Sunday, May 20, 2007

Big Fat Debate

Over the years on a raw food diet, I've noticed that one of the many on-going debates is about fat intake.

Fat, fat, fat. It is a touchy subject for some. It's been discussed and over-discussed, and some raw discussion sites even prohibit fat from being discussed!

But we will discuss it here. There are 2 different types of eaters when it comes to fat, obviously, the low fat eaters and the high fat eaters.

The low fat eaters may be consciously eating low fat, or may be mono-mealing or just plain enjoying their food with very small amounts of fat.

The high fat eaters are either aware or unaware of the high amount of fat intake they are eating on a daily basis. The ones who are aware are usually doing it because they believe eating a lot of fat is really good for them. Or they could be those who know that over-eating fat is not so good for them, but they are in a habit of reaching for the higher fat foods. This is a problem I face at times. I will be eating really well, and then I can get sucked into the "fat trap", whether it is from a raw source or a non-raw source.

The ones who seem to be eating a lot of fat really don't believe or feel they are, and they feel like purposely eating a lot of it is going to be healing and beneficial to them. The reason why they don't believe they are eating a lot of daily fat on a regular basis is because they don't look at their intake on a caloric level, they look at it on a meal level (some research found that raw food eaters commonly take in over 60% fat on a daily basis!)

Plus, when they eat a very fat-heavy meal or recipe, it can be enough fat for an entire week, but since it's only ONE meal or ONE recipe and the rest of the meals are moderate to low-fat, people tend to think that they are eating "well".

I have eaten raw so many different ways. And when I was eating a fat and recipe heavy raw diet, I hardly felt much different from eating cooked, because what I was doing was replacing the heaviness of cooked grains with the heaviness of fats.

Many raw food experts will say that this is perfectly fine, because the fat is still raw, but lets take a look at how fresh it really is, because the object of eating raw food is healing our bodies, correct? If we aren't getting fresh food into us, our bodies will react to the food differently than raw, as if we were still eating cooked, even though we think that food it raw.

Oils - Sometimes I wonder if we were even meant to be ingesting oils (and pure fats such as lard, butter, margarine, etc.) since really, it's not found in nature. Yes, oils are naturally IN things such as nuts, seeds and fatty fruits, but they are in perfect amounts in these foods. But oils are a form of extracted 100% pure fat.

I hardly use oil for eating purposes and when I do it is sparingly. And it is usually for external purposes, such as hair and skin. In the Bible, oils were used for burning candles and anointing, which tells me the purpose for oils is really external.

Nuts - There have not been too many people who haven't ventured into a raw food lifestyle and not over-consumed on nuts. I did, mostly in recipes, but I still did.

It is so very easy to overeat nuts, when there's a bag of conveniently shelled and supposedly "raw" almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, etc. right in front of you. They are not like this on the trees. I have not been privileged to eat a truly fresh nut, but I can imagine they take some effort to open and are soft inside.

In nature, it would not be probable that someone ready to eat a meal would sit under the nut tree, opening 100 nuts and eating them, as this would take half a day! The nuts that are available to us in bulk are void of any water, we don't know how long they've been sitting on shelves, and really, most of them may not even be viable, or sproutable.

We know that raw almonds are soon to be endangered, and most of us have been aware that cashews are heated at high temperatures to release them from their shells. Other nuts such as walnuts and pecans are hard to determine because I've never been able to sprout them myself.

Seeds - In nature, seeds are in fruits and many vegetables, and often we eat them intuitively, for instance in cucumbers and tomatoes. However, we hear how healthy it is to eat flax, pumpkin, sesame and hemp seeds. So many times we will overeat them in seed butters, oils, and seed milks. I tend to think that eating an abundance of seeds or seed products on their own is not even close to promoting health as eating fresh fruits and vegetables. As mentioned above regarding nuts, eating them in abundance seems to be un-natural.

Fatty Fruits - Some of the tastiest foods - avocados, fresh coconuts and other fruits such as the durian have higher amounts of fats in them. Usually these foods are very filling so it doesn't take much to satisfy, but these are probably the healthiest sources of fat as they are in the most natural state.

Olives - This is another tasty example of a high fat food, which would be hard to eat in abundance. In reality olives are quite bitter, so after the procedures of drying and salting, what remains is not very close at all to what came off the tree.

I hope that highlighting the main foods that people eating raw food eat, will help some think about where fat is coming from and how much one may be eating. The best fat is the freshest, least concentrated and processed and in small amounts.

Based on my own experience, when I eat concentrated raw fats or just plain higher raw fat recipes and meals, my intake of fresh fruits and vegetables drops dramatically. Since my appetite has been suppressed by the heavier foods, I no longer have hunger for the fresher, water rich, whole foods that are going to allow my body to heal. But the interesting thing is, when I do have those higher fat meals, I tend to want something "sweet" afterward. This is telling me I haven't had enough fruit during the day.

Some quotes about fat:

"Udo Erasmus, author of Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, has
extensively researched the topic of fat consumption and health. What's more, he sells fat for a living. Yet in his book, he recommends we eat just 15-20% of our calories as fat." pg. 111 The 80/10/10 Diet, Dr. Douglas Graham

"The high-fat raw foods that well-meaning raw chefs, teachers, and authors promote are very likely to cause in raw fooders many of the same health issues that plague cooked-food eaters, including candida, chronic and intermittent fatigue, and even heart disease. These maladies result in large part from excess fat in the bloodstream, a correlation explained in Chapter 2" pg. 129 The 10/10/10 Diet, Dr. Douglas Graham

"Fat is not 'bad' either; we just consume too much of it. The average person needs to consume less than fourteen grams of fat to meet the daily requirements of essential fatty acids, which your body needs to synthesize a variety of important substances. Unfortunately, the average American consumes at least eight times that amount." pg. 255-256 Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease

"high-fat meals, in contrast to low-fat meals, can cause considerable increases in plasma triglycerides and plasma levels of blood coagulation factors which lead to a blood clot or thrombosis in the heart artery" Dr. McDougall Newsletter


RawVeganMom said...

For me, the results speak loudly. I gain weight when I eat fats, even raw heathy ones. I feel AMAZING when I keep my fat intake low (or so-called low compared to the high fat eaters!). Also it is a big red flag for me when I give something up and get symptoms. Like giving up high fat makes me dizzy and uncomfortable the first day or so. I also crave fat to numb out my feelings. Another red flag. Your body dosn't react when you cut down on grapes! LOL It reacts when you give up or cut down on toxins. If you have ever quit coffee, meat or ciggarettes etc you will know what i'm talking about!

Autumn said...

Hey Girly, We live in the same town. Are there any raw get togethers/potlucks (with like, actually edible raw food :)) around here?

Peace Girl, Love your blog. If you every want to go for a hike drop me an email.