I know, I know! I haven’t posted for a while now but I DO have a good excuse. I’ve been working hard to get the initial edition of Eighty Percent Raw online magazine ready to launch on March 1st. (woo hoo!) This is a very exciting time as I work with my team of contributors to bring together a really amazing and information packed magazine to help people learn more about the benefits of increasing their dietary intake of raw and living foods! I hope you’ll stop by and check out the magazine, add your name to our mailing list, and Join the FaceBook page!
So, even though I’m very busy with all of that, I still want to take time to post my thoughts here about following a primarily raw foods diet.
I’ve heard from a lot of people who realize the health benefits of eating more raw foods. Many have even learned to easily adopt a Green Smoothie into their daily diet for breakfast, carry nuts and raisins or an apple or carrot sticks to snack on instead of opting for m&ms or chips or cookies from the vending machine at work. Lunch can even be a nice salad from the cafeteria or a selection of salads and other goodies brought from home.
But where many people trying to transition into a high-raw lifestyle fall into difficulty comes at the dinner hour. No matter who you are or how you were raised one thing is pretty certain; Dinner is the time to socialize. We expect a large, filling meal with family and loved ones. We want comfort foods, relaxation and gratification. And in the cooler months, especially, that normally means a heavy, hot, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal. The evening meal commonly consists of an entree which features meat, fish or poultry and frequently includes dairy ingredients. More often than not, all of this is served on a base of pasta, rice, cooked potatoes, a crust or bun or some other grain product. Everything else in the meal (read; salad, veggies, etc.) is considered a “side-dish.” And what does that mean to us? That it’s really not a CORE component of the meal. It’s just “filler”. Then, after loading up on a heavy, hot meal of meat, dairy & starch what we REALLY crave is dessert! Frequently made up of some kind of refined grain, refined sugar (for sure!) and again, more dairy.
So, it can become a huge challenge for many people, who are used to this type of lifestyle, to alter their behaviors…and more importantly…their personal tastes and preferences…to desire lighter, healthier, LIVING food in place of that un-healthy version of dinner we just described.
In an effort to make it an easier transition many raw food chefs have gone to great lengths to prepare raw “VERSIONS” of favorite cooked foods. My husband, Jeff, really takes issue with this trend, lol! When I offer to make him “raw pizza” he responds; “That is NOT pizza. I know the people who created it are trying to redesign cooked pizza with that. But, honestly, they should give it a different name because it is NOT pizza!” But, you get the idea. An awful lot of raw foodists just want to figure out a way to make their favorite, un-healthy, cooked food favorites out of raw food so that they can have a similar eating experience but get the health benefits of creating it from living ingredients instead of the nutrient-dead stuff the original is made from.
Sometimes it works. Frequently it doesn’t.
So, here is where Eighty Percent Raw makes the most sense to me.
Eat raw foods for breakfast. Snack on raw nuts and dried fruit. Drink raw vegetable juices. Indulge in all kinds of fancy salads made from exotic ingredients. Do that all day long and include those things in your evening meal, too, if that’s what feels good and right for you. But, for goodness sake, allow yourself some healthy cooked food in the evening! Your body is going to be SO much better off than most from consuming all that living, raw food during the day that if you do that on a regular basis, you will see all kinds of benefits in your general health and well being! And I’ll bet a few things will happen, as a side benefit, too! First, you will naturally begin to discover that you no longer crave the refined foods as much as you used to. They just won’t taste as good to you as they once did. After your palate has become used to the fresh taste and nutrient dense value of living foods you will find that you just eat less of the other stuff. Your body will begin to respond to what you are putting into it. Until one day someone will offer you ice cream and you will think about how it makes your body feel when you put that in there and you’ll automatically decline.
But honestly, a big part of our health comes from how we feel and what we believe about what we put into our bodies. If we eat something that may be “less-healthy” for us, nutritionally, than something else we could have chosen…but we fully appreciate that food, enjoy it to the fullest, and express gratitude for it, and the experience brings us genuine joy and happiness then, it’s my belief that that food blessed our life in a way that eating even the most nutrient-dense, “super food” can not do if our experience of that food isn’t a similar one. Or even worse, if we are ONLY eating it because we believe the nutrients will fuel our bodies…but it feels like a burden to eat it because we don’t genuinely enjoy and appreciate it. In that way, the “healthy” food can become a poison for our bodies.
So, it just seems to be about balance. And enjoying our experience of life.
YES! Make wise food choices! Replace those refined ingredients with natural ones. Try to focus on increasing your intake of raw and living foods. There ARE so many amazing recipes and fun foods to try, especially if you’re creative. But you can still enjoy some very healthy cooked options for dinner that will not detract from your high-raw foods lifestyle and will significantly increase your well-being and over-all fitness levels.
Some of those options might be the following:
A baked potato or baked squash topped with home made guacamole, salsa or marinara sauce, or a raw nut-based cheese sauce. Plus a green salad.
Steamed broccoli & a baked sweet potato or yam with a big salad on the side.
Baked salmon, steamed asparagus, shredded apple/diced banana/chopped almond salad.
You get the idea…and you can find loads of other delicious meal ideas all over the internet! There are sooo many amazing websites, YouTube channels, and resources available to us now! Explore, experiment, and find recipes that delight you!
So, ENJOY dinner! Let it be a wonderfully gratifying opportunity to bond with others and still know you are actively working to improve your health and wellness…and loving every minute of it!