How Your Diet is Linked to Your Passion

Do you know what you want to do with your life, but you just waffle away your hours doing bullshit? Twiddling around, staring at screens, blubbering on about nothing, scrolling comment sections that are bombarded by trolls who do nothing with their lives? Why are you doing those things? What is stopping you from doing what would make your life spectacular?

Is it:

Lack of energy?
Fear, anxiety?
Lack of self-confidence?
Fear of failure?
Pathetic drone-like existence?
Ennui?
Mental health issues?
“Trapped” in corporate slavery?
Capitalism?

It could be one, all, or a combination of these – but when your passion burns bright enough, you can go for anything, no matter what your situation is. You will find a way.

However, if you are taking shit care of yourself, you will not likely have the vigor, the enthusiasm, or self-love that is imperative in actually going for it. Your brain clarity is fogged – when you can CLEAR it, and see everything as it is – pristine, obvious – you can find ways, options, and paths that were not noticeable before.

When you clean up your diet, and you are eating the way your body is designed to, abundant energy is freed up, and this blindness you’ve had forever is suddenly gone. The paths appear.

Diet and lifestyle are crucial to everything in life, if you want it to be as stellar as possible, and this includes being able to pursue what you truly love. Some people can do this anyway, regardless of how they treat themselves, but for the vast majority of people, this just isn’t the case. Most people are numbed out – by distractions, by chemicals in their “food,” by monotonous brainwashing they have heard their whole lives – telling them to be realistic, telling them what they want is not feasible. Eventually people become so jaded that they settle into a boring trap they never envisioned for themselves.

Eating only raw foods is like taking a truth serum.

You can’t hide from yourself anymore. You become too sensitive – if you ignore your true passions, you become depressed, so much so that you will eventually explode and become a firebolt heading in the direction you need to go.

You absolutely CANNOT ignore your desires anymore – you can’t deny yourself what you truly love. Because, now, you will love yourself.

Feeding yourself pristine food and nourishing your entire being is the ultimate act of self-love, because it frees you up – it frees you from the worry of illness, it frees you from lethargy, and you realize how much you’ve been lied to, and how much you’ve lied to yourself.

If you feel like you’re missing something, you likely are. A one-way ticket to getting where you want to go is to put yourself first and focus solely on what you physically and mentally consume. Raw plant foods, and positive input only. Ignore the gossip, ignore the comments sections, ignore media if you have to, and only take in what is going to propel you forward.

What’s the alternative? Being held back, being stuck, being unhappy, sick, depressed. Who wants that?

The bullet train to euphoric passion is raw, fresh foods. So simple, but for those who’ve tried – you know. You’ve found magic.

Are You Actually Healthy?

Health is subjective – you may feel totally fine, be active, and then one day just drop dead. So were you actually healthy?

I see and hear this all the time – “I feel great!” or “I’m fine.” Yet these people take prescriptions for something or another, or they get the flu and colds every year, or they have never felt what it is like to be exceptionally healthy – and herein lies the issue – if you’ve never felt it, you won’t know what is possible. Most people have to become very ill in order to make a significant change – most people have to be desperate. Maybe they’re losing their minds (as I was). Maybe they are given a death sentence. Maybe they’re obese. I don’t know – but most people don’t find an actually healthy LIFESTYLE that works until they’re faced with dire consequences, if they find one at all.

Most people wonder, why change if nothing is wrong? Well, you don’t necessarily know something is wrong. We are led to believe that it’s totally normal to get colds and flus, and to have bowel movements once every few days, and it’s not. We’re led to believe that aging means gaining excess weight and losing our energy, becoming stiff, wrinkly, and covered in cellulite.

But it doesn’t mean that, at all.

I saw a great video recently that talks about common sense. There is really no such thing – the guy in the video is right. Our common sense – the COMMON thought, is that certain things are healthy for us when they are not. The common lines of thought are ludicrous when it comes to health.

People want a simple answer to fix them, because health is “complicated.” Health is actually simple – once you know all the factors, it’s completely simple, but UNLEARNING everything we’ve been taught our whole lives is the complicated part.

I’ve been studying health and well-being since I was a teenager, but specifically raw foods, living foods, plant-based foods for almost 8 years now. I have had an interest in it almost my whole life, and the more I learn, the more I see it pointing to a simple formula. And it all comes down to this: We have completely forgotten our nature.

You can’t unlearn everything in a day or a month – you have to be patient and learn with time. Start with the most simple things. I still am learning constantly after years of living this lifestyle – I have tried many different things, some work, some do not – I don’t beat myself up over it. If something comes up, I question what I’ve been doing differently. I question what I am not doing. I learn, EVERY day, about something new, whether it be nutrition, physical movement, something about brain chemistry – with our access to the internet and libraries (even if your library doesn’t have something specific, you can ask them to get it or do an interlibrary loan!), we really have no excuse not to learn all the time. Even when I am driving, I’m learning, from podcasts and audiobooks. While hiking, walking – whenever.

The key to learning is to develop an intense curiosity and dedicate yourself to YOU. If you put yourself first and become amazingly healthy, you have all the energy and vigor to help others. To help others you have to have compassion, and to have true compassion you must take into consideration ALL living beings (including yourself).

So to start simply, what can you do?

  1. Remove all animal products from your diet. These are acid-forming, cruel, unnecessary, mucus-forming, and detrimental to your health. They are hard to digest, also. If you are concerned about protein, don’t be – if you are eating enough, you will get enough protein. You just need a wide variety of plant-foods. To develop muscle, you need to move your muscles. Eating protein-rich animal products will not grow your muscles – moving your body will. If you are really concerned with getting more protein, simply eat more plant food. There are also raw vegan protein powders, which are not necessary but they are available.
  2. Get your body out in nature, fresh air, and get your bare skin on the earth (walk barefoot, on sand, dirt, anywhere natural), and your skin must get sunlight. I don’t mean baking in the sun, but you MUST get sunlight on your skin, and NO sunscreen. Your body will not get vitamin D through your face or hands, or even all year unless you live certain areas of the earth – the sunlight must hit your torso, back, arms, legs – this is where most vitamin D is produced. Do not wash your skin with soap except where necessary, like your butt, under your arms, etc, but you can actually wash off the vitamin D you’ve received – it takes about 48 hours to absorb into your blood stream. If you can’t get sunlight on your skin year-round the next best options are to take a vacation every winter to somewhere that you CAN get it, move somewhere that you can get it year round, a sunbed used sporadically (not to tan), or a vitamin D3 supplement. There are vegan versions. Still get daylight and sunlight even in winter months, as much as you can, as it helps regulate hormones. SAD lamps help with this as well, but will not create vitamin D.
  3. Avoid acid and mucus-forming foods. This includes animal products, grains, cooked oils, processed foods, and more. Seeds are better than nuts – almonds are the one non-acid-forming nut. You don’t have to avoid nuts completely but seeds are the better option on a regular basis.
  4. Focus on omega3-6 ratio. Omega-6 is inflammatory – and while we need some of this as protection, we need the omega-3 to balance it out. Things with a good ratio are hemp, flax, chia, walnuts. Most nuts are too high in omega 6. Leafy greens are also very high in omega 3.
  5. Eat your plants locally and in season as much as possible. Go to farmers’ markets and learn to forage the wild foods in your area. These are much better for you than the wilted produce at the grocery store that was probably picked weeks ago.
  6. Choose your water source wisely if possible. I am lucky to have well-water where I live. Otherwise invest in a good filtration system or at the very least get a good water filter. Avoid plastic bottles. Use glass.
  7. Move your body as much as you can. Stop SITTING all the time. Sitting is killing us slowly. Sitting also puts kinks in our body. I saw a documentary the other day about parkour, and one of the people in it said that when he observes a city scene, everyone is doing one of three things – walking, sitting (including driving), or shopping, and it’s true. I guess eating is another thing, but people are either sitting and eating (generally garbage), or walking and eating, which is mindless.
    There are ways to sit that are not as harmful, check out the Movnat website for their free ebook which includes good sitting postures. Sitting at a desk all day, or on the couch playing video games, are not included.
  8. If you have smoothies – CHEW THEM. We need to have saliva mixed with our food to help with digestion and avoid bloating. Chew everything until it is MUSH. This will allow your body to digest better and reduce bloating.
  9. Choose a type of movement that you adore. You don’t have to “work out” – for movement, it has to be something you adore or you will dread doing it and end up sitting again. I do martial arts. I love it so much. I have interest in learning parkour and natural movement. I hike all the time around my home. Even just walking in nature in general. You don’t always have to be doing something that gets your heart rate up – but MOVE. If you can’t think of a way to stop sitting, clean. Listen to something motivating, or something you learn from as you move. Stop driving everywhere – walk, take the bus and stand up the whole way, switch your job to something that isn’t stationary. The more you move, the better.
  10. SLEEP. Apparently the best hormone regulation happens between 10pm-2am. Even if you can’t get to bed at these times, make sure you are sleeping enough. 8 hours is always recommended, but I think that is a bare minimum. Your brain just can’t function at its’ highest capacity when you are tired.
  11. Stop cooking your food. Focus on RAW foods as much as possible. If you’re going to cook any foods, steaming is best.
  12. Focus on FIBER. This means PLANTS. Focus on CARBS. This means PLANTS. Avoid oils. Salt (unless unrefined in TINY quantities – the best way to get sodium is from plants, seaweeds, etc, and not refined, but depending on your situation, you might not be able to get all you need this way, so a very small amount – 1/4 tsp of unrefined salt will help you). You should be having bowel movements many times a day, and easily. If you can’t poop in about 10 seconds, you’re constipated, and having that stuff stay in your system is a bad sign.
  13. Question EVERYTHING. If you take advice from someone and it doesn’t work for you, really delve into why. Keep your mind OPEN. It’s like jumping out of an airplane – if you don’t open your parachute, you will crash. Same with your mind – when you keep it closed, you will be on a collision course to nowhere.
  14. Take what makes sense and eliminate the rest. We can learn from everyone. Listen to your gut and your intuition (which becomes very sharp when you’re truly healthy). When that lightbulb comes on, you are on the right track. When I read about raw foods I just KNEW to my VERY CORE that this was my answer, and I was right. It made so much sense. Everything else was a struggle.
  15. You have to WANT it. This is the most important aspect – if you don’t truly want health, you won’t get it. As I said at the beginning…it usually takes something really awful to get you to undertake a massive change in lifestyle. Most people practically have to die to really start living. Do you want to get to that point? Because even if you’re not there now, based on the state of health of most people, you’ll probably get there, a lot sooner than you’d think. That’s the direction most people are headed. So even if you don’t change now (CHANGE NOW), remember these words. Accept that you are not a victim, and take charge of your own health. You have that power. You have to believe it.

These are just simple things to START with. There is an unlimited amount of info out there. A lot of it is conflicting. Listen to your intuition, though – what makes SENSE to you, and what doesn’t?

Considering our world now, we might need to compensate with certain things. B12 is lacking in our soil, therefore we lack it. Don’t kid yourself and think it’s abundant in meat – those animals you are eating are likely getting a B12 injection as well. Magnesium is lacking in our soil. We are in a constant state of receiving toxins from the air and our environment. We can do the best we can in modern times, but these 12 steps I listed are a great START. You do NOT have to do things overnight. It is an OVERWHELMING task to unlearn all the crap you’ve learned your whole life. But you CAN. Just star where you are.

Even after all this time, I do have issues that come up sometimes. With enough investigation and patience, I always figure out the CAUSE.

Usually EXCESS is the cause of our health issues. You can guzzle green juices forever but there won’t be much use unless you can absorb those nutrients. Your health issues are almost ALWAYS caused by something YOU are doing.

A lot of people feel like victims of their circumstances and health problems. I was one of them. And I’ll tell you right now  – once you realize that you are in charge of your health and that you can heal yourself, it is SO so so empowering. This is not about blame or shame – it’s about empowering yourself. This is YOUR body – why give your power to someone else? YOU can heal yourself – and actually, it’s when you get out of your own way that the body HEALS ITSELF. Just like a cut on your hand will heal with no help, or your bones will mend on their own, so to will your internal organs and the rest of your body heal when you take away the things causing those problems.

Empower yourself. Learn constantly. Don’t settle for “here’s a pill” (unless it’s temporary or something nothing to do with food, like Lyme, or Rabies…you get the point, there’s always exceptions – I am talking about typical, chronic health issues).

Don’t listen to common sense. COMMON sense isn’t working for people. Do what MAKES sense – it’s far more beneficial.

Video Post: My Raw Food Journey and 80/10/10 Probs

My first youtube video in a LONG time – all about my raw food journey and struggles/triumphs on a low fat high/fully raw vegan diet.

Please subscribe to my channel, as I do plan to make more videos 🙂 Thanks!

15 Lessons I Have Learned From Raw Food, 80/10/10, and Raw till 4

Raw pesto pasta at Giva, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2013

After 6.5 years of eating an extremely high raw diet (100% for months at a time, usually a bit of cooked food in winter, nothing major) and following and learning from a multitude of sources, I am no beginner. These are the lessons I have learned:

1. Any version of a raw food diet is going to make you feel amazing at first.

I was on a high fat raw vegan diet, almost exclusively, for the first 3 years. I deviated very rarely and always stayed plant-based. I felt amazing, was radiant, and slim as a whip.

Higher fat raw foods are great transition foods, and when I ate them I followed no caloric recommendations, I just ate everything raw.

I know people on low fat raw, high fat, low calorie, high calorie, all natural, people with plastic surgery, thin, chubby – some look amazing and some look like shit. The important thing is to do raw or high raw in the way that you can stick to, and that makes you feel your best!

You must be patient as you will will probably have some detox symptoms to begin with, but they will pass and you will understand why people are so passionate about this lifestyle.

2. 80/10/10 is a good basic guide, but not a rule book.

This diet has basic good macronutrient ratios and outlines just-as-important aspects of true health. (note – my answers in the link are from 2.5 years ago and have changed greatly).

A low fat, high carb diet is excellent for mood, energy levels, and athletic endeavors. I don’t agree with all of the book, as it excludes things that I think can be beneficial (juice, herbs, certain supplements, seaweed for iodine and sodium for example), but in general, it gives good basic guidelines to follow, however, tweak the suggestions to work for you. Take what makes sense, and toss what doesn’t.  Eliminate the non-essential.

3. Raw till 4 is misleading and incomplete

This diet is better than the majority out there, but I disagree with some aspects of it. When I followed this a couple of years ago, I felt really good but still feel better being all raw.I was also bloated and rashy.

The idea that you can eat unlimited calories, and need to stuff yourself, is ludicrous. You need to take in enough. There is evidence for failure on this diet everywhere, as well as successes – generally the people who are successful are very active and have been for a long time. Newcomers that gain a ton of weight and are confused by it are going to be disparaged and either continue to gain or fall off completely. Activity level must be on par with the amount of food calories you take in. Movement is essential for health.

Restricting calories is not the way to go, either – but restricting is not the same as eating just what you need.

Another problem is lack of greens and vegetables (and variety of them). The majority of vegetables being eaten are cooked and so are devoid of most minerals that would be available otherwise.

The addition of processed food is one I disagree with. Whole foods like root vegetables, beans, and even grains (depending on what kind) are much better choices.

Lack of fat is another issue – the phobia of fat that is being perpetuated is nonsense. Most people who follow 80/10/10, or 90/5/5 and struggle are often satiated by a bit of fat – we do NEED it, but not in excess.

I do agree with getting in mostly carbohydrates because it improves your mood and your energy levels. However, macronutrients are not the only aspect of health! MICROnutrients are VASTLY important and need to be addressed far more often. Sodium is also higher on this diet (but still low) which may explain why people are so drawn to having some cooked food as sodium is required for proper health! This is one other thing I like about Raw till 4.

4. Don’t treat your teachers as gods

No one knows everything. If you start treating your teachers as gurus and leaders, or idolizing them, you will ignore your own intuition and continue to do things that do not work for you.

5. Your results should not take years

If you have greatly abused yourself for a long time, then yes, it may take longer for your body to heal – but the important thing to focus on is feeding your body the healthy amount of VITAMINS and MINERALS, and making sure that you can absorb them. Be patient and focus on feeling good first. Consistency is really the key.

6. Raw food can make you lose or gain weight

Yes, 2000 calories of raw food or whole food is going to be dealt with much differently than 2000 calories of junk. They are not the same. However, taking in more calories than you need is hard on your body and also hard on your finances. The only need for excessive caloric intake is if you are extremely active. You have a basal metabolic rate – which is how much energy (calories) you burn while at rest. For instance, for my height and weight, I would require 1300 calories just to keep me alive and functioning properly while lying bed doing absolutely nothing for the entire day. Then you need to figure out how much energy you expend while moving through your day. If you eat more than you burn, you may gain weight, unless you are regularly active and have a high metabolism.

7. Lower fat is the way to go, but protein, minerals, fat, and sodium need to be taken seriously

The main issue I had when going low-fat raw is that my skin got very dry and I had a bumpy rash on my cheeks for 2 years that mortified me. My skin was beautiful on high-fat raw. I was convinced my problems were from salt, but no matter how long I avoided it, nothing changed. I went without make-up for ages, no change. When I had a blip in my diet last winter and was questioning raw, I was eating mostly cooked for a little while and my skin got amazing. It was then that I made the correlation between lack of sodium and being dehydrated. Too little sodium will make you unable to hold on to any water you take in.

A low fat raw vegan diet is VERY low in sodium, particularly if you are eating mostly fruit and not enough greens (and you need a LOT, especially if you are eating low fat and not getting minerals from nuts and seeds). A better way to get sodium, if you are not consuming enough greens to do so (the bare minimum to live healthfully is 500mg a day, and should be below 2000mg per day) is from living foods such as miso, or the highest quality unrefined salt you can find, and a very small amount (no more than a teaspoon a day). Celery and greens are the best natural sources of sodium, however they still do not provide enough for excellent health.

Protein is to also be taken into consideration. Low-protein is touted as best, but people do get quite a lot of protein if they are eating a vast amount of calories. If you are not an athlete and do not require a lot of muscle re-building, this isn’t something you really need to worry about. If you do want to build a lot of muscle, you either have to eat a huge amount of calories (which will give you a lot of protein, yet it would be a small macro ratio) or eat a higher protein food (like beans, or grains, or raw vegan protein supplement). For instance, if someone eats 50 bananas, there is 64 grams of protein right there. But 20 would give you 25 grams. That is not conducive to building muscle mass. It is also 5000 calories vs. 2000, so it all depends on your fitness goals and personal aesthetics.

Having too little fat makes the diet more difficult to follow and makes it less satiating. You have to eat a lot more fruit to be satisfied and it might be much more than you require or want. By the end of the day I can’t wait for my savory meal. Fat is also important for a lot of functions in the body. People who eat low-fat raw, especially who avoid overt fats, will lack omega-6. If you do not eat enough greens, you will also lack omega-3. You also need certain fats to absorb certain nutrients. You do not need a lot of fat, but you do need some.

8. Cooked food is not poison, but you need to be careful what it is, and expect consequences

Living foods are superior to cooked foods, but not all cooked foods are created equal. Steaming is going to be better than any other cooking method, but even that does minor damage and should only be done for short periods of time.

A living food is still full of enzymes, probiotics, and other helpful nutrients, as in fermented foods. Sprouted foods (grains, beans) are also good, though they may be harder for you to digest – experiment.

There are some cooked foods I am still okay with, but keep to a minimum. These must be whole foods only – nothing refined and no grains unless sprouted and you feel okay with them.

I still feel better 100% raw and you may also. If I eat cooked food as a choice, it will be small amounts with large amounts of raw salad. If I start to neglect my fruit and salads and get bingey on cooked foods, then I know I have to cut them out again. It’s best not to flip-flop – either stick with raw or stay partially cooked.

9. Food combining does matter

You can experiment with combos that work for you, but this is especially important when it comes to combining fats and carbs, and also raw with cooked. You can see a good food combining guide here.  Improper food combining causes havoc on digestion and can cause bloating, gas, and improper absorption of nutrients.

10. Supplements are not evil – put health before diet dogma

If you are lacking something and cannot get it through your food, then supplement. If you are in a colder climate, or want to stay pale, take vitamin D. If you are low in B12, get supplementation in sublingual pills or shots. If you have specific body-building goals and follow a strict regime and require more protein yet want to limit your calories and fat intake, then by all means supplement – there ARE raw vegan protein powders available. If you lack zinc, selenium, or any other mineral that is available through small amounts of nuts, but are allergic, eat more greens or take a green powder like Vitamineral Green. Or simply take a supplement for whatever you are lacking – you can track on cronometer.com. You can tweak and figure out ways to get all the nutrients you need with whole foods (which is always best) but for whatever reasons you cannot eat certain things – location, allergies, previous health issues/surgeries, whatever – there are other options to help you!

There are a lot of options to allow you to reap the benefits of eating raw without falling back to cooked.

11. Exercise should be studied and taken seriously as well

Study the correlation between movement and diet, as well! So many people come to raw, or high carb, whole food veganism, and neglect the exercise part. You must have a method of aerobic movement, as that is what burns fat. Study physiology and basic exercise principles.

12. It is entirely possible to do while traveling, socializing, or on holidays with family

 With enough planning and care for oneself, this can be done easily. I have gone traveling both prepared and unprepared, and guess when I was successful? There are lots of resources online to help you, especially places like happycow.com – if you struggle with family or socializing, then simply don’t socialize with these people around food. There are many other ways to be with other humans than chowing down. I rarely go out to eat with people and when I do, I invite them to raw and vegan places. Everyone so far has liked it, and if I am invited out I bring my own food and if the person doesn’t know I eat a strict diet, then I tell them! If people make fun of you, then question how good of a friend they are.

13. No scene is devoid of drama and being pushy doesn’t work

There has been a lot of drama in the raw food movement in the last year, and it can be off-putting. Don’t allow the arguments of others taint what speaks to you. The most important thing is that you focus on your health, basic nutritional needs, and your own intuition.

Pushing your dietary beliefs on others will never be taken well. Wait until someone asks. Living your life will speak volumes more than being a raving fanatic.

14. You MUST MUST MUST think for yourself and do your own research

This is the most important point. Never take the word of anyone, even the people you think have all the answers. NO one does. I have learned so much from a multitude of people, professional and not, over the last six and a half years of daily study. Some information is monumental, and some is destructive. Some is fear-mongering, some is money-grubbing, and some is even in the pursuit of power.

If something does not ring true for you, tweak it and question it. Consider all angles and do a lot of research, on the actual science and on the person advising you.

15. A rigid, extremist viewpoint will be more detrimental to your health than anything else

Fanaticism will get you nowhere. If any of these methods work for you, CONTINUE DOING THAT, and if that changes, tweak it and question what you could be lacking nutrient wise or taking in too much of. Keep your ethics in mind as they are extremely important – plant foods are always the way to go for the benefit of yourself, animals, and the environment.

On an end-note – don’t take my word for it. I don’t know everything and do not claim to. These are simply my experiences and important things I’ve learned on my journey. I continue to research and tweak where needed. I know health is best on a plant-based diet, but I also know that health is much more than just macronutrients. There are tons of resources – documentaries, books, and ways to be raw. Do what makes sense for you, your goals, and your lifestyle. Drop the dogma, and embrace the pursuit of health and knowledge. Question everything, and don’t take any shit.

Recommended Reading:

The 80/10/10 Diet

Becoming Raw

Green for Life

Creating Healthy Children

Nutrition and Athletic Performance

Thrive

Thrive Fitness

The Raw Cure

The Pleasure Trap

Could It Be B12?

The Vitamin D Solution

Eat to Live

World Peace Diet (for ethics)

Healthy at 100

The Food Revolution

Diet for a New America

Raw Family

The China Study

Whole

The Starch Solution

No Happy Cows

The Raw Secrets

Raw Food Controversies

The Detox Miracle Sourcebook

Recommended Watching:

Forks Over Knives

Earthlings (for ethics)

Foodmatters

Food, Inc.

Eating

The Diet Wars

Fat Sick & Nearly Dead

Vegucated

Supercharge Me: 30 Days Raw

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

Healing Cancer From the Inside Out

Hungry for Change

Dogmatic Diet Guidelines and My Typical Daily Raw Vegan Meals

I’ve been on the raw food path for six and a half years now. Do I follow 80/10/10 low fat raw vegan diet? Sort of.

I have followed it strictly in the past. At times I have adhered to many people’s “instructions” even if they made little sense to me.

I like Bruce Lee’s advice (and it applies to everything) – Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own. Eliminate the non-essential.

Do you need 3000 calories a day just because someone says so? Unlimited calories! It makes SO much sense, right? Come on. Eat what you USE. Figure out what is absolutely necessary for you to function at your best and fuel you through the activities you love. Otherwise you are taking in calories you do not need, and you are spending money on food which you could spend on other things you enjoy doing. Don’t make your whole life about food.

A lot of people who come to raw foods are so transformed that they want to make every aspect of their life about it (myself included – I was a zealot at first)! They want to be gurus, open a restaurant, coach people, or be youtube celebrities – and that’s fine if it is not making you forget other things you were previously passionate about.

Being healthy is the catalyst to help propel you towards the things you love with ENERGY and INTENSITY. The healthier you are, the more you will be able to go after your dreams. Health and nutrition are far more important than a set of rules or dogma.

I’ve read so much about different ways to be raw over the last 6.5 years. I continue to experiment but also stick to what I know works as my base and I advise you to do the same. Nutrition is fascinating, and also confusing. This is why you have to try things for yourself and see what happens. You should be energized, strong, clear headed, slim, satisfied, hydrated, and with great digestion.

So what have I learned? No one knows everything, and if they claim to, take what makes sense and then THINK FOR YOURSELF. Remember, things like 80/10/10 are “more like guidelines than actual rules.

Don’t let anyone dictate to you what is right or not right for you. Ethics are always important to keep in mind, and there are set beliefs I have that will not change, but they make SENSE to me. If something does not ring true to you on a DEEP level, then question it. Research. Keep open. Do not take what anyone says to you as gospel. When this sort of thing happens it is dogma, and it is cultish and extremist. Being rigid allows you to easily break and be taken advantage of.

Every time I had issues with something I learned from a raw food “leader” I tried something else to tweak what made sense.

When I had awful dandruff, skin rashes and dryness on 80/10/10 I was convinced it was an allergy, or that I was not drinking enough water, or that it was the overdose of sugar causing it even though I felt good otherwise. What was it? I found out it was LACK of sodium – this took me about 2 years to discover on my own by eating some cooked food over the winter and having my skin miraculously turn soft and beautiful again. Lack of sodium probably causes a lot of people on low fat raw vegan to turn to cooked foods as they may demonize salt as I used to do (and many people do not eat nearly enough vegetables or greens on a low fat raw vegan diet). It is not failure, it is lack of knowledge and listening to people who claim to know EVERYTHING, when they do not.

So what do I eat these days? I am not as rigid as I once was, and I will have something cooked once in a while (usually hummus) but I accept the consequences (headache, runny nose) and try to keep it rare. It is a CHOICE for me, and not a failure or a binge.

I am 100% raw most of the time, and that’s what matters (to ME).

Typical Daily Food:

1. I start out with a glass or two of water, depending on how thirsty I am. I usually wake up once to pee in the night because I hate being dehydrated. Usually it’s just plain water, and I have more throughout the day.

2. I have a smoothie. It is usually 1-2 bananas with 2-3 ataulfo mangoes. I might put a date or two in there. Sometimes I use berries, sometimes I now use a tsp of acai powder. I add in 2 tbsp of Warrior Force protein powder (raw vegan) – I am doing this as an experiment because I am wanting to gain more muscle. If you are not trying to gain any muscle mass, you definitely do not need more protein. But if you do want more, then a raw vegan protein is better than anything else. I also add in 1 tbsp of Vitamineral Green.

3. Sometimes, but not every day, I will have a piece or two of raw chocolate. Why? First of all, I really like it, and a small amount of fat after breakfast keeps me going longer without getting hungry. It also gives me magnesium which alleviates my awful menstrual cramps. When I have this almost daily, I get no cramps. Nix it and they come back – doesn’t matter what else I do, this has worked, and I’d rather eat this than take a mineral supplement. Plus it makes me a little extra happy through the day!

4. For a snack I might have dried mulberries or other berries since it’s the season!

5. Lunch I will have a bunch of grapes or another smoothie 🙂 Or sometimes I will gorge on berries. Another snack I have been having is blackberries – I go out and forage for them because they are everywhere right now.

6. For dinner I will sometimes have some fruit (not always) and then a big salad, which generally has a head of greens (arugula, kale, spinach, spring mix), 6-10 campari tomatoes, kelp noodles, some kelp and dulse, cucumber (1/2), zucchini noodles (1), and then a dressing made of tahini (about 1/4 cup), 2 oranges juiced, 1 lemon juiced, a few green onions, and either rosemary or dill. I also add a small amount of cumin and Himalayan salt (very little, only for sodium – I can’t afford to juice tons of celery every day). THE BEST. Once in a while I make guacamole and have that with cucumber slices (instead of the big salad). Sometimes I will have some kombucha.

Other supplements I now take are: cranberry/D-mannose (I am prone to UTIs and this has worked well – it’s the only thing I take daily), probiotics (I was on antibiotics for a UTI early this year and continue to replenish my natural bacteria), B12 sublinguals, D3 (mostly in winter), K2, vegan DHA, zinc. Having the right nutrients is far more important to me than following an extremist diet, and if I can get it through food or sunshine, I do.

So far, out of the last 6.5 years, this is what has made me feel and look the best. I am becoming much more lean and less bloated since doing this. I feel good. If you are miserable on 80/10/10, Raw til 4, or 90/5/5, then TWEAK it. Don’t go overboard with sodium and fat but add some back in! Don’t be scared of it because some OTHER person says to be. Don’t SMASH the calories because someone else does. How do YOU feel? If you only need 2000 cals, then eat that much! Don’t restrict either! Restriction means DEPRIVING yourself. You also don’t need to STUFF yourself. Eating what satisfies you and provides you with the nutrition you need is ENOUGH.

I would say my ratios are about 70/10/20 (carbs, protein, fat) right now and I feel awesome this way. But I am open to changing things again, because I have lost my dogma. Remember – you are a smart individual with INSTINCTS and INTUITION. USE them.

Recommended Reading:

Raw food and health books

You are HOW You Eat – Be Like Fruit!

When you eat fruit you become sweet.

You become light and juicy, full of life and lusciousness. You have a natural compassion. The more fruit you eat, the more ripe YOU become. You ripen into who you really are.

Raw food takes all your bullshit away. It strips you of your angst.  It might put you into turmoil at first; it forces you to face your crap, it makes you deal with all the nasty junk, it makes you say “fuck no, I don’t want this in my life.” It brings you joy and REALNESS. You cannot be fake on a diet of fruit, it is impossible.

When you eat fruit you want to spread seeds – you can do this by just BEING.

You can just sit there and glow and people will look at you with wonder and want to know what you’re doing, and then you can tell them your “secret.” You can plant that seed in them. Even if they don’t understand at first, or if they don’t follow your example, at least they KNOW – they may remember in the future, when they are ready – that fruity seed is there, ready to grow.

Most people feel like crap all the time, and it’s because they eat crap. If you want to feel like a dry, brown potato, by all means, eat chips. If you want to feel like an angry, paranoid, selfish, fearful person, by all means, eat the flesh of a terrified animal. If you want to feel fat, gooey, heavy, and nauseous, by all means, eat all that cake!

But it’s not going to do anything for you. And it’s not going to do anything to help the world, or inspire your friends, or invoke health, or spark the mad fire inside you, which can be repressed and doused by all the crap you’re pouring on top of it. Let it OUT. Let your issues surface and deal with them so you can LIVE. It’s scary, but NOT LIVING YOUR LIFE is more terrifying – isn’t it?

Raw Food Will Not Make Your Life Perfect

Raw food should come with a warning: This is fleeting.

(and this post comes with another disclaimer: it is still worth doing).

At first you will feel so good that it is utter insanity. The trees will hug you, the birds will serenade you, you will wake up with panache, an appetite for life like you’ve never known – better than childhood – in fact, you feel like you did as a child, and who doesn’t want to feel that? Your body is celebrating, you have so much to compare it to – your previous misery has lifted and WOW, life is AMAZING now!

After a while it just becomes normal to be happy, merging with your former self, just feeling better physically, calmer, better looking. But your expectations of always feeling 100% astounding will be dashed, and like the junkie, you will be searching always for that next ecstatic high-on-life, and many people will try to sell it to you, especially if it makes them a lot of money. The next superfood, the next  amazing concoction.

I’m not saying that you will never feel that ecstasy again – you will. But it ebbs and flows. I get it all the time – but the parallel is when I get low, it is also extreme. Not as long lasting, like my previous days, but life feels overwhelming – not the act of living day to day, but just BEING ALIVE. Everything seems so poignant, so crushing, so impossibly beautiful, so damning, so frightening, so easy, so hard. Everything is magnified by thousands, and I just want to numb myself – so easy to do with food, and so many people do – though now I stuff myself with berries instead of Skittles. The overwhelm affects my ability to fall asleep, though I am a corpse when I do succumb – completely gone into the land of my brain, where dreams have become an even crazier landscape.

So am I missing something? Am I just not “doing it right” according to some self-appointed experts? I don’t know – I am doing everything I know to do, and no matter what, I still get depressed, I still get submerged into oblivion, and then I feel lame for being dramatic. And then I don’t care. I share, and will always share – it has always been the way I exist – the introvert that dresses herself in sequins and green braids, the loner who goes clubbing, the sensitive target with the leonine roar.

The last thing I want is to focus all of my energy on what I eat – I’ve done that for years now, and yes it is important to eat well (and I still believe raw is best, and what is keeping me sane), but I am at a point of just letting go, to some extent – the perfectionism, the strictness, the one-dimensional streams of neurons that could be creating meaning in my life, a purpose – they are all centered on food. I don’t want my brain to be thinking about these things anymore. I think I need a “food-thought” fast. I never used to think about food – but since it had such a profound impact on my mental health and general well-being (and my looks, too!) it has become an all-encompassing obsession. How can I make it even BETTER? I continually ask myself.

Eating raw is second nature to me now – I don’t have to “think” about it – but to worry about calories, and percentages, and all that – no thanks. I know to eat mostly fruits and greens, I know not to eat too much fat, and I know to keep well hydrated and get exercise. I know to get sunlight and B12. I know to be vegan. What else do I need to know? I think a while of being concerned with what to nourish yourself with is HEALTHY – but after four years, I am more concerned with other aspects of life that I have been NEGLECTING. No wonder I feel insane.

5 Most Important Things to Do BEFORE You Go Raw

1. Learn what detox is.

Seriously, I think this is the MOST important thing to do before switching to raw foods. Why? Because otherwise you will think raw food makes you sick, and that you can’t “handle” raw foods. That it might work for other people, but not YOU.

It’s garbage. You have the same internal organs as every other human (unless they were born with a genetic defect or had something removed beforehand).

You cannot expect to go raw overnight, or even within a week or a month without having some crazy “symptoms” – which is just your body cleaning out all the old crap you’ve put into it your whole life. This is a process!

I was eating some cooked food over the winter – not even anything “bad” – just potatoes, and steamed veggies! I went back to all raw at the beginning of June and had no problems, until a few days ago – then I got the same symptoms I always get if I eat cooked and go back to raw – sore throat (acidic, mucusy crap getting ready to heave!), a small cough, then mucus to cough up, a sniffly nose with more mucus to come out, and lethargy – I get light headed and very sleepy. Oh and I get zits. Yay.

All this from a few months of having a little cooked food.

Now imagine what will happen when you go from eating meat, or processed foods, or whatever else you have been eating your whole life? You will probably have a NASTY time and think that raw food is making you sick – actually, it is making you BETTER. It is not actually the food making you better or worse, though – it is the removal of everything that has been making you sick. When I first went raw I was HAPPY to get “sick” because I knew my body was cleaning out. I had read a lot about what would happen so I was like “Gurl, okay!”

I went about it over a course of two months and cut out things one at a time. I hadn’t had red meat or poultry for 12 years, fish for a year, and in those two months up to going raw I had zero animal products. So my detox was not so bad, but if I had not known what to expect, I may have blamed the food and gone back to what I had always done and just medicated myself forever. Booooooo.

If you have had a history of eating a diet with a lot of animal products, I can imagine you will get pretty “sick” so go slowly. You may even want to get colonics or do enemas at home. If you have a degenerative disease, you may want to look into supervised water fasting.

There is a lot of info out there about detoxing via raw foods, so look into it. Ignore the “detox” crap out there that is just looking to make money off you (the stuff you see in stores) – why detox to retox? You have to completely change your lifestyle otherwise you are wasting your time. Once you get through the crappy feelings, you will emerge a DYNAMO. Seriously. Expect miracles.

2. Be prepared.

Make sure you always have a bounty of food around you – fill your fridge with fresh produce. Fill your counter with fruit. Fill your garden with seeds! Fill your cupboards with bowls (you should not have much in your cupboards because you want fresh food – if anything is in your cupboards it should be nuts, seeds, seaweeds, dried herbs if you want. Nix oils, vinegar, salt.

Also be prepared to spend more money on food. You will save money in the long run on doctors, medicine, make-up, etc – you won’t need it. Invest in yourself.

Also expect to eat MORE. Raw foods have less calories than you may be used to, so the volume of food you will be eating may seem excessive. Eventually it will seem normal. Eat as much raw food as you want – the more fruit + greens the better – take it easy on the nuts and seeds (though at first, don’t worry too much – eventually you will not want so much of those things. I was eating 4-5 avocados a day when I started, now 1/2 is enough for me).

3. Toss out everything you won’t eat anymore, or donate it.

This is self-explanatory – but if it’s around you, you are more likely to have a weak moment and indulge, especially if you are not eating enough carbohydrates (FRUIT).

4. Have constant inspiration.

Read as much as you can, and watch videos. I do this daily and have for almost 5 years now. I never get bored of it, so find some good raw inspo. Here are my favourite blogs + youtube channels:

Youtube:
Fully Raw Kristina. My favourite! She is beautiful, eloquent, passionate, and exuberant!
Tannyraw! Excellent advice and a wonderful, peppy attitude.
Tim van Orden. He is the most INSPIRING guy! LOVE him.
Megan Elizabeth. A sweet slice of raw pie, this one! Great recipes and humour.
Blogs + Websites:

The Garden Diet. A long-term, raw food family.
Natalia Rose. She has some AMAZING old articles, check them out.

Books: All listed here.

5. Have an ethical stance.

Getting cravings is normal – you will have memories of  certain things tasting amazing, or things that calmed you down, comforted you, whatever. Some of these things may be foods that come from animals or are animal flesh.

Without an ethical stance behind your decisions you may be tempted to eat these foods again. Make sure you know what goes on behind the scenes and burn those images into your brain.

 

Maps + Update for May

I find that getting motivated and sticking to goals requires some SPECIFIC goals.

Like when I initially went raw, I had a timeline for myself:

Feb 1st, 2008, vegan, no refined sugar. Every week I would cut something else out – tofu, rice, potatoes, bread, other sweeteners like cane juice, etc.

April 1st, 2008, 100% raw vegan.

It worked, I stuck to it. I’ve had some little ups and downs but generally I have been raw for over 4 years with some minor blips. And I have never returned to refined sugars, cheese, cakes, etc – nothing like that. The worst I got was some baguette in Paris.

And so it is June 1st – I have been low-fat for the whole month of May, with the exception of today – it was a bit of a celebration, and also a good-bye – a good-bye to potatoes (which I used to help me stay low-fat this month, occasionally), and a good-bye to salt. I have been eating it way too much (I
don’t want to eat it at all) and I can push out my stomach so far that I look pregnant – that’s how bloated I am. When I gave up salt before I lost 10 lbs in a week.

Now I am dropping the salt. I am keeping low-fat and back to 100% raw.

I am also very proud of my exercise dedication this last month, and my chart has really helped – I took it seriously and wanted to make sure I filled it as much as possible. This was doable because I had very specific goals instead of “I want to be 80/10/10” – why? Without a why, I had no real reason to stick with it.

This last month I have discovered the following:

With low-fat, I get ZERO menstrual cramps. I finally found out the mystery of why I have had awful periods since going raw (everything else improved, that got worse – I had no issues with menstruation before raw, only after).

With low-fat…I can run.

Seriously, in my whole life whenever I have attempted to run, or jog…I lasted a minute at most. When I was trying to be a runner in 2000, I never improved much – I could go 30-60 seconds and have to take a break. This month I was inspired to go jogging and would improve every time. At first I could only go a minute without a break. The next week (I only went every couple of days) I could do 5 minutes without stopping – this for me was amazing.

Two days later (doing nothing on those two days except some arm weights) I went 20 minutes with NO breaks – I was BAFFLED. All this in two weeks of going every 2-3 days. I improved so much, and felt so good, that I started to ENJOY jogging. Now I WANT to go. Now I WANT to be able to do it for an hour! A new goal!

And why am I exercising? To be fit. To have a lean body. To stay healthy. To have strong bones. To have good endurance. To work out my heart – it’s a muscle, and it needs to be worked. To move lymph fluid. To prove to myself I can do something I thought I could NEVER do.

Also when I am low-fat, my skin is better. When I have no salt, my skin is better and my stomach is leaner. So is my face. Food tastes better. I can eat lettuce by itself and it’s amazing. Avocado starts to be delicious without anything added.

And on and on.

Which brings me to the map.

Along with my simple chart, I thought it would be fun to have a simple map I could just add any goal to and then mark specific steps over the month – this way I have something to follow instead of being all haphazard – maybe some people can just be like “Okay, this is this and I’m doing it” – for me, I like to have a basic idea to follow.

Little steps are much easier to reach, and to break down a big goal to small steps makes it a lot easier to get to the “end” – the whole reason I managed to run that 20 minutes the first time (which I would have thought impossible, especially since my max before that was 5 mins) was that I just kept saying “Okay you can make it to that tree…okay now you can make it to that driveway…okay now make it to that post” and eventually I thought…wow, I am almost at Oak street! Maybe I can make it there! Then I did, and I thought holy crap, I am still moving! Maybe I can make it all the way home! And I did.

ALL BECAUSE I USED POSITIVES – not “Oh god, I can’t do it, I’m so tired, omg I need a break” etc – I pushed myself maybe 10 steps at a time, and focused only on those 10 steps, and that got me all the way.

I have no doubt that I can reach one hour now. Maybe not within the next week, but that is my new goal for the next month or two – I am going to stretch it to two, but if I do it before then, AWESOME.

Same with my diet – over the next month I want to really simplify it – first week no salt, and any combo of fruits and greens, low-fat. 2nd week, still no salt, no fats, 3rd + 4th weeks, mono-meals of fruit, salads in evening, low-fat every couple of days.

In July, when it’s blueberry season, I want to do a week of JUST blueberries. Like 10 lbs a day. Oh my god I cannot wait.

I also want to drink 2 litres + of water per day and get as much sleep as possible, earlier the better.

I am going to photograph my physical progress and write down my daily and weekly changes, then share them at the end of the month.

~~

Regarding the rest of my goals in the past month, I did quite a bit of writing – I only missed 12 days of the month for writing fiction, and I only missed 6 days of writing for the blog. I only missed 5 days of exercise. I stayed 80/10/10 (with occasional potatoes) 30 days of the 31 – today being my bye-bye to salt and fancy foods. I had a bit too much fat today! Oh well.

So, bye-bye to May! I enjoyed you and the first sunny days of 2012. June is going to rule!

~~

I have been finding this guy’s videos hella inspiring.

Raw vs. Cooked: Pain and Pleasure List

Why I Don’t Eat Cooked Foods.

+ They make me flush and feel hot
+ I sleep horribly
+ I get massive bouts of gas
+ I need salt to make it taste good, and salt sucks
+ It causes leukocytosis and my body is like WTF?!
+ It doesn’t have any nutritional value
+ It disrupts good digestion
+ It makes me feel tired instead of energetic, so I don’t feel like exercising
+ It gives me brain fog
+ I don’t like cheating or sneaking around, acting like I’m doing something wrong – because I know that I am. So really I am hiding it from myself.
+ If I have one bite, I can’t stop. It’s addictive.
+ They make me bloat, BIG TIME
+ They make me break out
+ They take away my glow
+ I feel sluggish
+ I don’t feel as vibrant
+ I feel guilty
+ I ALWAYS, EVERY TIME feel like puking it up. Not due to guilt, but to just feeling gross. This is BAD. The worst symptom of all.
+ Seriously, the gas. EMBARRASSING.
+ Makes me get mucus build-up. I always get a runny nose.
+ Gut-ache!
+ Acidic response in the body, and on the teeth.
+ Life seems less fun.
+ Nightmares.
+ Brief, stabbing intestinal pains.
+ The food is DEAD.
+ I feel irritable and want to lie down.
+ Less motivated.
+ Sallow skin.
+ Rashy area on my cheek comes back.
+ Urge to pick at my skin returns – EVERY TIME! BAD.
+ Grumpy.
+ I feel heavy.
+ Constipation.
+ I’ll be less inspiring to others if I don’t stick to my lifestyle.
+ I have a more angry demeanor.
+ I feel BLAH.
+ Unhappy, gurgling stomach, even from something completely simple.
+ I feel pukey.
+ I’m not as committed to myself and my goals when I slip-up.
+ After a few bites it is always DRY, BLAND, and UNDERWHELMING. It’s never worth it, ever.
+ It is a waste of MONEY. You’re paying for dead, nutritionally-deficit food,so you’re paying for nothing except everything listed above.

WHY I eat raw food!

+ I feel jubilant, naturally!
+ Lean bod!
+ No bloating.
+ I feel light, and fast.
+ I sleep really easily, and deeply.
+ I am fully committed to great health and a rad life.
+ It’s fast and simple.
+ It’s inspiring to others.
+ I feel accomplished.
+ It’s more delicious.
+ It is insanely nutritionally dense.
+ I feel naturally friendly.
+ I smile more.
+ I am more patient.
+ I feel like running around and moving my body.
+ I’m kinder to other people.
+ I am more open and loving.
+ I attract happier friends into my life.
+ I feel super clear, mentally
+ I have more imagination and drive.
+ I feel SUPER self confident.
+ My skin radiates.
+ More youthful appearance.
+ No worries of illness, short or long-term. No colds, flu, or degenerative diseases.
+ I don’t get bladder infections, ever.(used to be chronic)
+ Strong immune system.
+ I am well hydrated.
+ My digestion is awesome (5-6 times a day for #2, and lots of urine, clear).
+ It’s easy to find fruit, ANYWHERE.
+ Super vivid dreams
+ Super motivated
+ Able to assimilate all nutrients due to lack of mucus.

There are endless reasons for staying on a raw vegan lifestyle, and tons of reasons to give up dead, cooked foods. No matter what, up the percentage of raw foods in your diet and you will REAP the benefits! They are endless!

This is a list I wrote a while ago when I was having some cravings during winter time and slipped up – recently I have felt urges again and so wanted to revisit this list to remind me to stick to my fresh, ripe, raw, whole, organic fare 🙂