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How to Get Started with Raw Food, One Approach

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I have found the books by Brian Clement, the co-director of the Hippocrates Health Institute to be very helpful as well as the books by Victoria Boutenko that discusses making green smoothies. My local Barnes and Noble Bookstore has lots of books on raw food and perhaps you can find one that has a day by day plan. I like to keep my approach simple. I eat 100% raw to lose weight and I make large salads with lot so vegetables. I slice hardy vegetables, such as onions, cabbage, add broccoli slaw, red bell peppers, sliced almonds and marinate it in a dressing of fresh squeezed lemon juice, EVOO, fresh garlic pesto, and spices that I like. I make this ahead of time and when I want a salad, I bring out the baby spinach, sprouts, mache, cherry tomatoes and my wife and I make it like a salad bar, with each of us adding what we like to our plate. I only have to make the marinated vegetables up ever few days so it is a time saver to have everything ready.

I buy organic, prewashed greens in convenient bags, organic broccoli slaw so that I don't have to prepare that too, as well as shredded carrots. Trader Joe's is my source for a lot of the items that are organic and pre-washed and packaged. My local health food store and even the markets carry many convenient items like this. I supplement these items with, as available, sun chokes, jicama, celery, radishes, daikon radishes, etc. The important thing is to have all of the ingredients ready to use, so that it takes a minimum of time.

For breakfast, I make smoothies with greens: I use a combination of baby spinach, broccoli, a banana, an apple, and sweeten it with stevia. You can find exact recipes in many of the books, but I just add what I have, but keep it simple.

There are great recipes for dehydrated foods, but I don't have a dehydrator, nor want to take the time to bother with it. I just want fast, healthy, simple food. I keep raw walnuts in my freezer, raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, and pistachios in my pantry ready to add to my salads or for an after exercise snack with a piece of fruit. One can make eating raw food complicated or simple, I prefer simple.

The guidelines from the Hippocrates Health Institute are to eat mostly green leafy, vegetables, sprouts of all kinds, colored vegetables such as red bell pepper, carrots, etc., sea vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits in that order. Making smoothies makes it easier to eat lots of greens, but chewing is important too as it maintains the health of our teeth.

Fruit juices are not healthy for kids or adults. Too much fruit is also not recommended. Fruits have been hybridized over the the history of agriculture and are too sweet, 30-40 times sweetener that they once grew naturally. They taste great, but they are not that good for us in large quantities, except when we are competing in athletic events and we will burn all of the sugar in the process, but not for daily consumption in large quantities.

I hope that this helps you get an idea of what you need to get started. It can be an easy thing to do all raw food or a very time consuming, but refined culinary activity that yields tasty results. It all depends upon what you have time for and what you enjoy doing.


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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JIBBIE49 2/21/2011 2:05AM

    I'd certainly eat ORGANIC if I were eating all raw.

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GDY2SHUZ 2/18/2011 2:03AM

    I like the salad ideas and have had similar ingredients when visiting a friend in BC. The variety is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

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CHANETC 2/17/2011 10:41PM

    TIGSCHEF1-I mix broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, finely slice red cabbage, diced red bell pepper, sliced sun chokes, finely sliced daikon radish, sliced celery root, and red onion together. I then make a marinade/salad dressing from fresh lime juice, EVOO, homemade garlic and Italian parsley pesto, turmeric, mixed herbs, Tamari, and water. I pour this mixture over the vegetables and refrigerate. When I am preparing my salad to eat, I place spinach, mache, mung bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, radish sprouts, and cilantro in a dish and generously spoon the marinated sliced vegetable on top. I find that the marinade/salad dressing is sufficient to coat the underlying greens. I often top with half of a sliced avocado, grape tomaotes, and Nasturtium Flowers. I serve this with Japanese Nori (Sushi wraps made from seaweed), which I break into four pieces from the 10"x10" sheet and sometime wrap tidbits of salad in the Nori like a taco. It must be made fresh at the table as you eat because the Nori is very hygroscopic. It is best when it is crisp.

If I wish to pack my salad to take with me for lunch, I pack the greens separately from the marinated vegetables and the optional toppings and combine them just before I eat so the greens are not wilted. The marinated vegetables maintain their texture for 3-4 days, if they last that long. I found that cucumbers are like the greens and will lose their crispness if marinated ahead of time.

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TIGSCHEF1 2/17/2011 10:18PM

  Chanetc - When you prep all the veggies to marinate, do you just mix them all together or do you store them in separate containers? Thanks. Linda

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TIGSCHEF1 2/17/2011 1:15AM

  This info was GREAT! I just happened on the blog from the scrolling sidebar. This is the most useful blog I've read in a long time. I too want my meals to be simple to prepare. I can't wait to try the ideas. Thanks again. Linda
PS LOVE the background pix.

Comment edited on: 2/17/2011 1:16:25 AM

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CHANETC 2/17/2011 1:12AM

    By making them with slightly different ingredients and proportions and varying the homemade salad dressings, each salad is totally different each time. The last marinated topping that I made had a Chinese "chicken salad" taste with sesame oil, vinegar, Tamari, and sweetened with stevia plus black sesame seeds and other spices. I even added a little grated horse radish root to give it a very slight wasabi tang. I have fun with varying the ingredients with market availability and what I actually have on hand when I start to make it. This makes it fun and challenging for me.I think of a taste that I have had and work to create that taste with various ingredients that are tasty and healthy.
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JUNEPA 2/17/2011 12:34AM

    Your salads sound sooo awesome

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I'm being real, but striving to be better at each meal.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sometimes when we struggle to be "perfect" we are defeating ourself. Perfectionism is a trait of someone who needs to please someone, usually from our past, but it continues as a habitual response to new challenges. "If we can't do it perfectly, then why start?" we tell ourself. "Be safe and set small goals, instead large ones." We can't fail that way." we accept less and expect less from ourself. Perfectionism may be a symptom to why we struggle with our weight, our exercise programs, our lifestyle changes.

When I started to make changes in my diet 4 1/2 years ago, I started out with the Atkins program. I was going to eat meat, meat , and more meat. When I discovered SparkPeople, all I was looking for was an easier way to track my calories. Wow, did I discover much more than that. I decided that not being able to eat fruit for as long as it took for me to love 160 pounds was not going to work for me and I decided to switch to the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet. This would allow me to eat some fruit as part of a balanced reward meal.

After reading all of the CAD books and following the program, my weight moved downwards. Unfortunately, my doctor diagnosed me with Diabetes. I had been pre-diabetic, but after successfully losing weight on the CAD Program, I has a life threatening health problem and I was adverse to starting on the slippery slope of diabetic medication. I had been following the dietary options of the CAD program so when I found the Halt Diabetes in 25 Days program, it was not that big of a change from what I was doing, so I made the transition in 5 days instead of 25. This brought my blood sugar down and I lost a bit more weight, but I hit a discouraging plateau.

It was at this time that an old acquaintance saw me and told me about the exciting Hippocrates Health Institute Program that is very sick wife and been referred to and how she was now off her diabetic and cholesterol medication and he had lost 50 pound from his gut and felt 30 years younger. I was so impressed that I ordered all of the books by Brian Clement, the current director of the Hippocrates Health Institute and found books by Ann Wigmore and Victorus Kulvinskas, the co-founders of the HHI. I started the live food program immediately and completely. My blood sugar numbers dropped even further and I lost about 2 pounds a week. What could be wrong with that? From Atkins, I had become a Live or Raw Vegan! This was quite a change, but I had done it in small incremental steps that were easier than one giant leap.

There is nothing wrong with the Raw Vegan Program of HHI, but with the best program, if we don't address our internal issues, we start making exceptions, feeling guilty about them, and the usual order of things is to quit, gain all or more of our weight back and look for a new diet or recycle one that worked temporarily for us in the past.

I decided to not give up completely, but accept my limitations at this time and forgive myself and explore why I was not sticking to the program 100%. Well, I found out some interesting things about the psychology behind our food addictions and compulsions from reading Broken Brains or Wounded Hearts byTy C. Colbert, Ph.D. that I am working on understanding and applying to my situation. I also found out that one of my favorite raw food chefs who has a blog called RawAmazing struggles with eating all live food in the cold winter too. Perhaps we are not made that way, if don't live in a year round tropical climate? For whatever reason, I discovered that I wasn't alone, that it was not my fault, some moral imperfections or lack of will, but a reaction to the climate and my subconscious use of food as a way of avoiding or dealing with pain.

Armed with this new knowledge and by forgiving myself for not being perfect. I started to make my salad preparations again, stopped going out to even Souplantation to avoid the "other than salad" temptations and the chance of over eating. I made one last visit to Souplantation and did not over eat, only ate live food, and only used lemon and olive oil dressings, so that I would know that I could do it.

Now that the weather is getting warmer in San Diego, unlike most of the rest of the country, I'm eating more live foods, having live green and fruit smoothies for breakfast and renewing my commitment to an hour or more of exercise (rowing in my case) every day plus adding in more strength training. I am being persistent, but not trying to be perfect or setting the bar too high for me or too high for others.

  
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SILLYHP1953 2/16/2011 4:55PM

    Hmmm...I may have to get those books, too. That is pretty funny, going from the Atkins diet to vegan! I could be vegetarian (was back in my 20's) but would have trouble being a vegan. It sounds like you're on your way, whichever way you decide on!
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KAKIPOPUP 2/12/2011 3:34AM

    It's so important to do what we can, rather than what we can't -

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Perfection is not as Important as Persistence

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sometimes, people who are on a raw or live food diet strive so hard for perfection that they give up because perfection is too hard, if not impossible. While I think that the live food diet is very healthy and can address many health issues, it won't allow us "To eat our way into heaven." as Dennis Klocek once remarked to a very passionate biodynamic farmer. We strive to have the healthiest diet that we can follow and to eat it mindfully. But when our ego gets to attached to being raw, we become prideful and arrogant, which is not being very mindful about ourselves. If we are 100% raw that is commendable, but to brag about that accomplishment is not constructive to good relationships or encouraging to someone who is struggling to achieve it. Being a raw vegan is only a recent experiment. There is little precedence for it except perhaps in Yogi monasteries and even this is not truly verified. The one yogi that I met in 1967 who first introduced me to this dietary practice was not perfect in his practice either according to a friend of mine, whom he dated for a short while. Most people who profess this lifestyle today are not 100% in their practice either according to reports that I have read.

I think that the best practice is to eat the highest quality of vegetables and fruits that we can grow or afford to buy, accept our limitations, do our best, and eat as many of these live as possible in the largest variety. But we should forgive ourselves and others if we are not perfect in our practice. Like the bumper sticker says, "we are not perfect, just forgiven".
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JUNEPA 2/11/2011 12:59AM

    Perfectionism can be a drive to excellence and it can be an impediment to growth, it's all about balance and appropriate decision making, in my opinion

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Why do we struggle to be healthy; the missing component?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Why do we struggle with staying on a healthy diet that works? It's complicated, because we are complicated. It is not just about calories in calories out, It is not just about the type of food you eat. It is not just about how much exercise that you do. These are all true, but there is another factor that is not addressed. It is the psychology of eating. Why do we eat? Why do we "want" top stay fat? How does it serves us? Doctors have prescribed diet pills, performed lap band surgeries, etc. These address some of the symptoms, but do not deal with the underlying causes. I am reading Broken Brains or Wounded Hearts by Ty C. Colbert, Ph.D. and his book suggest some answers. Like the smoker, the alcoholic or the drug user, we are self medicating to deal with the past pains that we have experienced to suppress the hurt feelings. Our self esteem has been destroyed and we don't feel worthy, so why should we care about being healthy and doing the right things. Perhaps this is why our New Year's Resolutions or the hot new diet only last a little while, perhaps long enough to lose all of the weight that we wished for, but we drift back into old habit patterns. What is the answer for this psychological component of health and weight loss? I don't have THE answer, I'm just working it our for myself. I think that we all have to find our unique solution to our particular reasons for not being as successful in this area as we think that we should. What do you think?
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ERIN1957 3/26/2011 8:28AM

    Interesting blog and sharing through out as well.
Europe trip; 5 countries 5 weeks, mainstay was Asse Belgium. From there we fanned out. Biking and walking an absolute. Their bikes were easier to ride than ours here. First day out we biked 23K. I hadn't biked since I was 13 years old. It was beautiful.

They shopped each day and brought home just what they would consume that day. Small proportions compared to us heavy meat eaters. They take their time and enjoy and celebrate each bite. They also loved their sweet baked goods. Small amounts, they love their alcohol as well, beer and wine, small amounts. Moderation and appreciation. What the 4 of us would consume at a meal, would be served here as one meal in most restaurants. Quality over quanity.



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CHANETC 2/10/2011 9:00PM

    HISINJAPAN-I have never traveled to Japan, but I've been fascinated by Japan since a new neighbor introduced our family to sushi at a New Year's celebration when I was about 10 years old. I have since read many books on Japanese culture and food. I love Japanese food and eat it often. I used to cook it all of the time. My understanding is that the Japanese diet is healthier than ours in some respects and worse in others. They are not fat like Americans and they have lower cholesterol, but have a higher stroke rate. When they come to live in American, they have the same problems that the rest of us have. Being physically active is an important part of health and like the Europeans, they are much more physically active than we are.

The high incidence of alcoholism makes me think that their pain is masked by drinking not eating. This doesn't mean they have more self control, it only means that they find an expression for their pain suppression in something other than food. I suspect that the psychological mechanism for overeating and drinking are the same and OA was started because AA addressed this mechanism in a highly successful way with the support of an accepting, and trustworthy fellowship. A friend of mine has been a member of AA for some time and as a result of our conversations and emails, I am considering applying the principles of the Big Book (which is available online for AA and OA) and see if this approach addresses some of my problems with my eating.


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SENKYOUSHI 2/10/2011 8:42PM

    There's a book out that I have read titled, Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat. It is true! It is very, very rare to see an overweight Japanese woman. The age so much better than we do. They say it is their diet. They also exercise constantly...dog walks, subway stairs, walk, walk and walk some more. I know they have some of the same psychological issues we do, perhaps more. Alcohol is a big factor for a lot of them. I don't know what the solution is. I make vows to myself and I don't keep them. Today at Curves, I was really talking to myself while I was working out. There is no reason why I can't get some of this weight off. I wanted to lose 20-25 pounds this year while I was stateside and instead, I am trying to get the 10 off that I gained. emoticon

It's a never ending battle. Most Japanese that I encounter think we lack self-discipline. Perhaps that is part of it. Learning to deny self...

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CHANETC 2/10/2011 1:34PM

    JANRTEACH-My son made me aware of the no snacking tradition in France before we arrived. At the time, we had snacks every two hours. As we were driven through the French country side, we were "climbing the walls" because of our snack habits. We eventually went to a market and bought some nuts and dried fruits which we rationed out.to ourselves. He said that the Germans eat bigger meals than the French and that Strasbourg was more like Germany than the rest of France in its eating habits, but we didn't see large portions compared to American Standards. We went to a McDonald's once because of the odd hours after coming from a beautiful art nouveau cafe in Nancy. We arrived at the same time as our waiter from the beautiful cafe and we recognized each other. Inside, the food was more expensive than I expected and it seemed like a dress up, dine in place to eat American food, than a fast food place. The food was the same as here, but the draw was that it was exotic and not common.

We use a Mexican spice called Tajin that is used by Mexicans on their fruit. It is made of lemon crystals, salt, and chili pepper. We don't use it on fruit, but use it on sun chokes, jicama, and as lower sodium spice on avocado, soups, or in our salad dressings. It is good on fruits, but we prefer the sweetness to the saltiness it adds. Growing up in Tennessee, everyone added salt to their water melon as did I. Now I prefer the sweetness and eat the seeds like the Chinese do. I miss the seeds in the seedless water melons. The Chinese sell them as pakuan in their markets and once I saw that, I started enjoying their mild nutty flavor. Cultural habits are fascinating.

We should all pay attention to the quality of the food like the French, walk more like most Europeans, and be more attentive to our food when we are eating it and make it a slower paced conversational occasion rather than an unconscious feeding to soothe our wounded hearts.The later is more than a matter of will power, it is a process of practicing awareness of our feelings when we eat, why we think that we are hungry, and practicing new habits to break from the old ones we have carried around for most of our lives.

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JANRTEACH 2/10/2011 10:15AM

    One other quick thought -- in Mexico they have the most wonderful fruits. All kinds of fruits that are treasured here in the states. The women said that they had to give the children chili sauce with the fruit just to get the kids to eat the fruit. We Americans said, "Oh yea -- catsup!!" Imagine having all the fruit you want and not being interested.

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JANRTEACH 2/10/2011 10:12AM

    Chanetc -- excellent blog and observations. When I visited Germany a few years back, my son and I were the biggest people I saw. It was embarrassing. At that time I didn't weigh that much more than I do now. I, too, noticed that lots of people, even the older people, walked and biked all the time. The meals were good, but not over the top. (We stayed with private families in villages.) In Munich the worst thing we saw were the young boys lying in the street that were victims of drug abuse.

My husband and I have since traveled to Rome and Mexico. Still I find I am one of the biggest women,no matter where I go. I'm with you-- I think they concentrate on quality , no quantity.

I noticed at the cruise ship buffets , the bigger people were the ones hanging out there. The small people grabbed a bagel and kept on going. It's interesting.

I had pizza in Rome. It was not baked. It was a piece of sliced cheese, a raw tomato, some herbs on a crust like a cracker. :) I got a big piece and used it for two meals -- it just wasn't what I expected. At night my husband would get a beer and I would get an ice cream cone for supper at an outdoor cafe while we watched the "beautiful people" go by. :) It was an eye opener. emoticon

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CHANETC 2/9/2011 10:36PM

    The issue is complicated. The compulsions to over eat, smoke, or abuse alcohol stem from the same source. I recently watched excerpts from a an old film, A Man and a Woman and I remembered loving the film when it came out. In the YouTube excerpts, I couldn't believe how much the two lead characters smoked.

When I recently visited my son and daughter-in-law in Strasbourg, France, I became aware that the people spent a lot more time walking than Americans do, fast food restaurants were not common, the quality of food was higher in the small convenience food places that existed in the cities, and snacking did not seem to be a significant part of their way of life.

In North America, we drive everywhere, cities are made for cars, not pedestrians, fast food is everywhere, convenience foods with lots of artificial ingredients designed to be microwaved are common fare, food is cheap and available everywhere from convenience stores with giant calorie laden drinks to mega stores where one buys wholesale quantities of food in giant shopping carts. Snack foods are made in a seemingly infinite variety, not as foods to be eaten at meals, but foods designed only as snack foods. My son walks in his neighborhood to buy fresh bread every day from a local baker; parking is limited in the older parts of the city, the streets are narrow, and the bakery is only a couple of blocks away.

While the French may obsess on the quality of their food, the portions are traditionally smaller and they are more conscious about eating it. In North America, we obsess on food, but we are barraged by ads for poor quality fast food and giant super-sized portions of it. We have giant, thick crusted pizzas with cheese built into the doughy edges, in Strasbourg, the Alsatian pizza has a super thin crust, with thins slices of high quality ham and cheese, not a bubbling mass of some anonymous white gooey substance with toppings piled on so that each small slice is 300-400 calories.

Since we are North Americans, we self medicate on food as well as all of the other substances and we live in a society where exercise is not necessarily built into our everyday lifestyle, so we must join gyms or do exercise outdoors as a recreational choice. The question is how do we address the spiritual and psychological basis for our compulsions, because we have proven over and over again that diet and exercise alone are not enough for a permanent change. What is missing and how do we incorporate it to achieve long lasting success?

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JUNEPA 2/9/2011 9:59PM

    I understand that human nature plays a part in this dance, but I wonder why a lot of European countries, even though they have an abundance of wealth to spend on food if they want to, aren't on average as overweight as North Americans. They must have angst and self-doubts they feel a need to medicate as well, but perhaps theirs is directed more to tobacco and alcohol. They seem to have more pride in wanting to have a non-overweight body shape. It is complex.

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