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.
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 :
Lunch or Dinner
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.
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.
I used to walk into McDonalds and often times I wouldn't be charged for my food. Why? Because I went there so frequently and brought so many friends, that they knew I was good for business. My favorite meal was the Fishwich, a mighty sandwich made with a bun, american cheese, a deep fried fish patty, and a generous portion of tartar sauce. To fully sate my appetite I always supersized.
My parents had always encouraged me to eat healthy. I just didn't see the point. I felt good, I wasn't fat, and I never got sick. Why fix what isn't broken? I was thankful for my good metabolism and assumed that eating healthy was for people who didn't have it so good.
Then a couple years ago I watched Super Size Me. I watched it for entertainment, but it was the first time I began to believe that what I ate actually mattered. If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it. When subjected to a McDonalds only diet, the creator became depressed, lethargic, and generally didn't feel too well. That was the day I stopped eating fast food.
So far I'm succeeding in not eating any cooked carbs and thus avoiding the major pitfalls of the cooked diet: addiction, mucus, and body odor.
Let's talk about addiction. Perhaps it's the wrong word. Perhaps the right thing to say is that cooked food excited me. Cooked food is an adventure. Cooked food is a buffet of drugs. There are so many options! (not really) But it is exciting! The idea of spices and oily carbs with salt is an evolutionary dream :P and on a daily basis I'd have the option to pick between whichever food I want be it tasty refried bean tacos which I'd make from these great new tortillas, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, refried beans, and mixing salsa with avocado. Yum. For real yum and easy to get plenty of calories in which I love. It's always a plus to be able to knock out 2000 calories in one sitting in my book.
See that's a big difference between myself and another health food bloggers is that I am pro-nutrition. I am pro-getting-more-nutrition-in-you. Why?
Because if they're the right foods, more calories should mean more fuel which means more energy to do more. I ran a marathon on this principle. Simply increased my fuel, allowed myself to eat as I wished, allowed myself to sleep as I pleased, and found myself running long distance with ease. It is there where choice of food matters greatly, because pizza does not inspire movement. Potatoes do not inspire movement. Eggs, fish, bread, cheese, beef... do not inspire movement.
Fruit inspires movement. Foods that digest well inspire movement. Vegetables like celery have a deeply nourishing healing feeling upon their consumption and recharge the body with electrolytes. Being HYDRATED inspires movement. Being dehydrated does not.