Raw Food & Balance Primer
By Natalie Greggain, Contributing Raw Food Editor
If you read my last article on Raw Foodism (here), you are well aware that I am a firm believer of balance in your life. In my opinion, you will only ever be able to truly enjoy the succulent things in life once you have your health figured out. You need to get to a place where you can feel good about yourself every single day and develop a lifestyle that does that for you; that would be one where you’re not constantly counting calories or constantly feeling hungry.
Getting there can take a lot of hard work. You need to find a form of exercise that you can do regularly and you know you will stick with. For me, that’s yoga. For others, it’s running, swimming, walking, kick boxing, etc. But whatever it is, it has to be something. Next, you need to figure out your eating practice. What we put in our bodies has such a drastic effect on how we look and feel. It’s very easy to eat unhealthy foods – they’re thrown in our faces EVERYWHERE. But personally, I feel extremely unhappy when I am eating crappy or fatty foods. At the same time, I think it’s very easy to eat healthy foods. However, the hard part is figuring out what types of healthy foods or healthy “diets” work best with your body and your lifestyle. It often requires that you gain a lot of knowledge on a lot of different theories and do some testing on your own body to see how it reacts to those dietary changes. I’ve tested out a few theories and I am happy to say that I feel as though I have figured out what types of foods my body needs to maintain healthy operation. By the way, the best sign of a healthy body is regular, healthy bowel movements. I’m talking once or twice a day, very easy to pass, on the large size. If your digestion isn’t healthy and regular, then something inside is not happy and you have some serious figuring out to do! So get to work!
Back to raw foods! Personally, my body is happiest when I eat a high percentage of raw foods. In fact, the more raw, the happier it is. The only issue for me is that getting myself the right balance of protein and iron and fat requires a bit more work if I’m eating all raw. I simply cannot always have an abundance of dark green vegetables around all the time, especially when I’m on the go. In my case, it is far better for me to eat some cooked meat and avoid iron-deficient anemia (which is very common in menstruating women), then to eat a bunch of raw fruits simply because they are the only raw thing around. Please remember, it is very important to provide your body with the right balance of nutrients that it needs. Simply eating raw foods does not make you healthy (and neither does being a vegetarian or a vegan or any other form of a dietary decision). No matter what you eat or do not eat, if you don’t make sure your body gets the nutrients it needs, you are not doing something healthy for your body. That said, I still feel as though a lifestyle rich in raw foods is an extremely healthy lifestyle (and certainly a healthier lifestyle than one without any raw foods!) If any readers are not feeling 100% about their current diets, please, give raw foods a try! I think you will be blown away by how much energy you have.
However, if you don’t know very much about nutrition, it is important that you read about the theories behind raw foods so you can learn how to incorporate them into your lifestyle effectively. Our resident Succulent Wife has already a few suggested books that she found helpful. I don’t want to re-review any of those books because I think she’s done a great job but I will mention one more quickly. If you’re looking for a great raw food cookbook, one of my favorites is EVERDAYRAW by Matthew Kenney did a great job putting together lots of delicious recipes that are a bit more on the simple side. The book has tons of beautiful pictures, is very easy to follow, and uses ingredients that are readily available. However, it doesn’t talk much about raw food theory. It presumes you already know about enzymes, etc, and is simply there to give you some great food ideas. I LOVE it!
To be honest, there is also a lot of great information out there on the web (although, you have to be discerning. It’s just jumbled up with a bunch of crappy information also). But if you’re interested in raw foods, please do yourself a favor and do some quick research – whether that means picking up a book or reading some articles online. Or better yet, try having a green smoothie for breakfast. It’s SO simple and quick AND will provide you with energy that will last for what seems like forever!
Green Monster Smoothie • 1 tablespoon flax seed • 1 banana • 1 to 2 cups fresh spinach • 1 cup almond milk (or regular milk or any other dairy alternative) Put all those ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
You will be amazed how energized you feel and how long before you feel hungry again. If you try this green smoothie, I guarantee you that you will begin to believe in the benefits of raw foods. In my eyes, they are undeniable.
Next, you’ll just need to learn how to work more raw foods into your life. It’s much easier if you have some equipment. A good masticating juicer, a blender and a food processor are most important tools to start with. And for those who are a bit more committed, a dehydrator, a sprouter and wheatgrass grower become essential. I will discuss those in further detail in my next post. Please let me know how you feel about the Green Monsters!