Spring is coming! So it’s time to reinvent myself a bit.
I’ve always been a bit of a chameleon: from straight hair to dreadlocs; carnivore-carb queen to vegetarian; vegetarian to vegan and back to vegetarian; couch potato to runner to yogi; and now vegetarian to raw vegan. It’s enough to make your head spin huh? But for me it’s an adventure.
I’ve always loved adventure. But it took me ’til now (at 56 years old) to realize how much I need it to keep my life interesting. There are so many things to experience in life! I realized that for me there’s no reason to stay married to one career, one type of eating or one type of exercise. That’s one reason I’ve decided to start a raw vegan journey, but there are a few other reasons. My journey is divided into two parts: Why I’m doing it; and why I’ll likely modify it in a few months.
The “Why’s” of my raw vegan journey
First, just in case you’re not sure of what a raw diet means. Simply put, it’s about only consuming foods in their original, most natural state without cooking, processing or adding extra salt and fat. Eating primarily fruits and uncooked veggies, uncooked foods from healthy fats, and uncooked foods from proteins. For instance: an orange instead of orange juice; raw spinach instead of cooked spinach; avocados and coconuts for healthy fats; nuts and seeds for proteins, a chunk of raw sweet potato in a homemade smoothie instead of baked, boiled or fried sweet potatoes. Haven’t added that to your smoothies yet? You’ll love the natural way it will sweeten and thicken your smoothie when you do. 🙂 I elaborate on this in my, “Sweet Potato smoothie Monday” post.
Anyway, that’s the raw truth of a raw vegan diet. So on to reason numero uno for my journey:
- Health benefits: This is a no-brainer for me. When I was a vegan, I dabbled a bit in the raw food arena during the summer heat when eating hot food PLUS my hot flashes was just too much to bear. I felt so much lighter weight-wise, foods moved through my digestive system effortlessly, and I discovered chia and flax seeds as beneficial health sources. Eating raw forced me to think out of the box. For instance with kale – a food that in my past I’d only eaten cooked unless I was hiding it inside a homemade juice or smoothie. But raw kale is delicious tossed in a salad, and raw collard greens stuffed with hummus and chopped veggies make great roll-ups.
- Cleansing benefits: I’ve been a vegetarian for 20-plus years, which means no meat but there are many foods within this category – including dairy products, flour and sugar products, and junk foods galore (yep I have Doritos guilt) – that cause inflammation, sodium and fat increases. Eating raw will not only help increase the nutrients in my body but help cleanse it of my unhealthy weaknesses.
- Balance: I do my best to eat healthy, but I tend to blow my portions outta control at times like when I order Chinese tofu and eat a whole pan in one sitting. I won’t punish myself for it but I don’t want to keep doing that either. Eating raw will help me re-establish my balance.
Why I’ll likely modify my raw food journey in the future
For raw food enthusiasts, the basic motivation for going raw is that cooked food zaps the nutrients and enzymes from which our bodies benefit. I agree with that. But for me a nutritional balance – of raw and cooked foods – is necessary for me to stick with long-term, particularly in the winter when I want my belly warmed with healthy foods such as vegetarian/vegan-based:
- black and red bean dishes (increased protein)
- pan-fried cabbage (using cooking spray)
- sweet potato fries
- peanut butter
… and the list could go on. Those foods are healthy but because they’re cooked (most commercial peanut butter is processed with roasted peanuts) they’re unacceptable on a raw food diet.
But for now, I’ll enjoy my journey. After all, experiencing different journeys is what life is all about.
Here’s to your health!