Thinking about diets and weight loss made me think back to a blog post I added, back on June 7, 2008. It was all about my personal experiences with the diet-food roller-coaster, and one of the reasons why I transitioned to a raw food lifestyle. As most of you will agree, “DIETS DON’T WORK!” They just don’t! Oh sure, you might initially lose weight, and even keep it off for a while. But the truth is, unless you change your overall view on health and well-being, and make permanent lifestyle adjustments, you will gain the weight back – and in some cases, gain back a lot more! Or worse yet, you will become quite ill from the diet you did do, causing other problems as well. Your body just can’t keep bouncing back and forth with the weight gain and diet changes, without major long-term repercussions. So doesn’t it make sense to make permanent long-term changes to your health, and not worry about “DIETING”? It’s a lot less to hassle with, and your body will appreciate the consideration. Plus, think of the time and money you will save, that you can expend on other ventures much more satisfying? It’s truly worth giving your full attention too!
Before going any further…let’s get one thing clear. Weight gain is mostly caused from one key factor – the inability to eliminate! Think about it. What is the main purpose of diet pills, diet plans, fasts and cleanses? To eliminate! Because, when you can’t eliminate the food waste that you put into your body, it just hangs around, and has nowhere to go but build-up and take up space – hence ‘WEIGHT GAIN!”
With that all being said, let’s get started with what I consider to be the best option to permanent and maintenance free weight loss – “The Raw Food Diet!” Truly a lifestyle change!
First off, for those of you who are new to the raw food diet, let me simply say this, “The raw food diet is one in which food is alive, unheated, unprocessed – and predominately consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sea weeds, some grains and legumes”. That’s right, animal flesh and dairy are not a big part of the raw food diet. However, that does not necessarily mean that there are not some options within those categories that can’t be eaten or that should necessarily be restricted – such as raw goat’s milk, bee pollen, honey, and possibly fish depending upon how it’s raised. But for the most part, a raw food diet is a high vegan diet. Basically, you will need to see what works best for you as an individual to determine how extreme you could possibly take it. I personally, consider myself a person who eats a high raw vegan diet – although I do consume bee pollen and raw honey.
So why then is a raw food diet considered to be the most healthful diet? From my research, it is due to basic food science. Our bodies require enzymes to function and live. You could say that enzymes are basically “the source of life”! Without enzymes our bodies could not digest the food we consume, which would then make it impossible to absorb the necessary minerals and nutrients to feed the cells and allow our bodies to grow, move, adapt, heal, function and live!
Since we need to consume things that will provide us with the necessary nutrients and calories to exist, we need to eat those things that can provide this. So we eat animal flesh, plants, seeds, nuts, and such for that purpose. All these things have enzymes. However, some of these things we eat can not be eaten in their natural living state. We are not equipped to breakdown these things, such as animal flesh, in order to properly digest it and benefit from the enzymes and nutrients. So we cook it. That just doesn’t make sense does it? I mean, if we have to eat things that are alive in order to benefit – than why would we cook it? Cooking renders the food DEAD! Obviously, when an animal is killed to eat, or a plant is pulled from the ground to eat, they are basically “dying”…so we do our best to consume them as quickly as possible to benefit from the enzymes, and the nutrients within. Sometimes we will freeze or refrigerate the food to cause the food to be dormant so that we can extend what’s left of its “living” state in order to eat it later. But with animal flesh, it’s more than just storing it for later. We just can’t break it down or digest it in a way that makes it worth the time to consume. Plus, when you eat food that is not alive or fresh, as it tries to pass through the body, it begins to get stuck and ferment, and become highly toxic, leaving you sick, sluggish, and eventually leads to weight gain, and malnourishment. “So why bother?” Better choices would be from the garden and the sea – dark leafy greens, sprouts, vegetables, fruits, seaweeds, nuts and seeds, and grains.
Now, one thing you should know is that seeds and nuts, as well as grains and legumes, aren’t necessarily the best food to eat in its dried, picked state. They are actually dormant – which means that the enzymes and nutritional value are locked within. The only way to release them is by soaking, and allowing them to sprout. It’s as if you have planted them so that they can grow. The difference is you can eat them before they actually mature. It’s important that I explain that to you, because many people will consume way too many nuts and seeds, which are actually high in fat (although a much better choice than processed fats), which leads to weight gain. Also, being dormant makes them more toxic to the body, since it is much harder for the body to digest them. Legumes and grains can also be highly toxic for the same reason. In fact, some legumes and grains should be avoided altogether.
Which leads to the obvious – the best foods are dark leafy greens, seaweeds, vegetables and fruits!
Well, the next question or concern would probably be, “What if you have trouble digesting vegetables or fruits? Then what?” Well, since I used to fall into that category to some degree, I have found for me personally that smoothies and juices were some of the best ways, and still are, to consume those vegetables and fruits that caused me digestive grief. Plus, from what I have researched, juicing and smoothies is also one of the fastest ways to absorb the necessary nutrients into the body. So you see, you don’t need to heat your food and permanently kill it to eat it!
And, if you think that eating raw and living food will be tasteless and blah – that is so far from the truth! In fact, the only reason why cooked food tastes good is because of all the added oils, sugars, spices, and (with processed foods) the chemicals and preservatives that have been added to make it worth eating. “Get my point?” If you have ever had the opportunity to taste fruit right from tree, or to pull vegetables and greens right from the ground, you will definitely agree that the flavors within are the BEST and FRESHEST flavors you could ever imagine possible! LIVE FOOD TASTES GREAT! So again, why heat your food – why kill it! Don’t get me wrong, I would be lying if I said I didn’t love cooked food. I used to cook and eat a lot of cooked food – and it was great. But truth be told, I didn’t feel great. I felt very bad. For years I had been suffering with all kinds of chronic digestive, bowel and joint conditions – all from food related issues. It was my body’s cry for help and relief. At some point you have to make the decision that the quality of life is better than giving in to unnecessary addictions that serve no purpose but to give immediate gratification. That’s what cooked food does for most people in this day and age. We live in a world of great abundance and phenomenal technology. There is absolutely no reason for people to be forced to prepare and eat foods that are unhealthy – especially not in countries such as the USA. We have OPTIONS!
As I stated in the first paragraph, DIETS DON’T WORK. However, long-term or lifestyle changes to your diet does work. By adapting to a diet high in raw and living foods, there would be no reason to count calories, or to necessarily plan meals, or to worry about when you could eat “dessert”, or spending hundreds of dollars every week purchasing special foods. Just grow it, or pick it, or purchase it from the local farmer or grocer – wash it and eat it! That’s it!
I know many of you have seen all the beautiful raw food entrees and desserts that include dehydrated delights, or specially prepared cuisines. This is considered to be “gourmet” and is more of a way to help those transitioning to a raw food diet, to not feel so deprived and to enjoy the change. I love gourmet raw food. But, you don’t need to eat gourmet food to be raw. Truly food serves one purpose, and one purpose only – to feed and heal the body. The rest is what we make it. So, you can eat simply, to simply live! It’s all good!
If we all took the time to truly analyze how food affects our lives both physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, and economically, we could all see that changing the way we eat could have a positive, global impact for all. Eating healthy comes with healthy body weight, increased energy, overall health and well-being, clear mind, and the ability to function effectively. These physical improvements will help individuals to maintain their health naturally, making it unnecessary for costly health care maintenance. Eating a diet high in raw and living food also eliminates the need for costly diet supplements and vitamins. Proper nutrition – balanced nutrition comes from eating a well-rounded diet high in raw and living food. The money saved from that can be used towards other necessities, like protecting our natural resources. Eating a high raw and living diet will also help reduce the cost of grocery spending. Buying fresh foods from local farmers and grocers also reduces the high costs of living – since the food bill will drop dramatically. Processed foods are very expensive and wasteful. This also helps to protect our natural resources. By not heating food, this helps save on energy, which also helps with our natural resources, and reduces the high cost of living. So you see, there are so many benefits to eating a diet high in raw and living foods. Weight loss is just one small part of it! You want to be GREEN, save the planet, and protect our natural resources – EAT RAW!
A foot note to this article. To make a point of how a raw food diet truly works. Please note my personal experience. I have been raw for about two years now. Since changing to a raw food lifestyle I lost over 30 pounds, and have been symptom free from most of the long-term chronic conditions I suffered from. When making this change it is important to remember, that although in life modifications are inevitable, it does not mean that you can completely stray from what is working for you.
When the holidays came around in 2008 I began to fall off the wagon a bit. I gave in to my emotional addictions (a topic for a future article), with “comfort food” and began to eat “lightly processed” organic corn chips. I also began to eat way too many nuts, and consumed way too much “raw junk food”. Just because something is packaged “raw” does not mean it is necessarily healthy to eat – at least not a lot of it. The “raw” junk foods are mainly produced for transitioning purposes. But at some point you need to be honest and realize that unless it’s living and raw – it’s still not truly RAW FOOD. Because of my emotional behaviors, and consuming these foods, I have put on at least 15-18 pounds of this weight – which I’m not proud of. I am personally “transitioning” again to release this unnecessary and unwanted weight. I am also dealing with my emotional addictions to assist me with avoiding this type of relapse in the future. This proves to me that the raw food diet works for me, and that it has to be a life-long commitment.
I mean every word when I say the best and most healthful diet and lifestyle is the raw food diet. I am at my best when I live as close to 100% as possible. You don’t need to be a purist, but you do need to be honest with yourself and with your body’s needs to have the best health ever, and to enhance the quality of your life. Here’s to your health! Eat RAW!