Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Back in the Habit

Hi everyone, I just want to apologize in advance for being so slow on posts. It's finals time, and life has been chaotic. Also, my camera broke and I just got it back from Olympus today, hopefully it will work!
I made a video with some of mine and April's recipes to present my research in my lit class that I wrote the paper for. Here is the link to the video on youtube. They made me change the song, I originally used "America" by Simon and Garfunkel. It's my favorite song. Be sure and let me know what you think, whether here or there! If the music isn't working by the time you watch, I'm sorry. I'm willing to email you my original if you'd like! :)
In other news: We tried eating cooked vegan food again. A few times. And all I can compare the following day to is having a hangover. Cooked food just isn't the same. We tried brown rice, potatoes, black beans, rice noodles, garden burgers, and a few other things. It just doesn't do it like raw food does. I gained back two pounds that I had lost, over the course of eating small amounts of cooked food during the week, and we also added salt back to the diet and it made me bloated. My face also broke out, and I caught a cold. Each time we eat cooked vegan food it just reinforces what we already know. That a raw food diet is the best for you.
We bought some raw cacao powder and have been blending it with frozen bananas to make chocolate icecream. Things have been fantastic. And we only have two more weeks and we'll be on our way to Hawaii for the summer! :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Why Choose Raw?

The following paper is a research paper I have spent the last three months compiling. It includes information on all of my sources if anyone is interested in further research. Please let me know what you think? *I got a 97% on this paper. :)

     Over the course of life, a human may consume many things and unfortunately, people do not always put the best or the most healthy things in their mouths. Research is beginning to show that cooking food may result in a loss of nutritional power. That is why people who consume at least 70% raw foods are at lower risk for diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and are all around healthier and more fit than people who consume cooked food. In addition, the consumption of meats and dairy is unnecessary and sometimes unhealthy because raw foods have all of the calcium and protein that the body needs.
     According to Jeremy Safron, author of The Raw Truth, “eating raw foods provides 100 percent of the nutrition available to us [and] once cooked, many foods combine to make new substances that may be palatable, but are by no means beneficial” (5). Cooking the food kills the beneficial enzymes in it that aid one's body in digestion. This requires that the body create its own digestive enzymes to break down the food. The process uses most of the energy that the body would get from the food in order to digest it. Researchers have defined the temperature of raw food as anything cooked below 116° farenheit, but Safron suggests that the chef prepare the food below 108° in order to avoid killing anything in the food (5).
     Raw food is cooked through the use of a food dehydrator, a stacking tray device that slowly blows low temperature heat across the food for long periods of time. Through the use of this device people can obtain foods that have similar textures and flavors of all of their favorite cooked foods. My personal friend, vegan April Ross, uses a dehydrator to make quiches, pies, and chocolates in order to satisfy her cravings for cooked food when she is on raw diets. Although humans can survive eating cooked foods, this does not mean their bodies are as healthy as they can or should be. If someone puts the wrong kind of gasoline in a car, it might run for a while, but it certainly won't be performing at its best, and just like the car, it is important to use the right type of fuel for your body.
     People who eat the raw food diet often refer to themselves as “raw-foodists”. Some take on more specific names like “raw vegan” or “raw vegetarian”. I refer to myself as a “holistic raw foodist,” consuming only basic fruits and vegetables without the use of any oils or salt and no dehydration. During my own experience with raw foods I have noticed positive changes to my body, like accelerated weight loss, increased energy, a healthier digestive tract, and a clearer complexion. I have achieved these results by strictly following the diet and avoiding foods that can harm my body.
     Commercially produced foods are examples of foods that may harm one's body. Jeremy Safron defines some of the ingredients of the food as “Bio Destructive” or “Bio Degenerative”. Bio-Destructive foods damage the body's organs and over time and eventually destroys them. They deplete the body's immune system and are toxic to the body. These include preservatives, hormone raised animal products, food cooked in aluminum, and artificial colors and flavors. If food contains any of those things, it should not be eaten. Bio-Degenerative foods destroy the body over time. They weaken it to the point to cause disease. These foods include any meats, canned food, cooked oils, homogenized and industrially processed dairy, and most packaged foods (11). Simply by their nature, bio destructive and degenerative foods contribute to disease development. If these foods can be avoided, not only will obesity rates drop, but many cases of diet-related illness will also disappear.
     Over the last few decades raw foodists have attempted to push the truth about dairy into many American's minds. Many people believe that meat and dairy must be consumed in order to survive, but what many people fail to notice is that although the majority of America eats dairy and meat in the quantities the FDA recommends, they are also still developing deadly and so-called incurable diseases like cancer and diabetes. One man at a raw food potluck I attended shared his story of being diagnosed with a late stage of cancer. Shortly after his diagnosis he became a raw foodist, and at his next appointment with his doctor his cancer was no where to be found. It not only “treated” his cancer, but also cured it. If the body is performing to its fullest because the fuel being put in it is correct, just like this situation, many diseases would largely disappear.
     Imar Hutchins discusses the negative effects milk has on the human body in his book Delights of the Garden. According to Hutchins, humans are the “only animal that consumes the breast milk of another animal” (6). Most commonly consumed by humans is cows milk, in many forms, which is genetically designed to nourish a baby calf, not an adult human or even a baby human. In the first few weeks of life the calf's weight increases at a rate far larger than a human's because of the chemical makeup of the milk. It contains a chemical called Casein which increases the rate of weight gain. That chemical is leading to increased rates of obesity amongst children and adults. The milk also causes mucus to build up in the body which increases the ability to contract infection (Hutchins, 7).
     Nutritionists tell people that they must drink milk to build stronger bones from its calcium content, but the pasteurization process of dairy leaves it acidic and causes the non acidic human body to leech calcium in order to balance the pH. Hutchins recommends people get calcium from natural sources such as broccoli or kale. “A serving of broccoli has more calcium than a glass of milk” (Hutchins, 7). Doing so helps reduce one's risk of obesity and calcium deficiencies just by cutting dairy from the diet, which is one element of a raw food diet.
     Raw foods also exclude any meat product. Meat consumption not only negatively affects the person consuming it, but also hurts the animal being consumed and the planet. According to film maker Robert Kenner, creator of Food Inc, today's meat production process has become so heavy that cattle are now corn fed, causing an increase in harmful E-coli in their intestines and feces. The beef industry then leaves the cows standing up to their stomachs in their own feces. When the cows go through slaughter they are not cleaned and the harmful bacteria on their bodies ends up in the meat. Some meat production companies have attempted to eliminate the problem by rinsing their meat in ethanol before packaging and shipping the meat. The drenching of the meat in harmful chemical increases the negative health impacts and humans are now developing anti-biotic resistant strains of e-coli from eating the tainted beef (Kenner).
     Beef raising is not the only problem with America's meat production; today's chickens are pumped full of so many growth hormones, steroids, and antibiotics that they are not even chickens anymore. The result of the meat industry is a giant clucking breast with non-functioning legs and vital organs that can barely support the flow of blood into the over large breast meat of the “bird” (Kenner). Consuming genetically modified chicken, as it should be called, not only is helping an industry commit heinous acts of animal cruelty, but is extremely hazardous to personal health. Humans are developing diseases that are resistant to many antibiotics and according to Marcus Felson, author of Crime and Everyday Life, the consumption of high protein hormone filled meat is causes our own populations to sexually and physically mature sooner than nature intends, contributing to a growing crime rate when the early mature have nothing to do.
     Even without the unhealthy commercial changes that have been made to increase meat consumption over the last few decades, meat is still a “second hand source of protein” according to Hutchins (14). All of the animals Americans consume are vegetarian animals whose energy comes from eating raw plant life. That is the energy that is in the meat when people eat it. People are getting second hand fruits and vegetables mixed with toxic poisons that come from the animal's body. That is why raw foodists consume the fruits and vegetables for the energy content rather than exposing themselves and their bodies to harmful toxins through meat.
     The most commonly asked question about the raw food diet is about where they get their protein, but protein is not the base element that builds muscle onto one's body, amino acids are. “Amino acids are made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms, and when these elements are combined in various forms they make protein”, says Imar Hutchins (15). The protein in the meat comes from the raw foods the animal has already eaten and processed. When humans eat the meat the body has to break it down from the processed form into the basic atomic form before it can be used. The breakdown process uses so much vital energy that it increases aging and fatigue. Therefore, it is better and more logical to get the proteins from the raw fruits and vegetables in the immediate usable form, rather than waste the energy to break down the second hand proteins.
     Transitioning from conventional eating to raw foodism can be a difficult and life changing journey, but your body will thank you. Each day people fill their bodies with more and more destructive food without thinking of the consequences of consumption. People are obese and developing diseases that could largely be avoided. Fortunately, the information and resources for anyone who wishes to become raw are available. If people begin to add more raw foods to their diets and eventually become at least 70% raw they will lower their risk for disease and extend their life span. It is also important to understand that meat and dairy are unnecessary for human consumption in order to further the health advances for yourself. Raw foods are an important and essential building block of healthy living for every species and should continue to be eaten and treated as such.

Works Cited:
Safron, Jeremy. The Raw Truth: The Art of Preparing Living Foods. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 2003. Print.
Hutchins, Imar. Delights of the Garden. New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1994. Print.
Kenner, Robert. Food Inc. New York, NY: Magnolia Pictures, 2010. DVD.
Felson, Marcus. Crime and Everyday Life. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2010. 101. Print.

Day 15-Emily

I'm so sorry for the lack of posting. We have been so busy recently, it's rolling into finals season, only 3 more weeks of classes before all of the exams begin. We are getting very excited about going to Hawaii.
Eating raw has been fantastic. Stephen and I are both full of energy and very happy. This has been the best thing I have ever done. This week we ate typically the same things as usual but did try something new with our salads. I started putting fruit in and came up with a chopped spinach, strawberry, banana, avocado, grape, and mineolo orange salad drizzled with fresh lemon and lime juice.
We also drank a grapefruit banana smoothie the other night and couldn't finish it before we went to bed, so it ended up in the freezer. The next morning we blended it again but it turned into not a liquid, but something similar to a sherbert. We have fallen in love. We are now making smoothies and just pouring them into ice cube trays so that we can blend them into "ice cream" when they're frozen.
We bought a lot more bulk food this week. Between Stephen and I, we purchased one 40 pound case of organic bananas, two 56 count cases of ruby red grapefruit, one 18 pound case of green grapes, one 7 count case of large pineapple, one flat of strawberries, one 5 pound bag of carrots, 2.5 pounds of spinach, 3 heads of romaine lettuce, 2 heads of dinosaur kale, one head each of boston red and green leaf lettuce, one head of regular green kale, 3 pounds of brocolli, 5 pounds of tomatoes, 3 large beets, one large red onion, one large white onion, 3 pounds of apples, 1/2 watermelon, 1/2 cantaloupe, 12 avocados and other things I can't remember. When you ask how we get our calories, here's a photo of our groceries:
We have been eating constantly and feeling great. There aren't anymore cravings for the junk food like there used to be, and I think my body has finally finished detoxing. I've really appreciated all of the kind words and support from everyone I see, but am so tired of people asking me where I get my protein. I finally finished my research paper I've been working on for three month and will be posting it following this post, so hopefully I can just direct people here from now on and they can read all about it. Haha.
I have reached the thinnest I have ever been and am still losing weight. I will weight myself tomorrow and let everyone know of this weeks weigh in, but my last was 135 a week ago. I feel so good. Everyday I wake up and my stomach is flatter and thighs are smaller. I love this lifestyle. I wish I could get everyone to eat this way. :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 7-Emily

It's been a couple of days since my last post, sorry everyone! :) We're still doing 100% raw, and this weekend it has been really hard for me. I decided to make a salsa to get rid of my mexican craving. I put three roma tomatoes in the blender with a handful of cilantro and one clove of garlic and pureed it. Then I added one chopped tomato and the juice of one lime to the puree. I served it over shredded iceberg lettuce, and it was sort of like a mexican taco salad.

We also started drinking a new smoothie, thanks to April who gave us a new recipe. The smoothie is just grapefruit and bananas, and we've tried several combinations this week for the ratio. Today we had 8 juiced grapefruit and 3 bananas in the blender. I love the fruit smoothies. They are the things helping me through the days.
We bought a lot of food in bulk this week as a household. All together we bought 3 cases of grapefruit, 1 case of bananas, 1 case of avocados, and tons of other produce. It's nice to leave the market with a car load of living food, and not processed junk in bags and boxes. I'm hoping this is going to get easier for me, because all I can think about is eating baked macaroni and cheese and ribs. But maybe in a few days I won't want salty saucy food. We'll see.........

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 4-Emily

I'm very tired tonight so this blog will be short. Today Stephen and I had his and hers smoothies for breakfast. I had a strawberry banana pineapple smoothie and Stephen had his coconut banana smoothie. Today I was ready for some mix up. 

For lunch we had the same salad as usual and a fruit salad, but the kicker was dinner. I was really in the mood for something 'exotic' so I mixed up a big bowl of raw spaghetti. For the noodles I spiralized three zucchinis. I then blended five roma tomatoes with 1 cup of fresh basil in the blender, and added that mix to three smashed avocados. The sauce ended up being very similar to a basil pesto. I added chopped squash and red and green bell peppers in order to give it a real spaghetti sauce taste.

I'm beginning to feel my body detox from the diet. It's nice and somewhat disturbing to know what my body had in it before. We literally poison ourselves everyday when eating conventional foods. :( Stephen and I are both doing very well, though. I'm looking forward to the warm weather weekend. :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 3-Emily

I think today has been the hardest day for me to focus on what I'm eating rather than what I wish I could eat. Stephen kept brining up how good the food we used to eat tasted, like chips and salsa, and cheese.
For breakfast we had another coconut banana smoothie accompanied by fresh squeezed glasses of valencia orange juice.
Over the course of the day from about 1 until 7 we ate a fruit salad with kiwi, strawberry, banana, pineapple, apple, and orange juice, another green salad with beets and carrots, and a huge bowl of simple guacamole that had 5 avocados in it and cucumber slices for "chips".
Everything we have been eating has tasted fantastic. As far as changes to my body go, it is pretty much the same. Today I was a bit sleepy, but I think my body is adjusting to the diet change. It might also be from the mental stress of college. Overall, though, I feel much better than before. I feel physically better since I have more physical energy, and emotionally better without the guilt of the food I eat. This is the easiest change I have ever made. I can't believe it's already the end of day 3!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 2-Stephen

Hi everyone. Today's breakfast was the usual, two young coconuts and two bananas blended together. (Pictured below) For lunch Emily and I made a big salad with leafy greens, green onion, white onion, beets, carrots, broccoli, and cucumber (also pictured below) and another fruit salad with pineapple, apple, banana, and strawberry. 

We typically eat similar things everyday, so for dinner we decided to mix it up. Emily made what she calls "Boaties". They consisted of four large romaine lettuce leaves (which are rounded so they look like boats) filled with two smashed avocados mixed with one whole juiced lemon and covered in 1/2 of a shredded cucumber and two shredded whole carrots. They don't look like much, but they are green bundles of deliciousness. :) 

I have struggled with acne for about three years and my skin is finally clearing up thanks to this lifestyle change. I have been using a mix of coconut oil and turmeric powder on my face, which I sleep in, as well as rubbing it down with raw garlic and letting it sit for 1 hour before washing it off. I have read that garlic can burn the skin so I pay attention to the way my face is feeling. 
Garlic has many health benefits like being a natural anti-biotic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal and also breaks down heavy metals in the blood stream, so it cleans your liver. I eat 1-2 cloves of raw garlic every day.
I do many things to promote my health, and Emily has even started referring to me as a witch doctor. But I am looking forward to being the healthiest me that nature intends.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 1-Emily

Today is the first day of Stephen and I eating 100% holistic raw together. For the past few days he has been eating the change but I jumped on the bandwagon today. I have been doing research for the past three months on raw food lifestyles and all of the factors that go in to becoming a raw foodist, but have still been uninterested in trying the diet for myself. (The research paper will be posted in the next few days.) I love treats, and I've had a hard time giving up the occasional trip to chick-fil-a for an icedream cone. Then I realized that when Stephen and I met I only weighed 135 pounds, down from the 169 I weighed at age 16, and I now weigh close to 142. Believe it or not, 7 pounds makes a difference on the way I look. I gained back 17 pounds in the spring of 2008 and kept it on until August of 2009 when I had a brutal wakeup call about the way I looked. I went on a 10 day raw fresh fruit and veggie juice fast which kick started a 10 pound weight loss. Since then I have kept it off but my cravings for sweets have made my exercise regiment only maintain my weight, and not lose it. I'm hoping that this lifestyle change will return my body back to the way nature intends it to look. 
We are preparing to go on a 3 month work exchange in Hawaii for the summer, where we will have access to huge amounts of unlimited raw fruits and vegetables, and I had planned to begin eating 100% raw there, but Stephen asked me "why wait?". So here I am, officially a holistic raw foodist for the last 18 hours. :)
Today for breakfast I made a fresh young coconut banana smoothie for Stephen and I. The smoothie had two whole young thai coconuts and two ripe bananas blended together. It tastes just like a vanilla milkshake. That smoothie is pretty much what we eat for breakfast daily, even when we aren't raw foodists.
Right before lunch we went out and invested in two 6 piece sets of very nice mixing bowls, since up until now we have had limited supply to eat our huge salads and fruit salads out of. We made a huge kale, romaine, red leaf, beet, carrot, avocado, onion, cucumber, lemon juice salad (pictured above right) in addition to a pineapple, fuji apple, strawberry, banana fruit salad and a bowl of simple smashed avocado and lemon guacamole with cucumber dippers. I experimented with a fancy fruit cup made with the fruit salad and fresh self squeezed valencia orange juice poured over it. (Pictured above left) It was delicious. :) So day one of our lifestyle change has gone very well, not to mention the fact that we are both much more attracted to one another now that we know how much the other person cares about their body. I am looking forward to where this journey takes us. :)