Wanted to dash off a quick blog post to mark that I've been 80-85% raw for 5 years (not vegan though as I eat raw cheese, raw eggs, and occasionally cooked fish.)
I was feeling very grateful yesterday because I had some great food in the house after a shopping trip. Had all kinds of fruit, 4 types of organic greens, quail eggs, and supplements including a new one I'm trying out, which is moringa powder.I was thinking about what my now-self would tell my then-self from when I first started trying to go raw. Maybe:
- It's totally worth it.
- Rinse your teeth after eating and especially after drinking smoothies, nutmilk or any kind of a liquid food item. I ended up getting 2 cavities in the first year which I am sure is related to drinking a lot of my food, & perhaps to motherhood. Now I rinse - no issues.
- Take a lot of Vitamin D. I take a liquid vitamin D3 with K2, about 5 or 6k IUs in winter - also to eradicate the teeth issues.
- Eating large amounts of greens is the key to feel solid and avoiding wrinkles. Last week I had a day where I had massive amounts of greens (green smoothie, 2 salads & a green centric wrap) & I couldn't believe how good my skin looked the next day. I have also heard that research has found if we eat lots of chlorophyll & go in the sun, we generate energy, almost as if we are photosynthesizing.
- The key to doing it over the long term is structure - creating a list of staple meals (things you love but can make without thinking too much), routines (Eg pre-make your green smoothie & soak nuts the night before every night) and short cuts (use boxed salad when you have no time).
- Figure out ahead of time your acceptable compromises for times of crisis or stress. I prioritize avoiding grains at all costs, local over organic if I have to choose, conventional produce over organic processed food.
- Weeds are the best - free, nearby, fresh, nutritious. Dandelion purslane plantain lambs quarters nettles chickweed.
- Eating fat is necessary to absorb minerals.
- You don't need fancy equipment, but a blender is a necessity. The blender blade screwing onto the mason jar discovery was ace. Juicer gets used couple times a week, dehydrator & food processor once or twice a month, but blender gets used multiple times a day.
Two big turning points for me in the first year were discovering green smoothies, and watching the video version of the 12 steps to raw food workshop by Victoria Boutenko. Understanding how cooked food especially carbs, can function like an addictive substance was huge.
I'm reading a book right now that some of you might be interested in. It's called Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. It has a lot of tidbits about the history of where different fruits and vegetables originated, and tips on how to maximize getting the nutrients from the food. I wish it were a little bit more raw-centric but I'm still learning some valuable things.
In a chapter about root crops, she talks about how hunter-gatherer tribes usually take hundreds of years to make the transition from living on wild plants to growing their food. But when a carbohydrate-rich crop is introduced the change can take place in 1 or 2 generations. The Maku Indians who live in the remote Amazonian rainforest learned to grow manioc aka cassava only in this century. They still remembered how to gather wild plants in 1972 when manioc was providing 80% of their calories after only 2 generations of cultivation, but complained they had no food when they ran out despite having drying racks full of meat and forest fruit. They would beg neighboring tribes for manioc or travel long distances to trade their dried meat and fruit at manioc plantations.
"The wild plants and game that had sustained the Maku for countless generations had been reduced to mere bargaining chips in the quest for more carbs. Today manioc is a staple food for approximately 500 million people worldwide. The vegetable is low in protein, phytonutrients, and vitamins but it yields more carbohydrates per acre than all other crops in the world except for sugarcane and sugar beets."
I read that and thought yeah, carb addiction is a real thing. Dealing with the role that our reward circuitry plays in our choices is so key to figuring how to deal with modern life. I kind of feel like raw food is a good lifehack & it's shown me things I can slide over into other areas like for instance limiting screen time for my daughter without being fascist about it (respecting her need for stimulation without letting it get into hyperstimulation).