Category Archives: RAW POLITICS

TO JUICE OR TO BLEND: What should you do?

POST #922
From time to time, the question of whether we should juice or blend our vegetables comes up.  Recently, I ran into this discussion on LinkedIn, and, contrary to my normal attitude of non-involvement, with a deep sigh, I posted my take on the issue.  Today, after hearing from a couple of the people involved in the discussion, I think that my answer might be useful for those of you who read my blog, so, without further ado, here you have it:

As long as I have been connected with the “modern” vegetarian/vegan/raw vegan world (I only came to know that there were other raw vegans, after 25 years of doing it on my own with Ann Wigmore’s and the Fathmans’ books) I have seen the arguments about juicing vs. blending (actually, when I was about 12, I heard this kind of thing at a state fair at a VitaMix demo) There are valid arguments on both sides, and, as I see it, everything depends on what you are after. If you are looking for a nice drink that has a lot of vitamins, juicing is the way to go. If you are looking to drink your vegetables (whether as a way to consume more vegetables in short order, a diet meal substitute, or a way to seek nutrition while dealing with a chewing or swallowing disorder) then blended vegetables/smoothies are the way to go.
Sometimes, you will just want a serious dose of juice (and you can use the pulp/fiber from the juicing in other dishes (I add the pulp to crackers/breads, salads, and soups), and sometimes you just want to drink your vegetables/fruit along with the fiber (I prefer the above-mentioned two-step method, personally, but on occasion I do smoothies)
There is no one right way, as I see it, as long as you own a juicer as well as a blender.

WHY THE GURUS ARE FAILING

POST #881
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.

WHY AREN’T MORE DOCTORS PUSHING ORGANIC FOOD

POST #872
I’m cross posting my response (with additions) on the LinkedIn Go Raw discussion group  (the additions are things which I had to delete to comply with the maximum LinkedIn post length).

Someone asked why doctors want to reduce pesticides don’t push organic foods. 

Actually, I think the reason that more doctors who think we should reduce pesticides fail to promote organic produce has more to do with *ignorance* than anything else. Allopaths (“regular doctors” who prescribe chemical medicines and recommend surgical intervention)  are not often very educated in nutrition (much less, alternative nutrition), while they *are* educated in treating symptoms, as opposed to diseases. Owing to their educational background, they feel more competent, and, hence, more comfortable. with treating symptoms, rather than focusing on the causes of the symptoms and the elimination of the causes. Of course, that is what their patients usually want and expect: treatment of the symptoms, so they can get on with their lives (It is the rare patient, like myself, who walks in and wants to know natural therapies, or even wants to know what drug is in the injection they are about to receive). Most patients don’t want to be told to adopt radical diet and lifestyle changes in order to eliminate the symptoms forever. The self-same doctors most often do not want to do any such thing in their own lives (One of my doctors asked me what, exactly, I had done to take off 100 lbs in 1 year without thinking about it. When I told him I’d done it on a raw low carb diet, he told me he didn’t think he could do that. I told him that he *could*, if he thought he could, and that it was very easy to do. He thanked me and went on to develop high blood pressure and diabetes — “it runs in his family”).

Some people are going to get it, and some people are not.

Still, we cannot force anyone to eat in a way they do not wish to  (I mean, even doctors can’t get patients to honestly follow therapeutic diets – the patients *will* cheat, more often than not, if they think they can get away with it — and most do). Adults (at least, in the US) are free to follow whatever diet we wish to (thank Heaven for freedom!) Just as no one can force me to eat meat, or eat cooked food, I cannot force anyone to adopt the diet which I choose to follow, and which I believe is most healthful. (This is good — I would not like anyone to be able to force me to eat in a way which I do not agree with, so I must accept that others cannot be forced to forgo the diets of their choice. I vehemently  believe that the government has no right to tell anyone what they can and cannot eat.— I also believe that the government has no right to force-feed people who have voluntarily gone on hunger strikes.)

Today, many of us believe organic foods are best for health. We should continue to push for legislation requiring manufacturers of processed foods to clearly identify their products as GMO or non-GMO, and as organic or non-organic, on packaging. We should continue to educate people as to the benefits of eating organic food, or raw vegan food, or whatever we believe is correct.

Nutritional education is slow going. The first raw restaurant was established in Los Angeles in the 1920s, but closed after some 20 years. In New York City, raw restaurants come and go. Today, there are, as far as I know, 2 raw vegan restaurants (Pure Food & Wine, and Rawkin Raw), 1 mostly raw restaurant (I’m going on an email I received from the chef of Quintessence, a while back, saying that Quintessence would be serving cooked food dishes), and 1 vegan restaurant (Caravan of Dreams) which serves some raw dishes (I mean, doesn’t every restaurant serve salads? Isn’t that enough? Of course not, but if we don’t support our raw restaurants – or if they are priced beyond our reach– there will be little chance to introduce friends to raw foods)

How do we educate? Well, I think that’s sort of like “religion”, actually. You live your life the way you believe is correct, but without preaching. Most people don’t want to hear preaching about something they don’t already believe in. You join in a potluck and make something delicious and then you give askers the recipe. You invite friends for dinner or a TV night and you serve raw vegan snacks that would appeal to non-raw people. You don’t preach about your beliefs in the raw food lifestyle, but you show them how you eat. They will come around if that is what they want to do.

The only people we can preach to are the “already saved”, i.e., those who are already interested in a raw vegan lifestyle. Then, we face other issues. You cannot really preach much if you are not at least high raw yourself, unless you explain that more raw is better than no raw. (Russell James (therawfoodchef.com),recently suggested people use his recipes all day every day, or part of the day, or most of the day, or one meal a day (I’m guessing Russell is not 100% raw, but may be as much as 80% raw. Making his living publicizing raw vegan recipes, he doesn’t want people to go sour if they discover that he has been eating something “not on the list”).

FINDING CHEAP VEGETABLES

POST #821

I was trying to find this shopping mall, but I failed, and ended up going to the end of the E line and crossing the platform to come back home (I decided against going upstairs and looking around at where I was in the world. I was too dejected about not making it to the shopping mall – bad directions from hopstop.com!).  Since I had to transfer at Jackson Heights, I decided to go upstairs and hit the Chinese supermarket – I’ve been out of the Thai green curry paste which I love for way too long)

It has been a while since I’ve been to Pacific Supermarket. They’ve changed a bit, put fruit outside like an old-style Chinatown market, or like Fairway.  I went on inside, on a mission to just get the curry paste. Ha! They temptingly put the vegetables right across from the door. Chinese vegetables. Stuff you never see.

The vegetables there are probably not organic, but I am fairly certain that they are local, and, so, fresher that what you might find in a supermarket (we have a lot of Chinese farmers in New Jersey, and, possibly, in upstate)  Amazing collection of leaves! (i.e., leaves, you know, like spinach, but different, i.e., salad or marinating possibilities).   The prices there are dirt-cheap — my local supermarket, and, even, Fairway, charge more for green beans right now. I got a pound of green beans for $.59.  I got a pound of baby bok choy for $.79.

Next week, I’ll probably get some cash and go down to the Union Square green-market and get some of those fresh, and, often, organic vegetables, but, meanwhile, there’s something to eat here tonight.

NATURAL DEODORANT

POST #798
I know this is not food, but, almost every time I get involved with raw vegans, the topics of cosmetics and personal hygiene/body care come up (It could be because I wear make-up, and won’t stop! Yes, I was a hippie back in the real hippie time, and I got started with natural  and raw vegan food and lifestyle back then. Nevertheless, in several areas, particularly makeup, I have reverted to my GRITS — Girl Raised in the South– upbringing, and I am just not going to stop wearing makeup and I don’t care what anybody says! End of Rant.) Because my skin is very delicate (I am a Southern Belle, after all), I have always looked for more natural skin care/personal hygiene products.    In this wonderful modern world, in this big city I live in, there is LUSH, a company out of England, which makes natural, mostly organic, mostly vegan skincare, personal hygiene, and bath products.  Their deodorant, TEO, is truly fabulous (keeps me smelling pleasant, even in the middle or at the end of Hot Yoga).  It is a powder that comes in a cake — You need a container, and you need to break it up, then use a brush to apply it.  It costs about $8.00– but I don’t expect to run out of it for at least a year– (possibly more if you have to buy it on-line)

The hippie/natural girl/poor girl in me still likes to know that I can make my own deodorant out of things that are already in my kitchen (okay, I don’t normally have baking soda or arrowroot powder, but I could arrange for that to happen).  This deodorant is really great, and I can keep it in the refrigerator, so it will last for months, and keep me smelling pleasant.

From a recipe at:  http://realfoodmyway.blogspot.com/2009/03/coconut-oil-killed-my-stink.html

10×10 PLEDGE: buy local

The Goal
Be one of the 1000 and together we’ll raise $100,000 for our local food system! Commit to shifting just $10 a week toward local food sources for 10 weeks.

Together, we can create significant economic impact and raise awareness about the importance of supporting a sustainable, local food system

PURE JEEVAN: a very useful research library

POST #708
PureJeevan might possibly be your one-stop intro to raw living foods.  If you are new to raw living food, you can find a wealth of information.  If you are already into raw living food, you will find a wealth of information that you would like to add to your own personal wealth of info (think of this place as an amazing library).

Here you will find a wealth of articles, an extensive list of links to other sites (not edited – be aware that many site links will be dead: keep a stiff upper lip and continue on to explore others listed. I promise you will find enough to keep you busy).

Regardless of where you are at, this is definitely a go-to site… I still check it out, and often find new ideas.