Tag Archives: raw food diet

I’m Not Vegan, or 100% Raw: Update on the Raw Food Diet

I want to thank everyone who has supported me and given me their input on my decision to incorporate more raw foods into my diet. However I think I need to write a separate post which includes information about how I’m going about it. I didn’t completely share enough information in the previous post, so hopefully I can shed more light on the diet.

I’m not going 100% raw – Although I believe we should eat many of our foods uncooked to save the nutrients, I also believe that some foods allow their nutrients to have better absorbability when cooked. I’ve mentioned before that goitrogens are contained in many cuciferous vegetables like brocolli and cauliflower, but didn’t mention it in the last post. Thank you Erica for reminding me to say that I will still be eating these vegetables cooked in order to destroy their thyroid harming compounds.

I still eat meat. That will never change. Healthy, organic, grass fed and free range meat is a very important to my diet every now and then.

Oxalates are present in raw spinach, and need to be cooked to destroy these harmful compounds. An excess of oxalates in the blood and urine can increase the risk for kidney stone formation. Sometimes I will put raw spinach in my smoothies, because I theorize that blending them into a liquid will break down the oxalates. There is no research to support this, however.

I’m not going Vegan – I don’t mind having a vegetarian day, as long as I can still have some eggs or dairy for my daily intake of complete protein. However, I would never resort to veganism for my own health. I have known (and still know) people who tried the vegan lifestyle but couldn’t maintain it due to  health concerns which arises after starting that kind of diet.

Ann Marie over at Cheeseslave.com recently tweeted a blog story about a vegan who has turned a new leaf. She is now incorporating eggs and some meat in her diet due to her body’s declining health after being vegan. It’s a very interesting story that I invite everyone to read with an open mind. (Read it here).

I still enjoy cooked food – Cooked food has that warming, homey quality that I don’t necessarily see as being bad, and I’m not in any position to move to a 100% raw diet any time soon, if ever. Like I said before, some food needs to be cooked to destroy any anti-nutrients or other compounds, like goitrogens or oxalates. Please don’t get me wrong, I love raw foods, but I’m still a cooked food kind of person (you’ll see this with some of the holiday recipes I will post soon!).

Hopefully this quick post provides an expanded view of the diet I’m transitioning into. In all honesty, it’s not quite different from my former way of eating, I’m just incorporating more raw vegetables and healthy nuts and seeds.

By the way, I’m hoping to start a series of holiday recipe posts after finals are over. If you want to join in and create a mini-holiday blog carnival, let me know! I can’t wait until the holidays–there my favorite time of the year!

This is The Healthy Advocate.

My Experience with Raw Foods

Raw foods are naturally vibrant and full of life.

Many natural health experts agree that the majority of our foods should be in its raw and pure form. It is claimed that cooking destroys essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes vital to our bodies health and well being. In fact, the “life force” associated with raw foods helps build our own life force, creating vibrant health within and around us every day for our whole entire lives. Just how true are the claims to the raw food movement?

There are many who seem to claim that eating a raw food diet can help clear acne, reduce wrinkles and aid in getting rid of gray hair. Since all of these claims are not necessarily backed up by the science, I’m a bit wary to believe them. However I do know that cooking does destroy vitamins and nutrients in which are crucial for maintaining beauty, youthful skin and good health. The connection is there and can be made, but I can’t say for sure that it would reverse the clock on aging. I w0uld like to think so, as many raw food acquaintances I know (some vegan and some not) look very young and have tremendous energy. Some raw foodists, however, do not embody this, yet looks may be deceiving.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been eating a mainly raw food diet. If you are a regular reader at my blog, you already know how I like to do dietary experiments, like my Grain-Free experiment which turned into a now normal lifestyle of a no-grain diet. I found this diet not to be limiting at all, as there are a surprising number of sources which can help create the same foods without the ill-effects of hard to digest grains. You may also remember my “Beyond Sweets” experiement, where I took out all sweet tastes from my diet.

Raw Food is Making Me Psychic?

My experiences with the raw food diet has given me insights I never even imagined would happen based on the claims. I haven’t necessarily known a difference in my skin or the way I look, but perhaps the physical appearance takes some time if it even changes at all. For some reason, though, I have found that when I eat mainly raw foods (including raw eggs and raw milk for their complete protein content) I find that my intuition is incredibly heightened. My ability to tell what will happen next, what someone will say, knowing that someone will walk through the door any second–my “psychic” abilities, perhaps, become enhanced.

Rarely will I get into all the psychic hoo-haa here on this blog, so I really like to refer to it as “intuition”. There are some people on the Interweb talking about how when you eat raw foods and meld with its life force, you are connecting to your own inner life force and enhancing your intuition. I was thinking, if this is even true at all, that when you consume the life force you connect to the ultimate source of life which knows no time, yet is a part of every single moment in all the time of the Universe–past, future and present. This is only a small speculation on my part, and I may be entirely off.

Since there is no science to back up my experience with the raw food diet, I was a little reluctant to share. I can’t promise eating mostly raw foods can enhance your intuition, but it certainly did give mine a boost. The connection between anti-aging and raw foods is probably linked to the high amount of anti-oxidants consumed in raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also more balanced, reducing inflammation in the body associated with certain disorders and accelerated aging.

Raw Food and Enzymes

Cooking food does destroy enzymes, yet there are those who claim that the simple act of digesting the food can also kill many living enzymes by the acid the stomach produces. Enzymes are biological catalysts which facilitate metabolic changes, and it is important to have as many healthy enzymes in the body to function on the tasks at hand.

Digestion enzymes, for example, decreases as the body ages, making it crucial to find ways to increase digestive enzymes,  either through supplementation or through eating more raw foods. I’m not yet sure if I yet believe that simply taking in enzymes through raw foods will help in the production of digestive enzymes, so until you or I see any solid research on this, I might only use raw foods a “just in case” route.

Anti-Oxidants

Anti-oxidants fight free radicals, which are molecules with an unpaired electron that wreak havoc on our health and beauty (anti-aging efforts). As I mentioned before, anti-oxidants are probably one of the biggest effectors in the raw food diet that help to relieve different symptoms and to promote beauty, youthfulness and better health. Cooking destroys up to half of the vitamin A in foods, for example, and this vitamin is a powerful antioxidant for helping produce better eye health.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are more balanced in plant foods than animal sources, are also degradable through heat. These aren’t antixodants, but almost provide the same qualities of promoting better health through reducing inflammation and promoting better skin, hair and nails. You should still get omega-6’s in your diet, but not in the extent that the modern American gets it through their processed foods. Animal products are higher in omega-6s, however eating animal protein, especially in the form of raw, organic and free-range eggs or clean raw milk, provides many health benefits to help ease worry of any omega-6’s you might be consuming. PLUS – organic, free range beef, grass fed eggs, milk and meat contains a better balance of the omega-3 and -6 fatty acids than conventional raised animals.

Raw Animal Protein

Occasionaly I will blend a raw egg yolk from free-range chickens into my green smoothies, helping to get a complete protein in its raw, uncooked form.

Even though I have eaten mostly raw for the past couple of weeks, I still make sure I receive a high quality source of complete protein. The easiest way for me to do this is to eat meat, whether it’s in the form of chicken, turkey (Thanksgiving!), fish or eggs. I haven’t eaten raw eggs or raw milk these past two weeks, but that is soon to come! Raw eggs can only be consumed by me when I blend it into a green smoothie, because the texture of them plain kills my appetite.

Most vegans are committed enough to make sure that they are receiving the necessary B-vitamins and amino acids the body needs, so if you are vegan and are considering a more raw diet, this section may not apply to you. Supplementation can be really important for vegans, especially for vitamin B-12, but I know many raw vegans who do this without a problem. I, however, find it much simpler and more natural to get these needs from humanely raised eggs, milk, fish and sometimes beef. It’s a personal preference. I would love to hear any feedback on this area!

My Future with the Raw Food Diet

I’m not going vegan. I have many vegan friends, but I’m not going vegan. I am, however, going to be eating mainly raw for the next couple of months, going into 2011. I will hopefully have access to raw goat’s milk and farm fresh eggs, so these will be my main protein sources (along with some hormone-free beef and chicken and low-mercury fish a couple times a week). Wish me luck!

Many nutrition experts believe about 80% of the diet should consist of uncooked, raw foods. I think I am starting to believe this. Cooking some foods does help with their digestion, putting these foods in the other 20%.  There is a really good article which presents how cooked foods helped the human civilization move forward, which is worth a read (I am in the midst of finding that article which seems to be lost in the ether–link to come). I will still enjoy cooked foods, as they provide a warming quality, yet they will decrease a bit while I up my raw food intake.

Any diet that helps me get in more raw vegetables is a plus, because these natural foods are brimming to the top of the nutritional rating chart, full of phytonutrients and anti-oxidants. Being a 100% raw foodist is not completely for me, but it is fun to incorporate certain ideals of the lifestyle in everyday life to promote better health overall, mentally, physically and spiritually. I will be posting some raw recipes that are high in fiber, protein and good fats very soon, so watch out for those!

Random –

Before I end this post, I wanted to let everyone know that today is the 55th anniversary of Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger. She was the first woman I learned of when we would talk about black history in school, and her silence moved me greatly as a child. It let’s others know, no matter their race, gender or personal preferences, that you deserve to be free in the world in which you live, and that you shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.

For now, this is The Healthy Advocate.

P.S. I’m seeking help from any fellow blog owners on transferring this blog over to its own domain. If you can help me, please message me through Facebook or email me at my Yahoo! account (thehealthyadvocate). Your aid in getting this blog up and running will be greatly appreciated, and I will definitely give you credit for the help! Thank you. – Brandon

Raw, Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream: Part I

Homemade, Vegan Raw Ice Cream

This recipe is part of Penny Wise Platter Thursday over at The Nourishing Gourmet

This raw, vegan  ice cream recipe was my go-to summer concotion this year, inspired by the recipes of the raw food diet. I’m not 100% raw (although I am about 85-90% these days), but I enjoyed this vegan dessert very much when I was still doing sweets.

Right now I’m enjoying my raw green smoothies about 3-4 times a week. This provides sweetness. However I am still drinking my tea unsweet and not indulging in any sweet desserts. I’m only “breaking” my rule on my green smoothies to get more raw greens in my body. I will cut down , though, and start making large salads for lunch and dinner to get the same amount of raw vegetables without the sweet taste.

For those who like to enjoy their sweets moderately, then this vegan ice cream is for you. I still want to work it out so that it is *perfect*, but so far, it’s still good. You can use carob instead of the cocoa, if you desire, to have that malty, chocoalty taste without the caffeine or oxaletes presented in the cocoa. This ice cream recipe is nutritious and satisfying. Make it for yourself and find out.

Raw Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

1 cup homemade coconut milk
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp. Guar Gum (vegan version) OR 1 Organic Egg Yolk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 tsp. chia seeds, soaked in 1/4 cup water
2 TBSP. cocoa or carob powder
1 Medium avocado
1 small banana
1/8-1/4 tsp. pure stevia extract
1/8 cup xylitol or coconut sugar
1-2 tbsp. raw honey (if omitting, increase xylitol/coconut sugar to 1/4 cup, or to desired sweeteness)
Cinnamon
100% dark chocolate bar, broken into chunks (optional)

Blend coconut milk, almond milk, guar gum or egg yolk and vanilla together for about 20 seconds in blender. Add chia seeds and blend well until seeds are broken down and mixture is emulsified.

Add cocoa powder, avocado, banana and sweeteners. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds or more to make sure everything is well blended and broken down.

Freeze in ice cream maker and make according to manufactures directions. Or, freeze in a plastic container and blend in blender every 2 hours. Thaw for 30 minutes before serving, or until soft. Garnish with cinnamon (to lower blood sugar levels and increase antioxidants) and/or dark chocolate chunks.
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I like to blend in cinnamon to this ice cream to help bring down my blood sugar after ingesting the sugar from the banana or the honey (which I rarely add). Experiment with this recipe and see if it works for you. You might need to adjust the sweetness to your level of taste. Test taste it before freezing to make sure.

Until next time, this is The Healthy Advocate.

By the way, if you like this recipe, please share below using the social media icons. Tweet it, stumble it and show your friends on Facebook. Thank you!