Monday, June 18, 2007

Raw Myths

There are so many misconceptions that are passed off as truth in the raw food world. I see it all the time. There are many experts out there who have been uncovering these for the good of the general raw interested public. I’d like to take a few that stand out and discuss them.

“Eat whatever you want, as long as it’s raw…anything that is considered raw is healthy.”

No way!

This is so far from the truth.

Some raw meals and recipes contain more salt and fat than a fast food meal. There are many “gourmet” meals that have had all the water dehydrated out of them, and miscombined (fats and sugars), over-salted and spiced, which has left many people who constantly partake in them, confused, unsatisfied and frustrated with their physical and mental results on raw, leaving many giving up the raw food diet.

The error with this myth, is that people are being advised to eat anything they want as long as it’s raw, so that they aren’t hungry, they are encouraged to eat as many pieces of raw pie, pizza, burgers, and raw “treats” etc. as they need to in order to stay raw. They eat practically no fresh fruits or vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This may keep people from eating their old standard cooked diets, but it’s no healthier, and in many cases, far less healthy than what they were eating before.

In addition, the majority of people eating questionably fresh and healthy food, and overloading on raw fats, dehydrated foods and raw gourmet recipes rarely see the results they are looking for.

Truth be told, I haven’t actually witnessed, seen or heard of anyone who has met a health goal eating raw food this way. Please come out of the woodwork if you have! I’d love to know about it!

For the most part, they may feel a small difference in the beginning, as cooked food does take a toll on our bodies, and coming off those denatured and damaging foods initially will give people a small taste of a healthier feeling, but that soon dissipates if the person continues with non-fresh, heavy, dehydrated and/or mixed raw foods day in and day out.

This includes yours truly. I’ve been on and off raw several times, and let me say that eating a wildcard raw diet was the most effective the first time around – but going back on the raw diet with gourmet recipes goodies at every meal gave me no results and actually made me feel just as worn out and tired, if not more, than on cooked.

We have gotten so far away from real raw food, we should really be calling this diet the “Fresh Food Diet”, because the best foods are found in whole, fresh form, ripe and ready to eat, and not mixed up with a bunch of other foods, dehydrated, over spiced and concentrated (as in oils, nut butters, etc.) The very best foods, which should be the center of the diet, are fresh ripe fruits, vegetables, and greens complimented by small amounts nuts and seeds. Instead of making a raw pizza or a raw pie as a meal, the meal should be as many pieces of fruits and vegetables as needed to satisfy a person’s hunger.

Should people starting out on raw ever use gourmet recipes and fractionated processed “raw” foods? Only if necessary. In the beginning, people transitioning to raw may experience cravings for heavier, more complicated and more concentrated foods. But by making those raw recipes an everyday habit, it’s like trading one bad habit for another. The habit of eating unnatural food will never be broken if one never gets used to eating naturally.

You could be thinking: “But I really want to enjoy these gourmet recipes, because I’m not ready to eat that simply, all of the time”.

I hear you. That is a very valid place to be, and you are certainly not alone in those thoughts. You can have the best of both worlds.

Try this tip if you are in that recipe rut!

* Allow yourself just one heavy recipe/meal a day in the beginning, after you have at least 1 piece of fruit before the meal. If you can have more than 1 piece of fruit beforehand, great!

* After a couple of weeks reduce your heavy recipe/meal to 3 times a week for the next week, again make sure you eat at least 1 piece of fruit before the recipe or heavier food. Try not to wait more than a couple of weeks to do this,

* By now you should be comfortable enough to start eating more and more fresh food, but if not, in a month, drop the heavy, gourmet stuff to once a week.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Third Meal of the Day & Snacks

Usually your third meal of the day will be your evening meal.

There are a couple different things you may want to do:


If you are really, really hungry you may want to have a more heavy, satisfying meal.

This could be a large salad with some nuts, olives, or avocado.

Or it could be a more complex type of raw recipe if you are in a transitional phase.

If you are still eating cooked food, you may choose to eat some complex carbohydates like rice, potatoes and steamed veggies.


If you already had a heavy meal at lunch or just want something sweet, fruit is the perfect choice here.

You could have a lovely fruit pudding of bananas and mangos whirled around in the food processor. Optional: make it tropical by adding young coconut meat or sprinkling dried coconut on top.

Or you could do a nice fruit smoothie, or a cold fruit soup. Strawberries blended with orange juice, agave nectar, honey etc. makes a wonderful soup.

A bowl of grapes or sliced melon is another refreshing light choice.


When you don't eat enough to satisfy you to the next meal, and especially during transition, you will be prone to snack or even have smaller meals in between larger ones.

People tend to eat the worst when they are "snacking", whether it is a lick of something they are preparing for others, a bite of pizza, a cookie, a piece of bread, etc. snacks almost always are the cause of people "blowing" their diets. So, being prepared, mentally and physically with plenty of choices will help avoid these pitfalls.

Here are some suggestions:

~ 1 cup of dates

~ 2-3 bananas

~ Baby carrots or celery sticks with optional nut butter, guacamole or hummus

~ A handful of sun-dried raisins

~ Romaine hearts

~ 12 oz. fresh orange juice from 3-4 squeezed oranges

~ Sugar snap peas

If you are transitioning and want something a bit heavier or heartier:

~ Home made trail mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, etc.)

~ Homemade raw cookies, truffles, fudge or brownies

~ Just Corn (freeze dried corn by Just Tomatoes brand - great movie snack)

~ Sulfite and sugar-free dried fruit from the health food store, such as mango cheeks, pineapple rings, tart cherries, figs, prunes, apricots etc. These may not be techinically raw as they are dried under higher heat settings but work for beginners or transitioners.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Second Meal of the Day

If the first meal of the day was very light and juicy, then you might be wanting something a bit heavier for your next meal.

This varies from person to person, but for me, I sometimes desire something pretty filling, such as a dense fruit like bananas or mangoes, or a great big salad.

If you are not used to eating a lot of fruit in a sitting, then the salad following a plate or bowl of fruit would be a great idea. If only a salad is eaten for lunch, you may crave something sweet right afterward, so either a glass of orange juice, or some cut up melon or any other kind of fruit is ideal right before the salad.

This time of year is my favorite for fruit. Peaches, berries, melons and plums are available right now, and getting them during the peak of the season is the best thing on your palette and wallet. Any of these fruits would make a perfect lunch, either plain, in a smoothie or made into a luscious pudding or even a sorbet by freezing and running through the food processor.
However you choose to eat, enjoy your lunch with the freshest and ripest fruits and veggies and eat until you are completely satisfied!