Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ready for RAWGUST!

Join Us for RAWGUST!© design by Brian LaRoche
A non-judgmental support group, regardless of your current status.
September will mark the one year milestone of the decision to become  seriously vegan and nine months of live foods.  Throughout this journey, I've taken some bumps, quips, and stumbles, but have remained steadfast on the vegan path.  I am quite proud.  While I haven't been totally raw, I would estimate that 90-95 percent of my meals are.  The objective for the next year is to commit totally to 100% raw live foods.  This August, I'm testing the waters by participating in a month-long raw, live food pledge.  I've joined three  groups each dedicated to this endeavor.  Two are support groups on social media, the other, is a more formal personal pledge, through the Raw Food Institute of the National Integrated Health Associates in Washington DC. Each of these events are appropriately titled "Rawgust"  a funny blend of raw and August.  Here are their links:

I'm participating with the feeling that these events shall serve as the perfect lead-in to my anniversary and become the catalyst to my new objective.  I am energized and excited for the new adventure on which I am to embark.   I am Ready for Rawgust! and I invite each of you to join me.  It will change your life.

Why Raw?

These events promote eating raw for the entire month of August and encourage others to at least try a raw meal if they are not ready to permanently alter their lifestyle.  Why?  Because, according to the Raw Food Institute, "when you cook food, you loose at least 30% of the nutrients and 100% of the enzymes in that food.  Nutrients are the building blocks of cells in our bodies, aid digestion and other bodily functions.  Further, cooking food chemically changes the molecular structure of raw plants which may convert to toxins, mutagens, and free-radicals associated with diseases like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.":

Cooked or raw, we are constantly being told to "add color to our plates".  In the article, "Nature Always Right, Cooks Never: Why Eat Raw?", Tonya Zavasta makes an interesting observation that researchers are excited when they discover new health benefits of particular colors and that the bright colors of fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants.  She continues by asking each of us to picture a bright, vibrant rainbow (i.e. raw produce) where all of the nutrients and disease fighters reside. Then, imagine the colors fading and the nutrients dying - the effect of cooking.  Who wants to eat dead food? When I tell people I am a raw vegan or a live foodist, they can not grasp the concept.  They ask if I can eat particular items which tend to oddly be dairy.  For some reason, the thought of giving up cheese, milk, or butter bothers people more than eliminating meat.  After explaining it's all the same to me - animal products, the response is usually  "Oh I can't give up .... " filling in the blank with some not-so-good for you-even-if-you-eat-meat dish.  

Most importantly, raw foods help and heal the body on a cellular level.  Raw foodists tend to eat less, as live food is very filling, increases energy, and decreases body fat. It's really simple, just think of it this way: When you eat cooked foods until you're full, you are sluggish and lethargic, when you eat live foods in the same manner, you will experience a burst of energy.

Again, wanting to be ever so helpful, I feel compelled to explain that it is about paradigm shift and changing the definition of what is good food. I still eat all of the so called "favorites" just in a different (better for my body) manner.

Be Creative 
When most people think of "raw" they think of a cold dish or that one eats salads every day.  Not true.  There are "warm" raw dishes.  Enzymes can live up to 118 degrees Farenheit (49 Celcius) As long as food has not been heated past that point, it is considered raw. (Note:  some enzymes begin to loose their value at 106 degrees).  With that in mind, the possibilities are limitless.  There is a live food version of every dish out there.  Prior to my transformation, my favorite junk food was pizza.  In the beginning as I detoxified, I missed it,  but now, I  can not go near a slice.  The thought of the discomfort associated with that cheese and its effect on my body is enough, not to mention the cholesterol and sodium.  As you transform, you learn as you go.  Experiment! Make mistakes, make adjustment, tap your creativity and be creative.  Figure it out!  Here is my raw version of the very thing I used to love:      
 Crust - sunflower seed, flax seed, chili powder        Sauce - pureed sun-dried & fresh tomatoes
"Cheese" - raw almonds, lemon juice, & garlic          Toppings - fresh oregano, basil, parsley

Soak sunflower seeds and almonds overnight.   CRUST:  Ground flax and sunflower seeds. Note: flax seeds can be ground using a pepper or coffee grinder.  Sunflower seeds can be ground in a blender or food processor.  Add seasonings and a little water to make dough.  Form into large patty. Roll out to form crust.  Place in sun (or use a dehydrator) to remove moisture.  
SAUCE: Puree sun-dried and fresh tomato. Add onion (optional).  Spread sauce on "crust".  CHEESE:  In a blender, puree raw almonds, add fresh garlic, and lemon juice. Place in a cheese cloth and squeeze out moisture. Spread on top of tomato sauce.  TOPPING: Add fresh oregano, basil, and parsley.   OPTIONAL: Sprinkle a red pepper flakes over top.

A Word of Caution:
While there are many wonderful benefits to eating raw, use caution as you create:  research, and seek guidance from an experienced raw nutritionist.  There are mistakes to be made that can be detrimental to your health.  Here a just a few:  
  1. You can not sprout every bean, for example, kidney beans are poisonous if sprouted or eaten raw. 
  2. Do not overeat high fat foods such as nuts and seeds.  Have them in moderation. 
  3. Watch your seasonings.  People tend to over season raw foods, increasing sodium intake.
  4. Don't give up good nutrition, vitamins, or protein.  Remember to eat a well balanced meal.
Get Ready for Real - Make a personal Pledge
As you learn, you transform and you become creative to fill the space formerly filled with dead, faded food.  Remember, it's called junk food for a reason.  Any food that is not contributing to improving your health is junk.   If you are not able to dedicate an entire month to live foods, try these alternatives: 
  • one meal per day for the entire month.  Just adding a simple salad to your dinner plate or having fruit for breakfast instead of eggs, bacon, and bread would meet this objective. .
  • just one day per week - eat light veggies and fruits all day, go to a raw vegan restaurant for dinner
  • Just on the weekends - visit your local farmer's market; try a new vegetable you never tasted before
  • one full week - have fun, have fruit and veggie smoothies; go to a  vegan market for ideas, look up raw recipe websites and videos.
If you try and fall off of the bandwagon, don't beat yourself up.  Dust off and hop back on.  One raw meal is better than none.  The most important thing is getting started.  
Do your homework, join our support group, and get ready for real, get ready RAWgust! 
If you want help, join our support group or contact me at
Good Luck!

Get support, get ready, get started.
One meal, one day, at a time
Yoga:  Yoga Blocks

Yoga blocks are accessories or props to help beginners who are not as flexible or are unsteady on their feet.    Everyone is a novice in the beginning, you need help as you become more seasoned.  Yoga blocks build stamina, strength, and help sustain balance during challenging postures. 

They are the perfect support for those just starting.

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