In the raw.
November 12, 2010 § 12 Comments
How is everyone? I’ve been off in my own dreamy little world of books, beach romps and study sesh’s. Oh, and i’m officially raw. For now.
Double take. WHAT?!
Let’s start a the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start.
Basically, in a lazily brief summary, all this immersion in books such as Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, countless ebooks and websites concerning the raw food diet and even Born to Run, have contained a common thread that suggests returning to a simpler, more natural way of being that i’ve latched onto with the fire of one thousand red-heads.
In Born to Run, arguments spring forth that we are in fact, running people whose innate ability to pound out 100 mile marathons and scamper over boundless plains in pursuit of an animal target (while practically barefoot) leaves modern notions as to the dangers of jogging and the necessity for shiny new Nike’s with 10 layers of astonishingly expensive air underfoot, lacking. The last vestiges of this superhuman stamina manifest in the Tarahumara Indians, living in isolation in the treacherous Copper Mountains in Mexico. They eat a simple diet in accordance with the natural resources at their disposal (including Chia Seeds, thank you very much) and run, because it’s what they’ve always done.
Many of our modern woes, such as obesity, shin splints and knee reconstructions it is argued, actually stem from a) inactivity and b) crazy, cushiony joggers that cause us to run incorrectly when really, our natural barefoot method conditions us in the correct way. Yet another example that simple & natural is best.
Similarly, Deepak Chopra has unleashed in me a new found appreciation of thoughts, feelings, energies manifesting in the physical. Having positive intentions and visualizing what you want in life seems to align with much of what I already took to be true – going through life with a positive outlook & appreciating the lessons we experience daily, if we care to look, goes a long way towards happiness.
But what in the name of Buddha does this have to do with raw foods?
For one, I’m increasingly aware of the energy of things; it’s no secret that fresh young coconuts bring me so much happiness that I find myself talking, thinking and dreaming about them (incidentally, my desire for coconuts often manifests in bouquets of them arriving at my doorstep care of the man, and other visitors. Ask and ye shall receive my friends!).
I now know that the intense joy of cleaving open a juicy young nut may be due to more than just an unhealthy addiction. There is also an energy at work in these beautiful, fresh, organic foods.
Kirilian photography, as seen above, is a form of (controversial) imaging that claims to capture energy fields as emitted by animate objects. Likewise, photographs of water that has been bestowed with ‘blessings’ show it taking beautiful, crystallized forms, influenced seemingly by the power of positive intention.
Regardless of whether this is altogether too heavy on the chakras and spoon-bending for you, there is no denying that energy is fundamental to all life – it animates us, and the things we eat. When I have the misfortune of going to a chain supermarket, I see mountains of packaged food, unnaturally shiny apples and a pronounced absence of living energy. These foods seem to be ‘dead’, and retain little or none of their former vitality. They have been chopped, waxed and polished into submission.
When I frolic around in my little organic fruit store of choice however, I see dirty, intact, and gloriously nuanced examples of real produce, recently picked and grown in happy, chemical-free surrounds.
Interestingly, that Healing with Wholefoods book that you’re probably dead sick of hearing about, points out the importance of preparing your food with care and with gratitude; if it is for a sick person, try to imbue the meal with positive thoughts and energy because food created and eaten with stress and negativity damages the whole vibe. Maaaaan.
This is one aspect of why I think it’s just grand to eat living foods (but not in a cruel way, I consult the veggies first to gain their consent :D)
So. Back to raw.
The lovely Kate kindly sent me an ebook on raw foods at the beginning of the week that I promptly devoured in a matter of hours. It is by a veritable guru of living foods named Frederic Patenaude and champions the 80/10/10 way of eating; that is, eating 80% calories from carbohydrates, 10% from protein and 10% from fat. Basically fruit/veg/some seeds and nuts.
Wowzer! You scared?! I’m sure as hell not.
The way this diet plays out is eating pounds of fruit and vegetables each day along with some seeds, whilst trying to limit dietary fat.
I can hear you yelling profanities at me already. My flatmate immediately verbalised multiple levels of distrust in the whole scheme.
Allow me to address them as best I can.
Firstly, please know that I am trialling this – I don’t know for how long. I’m a huge believer in forming an opinion based on experience, because I realise there are compelling justifications for any and every school of nutritional thought. This is why, besides all the astounding accounts i’ve read of the 80/10/10 diet, I’m aiming for practical application in my own life. It could be life-changing, it could be too hard, it could end in tears. Bring it.
On a practical level, let me make a few pro-low-fat-raw arguments.
As long as i’m getting adequate calories each day, I will reach my protein requirements with ease.
The recommended protein intake for an adult is around 10% from total calories, however many people on the SAD (standard American/Australian diet) consistently achieve an excess. Interestingly, the protein content of a mother’s milk is around 6%, 6% at the time of crucial growth and development of a child. Does this tell us something?
All fruits and vegetables contain protein, though a common misconception that resulted largely from the ‘incomplete protein theory’ by Frances Moore Lappe is that they are not optimal for humans. It suggested that because there are no complete sources of the essential amino acids in plants as there are in meat, we would need to combine them in certain ways for proper nutrition. Frances herself later admitted that this theory was incorrect upon discovering that the body stores amino acids in such a way that we do not need to consume them ‘all-in-one-go’.
So frankly protein is the least of my worries.
You may also be worried by the ‘low-fat’ aspect of this approach. In no way have I ever sought to reduce dietary fat intake, and the word ‘skim’ makes me shudder. However after reading Frederic’s compelling explanation as to how detrimental high-fat vegan diets can be, and my own research that points to an overload of fat in the bloodstream making it harder for insulin to carry-out glucose reuptake by the cells (thus resulting in permanently elevated blood sugar levels), I feel quite confident in the 10% fat ideal. It also rings true with what my naturopath mentioned to me months ago about how she thinks my body struggles to metabolize too much fat.
Only when stopping to assess my ‘normal’ diet did I realise how much fat I was actually putting away. I was snacking on loads of Tahini, nuts, seeds…lard. I think this was also the cause of a lot of skin issues.
I’m also making sure to get ample calories. You cannot go successfully raw on 80/10/10 if you assume you can just keep eating your normal portions and replacing them with fruit and salad. I’ve tried this once before when I was a hopeless newbie and experienced the dizzy, fuzzy-headed emotional train-wreck that comes from a malnourished Katey. As supernanny says, it is no’ acceptable.
Would you like to know the magnitude of my eats to meet my energetic needs?
It goes something along the lines of, 300 bananas.
Maybe not that many, but seriously, a monkey-load of bananas. Amongst other delightful fruits, vegetables, seeds and avocado (but not TOO much).
Speaking of monkeys, another argument for the low-fat-raw-diet is the fact that our closest genetic counterparts; primates like chimpanzees and gorillas eat in a similar way, gorging on fruits, some veg and nuts when in season. And look at them! Beasts.
But what about variety you ask? To that I say, there is an abundance! When you begin to eat fruits and vegetables in their natural state, you cultivate an obscene enjoyment of their perfect, simple taste. They are SO DELICIOUS on their own; why meddle with that mother nature chick?
There is probably a ton more raw food propaganda that I could hurl at you, but for now, my tirade ends here.
Oh, here are some irrelevant pictures of my new ‘goals’ board for your viewing pleasure. Mock away! But I will get that camera garnsarnit.
This is also a failed smoothie-in-a-bowl I made the other day. It was so promisingly pretty but so totally puke-worthy. I though you might like to observe the grossness!
There you have it! I can’t believe I just shared this on the internet…so accountable right now. I’m hoping to give 100% raw a decent go, so I too can share that boundless energy and mental clarity which so many converts claim to experience. I want raw nirvana, pronto.
Here are some great links too, if you don’t feel sufficiently drained from the epic length of this post!
- Steve Pavlina’s own 30 day raw trial.
- Frederic Patenaude’s website.
- 30 bananas a day – awesome raw food community.
- Raw food health.