(First created in 2006)
If you require a professional nutritional advice,
please contact a registered health professional.
This lifestyle is my own experiment.
Listen to your own body, not me.
Be your own guru.
Also, please read
about the raw vegan diet.
101 Frequently Mentioned Topics:
Balance: I do not believe in the idea of having to intellectually balance anything in one's raw diet. The taste is the primary factor that I would consider when choosing my next raw meal. In my view, our tendency to ignore our instincts is what really makes us sick.
For example, I have days when I feel like eating fruit only and have no desire for greens whatsoever. Then, I have days, when I feel like having some tender greens. I choose to follow my instinct, rather than preconceived ideas on how much greens I should have. I feel that this is the right way to approach nutrition.
Being gentle on the senses: I had learned to ignore my senses through years of abuse by various insensitive practices, eating cooked/processed foods being one of them. However, after becoming a raw foodist and later realizing that feeding oneself healthily can be a simple act of following one's body instinct, I understood that my senses is my guide to a healthy lifestyle. How does it work? Very simple. For example,
Blending: I prefer not to blend my foods. I eat fruit whole and mono, because this is the way I like it. I also prefer my greens mono. Sometimes I like salads (simple and without dressing) and when I make them I make sure that whatever greens and veggies I put in them, taste appealing mono. That is, I do not disguise the taste of one food with another, and so I make sure that my body gets what it really needs, as the foods that taste unappealing are the ones that the body does not want right now (or perhaps ever). Also, I do not graze all day (like I used in my early years of raw), but eat only when truly hungry, on the average 3 meals a day.
Eating this way I feel really well nourished. I feel very healthy, energetic and happy. My digestion is excellent. I feel strong. My mind is preoccupied with my life, not food. I feel I truly thrive.
Bloated tummy: Besides poor digestion due to long-term unhealthy practices, this can be caused by any of these factors:
"Eating things you don't like because somebody tells you it's good for you is to favor another person's opinion over nature. If something tastes bitter or bad, it doesn't matter if all the raw/health gurus in the world agree that it's the best human food on the planet. Your body knows what they don't. (...) The way to be healthiest, in fact, is to follow our
preferences. You may trust that if something tastes good -- and it belongs in one of these categories: fruit, vegetable, nut, seed -- then it is food for you." (Nora Lenz)
Cost of raw food: Unfortunately, the prices of fruit can be ridiculously high here. There are some ways to reduce the expenditure (buying in bulk, looking for deals etc) but I still spend more than I used to before raw. Luckily I have a good salary and can afford it. Nevertheless, I have not resigned myself to buying fruit produced by others and am investing in growing my own, which not only reduces the cost, but more importantly, gives me the access to top quality, freshly picked, tree/bush-ripen, organic fruit. We planted several fruit trees and bushes in our garden and each year we keep adding more. Apricots, plums, apples, pears, nectarines, peaches, cherries, figs, persimmons, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, young-berries, blackberries, grapes. Every year we get a larger crop. One way a fruit lover can get abundance of yummy fruit is to go for holidays to fruit-abundant places. To me a far better way is to surround myself with a fruit garden which will last for years to come. Could you perhaps find some ways of getting locally produced fresh fruit and veggies? Grow your own, find a local community garden, do weekend work in an orchard or gardening for someone with fruit trees? The cost AND the quality of home-grown fruit will always be heaps better than that of bought produce. Besides, growing your own changes the fabric of your local environment and is a great way to contribute to changing the planet to a greener place.
Exercise: Essential part of healthy lifestyle. Make it fun. Do what you love and enjoy it! Do not over exercise. Our ancestors probably spent exercising lightly while foraging and heavy exercise was never done for the sake of improving health.
"That daily exercise is essential to develop and maintain good health is one Hygienic principle upon which there seems to be universal agreement. Even the medical profession encourages regular exercise as a means of prolonging youthfulness and promoting cardiovascular well-being. The overall merits of regular exercise are fully recognized, and we have no need here to further expound upon them.
However, there exists a great deal of confusion
regarding the relationship between exercise and
health. Many people equate health with physical
conditioning. The classical American model of male
health is represented by a robust well-muscled
physique, with erect posture, great strength and
power. Without necessarily deriding this ideal, I must
insist that it is not synonymous with health. There is
not always a direct proportion between the level of
physical conditioning and the level of overall health.
Physical conditioning is only one aspect of health.
The best athlete is not necessarily the most healthy.
The one who runs ten miles is not necessarily in
better health than the one who runs only five, or one,
or for that matter, none at all." ( Ralp
C. Cinque, D.C. )
* Poor food combining (in particular combining fats and fruit) will also lead to tiredness (as well as bloating). Note that if you do not leave enough time between the meals, the previous meal gets combined with you current meal.
* Eating herbs, spices and other irritants/stimulants. For example, garlic kills your good intestinal flora, which will make you feel tired. Coffee/cocoa in the short term will stimulate, but will make you feel tired later. Can you see the cycle?
* Dehydration will lead to feeling tired too. If you feel thirsty after a meal, this means that whatever you've eaten was not optimal. I find that fruit are the best hydrating foods.
* Eating raw foods that do not have appeal to you, because you think you should eat them. When you do that, you feed your body what it does not really need. Food that your body does not want, is harder to digest, and eating it will make you feel tired.
* Last, but not least, not enough rest/sleep, of course!
Food combining: Properly combining your foods will improve your digestion. A few basic rules to remember are:
* sweet fruit/starchy foods and fats do not combine well
* melons should only be eaten mono
* fruit should only be eaten on empty stomach
(Note that if you did not allow enough time for your last meal to be digested, then what you eat next gets combined with your last meal.)
I believe that one can easily learn about these rules by observing their body. For example, bloating is a common sign of poor food combining.
Q: Should I become a fruitarian? Can I thrive as a fruitarian?
A: In order to thrive, you need to follow your body, the signals of your body, your instincts, the wisdom of nature that is embedded in you. No mental decision on dietary patterns is going to make you thrive, as ignoring your body signals on daily basis will cause your body lacking the nutrition it needs or rest it needs, leading in the long term to disease. So in order to thrive, you really need to follow your senses and eat right now only those raw mono foods that appeal to them right now. So if the greens taste yuck, do not eat them right now, but if their taste is very appealing, then this is the signal your body needs them. I have times when I feel no need for greens at all, and these are the times when I have access to best quality fresh, ripe, juicy fruit. Long-term thriving fruitarians have access to top quality fruit, and it is often said that in the lack of those, other foods such as greens and veggies may well serve good purpose. After all, the body needs nutrients and if it can't get it from fruit when it is of lesser quality or variety, it will need to get it from other raw foods.
Fruit flies: There is a perfect solution that works miracles. I've used it successfully for years. Here it is.
Fruit fly miracle solution:
1) Get a glass jar, put some very ripe or rotting fruit in it.
2) Get a piece of paper, form a cone with a small hole on one end and a big one on the other (use scissors and sticky tape). Put it on the jar, the small hole downwards. Make sure the paper fits the jar tightly.
3) Put the jar near the place you keep your fruit. Observe. The flies go after the fruit in the jar, and have no problems going through the large hole into the cone and then through the small hole into the jar. The other way however, their brain power is insufficient to work out the exit algorithm and they get stuck.
4) Every couple of days or so take the jar outside and release the flies. If you don't, they will have babies inside the jar, and you will notice them crawling around.
No more fruit flies. :)))
Hunger: People entering raw foods discover new meaning of it. It was quite a surprise for me to discover that the feeling of full tummy which we experience after eating cooked foods, contrary to what I believed for many years, is not the sign of being saciated. Rather, it is the sign of stomach overburdened by hard to digest foods. And, the pain in my stomach, is not the sign of hunger but detox. After eating raw foods for a while, I learned that after eating raw meal, my tummy still feels light, yet I do feel satisfied (and no longer want any food). Hunger is very similar to the feeling of being thirsty, and it can be felt in the throat, rather than in the stomach. With this is associated a gentle desire to eat foods, rather than an intensive urge to eat something right here and now.
How do you know when you're no longer hungry when you eat raw? I know that I am no longer hungry when I lose the desire for foods. When food I eat suddenly loses its appeal and does not taste as good as at the start of the meal, it is the sign for me to stop eating.
Over-eating is taxing on the body as much as under-eating, and both can make you feel weak. Calorie calculators are very inaccurate, with the magnitude of error at least 40%, so no need to rely on these. If you are not going hungry all day, then you are not under-eating. If you eat when not hungry, then you are over-eating. No need to starve yourself to lose weight and no need to stuff yourself either, find the balance by listening to your body signals.
"Hunger is a normal, pleasant physiological demand for food that is felt in the mouth and throat as is thirst. Since it is a normal occurrence, it is not accompanied by pain or discomfort."
Juicing: My attitude to juicing, based on my instinctive approach, is that juicing is not optimal. I once did juicing only with the intention of going for longer, but stopped after 2 weeks, when I felt a strong urge to chew. I could feel that my body was very unhappy and was sending me a clear signal about it. I trust my instincts. Juices feel to me fractured, damaged, incomplete foods. This is the nature based explanation, there are of course plenty of intellect based arguments why juicing may not be optimal, but the argument that speaks loudest to me is the voice of my own body.
Over-eating: Eating when not truly hungry, a common mistake amongst raw foodists, eventually corrected by most, when they become more sensitive to their body signals. It is a myth that one cannot overeat on raw foods.
" I have never been an advocate for eating when you are not hungry or eating to meet an arbitrary number of calories that you think you may need. If the competitive athlete is hungry, then go ahead and eat, but it's never a good idea to eat beyond what your body is telling you it needs the way most athletes do. Food in excess is always enervating and will always weigh you down." ( Dave Tener )
Orthorexia: Orthorexia is the result of misguided intellect overriding the natural instincts. When one decides that they will eat 1/2 watermelon because they think that this is the food they should eat in order to cleanse and the amount they should eat according to their caloric calculations, then this is an orthorexic behaviour. But when one eats 1/2 watermelon because this is food that their senses directed them to, and their hunger decided when to stop or start eating, then this is a healthy, nature-driven behaviour.
Symptoms of orthorexia may include feeling of guilt for being less than perfect in a dietary sense, or attempts to transfer such guilt onto others when they appear to be less than perfect in a dietary sense.
Over-exercising: Exercising excessively, ignoring the body need for rest. See the video Sleep or die by Mike Arnstein to learn about the consequences.
"Ultra RACING is NOT natural. I do it because I love the challenge and lifestyle. I would NOT suggest that ultra RACING and ultra training is 'healthy' in fact I think long term it might be quite unhealthy." (Mike Arnstein)
"You must differentiate between living with a sole purpose of optimum health and living with an intent to become as fit as possible." ( Dr Doug Graham )
"It is my belief that the "competitive athlete," as I experienced it anyway, is overworked and generally enervated as a result. (..) 6-7 hours of training and physical exertion is abnormal, excessive, and disease producing regardless of who you are, what your diet is, and what type of shape you think you're in. (...) Exercise and physical exertion, like every other aspect of health, becomes pathological in excess." ( Dave Tener )
Ripe fruit: Eating only ripe fruit/veggies is important not only due to the fact that unripe foods are acidic and can damage the tooth enamel. More importantly, unripe foods cannot provide the nutrition that the ripe ones do. By making a mistake of eating unripe fruit (for example when I bought lower quality, cheaper fruit, in order to save some money), I learned that eating these type of foods leaves me feeling like starving, and wanting to eat anything at all, healthy or not.
Satiation: We know when to stop eating when we feel saciated. When this happens, we no longer feel hunger, because our body has satisfied its needs for nutrients. The associated feeling of saciation has nothing to do with having a full tummy that we experience on cooked. Instead, it is a feeling felt in our throat, not the tummy. Interestingly, I observed that if I have cooked now, I continue to feel the desire for eating no matter how much I've eaten, which does not go until I have something that is actually nutritious. These days, a few pieces of fruit will satisfy me more than a whole pizza. This experience is common amongst these who have been raw for a while and have learned to respond to the signals of satiation, previously ignored. Yes, the moment of realization can be quite funny. Imagine getting stuffed with a pizza and still feeling hungry ha ha! Then, having some fruit and awww, what a relief.... :)
Simple eating: After being raw for three years, my dietary patterns spontaneously progressed to a very simple way of eating: a morning meal of one type of sweet fruit; an afternoon meal of one type of sweet fruit; an evening meal in the form of a salad, or young coconuts (blended). I tend to eat like this most of the days, and I am amazed how satisfying it is. Early in my raw journey I would think that this type of eating would leave me feeling hungry. Please note that my eating patterns continue to change, and I may well observe a few changes yet in the future.
Teeth and gums: Oral hygiene on raw food diet is simple. Gently brush and floss, preferably using fluoride-free toothpaste, or best, simply water. I also like rinsing with water and flossing after eating. Eat only ripe foods, as unripe acidic foods can damage the enamel. Water is extremely important to the health of your gums (and not only). I recommend avoiding dehydrated foods. If you do eat them, make sure that you drink plenty of water. But the best source of water are juicy fruit. I recommend a fruit-plentiful raw diet. My teeth and gums have improved dramatically since going raw.
Taste: When hungry, I follow my natural instinct to guide me in choosing suitable raw foods to eat. If something does not appeal to me, I don't eat it. Life of a raw foodist could not be easier. Tapping on the knowledge from within the body is far more effective that any amount of intellectual study.
Variety: One does not need to eat a variety of different foods in one meal, or even a day. In fact, mono-eating is the healthiest way of eating and eating mostly one type of fruit for several days is not uncommon. However, it is recommended that you do experiment with different fruit and veggies, including those that you thought you did not like, and try whether they taste good. Be open to changing your patterns and let your senses, rather than your preconceived ideas, guide you in your selection of the foods you eat.
Water: Before raw, I used to carry a bottle of water with me everywhere. I used to drink a lot, yet I was dehydrated. How much dehydrated I was I only found out when I went raw and started eating lots of juicy fruit and veggies. To my astonishment I discovered that, compared to before, I would drink much much smaller amounts of water, yet I became far more hydrated. Some tell-signs of my much better hydration were the feeling of moisture in my gums and a dramatic improvement in my gums (noticed by my dentist). I even experienced saliva spontaneously squirting out of my mouth when yawning with my mouth open (oops).
We all know that our body consists mostly of water, which is the often used argument in support of fruit-based raw food diet, which is so rich in water. However, there are more in-depth reasons why water is so important to our health, and why dehydration leads to disease. Water is not merely the component of our body. Water plays the crucial role in the vital processes in our body, without which we could not exist. It has been discovered that the protein literally trap water molecules inside them in order to maintain certain shapes, which in turn allows the protein to perform various key functions, "from fighting off invaders to catalysing reactions and building fresh cells" (Robert Matthews, The quantum elixir, New Scientist, 8 April 2006, pages 32-37). Furthermore, water molecules play a crucial role in the functioning of DNA. Specifically, they communicate the DNA structure to the protein and affect how the protein bind to DNA.
Clearly, the level of hydration will affect how these processes work, and this in long-term, our health. "Dehydration is the single most important factor for health or the lack of it. All "normal" symptoms of aging are nothing more than long-term chronic dehydration, and disease can only exist in the presence of dehydration. A well-hydrated body will cleanse and heal itself as needed so that the conditions that create chronic disease will never occur. When we are dehydrated, the body is unable to cleanse, heal, digest, process wastes and toxins, think, or do anything else very well."(from rawnaturalhygiene)
Hydrating well is not achieved by drinking excessive amounts of water, or drinking when we are not thirsty. Rather, it is achieved by a diet which is rich in water, and so hydrating. If you feel thirsty after a meal, then this means that whatever you've eaten has had a de-hydrating effect on your body, and hence is less than optimal. I recommend that you try eating hydrating foods instead. Juicy fruit are on top of my list. Salads are great too. I like having a few sips of water early in the morning when I get up and feel thirsty.
Water-rich fruit seems a natural progression on a fruit-based diet, if one is open to evolve according to their body instincts. We observe this pattern in many fruit lovers, because it is natural. To me, a meal of watermelon feels far more satisfying than any blended with water, smoothie-like fruit meal. I think that this is because my body finds such meal more nutritious and more hydrating as well. Should we minimize bananas? A competitive bike racer, Dustin Ransom, said: "I would say yes. That's what I'm currently doing. I only eat less-water rich foods (i.e. bananas, dates) during exercise. Otherwise I focus on acid and sub acid juicy fruits." These comments mirror the recommendations by Michael Arnstein, who said "High water content fruits created this body, I just watched it happen almost doing nothing!"
Drink water only when you thirsty. "Too many fluids are at least as dangerous as too few, according to an editorial in the July 19 issue of the British Medical Journal. Most people still think you’re supposed to drink as much as you can, exceeding thirst . But that advice is dead wrong, says Timothy Noakes, MD, author of the editorial and chair of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. A woman runner who drinks enough water to add 2.5 kilograms (about 5 quarts) of water weight can kill herself. Usually sweat and urine will cause the loss of 2 liters an hour, but during exercise the body conserves sweat and people urinate less. Water loss may fall to under 1/3 liter during exercise."(The Importance of Fluids and Electrolyte Balance, Karen Vaughan, L.Ac., Registered Herbalist (AHG), 30 April 2009)
There could be huge difference between various types of water. The water that comes from the consumption of juicy fruit and vegies is not the same as the water that one might be getting by purifying the tap water for example. Water is not just H20. To me water from the fruit is a living food, which has many various complicated molecular-scale mechanisms that we only begin to understand.
The most superior way one can achieve a well-hydrated body is by eating water-rich fruit diet. The data based on the clients of the Tanglewood Centre suggests that "the average client has come in with a hydration level of 51.9%, nearly 33% below a healthy level of 75%". Also, "the average raw foodist comes in better hydrated than the average person at around 60% or so, but still significantly below a healthy level", even for heavy juice and green smoothie drinkers. After 3 months of first cleansing and then following water-rich fruit diet, "the average person went from just under 52% to just over 72%".
Babies are 90% water but adults are only abour 50% water (rawnaturalhygiene). What % of water are you?
Diet alone is not enough to heal a sick person. All the conditions of good health need to be present: a hygienic diet, sufficient rest, clean water, air, sun, exercise, mental and emotional balance.
Becoming raw is a process not an event.
I have said, there is no way I would stick to a diet by eating only one thing, I like variety.
Eat a variety and abundance of raw foods!
Every person on the planet is a raw vegan but they are just breaking the rules!