Fully Raw FAQ

Found a helpful FAQ by FullyRawKristina. She advocates eating 100% raw, and offers supported reasons why doing so is best.  She has me convinced! However, many sites say that you will benefit from eating raw foods  if you eat 25% or 100% (kind of common sense, I would think!).  Personally I am aiming for 75-90% raw, because of my budget and lifestyle.

Ekologisk raw food

Disclaimer: I don’t approve of many raw foodist’s claims that eating raw will put you on track for physical, mental, and spiritual happiness, in that progression. Yes, your body will feel much better and you may experience more mental clarity (definitely something I’m out to get!) and even a sense of being “high” on life. I believe that this is because it is the closest to what God originally created our bodies to run on when He put us in the Garden. It’s easy for me to get caught up in this way of life too, if I let it, but it is not what defines me and will never be my identity. My blogging about this will probably taper off as I learn out how to incorporate it into my lifestyle more seamlessly. Hope that’s good news for anyone who thinks I’ve “gone off the deep end” with this foodie stuff. Come hang out with me and we can talk about what the Lord is doing in our lives AND eat some avocado carob pudding. 🙂

-Becca

Going Fruity

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This morning I had the Big Green Fruity Smoothie to get back to being, well, fruity:

  • banana or two
  • fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 to 1 whole avocado
  • 1/2 cup mango juice or mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cashew milk (or other nut milk or raw kefir)
  • squeeze of lemon
  • fresh ginger
  • scoop of crushed ice
  • dehydrated or shredded non-sweetened coconut

Blend everything up real well in a high-speed blender. Pour into two tall glasses. Top it with coconut if you so desire and eat it with a spoon!


So…this past week I gave into cravings and ate chocolate and loads of fatty nuts at any chance I got. Why? Part of the reason was I was coming off my period, and I think my body wanted to refuel with iron and B12 vitamins…maybe? So I headed straight for my previous cravings – chocolate, nuts, and dried fruits. Well, these food weighed me down and I didn’t feel as light as I did the previous week when I ate more fresh raw fruits and veggies. Also, I think eating too many fats (nuts and nut butters) triggered my cravings for other fatty foods like chocolate and brownies that I typically reach for when I’m on my period. The weird thing is, before and during my period, I had no cravings and fewer cramps or bloating – and I’d only been eating primarily raw foods for a little over a week. I was already experiencing the benefits!

Just a side note – I haven’t experienced any negative side effects yet, but also I haven’t been doing it long enough yet. Many people experience some negative side effects when they first go raw because their body is detoxing. I’ll keep you updated! So far the only change is going to the bathroom more frequently…and not number 1.

Another part of the reason I caved (am trying to banish the “f” word!) was social setting – I ate three brownies at a friend’s birthday party last night. Now, I had planned to. I wanted to have one – and it tasted good (it settled in the bottom of my stomach like a rock though =p) but not great; it didn’t make me feel good like clean, raw foods do. I am beginning to recognize how eating certain food make my body feel, almost immediately – kind of like learning to exercise spiritual spiritual discernment, ha! It was old habits and cravings and that darned crack substance called sugar that told me to have another, and another, just to check and see if it tasted any better – which it didn’t. So lesson learned from this scenario is 1) don’t beat myself up for backsliding; it’s not a contest (this goes for everything in life!!) 2) have a game plan for social settings – bring something to share or stick with tea, or  3) if I till really want to eat those brownies, by all means eat one, ONE. It doesn’t taste better after two.

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I did some research this morning – it’s a worth investing a lot of time into researching eating a clean raw food diet if you are planning to go on one – and discovered that even the raisins that I reached for last night, thinking I was craving iron and B12, are not the best way to get those nutrients into my body. This is because dried and dehydrated foods don’t retain as many of the nutrients – kind of the purpose of going raw is to get the fullest nutritional benefit from the foods you eat! ha! so I already knew that eating too many fats (in forms of raw nuts, seeds, avocados, etc) is not good for you, but now I know why it’s best to get most of my calories from fresh fruits rather than dried ones too.

For those that are new to it, raw foodies get most of their daily calories from either fat or fruit. This is because it is difficult to get enough calories from vegetables alone. Getting the bulk of your daily calories from fruit is the best option because they supply needed carbohydrates, and eating too much fat, even if it’s just the “good fats” can still cause health problems. Fats are more difficult for your system to digest and while you need some to keep you feeling full and satisfied, too much fat will make you feel sluggish and weighed down. It does in my case anyway. With heart disease running on both sides of my family, I want to avoid that. I think the diabetes genes don’t stand a chance if I’m eating raw!

So my goal for this coming week is to 1) eat less fats 2) eat as much raw fruit as I want (and veggies too).

Rejuvelac

Oh the many wonderful discoveries of going raw! While making my first batch of Essene bread – I did a very small batch of sprouted wheat berries and soaked raisins and sunflower seeds – hoping it turns out, since my blender broke while trying to process it into a dough-like substance (I needed an excuse for a new blender), and used my oven on the lowest temperature setting to dehydrate it since I don’t own a dehydrator – and I was perusing raw food blogs for variations of Essene bread when I came upon this word, rejuvelac

I got super excited when I discovered that milky-white-yellowish liquid that is left after soaking sprouts for a couple days is actually a fermented tonic that is good for your digestive system. You basically soak your sprouted grains for another day and pour off the liquid using a cheese cloth to drain it. Refrigerate the liquid, and drink small portions as a digestive tonic.

sprouted wheat berries in jar

sprouted wheat berries in jar (Photo credit: NourishingCook)

I know I’m weird, but I am a huge fan of fermented foods! I used to make kambucha (need to buy another culture), and I have a kefir culture in my fridge currently (only I haven’t made any kefir in awhile because I need to decide if I’m going to spend money on raw milk or stick to organic). I think part of having an Italian heritage (on my mom’s side) has given me an appreciation for moldy cheeses, wines and vinegar. I love to think about all the health boosts people are missing out on by being afraid of food fermenting, ha!

The cool thing about not being afraid of fermenting foods is that you can get twice the benefit! Sprout grains for your sprouted bread, and make rejuvelac at the same time (continue to soak some of the grains after 2 days of sprouting Instead of rinsing the water off again) and you can even use the ‘spent’ grains to make bread again (although most sites suggest using them for compost at this point, in which case you’re still getting an added benefit rather than sending them to a landfill).  you can make rejuvelac out of any sprouted grain, but the common types are wheat berry, buckwheat (groats), or rye rejuvelac.

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Instead of pretending like I’m an expert, I’ll refer you to some sites that give detailed instructions for making rejuvelac:

Be Deliciously Healthy Rejuvelac

The Nourishing Cook What is Rejuvelac

Plant Foods How to Make Rejuvelac

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Happy rejuvelac-enating tasting!

P.S. My Essene bread turned out delicious and chewy. mmmm!

Raw Food Challenges: Week 1

How-to-Eat-Raw-–-Raw-Diet-basket-of-raw-foods

Made it through 1 week eating raw, and it was pure joy! Didn’t feel deprived at all! I did go off and eat cooked food yesterday when we had a potluck, and some today when I was feeling a little PMS low and needed some chocolate. I don’t have a problem giving myself some leniency; in fact, this is necessary to combat my personality that says, “do it right or fail”. Eating raw for me is not about performance or doing it perfect 100% of the time; it’s about fueling and treating my body well so I feel better and function best.

In this last week, there are some things I noticed, however, that may make eating raw difficult to keep up in the future. I’ve detailed below, and I think that none are insurmountable or enough to keep me from eating raw about 75% even in difficult situations.

  • More expensive – I feel like I have been to the grocery store enough times this week for an entire month. (I’ll write another post soon about how to shop for raw food on a budget.) But while I was making lots of trips to get this or that, I was not necessarily spending more money; I was purchasing bulkier items and spreading it out over the week. Also, I like visiting health food stores, so I won’t complain about that. Which leads me to next one: 
  • Time-consuming: eating raw definitely takes more preparation, but if I plan ahead, I can make time in the evenings or on the weekends to make batches of food, and I enjoy it. The mornings are what I struggled with. The time it took to make a green smoothie or filter my kefir and put it into a smoothie took up the time I would normally go for a walk or run. I think these things will smooth out as I adjust my schedule, maybe prepare more at night for the next morning.
  • Too much fat: Yes, it’s good fat like seeds and nuts and avocados, but I’m still overloading my digestive system if 50% of my daily intake comes from fat calories. That happened tonight. I ate a whole bag of delicious trail mix. So, eating raw may make my old binges on baked sweets obsolete, but bingeing on trail mix is still a risk. I’ve bee keeping track of my intake on Livestrong’s My Plate app, and most of my days my fat intake fell between 30 and 40%, protein 10-20% and carbs 40-60%. According to Dr. Graham, a raw food diet is best at 10% fat, 10% protein, and 80% carbs (those cards from fruits, vegetables and raw/sprouted grains). After reading a bunch of resources, I’ve found that raw-fooditarians choose to either get most of their daily calories from fruits or fats. Seems like I’ve been going the fats route, but I want to transition to more fruits (and vegetables) and eat fats sparingly.
  • Eating out/eating with others – so far I haven’t eaten out yet; but I think that can easily be tackled by eating salad if there’s not many raw options on the menu. I might also take it as an opportunity to eat an occasional animal source, and enjoy some salmon or quiche or vegetarian cooked meal, so my body doesn’t stop making the enzymes to digest those foods.
  • Traveling – haven’t traveled yet except a road trip to Greenville, and then the daily living out of my car (would like to transition back to living off my bike instead as it gets warmer) – for those day trips, I just throw fruits and nuts and carrots in my bag. Also discovered the incredible chunks of energy (cacao with goji berries is by far my favorite! available at Earthfare and Rosewood Market), Two Moms in the Raw snacks (even Starbucks is carrying them now!) and THE best nut butter out there – Justin’s….gaga!! There’s something about Colorado, just saying… But back to traveling – if I go stay at someone’s house or go to a foreign country, I’ll probably eat what is available – I don’t want to be an unnecessary burden or miss out on trying new cuisines. I’ll just use my judgment and make frequent runs to the grocery store or farmer’s market for fresh produce.

So to make things more affordable, I will be experimenting with making my own raw food snacks. I’m excited to share recipes! Really glad this got me blogging again. I will write about dance events I have planned soon too. 🙂

Preparation: Sprouted Bread

I can’t wait to try making my own sprouted bread!

I set out some jars out to sprout wheat berries, quinoa, amaranth.  Going to get some buckwheat/groats to add to my line-up.  In a couple days I should be able to make some sprouted bread! All the sprouted bread I’ve tried like Ezekiel bread (not 100% raw because it’s baked) tasted so wholesome and yummy, especially with nut butters! If you like your food chewy an nutty, you’ll love sprouted bread too. I don’t own a dehydrator (yet), so I want to dehydrate it in the oven on the lowest possible setting and see if that works.

Here are two recipes I want to try:

Directions for sprouting grains:

Rinse 1 cup of each grain and place in a jar or bowl with (filtered) water, covered. Let sit over night and rinse in the morning. Drain water and place the jars upside down to avoid mold. you’ll begin to see little sprouts from. Rinse once to twice a day.The sprouts will nearly double in size, so use large enough jars. In 2-3 days you’ll have enough to make bread.

This method can also be used to make alfalfa and other bean sprouts, but use a filter/mesh screen over jar lid and drain thoroughly each day. Salad sprouts take about a week to grow long enough.

Raw Food Trial

raw food1raw food1

Since I heard of  the raw food way of eating, I have been attracted to it for a number of reasons, mostly because it makes my body feel good and not bloated. Whenever I do a “Daniel fast” (fruit and vegetables), I have more energy and feel less tired and lethargic, just like Daniel and his men in the Bible did. Now, I am not against eating meat, but also know that we do not need as much meat as Americans eat, and I don’t like I’ve said before, I don’t like not knowing what my meat is fed or injected with, so I prefer to eat organic, farm-raised animal products. same goes for produce. Also, excess fat from animal products as well as excess sugar and processed grains are what make Americans fat, and those foods are exactly that makes me feel sluggish and bloated.

I’ve been trying for years to figure out what foods are ok to dance on and which to avoid if I am dancing or exercising or dancing in the next 24 hours…I abhor feeling bloated or lethargic from too much processed or fatty food, yet it’s like a drug when I start in on it…from cheese to granola to cookies…even Cliff bars go into this category for me. So of course a diet that restricts those things sounds like the best answer, but I know I must allow myself some flexibility as well. Ultimatums often don’t last; but then again  if you’ve ever experienced how good you feel on just clean, raw food, you might agree that it’s easy to stick to it.

Raised on a lot of organic, home-grown vegetables and fruits, fresh meat from ours or friends’ livestock, eggs from our own chickens (sometimes ducks and geese), and sometimes even fresh milk from our friends who had dairy cows, I grew up blessed to know what “real food” tastes like. Mom baked her own bread and even made her own cereals and granolas sometimes. She was always dehydrating this, or canning that… When you know what fresh, organic, grass-fed, cage-free, raw, whatever-you-want-to-call it “real food” tastes like; and none of the processed, highly pasteurized, pesticide coated,  MSG-treated food you get from the store ever tastes as good. Read Michael Polan’s book In Defense of Food if you want to get an idea about our nation’s sad state of highly processed, nutritious empty food items and factory-farmed animal products.

So I’m going on a raw food trial, to see if clean(food) energy is sustainable for my lifestyle. While eating raw takes a lot of time to prepare food and is more expensive, I think it is worth it in the long run, and I enjoy trying new recipes. However, on my budget and lifestyle, I cannot afford to go raw 100% all the time, so I’m aiming for 75% raw, and will also keep eating some animal protein sources like fish, organic chicken, eggs, and organic/ raw milk on occasion, so my body can continue to digest these foods and get the important B-12 vitamins it needs. Also am looking forward to helping in our new community organic garden Matt started and eating raw and organic free!

I’ll post occasional recipes I’ve created or found, and hope you’ll try some and be persuaded to add more raw foods to your diet too!

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There are a lot of great resources online if you’re interested in going raw (or part raw). Also there are numerous blogs with recipes. Here are a couple of my favorite no-nonsense sites:

Living Food Index: http://www.living-foods.com/index.shtml

Worlds’ Healthiest Foods by George:Mateljan: http://whfoods.org/

Rawfully Tempting recipes: http://www.rawfullytempting.com/

Steve Pavlina’s blog: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2008/02/raw-food-diet/