Monday, May 21, 2007

What Am I Supposed To Eat Then?

This is a follow-up to my last entry about eating too much fat. After reading this, many people new to the raw food lifestyle may be scratching their heads wondering what in the world can they eat?

First I'm going to preface this by mentioning that reducing your fat intake does not have to be a sudden thing. This may be a more difficult feat for some than others, so if drastically reducing an already high fat intake is a challenge, take it slow and steady. Log on to a free nutritional analysis site, like, or and put in everything you ate for a few days just to see your percentage.

If you ate a recipe, then enter all the ingredients in measurements and it will give you a percentage, even if you didn't eat the whole recipe, it is the percentage that you want to look at. If you ate over 60% of your calories from fat, then you are eating way more fat than is recommended, and you may want to aim for no more than 40% fat for the next few weeks to make things easier. You can start reducing it after that as you feel comfortable. Most health experts advise no more than 10%-15% calories coming from fat.

Just a note, that you do not have to keep entering your daily intake for more than a few days. Once you enter a few days' worth of food, you'll see what needs to be tweaked. The key is, that the more calories you eat in a day, the more fat you can eat.

If you weren't hungry at all but had a couple of handfuls of nuts, then you could be eating 70-80% fat, just because all you had were the nuts, and nothing to offset them. The amount of calories you take in is entirely up to you, but if you are very active, the amount of calories you should be eating is your weight x 10 plus what you are burning off in activity.

Example - if you weigh 150 pounds and are active, you'll want to get eat at least 1,500 calories plus extra to make up for the calories you burn in activity. However if you are not active or don't feel like eating anything, your calorie intake will vary. So this is just a guideline.

It is so common today that prepared raw foods, recipes, and products available to the public tend to be very dense and abnormally high in fat. Years and years ago, the pioneer raw foodists were eating fresh fruits and vegetables as meals, and smaller amounts of fats. This I believe was the ideal kind of raw diet. they weren't supplementing with superfoods and oils as many are today.

Now it is popular, even chic to be eating coconut oil, hemp seeds, pumpkin butter, superfood smoothies made with cocoa and a lot of fats.

There are many recipes out there that are loaded with nuts and fats. One in particular I've seen gain popularity is a cheesecake recipe. The main ingredients consists of lots of cashews, macadamia nuts and coconut oil and a liquid sweetener. Many folks were trying out this recipes and exclaiming how it tasted just like the real thing. However, this recipe contained over 65% fat. Whether you eat one bite, one piece or the whole cake, the percentage is the same.

Out of curiosity, I made half a recipe for the holidays a couple of years ago. I anxiously tried it and to me, it didn't even come close to a cheesecake. In fact, it tasted very fatty, as if I was eating a stick of sweetened frozen butter (it had to be kept frozen in order for it to stay firm).

While enjoying recipes are great, sometimes people with eating disorders or who may have a hard time with food addictions really need to take caution with some of those recipes. People were eating cheesecakes, puddings and pies for breakfast while patting themselves on the back for "staying raw". In my opinion, a bowl of natural cooked oatmeal would have been far healthier as a breakfast option.

Which brings me back to the original topic, "what am I supposed to eat?"

So for today's entry, we'll start with breakfast.

Many raw fooders believe that adding a fat to their smoothie is beneficial. It is not uncommon for people to add tablespoons of fat, such as coconut oil, flax seed oil, or flax seeds themselves to a smoothie.

There are many problems with this, the first being that most people don't require that amount of fat, especially when breaking a fast. In addition, mixing fat with fruit is a recipe for many problems, at the very least a bad case of indigestion and gas, and at the worst blood sugar problems which may contribute or worsen things like candida and diabetes.

Here are some ideas for breakfast:

  • Fresh squeezed orange juice

  • Young coconut water - this has a little more fat, but it's still under 10% calorically

  • An all fruit smoothie. You can use orange juice or plain water as the base, add bananas and mangoes for creaminess, then any other kind of fruit like pineapple, peaches, berries, frozen fruit and ice cubes if you like your smoothies cold. I prefer to keep the variety to a minimum, usually no more than 3 kinds of fruit.

  • Mono fruit. You can eat one kind of fruit such as several oranges, several peaches, kiwi, grapefruit, grapes or whatever you desire. Although this is simple, you will be surprised at how enjoyable the flavor is. Eat as much you'd like, but make sure you are hungry first!

  • Fruit salad - mixing 2 or more fruits. Bananas and berries, pineapples and oranges, peaches & pears, etc.

Most people prefer to skip breakfast, which is perfectly fine. Breakfast is only the most important meal of the day when you eat it properly. It is better not to eat at all if you aren't going to give yourself the appropriate type of fuel.

Sometimes I will just drink a big glass of water, which is a great way to cleanse the body after a night of detox. If you are waking up with a heavy head and a funny taste in your mouth, your body is in full detox mode and has worked hard the night before, so be gentle with it the next morning. Especially if you haven't done any kind of activity, there may be no real need to re-fuel. So eating light, or drinking water or juice may be the easiest on your body.

The next entry we will talk about lunch options.

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