Geoff and I have been giving our future diet a lot of thought lately. Having taken a road trip to Columbus, OH over the weekend to visit old childhood friends of mine, we realized it’s completely possible to stay raw and take a vacation like that, but there was a LOT of work and prep before we left. We made a huge kale and avocado salad, knowing it stays good for 2-3 days in a cooler. Along with the salad we brought flax crackers we made in the dehydrator, some lime almondaise dip, dehydrated marinated baby portabella mushrooms, a bunch of granola bars (similar to Cliff Bars) that we made, a blackberry mango pie, some dehydrated zucchini chips, and assorted fresh fruit and coconut for fruit salads. Having enough food while we were gone was not an issue, but I think we’re growing tired of the same types of foods just combined in different ways to achieve new recipes. When you’re limited to fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, things tend to seem a bit limiting. The granola bars and pie crusts have almost all the same ingredients, and taste similar, and over the weekend I found myself just wanting some regular salty potato chips instead. Or a fried egg. Yeah, a fried egg sounds good.
So, what to do when this is over? We both agree we do not want to stay 100% raw for the rest of our lives. Get-togethers are nice, and trying to accommodate a raw food diet when visiting friends or going out to eat is difficult. Prior to this diet there were additives and preservatives we simply stayed away from. Those include: aspartame (sold as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Equal Measure and now disguised under its new name Aminosweet), TBHQ, high fructose corn syrup, msg, trans fats, refined sugar, and white flour. Those are ingredients we’ll continue to distance ourselves from. I figure that I did enough damage to my body during my 20s by going to the bar far too often, and don’t need to be poisoning myself now out of “convenience”.
The changes we’re set on making are changes I think everyone could benefit from. Eggs purchased from local farmers who raise chemical free, free-range chickens. We can buy them a mile down the road for $1.50 a dozen. Not only are they cheaper, but they’re much more nutritious. Milk, if we opt to buy it, will be raw goat milk from a local farmer. All chemical free, with no growth hormones, and no pesticides on the grain the goats are fed. Meat will be hormone and chemical free, preferably purchased from local sources, and vegetables will be grown in our garden, or organic and local whenever possible.
We’re finding lately that it hasn’t always been easy to eat enough to maintain sufficient calories, especially when engaging in rigorous exercise. While that may sound like a great weight loss plan, and it could be, our goal is to lose fat and gain muscle, and we’ve both been concerned with the possibility of losing lean mass.
We’ve noticed on and off that there have been days where our energy was lagging. I’m not sure if this is weather related (unfortunately Geoff and I both have the same issues when faced with day after day of gray, chilly, gloomy skies here in Michigan) or if our bodies are lacking something nutritionally. We’re still able to maintain our exercise routines, but I’ll admit that I haven’t yet seen the long term level of energy I had wanted, although I did read that it may take some time for the body to regulate its metabolism after switching to a diet such as this. It may just be too soon to determine.
A lot of people have inquired about our food costs. Yes, our food costs have gone up a bit. Organic produce is a more costly option, but I believe that once the farmer’s markets are in full swing, we can save quite a bit there. Meat is an expensive purchase that we haven’t incurred, but we’re buying nuts and seeds instead, which aren’t necessarily cheaper per pound, but you eat less per serving, making up some savings.
Prior to this challenge, we would grocery shop roughly once every couple of weeks. We always had meat in the freezer, frozen veggies, and canned items, along with some fresh produce. Where we were lacking then was more fresh fruit and vegetables. Being on a raw diet means we’re grocery shopping an average of twice a week or so now. Shopping is fast, since it’s one department we’re concerning ourselves with, but the running back and forth to town is time consuming.
Our digestion continues to be working much better and far more regularly than it ever has. If you’ve ever been plagued by sluggish digestion, incorporating some additional raw foods into your diet whenever possible will help a great deal. We’re really not sure yet if two weeks into this thing is long enough to determine what additional health benefits we’ll see, but I do notice that food tastes different now. I don’t need nearly as much salt or sweetener as I used to, and some of the simplest things taste the best (like a fresh fruit salad or a fruit pie).
Now that Geoff and I have been so wrapped up in this raw food challenge we’re seeing more and more awareness in diet and harmful preservatives taking place. Our local news channel aired a story yesterday about people who are so concerned with what is in their food and what they’re eating that there’s a term for a disorder called Orthorexia Nervosa. This term was actually coined by a Colorado M.D. named Steven Bratman back in 1997. Ironically, “Orthorexia Nervosa” literally means “correct appetite”.
Naturally, I agree that people can become obsessive about food, often times leading to some unhealthy affects, but while considering Dr. Bratman’s two identifying questions:
1. "Do you care more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure you receive from eating it?”
2. “Does your diet socially isolate you?"
In our opinion, these do not seem specific enough to determine whether a person may have a serious health condition or are just trying to avoid toxins that have been put in our food.
When I think about today’s standard American diet, I’m not looking forward to seeing what health ramifications decades of eating this way will have on ones body. When I see children constantly being fed meal after meal of processed food containing the harmful ingredients we’ve banned from our own diets, it saddens and concerns me. These are ingredients that weren’t even around when I was a child, and have already been proven to cause long term health issues. As adults, we all have the right to choose what we want to put into our bodies, but children have little say in the matter. More often than not these ingredients are being consumed out of ignorance and convenience. I think that rather than getting people worried that they may be too neurotic about their food, we should all try to educate and bring about more awareness. We only get one body in this life, and we want ours to be as healthy as possible.
(On a side note- Because so many of you inquired which juicer, dehydrator, and other ingredients we’re using, we’ve added an Online Shopping area to the blog. It can be found in the side menu under the Facebook Fan Page banner. We have an area of books, raw food kitchen equipment, and raw food ingredients- many of which are a challenge to find locally here. If there are some additional items you’d like to see listed, please let us know. We only ask that if you do decide to purchase one of those items, you do so by clicking from our site so we can get credited as an Amazon Affiliate. We’ll also be adding a recipe section on there within a week, so keep checking for that. Thanks!)