Feelin’ The Raw Love
You might have noticed that I have been posting a lot about raw fruits and veggies these days. I’ve become rather excited about them 🙂 yum. When I made my resolution to exercise this year, an added benefit was that I didn’t feel like eating bad food anymore. So I decided to cut out all processed foods, including sugar and bread. I also decided to cut out cheese. That lasted about a week and then I decided that the raw food revolution was calling me once again 🙂
I have always been partial to a raw food lifestyle…ever since I tried it out for a couple of months in 2005. I felt incredible and I couldn’t deny the benefits a raw food diet provided. But that first time around, I focused a lot on creating more “gourmet” raw dishes that were heavy on the nuts and fats. I leaned heavily on “transitional” foods that are great to help you get started eating 100% raw, but then I just kept eating them. This just made it hard to continue it because it was expensive, time consuming, and not great on my digestive system.
This time around I have discovered a new way of “doing raw” and I couldn’t be happier. It’s about as simple as it gets and is so easy to maintain. The basic idea behind is that you eat sweet fruits all day long…to include smoothies if you like. And for supper, you have a huge green salad with lots of green stuff and veggies…but very little fat. When I would normally make a salad, I would put at least 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup walnuts, hemp seeds, flax…you name it. Plus, the vinaigrette. VERY high in fat. Being that this time I’m looking to lower the fat content, I only put ONE of those things on my salad per day. 🙂 It’s actually helped me appreciate each one of those wonderful things even more. I have modified my original dressing recipes…cutting way back on the olive oil and adding more water. It tastes just as yummy!
The concept comes from a chiropractor, Dr. Douglas Graham…he calls it the 80/10/10 diet (also referred to as 811rv…the rv stands for raw vegan). He proposes that a diet of 80% carbs, 10% protein, and 10% fats is the optimal ratio for our bodies. He has a book and a website. But I do hate to call it a “diet” because that’s not what it is. It’s just new way of thinking about food. I didn’t want to have a list of rules. Just a simple way of eating natural, whole fruits and veggies. This idea was a radical change from what I had been doing on raw…my fat content was probably more in the range of 50-80%. And while this is ok for awhile, it’s not something that I feel should be maintained. The most interesting thing I have been reading is that the level of fat in your diet is responsible for yeast overgrowth (candida)…not necessarily the level of sugar you’re eating. I’ve always struggled with yeast, and even after just a few days…it was completely gone! And it was gone without cutting fruits and other yummy natural sweets. I was sold. 🙂
In addition to eating whole, raw fruits and veggies, I have added at least one green smoothie a day. I was turned onto this little secret by my friend, Deanna, who sent me the book “Green For Life” by Victoria Boutenko. I had read Victoria’s “Ode to Green Smoothies” awhile back, but never really got into it. I read this book in 2 days and immediately started making smoothies every day. I saw a radical difference in my energy and cravings. The smoothies also contain all the fibers in the fruits/veggies…so it’s a little different than juicing. I’ve been having my green lemonade in the mornings too.
A typical day for me looks like this:
Green Lemonade (apples, kale, lemon, romaine) or Green Smoothie
1-2 apples with 10 dates
16 oz. Green Smoothie (some favorites have been blueberry/banana/kale and pear/mint/kale)
Handful of raw sunflower seeds
Huge green salad with mixed greens, spinach, romaine, carrot, tomato, broccoli, cucumbers, sprouts, with a small serving of one of the following: avocado/hemp seeds/sunflower seeds/walnuts
Evening: Herbal Tea
Totals: Carbs 80% Fats 12% Proteins 8% (even at 8% I am at 38g of protein and my ideal is between 27-50 g)
Considering I am nursing a toddler, my caloric need to maintain my current weight is between 2,000 – 2,500 calories a day depending on my work out for that day. I usually try to average it out over the week…it can vary per day. I’ve been tracking on FitDay just to get an idea of how much I’m taking in, and I’ve been fine. I wouldn’t recommend tracking every single day (you’ll drive yourself crazy)…use this just to get an idea of what you’re truly eating and where your calories come from.
Some of the benefits I have seen in the last 3 weeks on raw:
- My skin is smooth and glowing.
- Excess water/bloating has disappeared. I feel light and fit.
- I wake up alert and energized. I need less sleep to feel rested.
- My senses are all heightened, especially my sense of smell.
- I have no cravings (I credit this to the green drinks/greens).
- Ok, I take it back. I do have cravings…for fruit! I can’t get enough of it. It’s so fun to sit and eat all the fruit I want (combined correctly) until I’m full. Yum.
- I have started to lose my taste for cooked foods…they just seem so dry and dead! So different than an apple or banana or crunchy greens.
- Yeast problems disappeared.
- My sweat doesn’t smell as much and my breath is sweeter and less rancid in the mornings.
- I don’t have gas or other digestive problems. I used to just think that gas/bloating was part of being a vegetarian, but now I know that it doesn’t have to be that way.
- By completely cleaning up the food I eat, my body has reacted very quickly to the exercise I’ve been doing for the last 4 weeks and I’m noticing amazing changes.
Another wonderful benefit is the fact that when you are eating so “clean”, you are much more in tune with your body. When you take away everything that is causing you ailments…it’s easy to pinpoint exactly what your problems are. I’ve figured out which foods trigger certain reactions, and know how to avoid them.
I am also working on not eating after 7:00 p.m. At first it was difficult, because I am such a night snacker. I love to snack, snack, snack…up until bedtime. But because I’ve been consuming so many greens, I don’t have those cravings anymore. My stomach works on getting everything from supper digested before I even go to sleep…and then when I am sleeping, it can work on healing and replenishing at the cellular level.
Going raw has acted as a natural detox for my system too. After all the processed foods we were eating while on the road, my body was craving a clean slate. You can tell a lot about your body by your poop. I can now poop 2-3 times a day…which means that my colon and the rest of digestive system is working wonderfully. If you want to figure out what is up with your body, examine your poop! 🙂 Here is a great post on Rawkin’ about poop.
Eating raw foods also has the ability to HEAL many, many diseases including diabetes and cancer. Here is a great video on how it can cure diabetes. Be sure to check out Alissa’s site for many stories of healing.
I know the first question you probably have in your mind is “what about protein!?”. The short answer is that it’s completely possible to get all the protein you need from greens, fruits, veggies, and nuts. If you don’t believe me, you may want to check out what the mighty apes eat (fruits, greens, nuts) and how muscular they on a plant based diet. Our protein needs are no where near as high as the dairy and meat industries want you to believe. Plus, plant based protein is processed much differently than when you eat an animal based protein. Here is a bit longer answer on this topic.
Overall, I am so excited to have started this again. I feel SO great…and that’s what matters. If I feel like having cooked food, I will make that choice. But it’s a choice. I’m much more conscious of all my food choices and how they affect my mood and my body. Will I eat pizza again? Yes. Will I drink a Soy Caramel Machiato again? Yes. But the majority of my eating will be raw. Will I stop posting yummy vegan recipes on Happy Foody? No. 🙂 Is it hard being around cooked food and yummy smells and all the deliciousness hard? Sometimes. But I honestly crave fresh foods now more than cooked, so it’s really not bad. Plus, considering how fabulous I feel, it would be hard to go back to a 100% cooked diet.
Raw is amazing!
Disclaimer: I am in no way saying that all of you who eat healthy, low fat vegan diets are going to die tomorrow 🙂 I don’t want anyone to feel bad about how they are eating now…I merely want to shed light. When you have more sources of knowledge, you are able to make better choices. This is based on my own personal findings of how I feel on cooked vs. raw foods. Even when I was eating very healthy cooked food, I still had some problems that disappear with a raw food diet. I would urge all of you who fall in that category to consider ADDING more fruits and greens into your diet and see how you feel. Peace and love 🙂