Baby It’s Cold Outside!

8 07 2009

Those that live in the tropics are exposed to a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables all year long. Unfortunately, not all of us live in those regions.

The Ideal Situation

How can you eat a natural raw diet if you live in cold regions where locally grown fruits and vegetables simply are not available most of the year? While you might really want to move to Hawaii, Florida or Costa Rica where you can get wonderful raw fruit and vegetables that are grown nearby all the time, you may have a job that means you must reside in Canada, Nebraska, or another cold area.

Air travel, thankfully, has made it possible for raw-foodists living in cold climates to obtain imported fresh, natural foods. When it is cold, the body uses more calories to stay warm, so you may find you think you should eat more. That isn’t necessarily true. Those extra calories may come from carbohydrate-rich fruit like bananas.

Must I Eat Only Locally Grown Foods?

Some philosophies, such as macrobiotics, believe that eating exotic or imported foods are unhealthy. This requires a little thought. Because the human diet is designed for humans – all over the world – and many fruits and vegetables that grow in your locale may, in fact, not be indigenous to that region, this idea simply doesn’t make sense.

For an example, let’s look at mangoes. These fruit are tasty, sweet, full of fiber and great for you. They taste grand! And it’s really nice if you can simply walk outside and pull a ripe one from your tree or purchase some from your neighborhood market that are locally grown and harvested ripe. The fruit has the most nutrition this way.

But, for those people that eat imported mangoes that have been stored during shipment, it is still a great food that is tasty, sweet, full of fiber and great for you. In fact, a mango purchased in Montreal could have been picked only a few days before because technology provides such great ways to distribute food to other locales.

In truth, much of the foods that are not healthy, are processed and have additives are much older than that exotic fruit you find in your grocer’s produce section. Of course, it costs energy to transport food, and if you wish to live truly green, you can always choose those fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that are grown nearby as much as possible and choose to avoid some of the most exotic choices that are grown on the other side of the planet.

In some locations, especially in the long northern winters, local produce is almost nonexistent. Even lettuce is several weeks old. If you have a climate controlled greenhouse, you can grow some of your own food, but most people aren’t in this situation. You can, however, choose to grow fresh sunflower greens which are a fresh green vegetable. It’s simple and easy and very healthy to include these in your diet and you can cut the greens immediately before consumption so they are the freshest and tastiest of winter vegetables.

Handling Cold

There are some people, even raw-foodists that say eating spicy foods, such as those with garlic or cayenne pepper, is a good practice in the winter. However, adding spices to food means that the food is no longer natural, unprocessed and healthy.

In truth, eating these toxic foods does not make a person warmer; they produce the exact opposite. The feeling of “nice and warm” is the body activating your metabolism in order to rid itself of the poison!

Raw-foodists that complain of ‘freezing’ in the winter often eat their foods cold. When food that has been kept in refrigeration is eaten while cold, the body will feel cold. Simply let the food warm up before eating.

Since raw, natural foods do not become rancid like meats do, you can remove from the refrigerator all the food you plan to eat the next day and let it reach room temperature. If you need to eat something straight from the refrigerator, place it in warm water for about ten minutes.

When feeling chilly, exercise can generate warmth. An aerobic session can raise metabolism as much as 10% above the resting rate. This means that if it were possible to work out hard for one hour without dissipating any heat at all, you’d raise you body temperature to 140 degrees Fahrenheit! So, get up and exercise! You’ll feel better, be warmer, and enjoy better health.

Tropical or Temperate Fruits: Which is Better?

There are some people that say that one type of fruit is better than another based on the climate where it was grown. One theory is that tropical fruit is better than fruit grown in temperate areas because our bodies are mot genetically adapted to them. This belief would mean that papayas, mangoes, and bananas would be best while apples, pears and most berries would be less beneficial.

Because there is not any substantial proof that fruit grown in any particular region is better for the human body, I propose that they are all good. Enjoy as wide a variety of raw fruits as is available, depending on where you are and the season.

Some of the most delicious fruits, cherimoya, litchi, jackfruit, durian, and many others, are not well known but as people learn to eat more fruit, more varieties will become available to everyone.

Frozen_Fruit_by_jaydeddesigns





The Bigger Picture.

8 07 2009

Some former raw-foodists ate a healthy, natural raw diet for several years, but went back to the Standard American Diet (SAD) because they constantly experienced cravings or lack of satisfaction.

A diet isn’t right unless it is sustainable. So, the big picture means that healthy food choices must be made, consumed in the right combinations, and it must be satisfying without huge cravings. That is the raw food diet you want to achieve!

Does Raw Always Mean Unheated?

This is a big and important question! The dictionary defines raw as “uncooked” but it also includes “not processed, purified or refined” in the definition. This indicates that raw food is food that is in a natural state – whole fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in their natural state.

If you think about the definition of “raw”, it is impossible to consider oils, dried fruit, dehydrated crackers and many other items as raw. Think about a can of nuts from the grocery store. First of all, the nuts are usually roasted using oil or coconut butter, and they have salt, and sometimes sugar or other spices, added before packaging.

If raw means unadulterated and natural, would you consider these nuts healthy and part of a raw-foodist regimen? Of course not. The same goes for most nut butters, dried spices, herbs, and frozen fruits or vegetables.

The secret is to avoid becoming a fanatic on the term ‘raw’ and, instead, ask some questions about every food choice:

  • Is this really healthy for me?
  • Do I feel great after eating this food?
  • Is this a specific food for humans considering how humans are designed?
  • Is this a fruit or vegetable?
  • Is this food easy to digest?

You’ll find that a 100% raw food diet means that you’ll eat mostly raw food. You’ll avoid heating foods for the most part. While some have gone long periods of time eating a 100% unheated raw diet, most do not claim to eat 100% raw all the time, nor will they ever achieve that mark.

It’s pretty simple and easy for most people, especially in the summer, to eat only raw foods. They are plentiful and at their prime. But there are times that raw-foodists eat some steamed vegetables.

No one is perfect. The key is to stick closely to the raw-foodist regimen but also to realize that you are only human and not perfect. So, if you feel you simply must have some hot food once in a while or are placed in a situation where eating 100% raw simply isn’t possible that meal, choose some lightly steamed vegetables.

If you simply must have some meat on rare occasions, or if the situation you are in means it isn’t possible to avoid all meat for that meal, select a very small serving eaten with raw vegetables that are non-fat.

When you can’t be 100% raw-foodist for one meal, avoid fat or foods with added fat, because it can be a trigger eating food choices that are much worse! Then, get right back on your regular eating pattern.

Raw is not the only Criterion

We simply must use some common sense and be aware of what food choices we make. It’s better to have some lightly steamed vegetables than to eat a large amount of nuts and seeds. Junk foods, like pizza, chips, anything fried, coffee, ice cream, pastries, and similar foods, are much worse for you than a small piece of meat. If you eat a piece of chicken with a salad, it is better than choosing pizza!

The ideal foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, including fresh nuts and seeds. However, we live in an artificial world. If you must deviate from the 100% unheated raw diet, make rational choices.

Common Mistakes Made by Raw-Foodists

I’ll list for you the most common ways that people sabotage their diets, resulting in cravings and lack of satisfaction with their raw, natural diet:

  • Using salt, condiments, and/or spices
  • Eating too many avocados or eating avocados every day
  • Eating too many nuts or nut butter
  • Worrying or thinking about food continually
  • Drinking too much juice, especially fruit juice
  • Eating concentrated sweets like honey or maple syrup
  • Eating raw cacao – just because it is raw doesn’t mean it is less toxic
  • Thinking that drinking coffee, tea or other caffeine drinks will not sabotage your diet
  • Eating large amounts of sprouted beans and grains
  • Not getting sufficient sleep or sleeping at irregular hours
  • Failing to consider digestion, eating complex mixtures or mixing the wrong foods
  • Eating a raw diet but failing to maintain dental hygiene, including regular check-ups
  • Not getting enough exercise, even if eating a raw food diet
  • Eating too much acid fruit, eating dried fruit; eating dates on a regular basis
  • Using oil regularly
  • Overeating greens by dulling the taste with gourmet salads
  • Failing to pay attention to the body’s signals about hunger, even when eating a raw diet

You’ll find that avoiding these common mistakes will help you feel balanced and healthy. Eat a raw food diet, or one that is very close to 100% raw, natural whole food, but don’t think that this regimen will solve everything, in every case and situation. It is only one factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

A Word of Warning

While eating raw is something that almost anyone can achieve, there are those that have health, mental or physical constitutions not suited to making a sudden change of diet. For these people, as well-planned transition is required. Diets must be adapted to personal needs and no one should conform blindly to an idea without considering these factors. Any competent hygienic practitioner would never recommend a 100% raw diet to everyone immediately in every single case!