Ok, I officially LOVE raw food. I started eating raw about five weeks ago, and have been 99% raw since (my trespasses? a tiny brownie, a few sprouted grain english muffins, and a stupid eggplant pizza). Let's do the math on this baby :
First I ate 100% of whatever I wanted. I loved fried foods, desserts, and pizza. Thanks to miraculous metabolism, I never gained too much weight. Then I read Fantastic Voyage : Live Long Enough to Live Forever, hacked away at my diet, and cut out probably 70% of the foods I used to eat. Later I researched more and cut out 90% of those foods, leaving me eating about 7% of what I initially ate. I wrote a book called The Skinny Snob about that. Going raw eliminated at least 70% of those foods, so now I'm down to about 2-3% of the foods I ate a year ago. Based on my daily diet I would consider that wholly accurate.
Now... that is a wild change. Especially coming from me. I would constantly mock anyone trying to go on a diet and explain that you should just eat whatever you wanted. No amount of logic would get me to change. What did get me to change was my inclination to try things for 7 or 30 days, and the accompanying drastic results.
Despite it being a huge interruption to normal life, I would HIGHLY reccomend that everyone try going raw for at least a week. Most changes need 30 days to full experience them, but honestly you will notice the difference with raw food in only a week. If you're an Austinite, then just go to the downtown Whole Foods and buy 7 days worth of meals. The people who work there are cool and can help you work around the short shelf lives of some of the foods. Hell, if there are enough people here I would even host a week long raw food extravaganza.
The biggest noticeable change is that I look a lot healthier. My eyes are brighter, my skin is more vibrant, and maybe my hair is better. I have a lot more energy and I feel like my mood is even higher on average than it used to be. I need less sleep, and I feel MUCH better after every meal.
Eating meals is a complete joy because not only is the food delicious, but I can imagine how much my body loves it and how it puts every ingredient to good use. Even after eating the largest meal, I my stomach feels fine and my energy isn't sapped.
But what do Raw Foodists actually eat?
I think there's the perception that all we eat is salad all day, but that's not true at all. Here are some of my favorite things to eat :
- Raw granola
- Apples, Oranges, Bananas, Kiwis, Mangoes, or other fruits
- Cinnamon Date Mana Bread (raw bread that tastes sorta like a muffin)
- Oatmeal (I've been too lazy to make this so far, because it takes 5 days)
- Raw ice cream
Lunch or Dinner
- Asian vegetable salad
- Raw meatloaf
- Nut burgers (these things are SO good)
- Sashimi and seaweed salad
- Tostadas (my FAVORITE thing at Whole Foods Austin)
- Regular "boring" salad with greens, avocadoes, peppers, olive oil and lemons
- Raw Lasagna
- Rosemary crackers
- Flax seed crackers and guacamole
- Larabars (these things are also like dessert) or Organic Food Bars
- Cucumbers or Carrots in hummus
- Key Lime Pie (this is better than ANY cooked Key lime pie I've ever had - including the one I had in Key West)
- Raw Cheesecake (I don't even like real cheesecake, but this is ridiculously good)
- Raw cookies
- Raw ice cream
Obviously there are a million more great things to eat, but these are some of my staples that I really enjoy. In that Raw Food/Real World book there are 100 recipes, and I've only done 1 of them so far.
Luckily, I just got my dehydrator. It is the mack daddy of all dehydrators, the Excalibur 2900. I'm pretty sure that all raw food restaurants use this particular workhorse (Whole Foods has 10 of them), as do most serious Raw Foodists. I just got it two days ago and so far all I've made was raw popcorn which was really gross. Next up is raw onion rings, and after that I'm going to start making normal stuff like flax seed crackers and the recipes from Raw Food/Real World. They have some little tacos that look particularly tasty as well as coconut almond macaroons.
Cooked Food is Gross
This will seem weird, but cooked food seems really gross to me now. Maybe I've brainwashed myself - I don't know. But when I see someone cooking over a stove I just think "wow... that is really gross. I can't believe people eat that". The more you eat raw the more you realize that it is logically (and practically) the best diet possible. No animals eat cooked food. Our bodies could not POSSIBLY evolve fast enough to be designed for cooked food. Cooking destroys nutrients and alters the original balance of the food. It makes so much sense that I can't imagine how I never tried this before. I guess I just had too much of a closed mind. Really even after hearing about it I was highly skeptical until I tried it myself for a week.
Believe it or not, is has been EASY to transition to raw food. This is totally counterintuitive and unexpected.
A couple months ago I tried going Vegan for a couple weeks and I found it to be awful. It felt restrictive and I didn't feel any better than when I was eating my Skinny Snob diet, which is much more permissive. Within two weeks I gave up on the diet.
Raw food has a different feel. You WANT to do it because you feel great after every meal. Instead of feeling like you're restricting your diet, you feel like you've uncovered a whole new world of great foods that you never knew existed. Ironically, being Raw is vegan (although I still eat raw fish on occasion), but much more restrictive. It just doesn't feel that way.
I've never once craved any sort of meat (which previously was a major staple of my diet) or really any other food. Occasionally when I'm really hungry and it's late at night and I have no food left I will crave the CONVENIENCE of normal food, but never the actual foods themselves.
I'm normally not preachy, but I believe so strongly that everyone has got to at least try this. The problem is that most raw foodists seem to be total nutcases with bizarre theories involving the life force of food and stuff like that which really puts me off. The best reason to go raw is because it is what your body wants and because you will feel and look better within days. If I get around to it, I'm going to write an ebook helping people make the transition without any annoying hippie speak.