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60 day raw food log: Day 40 Why live with doubts & dread?

Read the following little diddy and ask yourself if you think it’s true.  Even better, leave a comment and tell me what it made you feel…

Better to eat beer and franks

with cheer and thanks

than sprouts and bread

with doubts and dread.

It’s sometimes recited a little differently and is often credited to a “wise old man once said…”  But to me it’s simple and powerful.

Raw Food Diet

Eating only raw foods is something I think everybody should experience. Not eating animals or their “product” is another important thing for people to experience. Both open some kind of awareness portal that can have long-term affects on how you see the planet, it’s food, and yourself.

Perhaps it will cause a sudden flash and with moral certitude you will disavow flesh consumption until the day you yourself perish.  Or maybe your connectedness with flora and fauna will instead manifest itself in greater reverence for whatever passes your lips. Either way you are going to get closer to understanding what food really is, and how much of it you actually need.

Vegan-ism

If you are a vegan, and you’ve never spent a few weeks or months eating only raw vegan foods I would really encourage you to do so.

Years ago (many many) I read “Diet for a New America” and it influenced me enough as an 18 year old that I became “a” vegan.  For a little over one year the only qualifier I used when deciding what to eat was whether or not it contained anything from an animal.

It was one of the least healthy periods of my life.  I got fat.  I felt shitty.  I was eating  mass quantities of stuff that is downright bad for you; processed soy products, low quality wheat gluten, and other “proteins” whose SOLE “value” are derived from the fact that they aren’t from animals.  Sugar in all it’s many forms is also vegan…

Some vegans I have met eat very healthy, feel great, and wouldn’t feel right eating any other way.  They eat their greens and they do agave instead of table sugar and corn syrup.  They get protein from quinoa, spinach, and raw nuts.  They limit the amount of “vegetarian” fried foods they eat (like McDonald’s french fries).  And they are not stuffing themselves with soy protein isolates, seitan, and tofu.

But many others aren’t eating any more veggies than the meat & potatoes crowd, and from a health standpoint have just substituted one “bad” thing (industrial toxic meat & dairy) for another (industrial toxic soy & other bullshit–potentially carcinogenic fake foods).

If you’re a conscious healthy vegan eater, more power to you for making a decision that’s congruent with your point of view.  And congrats on choosing a lifestyle that causes less harm to sentient beings and obviously makes a substantial positive environmental impact as well.

But…if you’re the second type of vegan, please don’t try to take any credit for  lessening your negative impact on the planet.  Do some research into the environmental havoc of your industrial vegan food.  You may be very surprised.

Meat-less versus Less-meat

Once, while waiting tables in San Francisco, I encountered a man who knew exactly what he didn’t want to eat.  He was originally from India, and was ordering food for his large family. The soft spoken patriarch looked me in the eye and asked me to please listen closely.  He wanted to make sure I was paying attention and understood fully his one request.  I’ll never forget the way he put it…

“My family doesn’t eat anything with a family.”

Fair enough!  I thought it was a simple eloquent way to express it, and a nice take on life. So they eat cheese and eggs and butter and don’t mind if there is milk in the pizza dough. But under NO circumstances would they ever consider eating even a tiny bite of pepperoni…

Are Baby Animals Harmed Making SALT!?

Interestingly though, it doesn’t have anything to do with health.  It’s another ethics based dietary choice.  And while a nice sentiment, it also doesn’t necessarily ensure that animals haven’t been harmed in the process of preparing his families dinner.

The issue we all face with food is that there is so much “information” being thrown around (my blog included) that it’s become nearly impossible to compare mangoes to mangoes.  Think about it.  How could someone compare the ethical, environmental, and personal health impact of any two people?

Could you honestly argue that someone eating countless chemically processed, cleared rain forest grown, soy patties, whose ingredients have been shipped from the other side of the planet, is eating better than a family who  mindfully includes some hormone and antibiotic free, free range, organically fed meat from a local source they know and trust?

What I propose

What if the individual goal is simply more conscious eating and less judgment in general?

Me? I need nothing.

That question/statement brings us full-circle back to having periods in ones life where regardless of whether we are a Jain Monk or a Tyrannosaurus…we eat mostly raw, and mostly vegan.

Not necessarily as an end in itself, or permanently; but because it may be the easiest way to learn exactly what works for us, and how to be the healthiest, happiest,  ascetics  or flesh-eating dinosaurs that we can be.

———————————————

If you are curious…today I ate: a blueberry smoothie, a nectarine, some raw pistachios, and a weird green/cacao smoothie.

It’s 5 am and I never went to bed.  In a few minutes my girlfriend will wake up and go to yoga and in a couple hours I’ll be filling up reusable cloth hippy bags with loads of fresh organic produce from the Palm Springs Farmer’s Market!

Who's for dinner?

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60 day raw food log: day 21 Weighing the cost of a raw food diet…is it worth it? (part 3)

 

WHAT IN THE WORLD DO I HAVE TO GAIN FROM EATING THIS WAY?


Energy

Sun Power!

Serious—power a small city, build bigger pyramids, apply for the “HELP WANTED: SUPERHERO” position advertised on craigslist, kind of energy. I have never felt lighter or freer…EVER!

You’ve heard raw food zealots talk about it, try it for yourself and see why so many athletes are turning to a diet high in raw foods to give them a competitive edge.  ULTRA-MARATHONERS are eating this way! When was the last time you ran 100 miles?

 

Mental Clarity

I don’t know that I can convey how clear my thinking becomes eating this way.  There’s a precision and depth to my thoughts that I DO NOT experience when eating cooked foods.  Some might even refer to it as

Whose more "in the moment"? Kids or dogs...

spiritual.  I’ll skip that label and just say raw foods are very expansive…

 

Addicted No More

Three weeks ago I was addicted to food, alcohol, and caffeine.  No other way to call it.  I was.  I don’t necessarily mean in the “I better get to a 12-step meeting” kind of way.  I mean how most of us are addicted to these things that should enhance our lives but for many don’t.

Having a couple beers with your friends is nice.  Sitting alone and spending your insomniacal hours working on a case of beer isn’t.

A glass of wine with your pasta dinner can be a beautiful thing.  Eating whole pizzas because your bored and drinking 50, 75, 100, or more drinks per WEEK…not so pretty.

The simplest, fastest, most effective way to break your food/booze/caffeine cravings is to go 100% raw with a focus on green foods. Doesn’t have to be forever, but give your body the break it deserves.  You will be surprised by how effective green foods are at combating your addictions.

 

Transcendence

It feels kinda cool to transcend food.  Best analogy I can think of is the totally in-control bartender who doesn’t drink himself…

So much of modern life can feel out of our control.  And it sucks to feel like you are always letting yourself down and breaking your own promises.  I gotta admit that I feel a sense of power being able to go to work in an Italian resaturant and bar and only eat tangerines on my shift while everyone else is eating pizza and getting drunk.

One man–a diabetic–comes in every night and drinks two or three bourbons while chowing down on minestrone, a caesar salad, a basket of garlic bread, a heaping plate of chicken alfredo, and some cheesecake.  All while lamenting how cursed he is to have diabetes!  It feels good not to be that guy.

 

Healthier Every Day

I remember literally feeling like every day I woke up my health was deteriorating markedly.  It really blows to be only 36 years old and huffing and puffing up a flight of stairs.

So many of the ailments people “come down with”, “contract”, or “suffer from”, are 100% avoidable.  Please don’t take me as some kind of jerk who is going to insist that all sickness is self-made.  I don’t think that at all.  But most of the everyday “conditions” we live with are.  The guy I mentioned who comes into my bar every night…he CHOOSES to be a diabetic.  One month eating raw and he’d be a different person and he would NOT be a diabetic.

Another example of the health benefits of eating raw is how totally it covers all the bases.  I was in the health food store the other day waiting for my fresh watermelon juice to be made.  So I decided to walk around and look at the shelves.  Two thirds of the stores shelves contain vitamins, powders, supplements, tonics, etc.  TWO THIRDS!  I had a funny reaction–literally–and started laughing out loud.  It all seemed so ridiculous.  None of those pills are going to fix anything. Total waste of time and money.  Let alone pharmaceuticals…

 

Natural Weight Control

Oprah and Ricky can talk all they want about the need for heavy people to accept themselves and the evils of a society obsessed with being thin…it doesn’t change the fact that none of us want to be fat!

If you read my Fat Kid Suit story you know I grew up being a fat kid in a fat family.  It sucked!  You know why I think people dislike being fat the most?  Because all those layers are proof that you are hiding shit and that your thoughts aren’t your own.

Have you watched the Biggest Loser?  Ever see people cry that much?  Even for reality TV these “losers” are shedding more tears than I thought humanly possible.

Being fat is not congruent with any kind of personal authenticity.  When I’m fat I start avoiding eye contact.  It’s a terrible terrible way to be and while I’m all empathy about how hard it is to make up your mind to change it, it’s 100% on you.  Eating raw has helped me quickly realize that, and I no longer want to abdicate my responsibility to and for myself.

If you haven’t tried eating 100% (or at least mostly) raw yet, you may not believe me when I tell you that eating raw is NOT a diet.  And I hope you know that I don’t mean that in some cheese-ball marketing sense.  It simply isn’t a diet.  I’ve lost a lot of weight already, and I have NEVER ONCE thought about a calorie, a carb, or wondered how many fat grams I was eating.  NEVER EVER do I tell myself I shouldn’t have seconds or thirds of anything.

I pour the olive oil on THICK!  I eat a whole avocado as a snack. I lick honey off of spoons.  The other day I got a massive pineapple and ate the whole thing for lunch.  You know those a-holes who say that drinking fruit juice is the same as drinking soda?  I drank a quart of fresh pressed seasonal apples juiced into a cloudy lover of a concoction that zinged in my mouth and sweetened my soul like no other…yeah it was that good.  My body SOAKED it all up into my cells which collectively broke out in song.  And guess what?  It wasn’t the Coke song.

 

Sex

Oh, NOW you’re paying attention!  Yeah sex.  That thing you try and squeeze in between cocktail dreardoms and buffet bellyaches.  Only a very small group of fetishists find belching and food induced comas to be a turn on.

You know what’s really sexy?  FRUIT!  Farmer’s markets are the new sex shops.  I don’t mean you have to use the fruit that way, just eat it.   And then let all that stored solar stuff of life bump up against some other radiant beings overflow.  In other words, sex is better the more raw foods you eat.

NO idea who this guy is, but HE'S got the right idea!

Having that youthful raw foods “glow” and lightness of being make you FEEL sexy at any age.  That kind of confidence and feeling of self-worth is the only real aphrodisiac…

 

The Environment & Animals Everywhere Will Thank You

This one is obvious to most people.  I’m not going to get all science right now.  There are tons of great resources out there regarding the undeniable connection between what we eat and the environment.  If anything, I’m sick of the words “green,” “sustainable,” “vegan,” and “carbon footprint.”  These are becoming marketing buzz words, overused, and to me they are often elitist terms with very little real world application for the majority of the worlds population.

I wasn’t attracted to raw foods for ethical reasons.  If anything I’m a borderline Nihilist who is completely A-political.  But, what we do most of the time makes the largest impact in our personal lives and on the human family as a whole.  Eating less meat and dairy has a far greater impact than driving a Prius does…

I’m not an “animal lover,” but the more raw foods I eat the more empathy I feel for animals, other people, and myself.  Having apparently turned my hatred toward plants, I’m now regularly butchering papayas the size of infant children and braining coconuts to get at their sweet innards.  You can’t please every species all of the time I guess.  Besides, the other day when I drove by a small farm, the chickens waved.

 

My Conclusions

I’m sure there are heaps more benefits that I don’t even know about yet.  I’m only just beginning with all of this.  Three weeks in I’m loving the results and wanting more.

Can I do this 100% of the time?  Probably not.  And I don’t think that’s what matters anyways.  But I can see myself mostly raw from here forward.

 

Your Input

What are some benefits to eating raw that you have experienced and that I failed to mention?  What percentage (roughly) of your diet comes from raw foods?  What do you like/dislike about the raw food movement?

PLEASE comment and join in on the discussion!

 

P.S.

Tomorrow I weigh myself and will post the result of week three’s weight loss.  All while NOT dieting.  So please check back for that and more!

Thanks!


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60 day raw food log: Day 14 RAW FOOD CONTROVERSY

Don’t read this if you are easily offended as a raw foodie, vegetarian, or vegan.

For the hell of it today I want to write down some very specific feelings I’m having about food and how it seems to divide us into preformed types and all the thinking that surrounds it. I write now knowing that how I feel may change after I complete 60 days eating 100% raw (yesterday I referred to myself as an ever-changing furnace) and it will be interesting to re-read this then.

I’d also really like to hear your thoughts, so please take the time to comment if you have anything you’d like to share.

Here goes:

1. I don’t think its wrong that some humans eat meat. I’ve gone all over the map on this. When I was 18 or so I read John Robbin’s work Diet For a New America. Really made sense. So much so I “became” a Vegan (see the wording there?) for 3 years.

I also read Harvey Diamonds Fit for Life and started telling everyone that because we don’t have sharp fangs and lack the impulse to chase little squirrels around and tear them apart with our non-existent claws; that proves humans are not supposed to eat meat.squirrel

My feeling now is that we need to focus more on eating meat more consciously. And no, I don’t think that means that we should only eat meat we hunt or kill with our own hands. Human evolution happens through implementation of technologies. That’s HOW we evolve.

If vegans and raw food people really want to make a huge impact–work on helping everyday people (most will always eat meat) eat less and better sources of meat & dairy. Stop judging people and start helping them. We need to clean up our oceans so we can eat clean fish if we want to eat fish. We need to support families who raise animals humanely.

That’s my current feeling about meat…

2. The real food revolution has to happen with cooked foods. Regular old cooked food restaurants are where the improvements need to come. If a gal wants to eat a slice of pizza, she should be able to find a place that isn’t serving foods with hormones, pesticides, refined sugars…If a guy wants a big fat patty melt with cheddar and onions, give it to him, don’t hold back and make it diet food or even call it “health food”, just be committed to the INGREDIENTS being the best they can be. And yeah, have loads of vegetarian, vegan, and raw choices on the menu too!

A cool example of this I recently stumbled on is a vegetarian Mexican restaurant I read about called Gracias Madre GraciasMadre-websitethe owners of Cafe Gratitude (an excellent raw restaurant in the SF Bay Area) have opened.  Why would raw restaurateurs open a cooked food eatery? I think because this is precisely where the BIGGEST impact can be made for the benefit of all. And isn’t that the real spirit of vegan raw food eating?

As a raw vegan community we would do better to villainize cooked foods less (which given the deplorable state of most cooked foods is hard to do–see–that’s why I’m saying the big changes have to come with cooking) and show people how to include more raw foods in their lives. I love the “raw til dinner” concept as an example.

I guess that’s all for now. 

I will be weighing myself tomorrow (2 weeks raw) and that scale better budge!