Tuesday, June 29, 2010

High Raw Salad

In our house, most of the family meals are high raw. Here's a typical salad: spinach, tomato, carrot, avocado, and black beans, topped with a balsamic vinaigrette. Those of us who want to go all raw will replace the beans with nuts or seeds.

We try to limit our consumption of processed oil (in this case, olive oil) to no more than 1 tablespoon per day. It's not an attempt to go low-fat. We get plenty of healthy fats from avocado, nuts, and seeds. That way the fat comes with fiber and nutrients you can't get in the oil, and it's easier to insure that the health benefits of the fat hasn't been destroyed by processing.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What Other People Feed Your Kids

Every summer my daughters go to visit my parents and extended family in Virginia. My mom has 8 brothers and sisters, and my dad has 3 brothers, and most of them have kids and grandkids. I'm blessed enough to still have both of my grandmothers and many great-aunts and uncles alive and well. My parents live out in the country and the girls can run to a cousin's house, an aunt's house, or a great-grandparents house without crossing a road. Blackberries grow in the backyards, and some of the old folks still have gardens. It's a little piece of heaven, except for the heat.

This year my older daughter is off working in a research program, so my Little Ray of Sunshine is going on her own. And what do you think has me worried? Not the solo plane flight, not the climbing of trees, or the inevitable arguments with her boy cousins.

I'm worried about the food! Ray literally gets ill if she eats too far away from our normal diet. My parents recognize her food allergies, but they're still likely to give in to a grandchild's pleas for junk. And even though my mom, step-dad, and step-mom are all diabetic, there's always plenty of junk to be had. Even their "healthy" meals are a far cry from what we eat in our home.

Ray's in love with lots of delicious things that are actually good for her: green juices, green smoothies, marinated kale, fresh saldas with her own secret-ingredient dressing, coconut water and meat, and much more. In Virginia, she won't have access to most of these things.

It's only 9 days. I'll send my sister to the grocery store with a short list of real foods to have on hand. I'll make some specific requests of things to limit and things to encourage, but that's about as much as I can do. I have to let her go enjoy her family and a bit of country living. But I don't have to like this part of it.

Day 56 on Juice --Juicy Weight Loss

Monday, June 21, 2010

Raw in the Family - Weight Loss & Clear Skin

My cousin, who's staying with us as she makes a move to Atlanta, just completed a 15-day juice feast. She's never been very overweight, but wasn't at her healthiest. Prior to her feast, she had dabbled in raw foods, but was really eating a pretty typical Standard American Diet.

During the 15 days, she took no supplements, went for short walks , and had at least 1 green juice each day. She lost 8 pounds and described her skin as "clearer than it's been in a long time."

She enjoyed the feast (possibly because I did most of the juicing), and even though she had some cravings for crummy fast foods and other not-so-good-for-ya stuff, she didn't find herself tempted to act on those cravings.

Today she starts her transition back to real food. She had a juice for breakfast, and she's planning to keep to a high raw, high vegan eating-style from this point onward. I'm sure she's sick of my warnings: if you go back to your old way of eating, you'll gain back the weight you lost AND MORE . .. MORE . . . MORE!!!

I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but I think it's good to know what you're getting into and what the long-term consequences could be.

As for me, I'm still juicing!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Raw Food Highlighted in Natural Health Magazine

As I was leaving Whole Foods yesterday, a copy of Natural Health magazine caught my eye. I rarely buy any magazines these days. It seems like a waste of paper when I read most of them in less than an hour, and then they gather dust. I think it was the headline "New help for addictions: Holistic approaches that work," that caught my eye.

I treated myself to the magazine on a whim, but I was thrilled to find it includes an article entitled, "The Raw Deal." It starts with a reference to Brigitte Mars. I was bummed that they don't include a photo of her, though they say her looks are, "her own best advertisement for her book." (See for yourself in the picture to the left.) I think it helps when conventional eaters get a look at a healthy face of raw food. Matt Amsden of Rawvolution fame is also quoted.

The article goes on to describe ways of adding significant amounts of raw food to your diet, and ends with a few high raw recipes, most of which look appealing.

An Ayurveda expert offers some cautions about going 100% raw, but overall the article is quite positive--a good read, especially for the raw curious.

It's Day 49 on my juice feast, and the juicy buzz has taken hold!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Raw Apologetics

Over the last few months, I've noticed a lot of bloggers coming out with the fact that they now eat raw dairy, or now eat some cooked items. Some (NOT ALL) of them almost seem apologetic, as if they're letting someone down.

Folks who are new to raw foods often encounter the 100% raw gurus. Some (NOT ALL) of these experts proclaim that the highest goal is 100% raw.

But there's little or no significant scientific evidence that 100% raw is the secret to excellent health and increased longevity. Some of the longest-lived cultures in the world eat a high raw and high vegan diet, but they aren't striving for that 100% mark. And let's face it, a plate of lightly steamed kale could be more nutrient-rich than a raw dessert.

For me and lots of other people, raw food is about abundance--abundant health, abundant life, and abundant pleasure--as well as a way to tread more gently on the planet. Some people feel better, look better, and function better at or close to 100% raw, and that's great for them. But there's no reason for others to have to defend or apologize for making a different choice.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Fruits of Summer

I feel tremendously blessed to be able to enjoy the fruits of summer. We've stocked up on so many fruits and veggies, we've run out of room. The cases of grapefruits and oranges are stored in the basement. Greens fill the refrigerator, and the produce drawers are filled to bursting. I love it!

We do spend more than the average American family does on groceries, (especially while I'm juicing) but I'd guess we spend much less on health care, including doctor's visits, health insurance, prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and missed work due to illness.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hot Raw Chef!

Hot Raw Chef. If that title describes you, check out the Hot Chefs, Cool Kitchen contest being run by Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. The contest is open to both pros and amateurs, and video entries must be in by June 30th. They're awarding almost $2000 in prizes, so if you've got a video camera and an original recipe, it may be worth a shot.

Read about my reaction to chlorella on my juice feasting blog. I'm on Day 40!