Thursday, June 26, 2008

Keeping It Real

Since Monday evening's raw food meetup, I've been having some discussions with a few attendees and through these conversations, I'm finding that I'm rediscovering some of the basics of my original passion for raw and living foods. Although most of you, my dear readers, already know the basics, I just wanted share some of my thoughts, so that you too, can embellish the number of reasons we continue on with our journey and aspiration of being a raw foodie. I think my favorite fact is one that is absurdly simple, and, well, obvious...The Earth produces food for us (and all the other animals) in the state in which it is meant to be eaten: raw. It makes good sense that we should eat it the way it comes.

There is certainly irrefutable logic about this premise. Humans didn't even discover cooking until relatively recently, something along the lines of 10,000 years ago. (Practically yesterday, right?) So from this perspective, adherence to a raw-foods regimen is simple....Don't eat things that have been heated above the temperature of 118 degrees. When food is cooked, vitamins are significantly reduced, and the natural enzymes present in food are damaged, sometimes destroyed, by the heat. As we have learned, these natural-food enzymes are crucial to our ability to truly digest our food. When these enzymes aren't present, our bodies are forced to use our own cellular enzymes to complete digestion. This is one of the most obvious reasons that we age prematurely, feel fatigued, and grow ill. And along these lines, when we eat a standard American diet, complete with overly cooked, overly processed, overly laden with chemicals and hormones, our bodies become warehouses of toxic, improperly digested food, so we also grow stubbornly fat.

In speaking with people recently, I realize that eating nothing but raw food is a huge adjustment for the average person and it seems to take a lot of motivation to even try. Many who have been successful have usually had one of two big motivators; life-threatening illness (that one will really get you motivated) and obesity. Albeit, weight loss, with all its alluring power, was only one of the reasons I originally turned to raw foods. Although irritable bowel syndrome was certainly not life threatening, it was my toughest nut to crack. Within 1 week of going 100% raw, ALL my intestinal symptoms were gone. No doctor or pill ever did that for me. The other numerous health benefits of eating a high raw diet have include increased energy, improved skin appearance, dramatic improvement in seasonal allergies, better overall digestion, and a reduction in hormonal mood changes and no more PMS. This diet contains little saturated fat and no trans fats. It is also low in sodium and high in potassium, magnesium, folate, fiber, and health-promoting plant chemicals called phytochemicals. All of these properties are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other degenerative diseases. Plus you lose weight. If followed with some intelligence, this is a diet that should effortlessly morph one's body into its most perfect version of itself. Yeah, I know, it really does sound too good to be true, but it really isn't.

Within the raw genre, one can generally eat all the raw food one wants, whenever one wants. And this has been true for the majority of my raw friends world wide. However, word to the wise....I managed to actually gain a bit of weight in the past as a new raw foodist. Believe me, if you are gobbling up handfuls of raw nuts and eating rich, dehydrated gourmet raw foods everyday, you're probably not going to reap the benefits that those who eat more whole, juicy raw foods experience. If your diet is filled with raw, organic fruits, vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, soaked and sprouted grains and beans, sea vegetables and other superfoods, you should easily get all of the vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants a body could ever hope to take in and still be svelte and radiantly healthy. Do your homework people....you DON'T have to eat meat to get your protein and I am going to write about that in a later post.

Charismatic raw-food guru David Wolfe says this, "Even if you never achieve a 100% raw-food diet, even getting 50% of your daily intake via raw foods will have a dramatic effect on your health." I totally agree with that statement. Wolfe and many other leaders in popular health circles today place an emphasis on seeking out organic foods whenever possible, which is also a fairly obvious "better choice." The vitamin and, especially, mineral content of organic foods are phenomenally higher than in conventionally grown foods, since the soil they are grown in is living soil that actually contains minerals.

Now, doesn't that rekindle your commitment to raw and living foods? It certainly has for me. Now get out there and "eat your veggies" and make it the "BEST DAY EVER!!" *wink*

10 comments:

HiHoRosie said...

It made a HUGE difference for me when I started eating salads after eating a SAD for every meal. I can't believe I've deprived my body of so many wonderful things! I love dehydrating and eating/preparing gourmet foods but keeping it simple with whole raw organic fruits and veggies is the best. Thanks for the reminder!

RawBin said...

I agree about keeping it real. I know we joke about raw food being more than just celery and carrots, but sometimes those simple snacks taste soooo good! The simple unprocessed fresh from outside produce is ripe and ready right now! This is the perfect season for a raw and living lifestyle.

This is a keeper post. One to forward on to my curious friends who ask, why raw? A simple explanation about simple eating. Thanks Penni!

yardsnacker said...

Great thoughts.

Charissa said...

Exactly! Even just a percentage of
raw foods (like 50%) makes a big, lovely difference. You tell 'em! :)

LolaBloom said...

Yep, keeping it simple is a good thing. I find that I have the hardest time sticking to raw when I get myself overwhelmed with trying to do too much when the basics are still just as delicious and satisfying.

jessica said...

i needed this post right about now. coming back from incredible italy and indulging, your post is helping me get back on track. thanks penni.

Antony Heaven said...

It sure does! Thanks Penni :-)

MARYYX said...

You are SUCH a positive pearl, Penni! I am starting another Juice Feast today. My hope is to be able to stay with it for the remainder of the summer.

I do still have some fears about getting enough calcium, or having the proper calcium/magnesium balance. Several times, on my shorter juice feasts, I have run into problems with muscle cramps. I have a problem with them all the time in my legs - but I started to get them in my hands as well. Do you know anything about this?

shannonmarie said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for putting it into words for the rest of us :-)

Michelle J said...

Love this post Penni! Thanks!
Michelle