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

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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!





A Raw Foodist’s Mistake- Dry Fruit.

1 07 2009

Did you know that most dried fruits in the natural food store are COOKED?

Yes!! They are.   Manufacturers and distributors of dried fruits and even “dried tomatoes” were asked the temperature at which their product is dried.   Usually it is well over 200 degrees. They say this proudly, because its not too feasible to dry products at an acceptable temperature to a raw foodist (around 118 degrees or less) because there would be an inconsistent and “ugly” looking product.

Usually only “sun dried” foods would be considered “raw” since they are dried by the sun. So why not dry your own?

How to Dry Fruits and Vegetables

Food dehydration is safe because water is removed from the food. Because water is removed from the food, mold and bacteria cannot grow on it;thus it will not spoil. There is, however, a loss of vitamin A and C in dried foods due to heat and air. It usually takes vegetables 6-16 hours to dry, and fruit 12-48 hours. One can dry fruit and vegetables, and make jerky and fruit leather.

Choose Which Drying Method is Right For You

  • Sun Drying. This is rather difficult because you need three to four sunny days of at least 100 degrees in a row.
  • Oven Drying. Oven drying is an acceptable method of drying food, but it isn’t very energy efficient, and foods aren’t very flavorful in the end. If your oven cannot obtain temperatures below 200 degrees farenheit, use another method for food dehydration. You will need to prop open the oven door to maintain air circulation during the drying process.
  • Electric Dehydrating. This is the best method of dehydrating food. An electric dehydrator is energy efficient and can be operated at low temperatures needed to maintain nutritive values in the food. Your electric food dehydrator should have some sort of heat control and a fan to maintain air circulation during the drying process.

The Drying Process

When drying food, don’t keep temperatures too low or too high. Temperatures too low may result in the groth of bacteria on the food. Temperatures too high will result in the food being cooked instead of dried. Food that is underdried will spoil, and food that is overdried will lose its flavor and nutritive value.

Food should be dehydrated between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You can begin drying your food at higher temperatures, but turn the temperature down after the first hour or so. The last hour or so of drying time should be turned down on a lower setting. You must turn the food and rotate the trays while the food is drying.

You will know your food is dried when when you touch it, and it is leathery with no pockets of moisture. If you are testing fruit, you can tear a piece in half. If you see moisture beads along the tear, it is not dry enough. Vegetables should also be tough but can also be crisp.

When storing your dried product, keep in mind that no moisture should be allowed to enter the container…ever. Dried food absorbs moisture from the air, so the storage container must be airtight. Some acceptable storage containers are jars and plastic freezer bags. If storing fruit leather, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a another airtight container. Store your containers of dried food in a cool, dark, dry place. 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below is best.

Vegetable Drying Guide

All vegetables except onions and peppers,and mushrooms should be washed, sliced, and blanched. Dry vegetables in single layers on trays. Depending of drying conditions, drying times make take longer. Dry vegetables at 130-degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Beans, green: Stem and break beans into 1-inch pieces.Blanch. Dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
  • Beets: Cook and peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Dry 3-10 hours until leathery.
  • Broccoli: Cut and dry 4-10 hours.
  • Carrots: Peel, slice or shred. Dry 6-12 hours until almost brittle.
  • Cauliflower: Cut and dry 6-14 hours.
  • Corn: Cut corn off cob after blanching and dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
  • Mushrooms: Brush off, don’t wash. Dry at 90 degrees for 3 hours, and then 125 degrees for the remaining drying time. Dry 4-10 hours until brittle.
  • Onions: Slice 1/4-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Peas: Dry 5-14 hours until brittle.
  • Peppers, sweet: Remove seeds and chop. Dry 5-12 hours until leathery.
  • Potatoes: Slice 1/8-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Tomatoes: Dip in boiling water to loosen skins, peel,slice or quarter. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Zucchini: Slice 1/8-inch thick and dry 5-10 hours until brittle.

Fruit Drying Guide

All fruit should be washed,pitted and sliced. Arrange in single layers on trays. Dry fruit at 135 degrees Fahrenheit. You may wish to pretreat your fruit with lemon juice or ascorbic acid or it won’t darken while you are preparing it for drying. Just slice the fruit into the solution and soak for 5 minutes.

  • Apples: Peel, core and slice into 3/8-inch rings, or cut into 1/4-inch slices. Pretreat and dry 6-12 hours until pliable.
  • Apricots: Cut in half and turn inside out to dry. Pretreat and dry 8-20 hours until pliable.
  • Bananas: Peel, cut into 1/4-inch slices and pretreat. Dry 8-16 hours until plialbe or almost crisp.
  • Blueberries: Dry 10-20 hours until leathery.
  • Cherries: Cut in half and dry 18-26 hours until leathery and slightly sticky.

  • Peaches: Peel, halve or quarter. Pretreat and dry 6-20 hours until pliable.

  • Pears: Peel, cut into 1/4-inch slices, and pretreat. Dry 6-20 hours until leathery.
  • Pineapple: Core and slice 1/4-inch thick. Dry 6-16 hours until leathery and not sticky.
  • Strawberries: Halve or cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Dry 6-16 hours until pliable and almost crisp.

a_clockwork_orange_by_lisalyn





Where To Find Raw Food Products.

26 06 2009

Starting and succeeding on an uncooked diet means that you will need to invest in raw food products to help you in your journey. Here are a few tips on how to find the best resources for your raw food products to make sure your diet is a success.

The first thing you want to look at when analyzing a raw food product is its ingredients. You want to make sure it is free from synthetic additives. You want all the ingredients to be as natural as possible. This usually means that the supermarket is not the best place to find what you need.

If you have a local farmers market that is the best place to find your raw food products. They carry the freshest variety of fruits and vegetables possible because you are buying directly from the grower’s themselves.

If you have a small time neighborhood grocer you may find higher quality produce that what the big chain stores carry. Check with them to see what organic produce they carry.

Also check online. There are a plenty of places to find organic raw produce and food online. One such place is Raw Food on Amazon. They carry plenty of yummy raw and organic foods.

High quality raw foods are not to difficult to find as long as you know where to look.





Don’t Go Raw Too Fast!

26 06 2009
Depending on what you read, you’ll get different advice on how quickly you should transition to an all raw food diet.  This is not a haphazard decision.  Several things must be in place to make this change. Not the least of which is the right attitude.

I suggest a gradual shift from a cooked food diet to a raw food diet.  I don’t believe in going completely raw for myself.  You may have a different feeling on this, and that’s ok for YOU.

Going raw too fast leads to several ailments that are usually attributed to detox symptoms.  Remember what is happening to your body at a cellular level as you eat different types of foods.  Raw foods contain the enzymes your body needs to process and digest them.  Cooking foods destroys these enzymes forcing your body to work harder producing the enzymes to digest them.

Another function of raw food is the cleansing of cells.  Your cells readily pass their waste into your bloodstream and lymphatic system once introduced to the enzymes in raw foods. This waste has to go somewhere.  Your bowel movements do a good job of removing waste, but if you go all raw too fast, the waste can build up causing your body to react in strange ways.  Some symptoms of raw food detox include headache, acne, pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and constipation.  To relive these symptoms simply introduce a little cooked food or more liquids when you are not eating.

Switching to a raw food diet offers many benefits, don’t introduce unnecessary problems by going raw too fast.





Raw Uncooked Food in Winter.

25 06 2009

It’s one thing to be a raw foodist on Hawaii, but eating raw food in a cold climate in winter time is a completely different story.

Gabriel Cousens did research in Alaska and found that 95% of the raw foodist were successful. He asked them what they did and I’m sure these tips might help you to stay warm in the winter. I’ll write their suggestions down below.

Why do you feel cold?

When starting a raw food diet, many people release toxins. This might give you a uncomfortable cold feeling. But it’s temporary. Further when you’re raw, you’re body temperature drops. It takes some time to get used to the new body temperature. This too, should be temporary and you will feel warmer over time.

When you’re eating raw food, your arteries clear up and your circulation improves. Actually, most people that have been eating raw uncooked food for a while say that they’re never cold! They even swim in ice cold water in the winter. So feeling cold when eating raw seems to be a transitional issue.

But there are things you can do to stay warm in winter. First of all, it’s a misconception that you can only eat COLD foods when you’re on a raw food diet. YOU CAN EAT WARM FOODS, just don’t heat them above 120F (water 160F). Most people cook their food and then let it cool off until about 110F before they eat it anyway. So you may heat your raw uncooked foods. Just not above 110F, the right temperature for eating them anyway… Think of soups or warm apple cider…

Top 8 tips from Alaskan raw foodists

  • More exercise.
  • Cayenne pepper in socks and cloves.
  • Add more heating spices to food (cayenne, ginger, peppercorn, garlic).
  • Raw doesn’t mean your food has to be cold. You can warm food up to 120 for 2 minutes. (just stir and when it becomes to warm to touch.)
  • Warm up plates.
  • Put a cold salad from the fridge in dehydrator/oven for few minutes to make it room temperature.
  • Put warm sauces/salad dressings over your salad.
  • Drink warm apple cider.




Advantages and Disadvantages of a Raw Food Diet.

22 06 2009

Advantages:

  • Promotes the intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoids the rigidity and nutrient deficiencies that are often associated with strict raw food vegan diets by allowing the inclusion of raw cheese, eggs, fish, and meat.
  • Does not require calorie counting or portion control.
  • Does not eliminate entire food groups.
  • Promotes health over weight loss as a motivation to adhere to the diet.

Disadvantages:

  • Very restrictive and will require major restructuring of the diet for most individuals.
  • Dieters may experience quite severe detoxification symptoms if they are not careful to gradually transition into the diet.
  • The safety of consuming raw animal products is questionable. If handling and storage is not impeccable there is a risk of exposure to dangerous bacteria.