Monday, May 24, 2010

Eating for Excellence

As you peruse raw food blogs and websites, it's easy to forget that this way of eating isn't all about gourmet meals and fancy desserts, both of which I truly enjoy. Any conscious eating-style should be about eating for excellence, while minimizing the amount of harm or suffering brought to people, animals, and the earth. The recent lecture I attended by Dr. Joel Fuhrman reminded me of some things that make a high raw diet a diet for excellent health, longevity, beauty, and vitality.

An excellent diet should:
  • be vegetable-based
  • be built on a foundation of leafy greens
  • include high amounts of raw fruits
  • include raw nuts, seeds, and avocados for healthy fats in their natural states
  • minimize animal products (no more than a couple of servings/week)
  • focus on organics as much as possible
  • minimize cooked grains
  • minimize sodium
  • minimize processed foods, including oils of all types, (yes, even olive oil)

The last 2 points are often neglected in the raw food world. Personally, I hadn't emphasized them enough in my own diet until I was reminded by Dr. Fuhrman's lecture. If you're not sure why reducing sodium and oil consumption matter in a raw food diet, please follow the links for more information. As always, the best way to decide is by doing your own research.

While Dr. Fuhrman doesn't advocate a raw food diet, the plan he advocates can easily be tailored to a high raw eating-style. The man is telling people to eat a pound a day of raw vegetables, in addition to high amounts of raw fruits, and a healthy portion of raw nuts and seeds each day! The main difference is that he also encourages high consumption of cooked beans and legumes. Soups and stews are also big in his diet plan as a means to help people consume enough calories from high nutrient vegetables. Dr. Fuhrman argues that this balance of raw and cooked vegetables allows one to benefit from a wider variety of nutrients, as some nutrients are destroyed by cooking and others are made more available.

Dr. Fuhrman's new two book set, Eat for Health, is well worth reading. Book 2 includes many raw recipes,--smoothies, juices, salads, and dressings--and other recipes that can be converted to raw, or included in whatever percentage of cooked food you choose to eat. Book 1 is a primer in nutrition-based health, and even if you know a lot about nutrition, I'd be willing to bet you'd discover something new among those pages.


Candice said...

Thanks for this! I often see recipes asking to add salt, but I always leave it out. I am a sucker, though, for nama shoyu and olive oil-based salad dressings. Eek! I'll follow the links and consider cutting down on those ingredients. I love the simplicity you advocate! Gourmet raw is yummmyyyy, but so are the simple recipes.

Carissa said...


As far as the oils go, I know you said that olive oil is a no now. Do you think that coconut oil is different? I use that a lot as well. What recipes are you going to use now to make your salad dressing? The one I use frequently is olive oil, apple cider vinigar, and agave. What will I use now?

Candice Davis said...

Candice- Tamari is a big one for us. It's filled with sodium and we've used it too much.

Carissa - I actually still use olive oil and coconut oil. I've just tried to reduce the amounts I use, and keep it at no more than a tablespoon or two a day. Sometimes I fail in that quest, but I'm getting better.

A good way to lower the amount of oils I use in dressings is to replace some or all of it with raw nuts or seeds. The oils in those are good fats, but even better, they come with the total package of fiber, protein, and phytochemicals. I've got a lot of recipe experimenting to do when I finish my juice feast.