inspiration…!! Love that you love my posts here and on FB…. it feeds my soul to hear things like that. Thanks so much xoxox Have an amazing day and enjoy the heat (although I hear it’s crazy hot in Australia this summer)!

  7. leeluush says:

    I love the raw food pyramid haha!!! I live by that ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ya, it’s pretty good isn’t it!! Really shows it well ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Reblogged this on Canned Time and commented:
    Start your year off with fresh ingredients for your body to run on. This wonderful post from Catherine at ‘Almost Raw Vegan’ says it all! Check it out ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. This is such important information to get out Catherine! So glad you’ve written it up for us!

    1. Awww, thanks Angela – aren’t you sweet. I agree it’s important and I love sharing so hoping it reaches many!! Thanks and Happy New Year! Catherine xox

  10. Brenda says:

    Essentially, I eat the same as you! My food pyramid looks like yours! I also do not tolerate wheat, corn, barley, rye. Bananas make my throat swell up. I consume grains sparingly.

    1. Wow, I just love to hear about like-minded people – thanks for sharing. At first I thought I was the only one, it’s so great to have a community now…. you’ll have to share some of your recipes as well ๐Ÿ™‚ Catherine xox

  11. Sophie33 says:

    Nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by my blog so that I could discover your lovely blog here! Many greetings from a foodie from Belgium!

    1. Aren’t you sweet, thanks Sophie. I was happy to find your blog as well, you have wonderful creations as well… Many greetings back to you from Canada! xox

  12. Wendy says:

    maple syrup is that raw?

    1. Hi Wendy – no, maple syrup is not raw, but it is vegan.

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