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!





Exposing Detox Myths.

2 07 2009

When you begin a raw food diet, you have to break those old habits of high-fat, cooked complex carbs and eating all that huge amount of meat and animal products.

Get Those Toxins OUT!

All the toxins from your old diet are stored in your body. Very few of these are eliminated in wastes and certainly those from the days before you begin the frugivore regimen are still in the body.

We know that habits are difficult to break. If you have ever had a bad habit such as being perpetually late or clicking your tongue and then decided to stop, you know it can be difficult. If you have ever had a really bad habit like smoking or drinking alcohol, then you know it is really, really difficult to stop. It seems the worse the habit, the more difficult to quit. But any habit can be broken.

The body loves habits and doesn’t often approve of change right away. Subsequently, we sometimes feel cravings or urges when we stop a bad habit. Or we may do the action or behavior unconsciously.

When you begin your diet, you might well find you have some cravings for those dense, high-fat, highly processed, cooked and seasons foods. You might find something you shouldn’t be eating in your hand before you even realize what you are doing!

Don’t beat yourself up about these cravings, urges or even a small set-back. You are, after all, human and only human. However, there are simple ways to help your body detox encouraging yourself consciously or unconsciously to slip.

Practical Guidelines

First of all, get enough sleep and some exercise but avoid really hard physical exercise and mental stress until your energy level recovers from the changes in diet. You’ll probably want to change your exercise practices, one you return to hard physical exercise, to muscle building rather than weight loss because the proper, natural raw food diet will maintain your ideal weight quite effectively given time.

Periods of detoxification, tissue repair, growth and healing will occur in the body. Some days you will have tons of energy and others you may have less as the body uses its energy to dispose of toxins.

The myth that this purification process goes on forever is totally false. It really only takes a short time to get all the toxins out of your body after you begin a natural, uncooked, unseasoned food diet that is low in fat.

Of course, if you fail to heed the program and eat all the wrong things, making your diet high fat, even though it may be raw, or if you mix the wrong foods, you may be problems and fail to reach that wonderful goal of great health, abundant energy and a good life.

Lack of Energy

A common complaint by people beginning the raw foods diet is that they lack energy. After only days, your body should have MORE energy; not less. Here are the most common causes of lack of energy when attempting to change to a frugivore diet:

  • Failure to get enough good, sound sleep
  • Using oil in your diet which slows digestion significantly – up to two hours per drop!
  • Eating too many fatty foods such as avocados, nuts or seeds
  • Failure to exercise at all, or to exercise very little. Everyone needs exercise. Of course, heed the warnings that the very first few days, you should avoid too much strenuous exercise. But that doesn’t mean sit in front of the TV 24/7! But over training in the first days is not good for you.
  • Depression, negative thinking or other negative emotional states including high stress situations. Chronic loneliness or anxiety can contribute to this problem.
  • Failure to get fresh air and some exercise. Here we go back to the negative affects to too much TV or sedentary lifestyle.
  • Failure to hydrate with water, fruit juices and healthy liquids.
  • Mixing the wrong raw foods causing indigestion and acid stomach. Anytime you feel bad, you don’t have energy. Eat fatty foods without combining sugary foods. For example, don’t sit down and eat ½ an avocado along with a banana.
  • Using spices, salt or other condiments that are not really raw, natural foods eaten by primates in the animal kingdom.
  • Eating when you are not hungry. This often results, even on a raw food diet, in eating the wrong things or eating too much.
  • Smoking or second-hand smoke.

Because these activities elevate the hormone that results in internal toxemia, you simply won’t feel your best. Listen to the messages your body sends to you!

Prevention

When you don’t feel your best on a raw-foodist diet, analyze recent choices and activities. Identify if any of the risk factors are present. Then, eliminate the cause and rest a little extra for a day or two. But don’t remain sedentary.

What REALLY Isn’t Normal

If you follow the raw-foodist diet for a year or longer and still experience any of the following, you probably should contact a doctor to ensure you aren’t developing a medical condition. Anyone can catch a virus or become ill; it has nothing to do with the raw-food diet. In fact, you’ll experience LESS illness if you follow the techniques outlined in these lessons accurately.

However, if you started your regimen with no serious health issues, yet you either experience the onset of symptoms which last longer than a few days OR you have these symptoms continually, seek medical consultations.

It’s just not normal to continually feel:

  • Tired in the afternoon even though you got enough sound sleep the night before
  • You have little or no energy and don’t feel you are capable of moderate to strenuous exercise on a regular basis (3-5 times per week).
  • You have many ups and downs in energy frequently.
  • You feel worse than before you changed your diet yet you have followed the diet carefully including not eating too much fat or mixing the wrong foods. This applies after the first month or few months of allowing your body to get the toxins from your years of bad diet out of your body.
  • You experience a lot of itching. This could possibly indicate an allergy, existing or new.
  • Your body odor is very strong or changes dramatically.
  • You have frequent headaches or your headaches are especially severe.
  • You have dental problems that didn’t exist previously. If you eat a raw food diet and practice good dental hygiene, your dental exams should be improved, not worse than before!

It’s not abnormal to have a minor headache once in a while or to have a body odor when you exercise and get seriously sweaty. However, when symptoms persist or are extremely severe, please consult a medical practitioner immediately.





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