March 3, 2013
Family members and friends have expressed an interest in supporting Rich and I in our raw lifestyle by also making a commitment to go raw. I’d like to take this opportunity to explain exactly what a raw diet is and what benefits it can provide. A raw vegan diet means that you have a commitment to only eat living foods, meaning that you primarily focus on fruits and vegetables (foods of the earth), and cannot cook food above 115 degrees. This preserves the healthy enzymes which have invaluable health benefits. In 2008, I “went raw” for 6 months upon getting pancreatitis, and doing so fully reversed my symptoms. My body completely detoxed during that time and healed. I also felt clearer and calmer than I ever had in my life and lost the extra weight I had been carrying. Here are some frequently asked questions:
Can I eat meat? No – you can’t eat meat or ingest dairy. Think about it, going raw includes eating live foods. Live = life, dead foods = not OK.
What about bread? Absolutely not. It’s cooked, and for my purposes especially, carbs cause inflammation.
How do you get your protein? Besides vegetables strong in protein, you can eat nuts and nut butters on a raw diet, and doing so is recommended. The best type of nut butter is raw almond butter, as peanut butter can get stuck in your digestive system and inhibit the detoxification process. Rich and I have also found that adding hemp seed or flax seed into recipes greatly enhances the protein intake. We’ve also used “nutritional yeast” which has a lot of nutrients and protein.
Won’t I get hungry? I suggest eating 5 times a day to avoid ever feeling “starved.” See my daily meal plans below.
Where can I find raw food recipes? Our favorite books are The Raw Food Cookbook and the cookbook by Cafe Gratitude (Rich and I ate at Gratitude in 2008 in San Francisco and were hooked ever since). Rich’s mom, Donna, also sent me this great link: http://rawfoodsdiet.wetpaint.com/?zone=addthis#.UTPlEG_Ykuc.mailto
Yesterday I unintentionally started my raw diet. I did really well, and was able to put heels on for the first time in months. I got a little puffy after a while, but overall was really proud of myself.
Today Rich and I are doing the big preparation for the raw diet. We invested in two really great green teas for substitutes for our coffee and had our jasmine green tea this morning – delicious!
I also had a big success for breakfast with Rich’s help. With our magic bullet, we were able to make raw oatmeal – so fresh and absolutely DELICIOUS. Requires one apple (I prefer granny smith but you could do macintosh as well), one banana (for you banana haters out there- you really can’t taste it once it’s blended in), one tablespoon of flax seed (can be bought at stop n shop – HUGE help with protein), two table spoon of cinnamon, and some agave. Put the ingredients in the blender/ magic bullet and add warm to hot water from the tap. Typically, raw food isn’t “hot,” but the water was only about 100 degrees (below the required 115). I liked putting hot water in because it made it feel more like oatmeal. After mixing, we tried it and it came out really very good. It was so easy too and will probably be a regular morning treat.
Here is a typical day of food:
Breakfast foods to choose from or have together:
- raw oatmeal
- “almond milk smoothie” – handful of almonds (I prefer the sliced already to avoid the brown chunks), cup of water, agave, and your choice of fruit (I love bananas)
- raw almond butter (get at Mrs. Greens or in the stop n shop healthy aisle), spread onto your favorite fruit, such as banana or apple
- green tea in place of coffee (can have a few cups a day if you need a pick me up)
I then have a snack around 10am. I typically have a dried fruit and nut mix, which is prepackaged from the supermarket. Easy and healthy and really curbs the hunger.
- salad, salad, salad. Add any of the following: lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, carrots, berries, beets (although watch for too much sugar), avocado, kale (although sometimes too “leafy” for some people), and more.
- DRESSING: This is so important. The best kind of natural and quick raw dressing is half a lemon and some light olive oil. No vinegar, no prepackaged garbage. Stop n shop also sells “organic salsa” which is diced tomatoes, onions, and green peppers to keep in interesting. I add a teaspoon to the salad and it’s instantly more delicious. Rich and I are also exploring other lunch options to avoid getting bored, but more on that later.
3:00 snack: I always have a snack in the afternoon. In the fridge at work, I keep organic string beans and carrots with some all natural hummus. I don’t make the hummus myself just yet, so perhaps this isn’t 100% raw, but I absolutely recommend it.
Dinner: There is so much to choose from. Rich and I are planning on doing raw dinners 50% of the time, and every other day will cook vegan food. My favorite is cooking buckwheat in vegetable stock (instead of water like you would with rice), and in that you add carrots, celery, a little red onion and garlic (which you sautee ahead of time).
Tonight we tried “raw pasta” because it’s Sunday after all! This involves slicing zucchini for the pasta and doing a raw marinara medley. Here is the full recipe (serves 2):
- Pasta: Slice two zucchini into spaghetti like pieces– we invested in a spiral slicer from Bed Bath and Beyond.
- INGREDIENTS for “sauce”:
- ¼ cup sundried tomatoes (I hate them so we may skip this part)
- ½ cup water for soaking
- ½ cup red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- One clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced basil
- 1 quarter tablespoon oregano
- ¼ cup raw olives, chopped (I’ll probably skip this too)
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes
- To make sauce, place all ingredients except olives and zucchini into a blender, and blend until smooth. Blend in fresh herbs last. Add the water that you soaked the sundried tomatoes if it needs more liquid.
- Place noodles in a bowl and add the “sauce.”
- YOU JUST MADE YOUR FIRST RAW DINNER!
The raw pasta came out awesome! We’re making a banana chocolate smoothie for dessert:
- handful of almonds
- 1 cup water
- 1 banana
- teaspoon cacao powder
Blend together and enjoy!
As I get ready for the week, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge: 1) how good I feel already, 2) that my swelling has diminished noticeably over the past 48 hours, and 3) that I’ve already lost 3 pounds of water weight that I have been carrying for months. I have about 7 to 10 pounds of water to go, but am confident that whatever is happening with my body, this raw diet was the way to go.
Below take note of our “raw pasta” ingredients: