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The Raw Food Diet: An Informative Interview

Posted Jun 05 2008 8:03pm 2 Comments

If you’re following my site you’re probably getting to know my philosophy. I’m a fan of finding wellness and balance for each individual. Not everything that works for me is going to work for you.

Part of my mission in having this site is to introduce my readers to new things that may work for them. Everyone deserves to understand their own bodies and find what helps theirs function at the highest level. No one diet is the cure-all. No diet will give you boundless energy and slimmer thighs in 2 weeks. What works for you is the diet that gives you the most nutrition and makes you feel your best.

If you find yourself tired, sluggish, frequently hungry, unmotivated AND/OR the whites of your eyes are cloudy, the surface of your tongue has visible cracks, you’re gaining/loosing weight, or don’t have consistent bowel movements it may be time to incorporate a higher amount of Raw food into your diet. To understand what a Raw Diet is and what it does for the body, read on. The author of one of my favorite blogs is here to answer a few questions and enlighten us.

Thanks Kristen!!

1. What led you from the bodybuilding lifestyle to the Raw Food lifestyle?
I first went vegan from bodybuilding, not straight to Raw. While I was bodybuilding, I was consuming lots of animal products and by-products and I felt awful. During a time when I was eating lean proteins, whey protein powder, limited processed foods, and working out all the time, you’d think I’d feel amazing and energized. It was exactly the opposite. I felt horrible, extremely low energy, had skin problems, terrible headaches, etc. When I started eating a vegan diet, that’s when I started noticing changes to my health. Then, when I kicked it up a notch and added mostly Raw to the mix, I felt better than ever.

2. Did any one person inspire you to adopt the Raw Food lifestyle?
What led me to Raw, was becoming vegan first. And, for that, John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution (both life changing books) was the inspiration. After becoming vegan, I simply wanted to find a way to make fresh organic produce a bigger part of my diet and for that I found Raw. I fell in love with the delicious cuisine.

3. Changing from 6 servings of meat a day to none at all is a big difference. Did you go through a period of missing meat?
Not at all. For me, going vegan had as much to do with eating “consciously and kindly” as it did for the health reasons. Once I was enlightened as to the practices of the slaughterhouses, it was an immediate desire to cut out animal products and by-products forever (never thinking twice). If people saw what actually happened during the production of meat, I think more people would immediately cut it out and not miss it at all.

4. From what do you consume your protein now?
The longest living cultures in the world and the World Health Organization support consuming about 10% of calories from protein for optimal health (exceptions to adding a little more: recovery/healing, pregnancy, intense training).
I get plenty of protein from plant sources such as fresh greens and hemp food products (hemp foods are an excellent source). It’s great knowing that there is protein in pretty much everything I consume from fruit to nuts/seeds to grains.

5. Are there any Raw protein powders?
Yes, I’m a fan of both hemp protein powder and rice protein powder (I prefer hemp over the rice because it’s filled with chlorophyll, nutrients and it’s a complete protein - Manitoba Harvest is my favorite brand). Additionally, there are some other Raw protein powders on the market that contain wonderful superfoods such as Raw cacao, goji berries, maca powder and more.

6. How do you manage at parties, restaurants, and other social events?
It’s easy. I am prepared. The more focused you are, the less overwhelming it is. One of the best things you can do for yourself with respect to Raw is to be organized, at least until you get the hang of it regarding your own personal preferences.

Having food prepared is one of the easiest sure-fire ways to succeed living the Raw lifestyle. When you are hungry or you want a snack, it’s as simple as walking to your refrigerator and eating some great Raw food.
For the times when you are not home, it is critical to be prepared. Have snacks and food with you at all times. This applies to both short as well as long outings. I have a little bag that I take with me to restaurants which has a tiny bottle of Raw olive oil, my Himalayan salt in a little jar, cayenne pepper, and a few other small things. I get lemon wedges from the restaurant and then I can always dress up a salad or plain veggies.

I sometimes call ahead to restaurants, and usually the chef is more than pleased to accommodate my special request for vegan food or a nice Raw vegetable and fruit plate. I also have a small laminated card I carry in my wallet that I give to the waiter to show the chef. It reads: Hello, I eat raw plant-based foods. I’d greatly appreciate it if you could make me a plate with any of the following on it: then I list a bunch of different fruits, veggies, olives, etc. It’s a great way to give the chef ideas of things you eat.
If it’s a family or business outing, I try to let people know what to expect of me beforehand. This helps eliminate any awkwardness if I bring my own dish to a function, meeting or social time. It’s a great conversation starter, because people always ask me “why.” Moreover, I tend to bring a little “extra” for others to sample, if they seem interested. This is a great way to spread the word about Raw. A note of caution here though, some restaurants won’t let you bring in outside food, so if you bring something of your own, do it inconspicuously.
If I find myself in a situation where I don’t see something on the menu, or I didn’t bring my own food to someone’s house, I like to use it as an excuse to relax my digestive system and just drink water or herbal tea. It is not always easy, but it gets easier every time. It becomes empowering - having the knowledge that you have total control over what goes into your body. I’m always aware that I am only a couple hours away (at the most) from my delicious and healthy Raw, organic vegan food.

7. Has going Raw affected your relationships? How So?

Not at all. I’m smart and organized about my lifestyle. I’m HRAV (high raw, all vegan). This means that the level of Raw I consume varies from day to day, and can be anywhere from 70-100% Raw. That gives me some flexibility in my diet to allow some cooked vegan food and it’s useful in social situations. However, even for days I’m eating 100% Raw, I’m prepared. I bring my own food to places and events (and bring extras for others to try), or I eat ahead, or I check with restaurants ahead of time to make sure I can at least have a salad (or two!) while I’m there. I cover the social aspects (and so much more) in my ebook, Kristen’s Raw - The EASY Way To Get Started & Succeed With Raw.

8. Many people would consider grilled skinless chicken or fish, brown rice, steamed broccoli and salad to be a healthy meal. Can you explain why it’s not?
It’s unfortunate that people still regard skinless chicken or fish as healthy. In a way, this is the saddest diet of all, because most of these people really, truly, are trying to eat well, but they are lacking something fundamental: information… very important facts about what is healthy and what is not. But here is the problem: They receive information from the media and their doctors in terms of relative health - relative compared to the horribly disease-ridden S.A.D. baseline, not absolute terms about what is truly optimal for the human body based on all available data. I highly recommend T. Colin Campbell’s shocking and life-changing book, The China Study, which makes a brilliant case causally linking Western (animal-based) diets with Western diseases.
Bottom line: Animal products and by-products are acidic to the body and contain cholesterol (chicken, and many types of fish, have about the same amount of cholesterol as beef contains). Consuming them is unhealthy for your body and for the environment.

I am not opposed to cooked vegan food (brown rice, vegetables, etc). I live a lifestyle that is primarily fresh, organic, Raw whole foods, and allow for some cooked vegan food as well. Research shows that heating most foods above 130 degrees destroys the phyto-nutrients which is why I prefer to have most of my food uncooked.

9. Humans ate plants before they ate meat, but an introduction of meat into our diets caused our brains to develop to their current form. Surely we need to cut back on our meat consumption, but how do you justify cutting meat out from a diet completely?
It’s not “meat” per se that people need, it’s essential amino and fatty acids. The exciting news is that both of these are easy to obtain from plant sources.

10. For those who don’t like vegetables, what do you suggest?
There is plenty amazing produce to choose from, I’ve never met someone who didn’t like every single type. What actually happens is that most people don’t realize how good vegetables can be! Raw food has come into its own as an entirely new cuisine, which easily shows how wonderful vegetables can be. If you’ve never experienced Raw cuisine, you probably have no concept of the totally distinctive culinary experience that awaits you. Everything from pizza, to burritos, to burgers, to lasagna, to fettuccini alfredo, to ice cream can be prepared using raw, 100% vegan foods.

The recipes available use vegetables in new and innovative ways, make them more delicious than ever. Find great recipes, that’s the trick. I have nine amazing raw vegan recipe ebooks available on my website, www.KristensRaw.com. And, I offer free recipes throughout my blog at www.KristensRaw.blogspot.com.

11. If an individual can’t afford to eat many vegetables, what vegetables do you suggest they choose?
To help offset the cost, there are a few things that one can do:
a) Buy in bulk. Ask the produce manager of the store you frequent if they’ll sell you a case of certain produce at a discount. You will have lots of particular items, but you can always change what you need weekly or by-weekly, so you can maintain balance with different produce.
b) Buy seasonally (this is a very useful tip)! The “seasonal” produce is typically that which is less expensive and/or on sale.
c) Certain produce is typically less expensive (year round) than others: bananas, carrots, certain greens.

12. What are five simple ways to incorporate more Raw Foods into your diet?
a) Get some great Raw recipes.
b) Drink Green Smoothies as snacks and/or meal replacements. I like to start my day with a green smoothie and then have one as an afternoon snack as well. For recipe ideas, visit my blog at www.KristensRaw.blogspot.com
c) Eat Raw for breakfast (smoothies, raw nut milks and raw granola, fresh fruit, etc - there are many easy and quick options)

d) Make all of your desserts Raw (they’re so delicious!) This is especially fun and nutritious for families.
e) Eat a big, beautiful salad before every dinner with a delicious Raw dressing that keeps you coming back for more. Get creative with the ingredients by adding things like dried cranberries or chopped dates, fresh blueberries, hemp seeds, chopped cucumbers, red/orange/yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, fresh herbs like dill and basil, etc. There is so much variety for making the best salads ever, making this a super simple way to add more Raw food into your life.

Kristen Suzanne

Comments (2)
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I'm open-minded (I think...) but aside from the moral consideration of harm - I suppose - what is unhealthy about eating fish?
i found this great recipe it is kale wraps you will need,,,,,,,large kale leaves...spring mix leaf lettuces......cukes jullien style... carrots....thinly sliced red onion.....celantro.......grape tomatoes   start with your kale leaf and debone the leaf the middle but not all the way down so you can roll it after you have done this in semi boiling water immerse the kale leaf in the water for no longer than 60 seconds this will allow the leaf to be come pliable and still keep the vital nutrients now after you kave done lay your leaf out flat with the vein side of the leaf facing you place your lettuce greens cukes carrots onions etc on the leaf now for your superb best dressing ever! tahini paste 1 tablesponn per wrap alittle balsalmic vinegar alittle salt and mix with 2 tbsp.of water mix to your desired consistancy i also use this dressing for so many raw veggies its great over broccoli too ok now that your stuffing items are on your kale leaf drizzle tahini mixture over it and start rollingtucking the flaps in as you roll yummy yummy
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