WHY THE GURUS ARE FAILING
Do you ever get tired of seeing these people who have for years posited themselves as the gurus of raw food lifestyle now telling you that they are not 100% raw and, because it’s them doing it, it’s all good?
These folks (I’m not mentioning names) have been so holier than thou for so long, telling you , me, and whoever else, how they follow a 100% raw diet, and now they are suddenly recanting.
It all makes me feel good – I have never sworn to you that I am 100% raw, because I know that once I do, I’ll get a hankering for something and eat it and get caught on someone’s cellphone camera. I may suddenly decide to keep that broccoli from the CSA (I do not like raw broccoli much), and steam it with some Thai green curry paste. The thing is, I have never told anyone I am 100% raw – rather, I say I am 95% raw because I cannot guarantee what I might decide to do for 20 minutes in 5 months. I’ve been 95% raw for over 30 years now – most years it’s been 100% raw, but, once in a while, I want to “be bad”, or just do what I want to do. I won’t deny it. I am a human. The thing is, I don’t beat myself up if I do it, and I tend to go right back to what I know I like and what makes me feel good/healthy/thin (well, heck! I’m really used to raw food at this point).
The primary reason that most people stray from raw is “fat craving”. Going into a raw food diet with a mindset from the SAD diet that fat is bad can cause problems. If you are eating a *healthy* diet of any sort, your body needs fats to form the walls of the cells which compose it. The low-fat craze may well be a primary cause of many modern diseases, allergies, and food sensitivities. In the raw living food diet, fats from avocados and raw nuts and seeds, and extra virgin olive and coconut oil provide a certain element to the diet which helps people avoid cravings for cooked food and/or junk food.
Another important factor in a successful raw vegan diet is adequate protein. The self-same raw nuts and seeds which provide good fats in the diet also provide protein. Sprouts also provide much-needed protein, in addition to vitamins and minerals. The 80/10/10 diet, requiring limited protein intake, has been a major cause of people abandoning the raw vegan diet, as their bodies crave protein, the building block for body tissues.
Vitamin deficiencies can also drive people to crave cooked foods. Those who understand the edict in Genesis to “eat of the fruit of the fields” to mean to eat only fruit make a grave mistake. The fruit of the field, technically, are anything grown in the field (yes, I believe that that could include root vegetables). Even if we want to adhere to things grown above ground, the fruit of the filed would include anything with seeds in it. Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers… all such things are fruit. Sprouts are also fruit.
Sugar is another thing that can insidiously bring disaster to a raw food diet. We are told that this or that sugar is okay. We blindly believe that the newest “sugar” is okay and we can consume it to our hearts’ content. We blithely ignore that *processed* food products *are* processed. They tell us that palm sugar is good, and we buy it, and we think that it is going to be okay to use it as much as we like. Sorry, folks! Sugar is still sugar. It doesn’t bring us vitamins or minerals, and it stimulates the pancreas to send out insulin to remove it from the blood stream. “Designer” raw recipes often include sugar in one form or another, much as most Japanese food is laced with “mother’s taste” (sugar). We think that, because our recipes are made with live foods, the sugar doesn’t count. This idea is all wrong – processed sugar, regardless of where it comes from, requires extra effort to process in the body. Furthermore, sugar of any kind will kick off a reaction in sugar-sensitive (sugar addict) people. You just want more. With sugars robbing your body of vitamins and minerals, you’re setting up a recipe for disaster.
I am grateful for the time I spent working in a hypnosis weight-loss clinic. While I was there, I was inspired to study nutrition. More important than that, the advice that I gave my hypnosis clients was filtered through my own head, and reached my subconscious (let’s call it second-hand smoke).
I’ll get an urge to make a pie, and buy dates to make the crust, and, perhaps, even sweeten the pie filling. Fortunately, because of the high protein value in the pie crust (at least), I will become sated before I can eat the entire pie. More fortunately, the effect of hypnosis reminds me that I don’t want sugary foods, and I tend to forget that the rest of the dates are sitting on the shelf.
All of the wonderful books that tell us how to make raw vegan desserts are primarily aimed at folks who are transitioning to a raw food diet. At the same time that they give us wonderful recipes with which to duplicate the things a raw vegan would otherwise avoid, they also make food preparation look daunting, i.e. it takes quite a while to make most of those recipes.
I guess I am lucky that I came across the idea of the raw food diet before food processors and dehydrators, so, although I do now own these things, I tend to rely more on the simple foods I started out with (do you realize that 3-day wheat sprouts are VERY SWEET – AS SWEET AS SUGAR?)
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect anyone to go 100% raw right away. I think that, if you can go 25% raw today, that is good. If you can go 50% raw soon, that is good. If you can go 80% raw, that is fantastic. If you get to 100% raw, just remember all of these things that I have said.
If you think, as even Dr. Oz recommends, that more raw is better, do it. Just do it consciously. Take a multi-vitamin (I do). Consume enough protein and fats (I think a 40/30/30 split is good – Ani Phyo’s diet book comes down on this side – 40% carbohydrates – that is anything that isn’t fat or protein, 30% protein, and 30% fats – that *is* how I took off 100lbs without feeling it!) If you cannot figure out how to get enough protein into your diet, then do a protein shake at least once daily (you’ll have to experiment here – the raw protein shakes tend to taste like dirt, but , if you can find a protein shake that works for you, even if it is not raw, then it can be your 10-20% not raw).
The raw living food diet has been around for a very long time. My oldest recipe book was written in the 1920s by one of the owners of the first raw food restaurant in America. The early raw recipe books are not as strict as the “gurus” we have today have mandated and, now, are recanting. In those early days, very often, the recipes included dairy and eggs. You must be prepared to make your own choices as to how raw you want to go and what you want to include in your diet. Many people are sensitive to dairy (I am allergic to the protein in milk, so that is off the list no matter what). If you think raw salmon is okay, as John Tobe recommended in his No-Cook Book in the 1960s, that is up to you. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian because you do not want to exploit other living beings, then the raw vegan diet will be much easier for you.
Regardless of how you choose to eat, please know that the American Medical Association (AMA) now recommends the inclusion of 50% or more raw foods in your daily food intake.