30 Days Raw: 6 Big Raw Food Lessons

Before 30 Day Raw Food Feast - End of May 2011

I can’t believe I did it!  I am at the end of my raw food feast!  I cannot believe I made it to this point!!!  This raw food feast has been about 3 years in the making.  I remember when I started on this journey to be more fit and healthy, my biggest concern about eating more vegetarian foods was how to season food without meat.  Eating more raw foods is so much easier than I ever thought possible!  Here are my six big raw food lessons — in no particular order:

The morning is not the devil!  This is a big one for me.  For years I have woken up cursing the day light like a vampire.  Even my beau has remarked how sweet I am in the morning now!  The morning is when I am my most productive — my mind is clear and ideas are constantly running through my head, so much so that it is difficult to write them down as they come to me.  This is the best time for me to do my blogging.  When I get home from work, I find that my head is so filled with “work stuff” that I am just too exhausted to do anything else but eat a light dinner, exercise, then lights out by 10 or 11pm.  Yes, the morning is now my best friend! 🙂

After 30 Day Raw Food Feast - June 30, 2011

Raw foods ain’t rocket science!  Making cooked food can be complicated.  You have to worry about oven temperatures, is the flame too high or too low on the stove, worrying about if it’s cooked all the way through, how long do you cook it…  With raw foods, you have none of that worry.  I initially wanted to prepare the more complicated raw food dishes because I was under the impression that food had to go through several processes before it becomes edible.  Don’t get me wrong — there are lots of delicious gourmet raw food recipes out there.  However, you don’t need a whole lot of complicated equipment or skill to make raw food taste good.  All you need are some good knives (I bought mines at Target), a decent cutting board, a quality blender (I LOVE my Vitamix, but I had a low end Oster I got from CVS which worked just fine for me for about 3 years),  a hand-held citrus juicer, and some big bowls.  My nutmilk bag is awesome for making my own almond milk, but you can just buy some cheesecloth from Walmart and get the same results.  Some of my favorite raw meals have 5 or less ingredients, with just a few minutes of marinating time.  My favorite dinner:  melon, eaten right out of its own bowl.

I am in control of what I eat.  No longer will I allow my busy lifestyle to dictate what I put into my body.  During this month I have paid more attention to how others spend their lunch time, what they make for dinner, and the foods they choose to put into their shopping carts at the supermarket.  People often say, “I just need something quick to get through the afternoon.”  Why do we need to throw food down our throats super fast just to “get through the afternoon?”  A lunch hour (if you even get that much time…) is meant as a time to refuel your body so you will have energy to last you through the remainder of the work day.  Take the time to pack a nutritious, energizing lunch the night before!  Go outside and get some sunshine!  Walk around the block for 15 minutes or so and get away from your computer!  I am absolutely adamant about using my lunch time as MY TIME and not a time to catch up on work.

Diet and exercise really work!  I lost a total of about 22 pounds while on raw foods this month.  People ask me what’s my secret.  I have to tell them to put that fried chicken down, eat more fruits and vegetables,  and walk around the block a few times a week.  It really is that simple!  My body feels lighter, my gut has gone down some.  The foods I eat — particularly dark, leafy greens — give me so much energy that I ABSOLUTELY MUST go out and exercise afterwards.  Factory farm produced meat injected with hormones and artificial colors is coma inducing.  It may taste good on the fork, but once you finish eating it, you’re ready for a good nap.  This is not what God meant for us to use as a food source.

All vegan foods are not healthy.  There are so many choices nowadays in so-called healthy vegan options in grocery stores.  You no longer have to go to a specialty store to find organic and vegan foods anymore either; you can go right to your mainstream supermarket and find aisles solely dedicated to organic produce and organic packaged foods.  Some stores have even expanded their meat selections to include meat without hormones.  However, don’t be fooled!  When looking for veggies, skip the can and opt for fresh.  While frozen veggies are said to retain their nutrient content, they do need to be cooked to taste good — which completely defeats the purpose of a raw food diet.  I am working on a blog post talking about where and how often to shop for fresh veggies.  After spending a good month paying attention to what kind of crap people are putting into their shopping carts, it has become clear to me that people don’t have a clue on how to do basic food shopping!

Creating delicious, fresh food is my passion!  I have been saying for several years that I wanted to connect to my more creative side, but didn’t know what I wanted to do.  There really is no better feeling than to make a meal that people find surprisingly delicious.  Preparing food gives me the opportunity to teach others information that can potentially be a spark that can allow them to save their own lives through better food choices.  What is better than that?  As a result of this, I have decided to begin my plans to build a personal chef and health coach business where I can teach people how to transition to making healthier life choices — all beginning with food!

This really has been a powerful 30 day shift for me!  I am so hopeful about my life.  I even notice that I complain less because I really don’t have anything to complain about!  I have never felt so connected to my life’s purpose!  I hope you will choose to stick with me and my blog so we can learn how to be healthier together.

If you have a link to any before and after pics of yourself after eating raw foods, please share in the comments!

16 Days Raw: Choosing the Healthiest Produce

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Do you really know what kind of food you are eating?

I’ve made it a point to only weigh myself once a week.  The reason is that my focus for being raw is not necessarily weight loss, but increased level of health and well-being — the outcome of which will definitely be weight loss.  However I just don’t want to become one of those people who say that because I ate 2 avocados today, I didn’t lose a pound.  It’s easy for me to get crazy like that.

So here I am — about halfway through my raw food feast and 16 pounds lighter!  I can see a difference in my face.  I don’t feel like there is do much fat clogging my throat and neck anymore (gross!). My stomach has gone down a bit and I can start to see a waist line.  People say I seem happier, more alert.

Since my diet is mostly fruits and veggies now, I find that I pay more attention to the PLU codes — or price look up codes — the four to 5 digit numbers written on the stickers of most fresh produce in your local grocery store.  Did you know that those codes actually mean something?  It’s more than just a code to help the supermarket identify what they sell.  This code also gives you a clue as to how this food was grown.

When inspecting your produce stickers, pay attention to the first number in the code.  Here’s your PLU code cheat sheet:

  • 9 = organically grown produce.  This means the food was grown without the use of pesticides or other unnatural material.
  • 4 = conventionally grown produce.  Codes beginning with 4 have been grown with pesticides.
  • 3 = irradiated produce.  Food that is irradiated is exposed to radiation to kill bacteria, viruses, insects, etc.  Sounds like a regular pesticide, right?  Wrong!!  Irradiated food also delays the ripening process for longer shelf life, increases “juiciness,” and causes chemical changes that kill the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in the flesh and seeds (among other things).  In other words — it’s dead food which completely defeats the purpose of a raw food diet.
  • 8 = genetically modified produce (or GMO).  This is food that has been genetically altered to prolong shelf life, increase vitamin content, reduce pesticide usage, etc.  GMO are often touted as the answer to malnutrition in some of the world’s poorest countries.  Having worked in international development, I know this is a bunch of bullshit covered in wheatgrass.  Anytime folks start messing with what is already pure and perfect for the sake of the poor, you know it’s gotta be crap!

So organically grown food (and seed, for those who are into planting your own garden…) is best for the raw food diet.  Start paying attention to how your food is grown and where in the world it is grown.  In short, if it ain’t produced by God, just leave it alone.

 

 

 

5 Days Raw: Living the Way God Intended

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Yeah, I think the title of this post says it all…  Trying to explain my choice of food to people has been — amusing, I’ll say.  I think most people in my circle understand vegetarian, and some even understand the difference between vegetarian and vegan.  But raw vegan is just a whole new ballgame that many people can’t figure out.  Let me share some of these amusing statements I have heard in the last few days…

You only eat raw food? So do you eat sushi???

Raw food?  So does that mean you’ll want your steak rare???

(and the classic…)  But where do you get your protein???

What’s sad about these statements is that the folks who said it weren’t kidding.  Why is it so hard for people to wrap their head around food that is simple and direct from the source of life (or as close as it can possibly get in this part of Washington, DC)?

But then again, I guess I didn’t realize it either until I started to eat raw foods on a regular basis.  It is possible to eat a few mangoes for dinner and be satisfied on those nights when you don’t feel like chopping, peeling, and waiting for stuff to boil.  There is no greater culinary joy than to lop off the top of an ice-cold watermelon and dig in with a spoon.  And, yes, making homemade salad dressings taste SOOOO much better than the crap you buy in a bottle with all those preservatives, sugar, and mayonnaise.  All those nights I complained about not having any time to prepare anything was really just me being a programmed part of the fast food machine.  This whole super busy lifestyle of working long hours away from home and not growing my own food and being dependent on chain stores for things I could have easily made my damn self with a little time and energy.  It’s this same fast lifestyle that made young women like myself think that having children before fully establishing a career is an inconvenience rather than a gift.  It is this fast lifestyle that make young women believe that preparing a home cooked meal for their husband is not nearly as important as pleasing their boss.  It is this fast lifestyle that makes me feel bad every time I want to take an afternoon off for a doctor’s appointment when I know I have a ton of things to finish.  I am realizing how much I don’t like this fast lifestyle and how it has impacted the choices I have made.  It really just isn’t what God intended for human beings to live at all.