I’ve just finished eating supper and I had a hard time packing in enough watermelon, tomatoes, peach, banana, and mango to get within 25 calories or so of my target. It still seems strange to make sure I get enough to eat after trying not to eat too much. I did go over on my fat grams, though it’s still a fraction of what I used to get. I’m sitting on about twice as much as I should have for a day but it isn’t an everyday thing, either. The old protein bugaboo is what I need to work on. People will brag, “My stomach has shrunk.” That’s not what a raw foodist wants to brag about. Ideally, a raw food diet should be three or, at the most, four meals a day with no snacking in between. There should be several hours between meals. A fruit meal can be digested and out of the stomach in something like 20 minutes but that doesn’t mean that the hunger pangs will hit. I have found that, if I feel hungry before it’s time to eat, it’s usually my body needing water. I can drink 12 ozzies of water and go for another hour or two before feeling hungry again.
I promised some words of wisdom a few days ago. If I don’t remember everything I want to put down this time, I’ll do it as I think of it.
1. Learn to buy in smaller quantities. I used to buy in bulk and cook big pans of stuff and refrigerate it or freeze it for later. Now I buy what I can use before it goes bad and I buy much less at a time.
2. Learn what can and can’t be eaten raw. I saw a recipe online for raw marinated artichokes. “Ah!” I thought, “I can have my artichokes!” I found some nice ones and bought two. I searched and searched for that recipe and when I finally found it, I’d failed to read the whole thing and it was for Jerusalem artichokes, not globe. Had I read Frederic Patenaude’s The Best Foods on the Planet before I went shopping, I would have saved enough in spoiled and thrown away inedibles to pay for it. I don’t know of anyone around here who eats artichokes so I couldn’t give them away.
3. Asparagus is nice as an occasional addition to a salad or even just munched on as it is. A few spears can go a long way. Don’t buy it by the pound any more. Whole small okra is good in salad, too.
4. Invest in some Glad Zipper Bags with FreshProtect II. They are great for keeping your investment fresher longer.
5. Clean out your refrigerator and either give away or throw away all that stuff you aren’t eating any more. It’s taking up valuable space. Fresh produce needs more room and you need to be able to see what you have before it becomes a science experiment.
6. Check your refrigerator to make sure it is functioning at its best. It just so happens that I bought a refrigerator several years ago and accidentally got the best one I’ve ever had for keeping food at its peak. Now watch it go belly-up since I’ve bragged on it.
7. Clean your stove thoroughly and, if you don’t put it on eBay or the local Swap ‘n Shop, turn it into something else. I still haven’t put plants on mine but I plan to. One fellow I read about put a large cutting board on his and turned it into more counter space. Just remember to unplug it or take the burners out so whatever you come up with doesn’t get melted or set on fire by mistake and burn the house down.
8. Dig that blender out of the closet. You’ll need it. Lots of people swear by the VitaMix and it’s fine if you are going to be doing some heavy-duty blending but a plain old blender makes a good smoothie.
9. When you do make that smoothie, don’t think of it as “raw fast food”. It isn’t. It is meant to be savored, admired, and enjoyed. Take a sip, “chew” it, then swallow. Wait a few seconds before you take another sip. I take as long as half an hour to drink a 16 ounce smoothie. It’s very satisfying and usually close to no fat. One little aside–be sure to brush your teeth well after that fruit meal.
10. If you see an exotic fruit you’ve never tried, try it. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it again. The baby bananas on the left are one example. I’d tried them when I was visiting my daughter in NYC, but I wasn’t impressed. I got some at the Fresh Market the other day to see if there was a difference. They aren’t that much better (if any) than the ones on the right. The big difference is that they are 99 cents a pound vs. 39 cents a pound. They ARE cute, though, aren’t they? In case you are wondering, the bananas on the right are about seven inches long. Eating raw food is an adventure that is limited only by the variety of food that God has created.
11. The optimal raw food diet uses nuts, seeds, and avocados sparingly and doesn’t incorporate grains or beans except the ones that can be eaten “green” such as sweet corn and green beans. Grains and dried beans are meant to be cooked, and cooked thoroughly, to make them digestible. Grains are starchy which means they turn to sugar and sugar causes cravings for foods that are best left alone. Beans are difficult to digest and will ferment causing gas. Believe me, I have always loved a bowl of pinto beans with a hunk of cornbread but I’ll give them up to feel as good as I do now.
12. If you have a craving for something crunchy and salty (like potato chips) grab a stalk of celery and munch away. If you are concerned about pesticides, organic celery is available at (of all places) Wal*Mart.
13. Peel fruit and vegetables that might have gotten sprayed with pesticides. There is some nutrition, but not an abundance, in the peeling. The peeling adds fiber but, since the raw food diet provides fiber galore, you are better off not getting the pesticides. There isn’t a lot of organic produce around here but that isn’t going to keep me from eating fresh, uncooked food.
14. I wouldn’t swear in court that it’s true, but a raw food coach told me that pesticides on cooked foods are more dangerous than when they are present on raw. A prominent physician said that eating cooked food to avoid pesticides is like stepping in front of a locomotive to avoid a bee.
15. Don’t try to stay away from hybrids. Foods naturally develop hybrids. Have you ever grown sweet pepper and hot pepper too close together? The only hybrids that I would try not to eat are the ones that are developed to enhance shelf life. The flavor is bred out of them and they usually resemble cardboard in texture.
16. Don’t expect to feel wonderful every day. I have had my days of feeling “spacey” but it hasn’t happened for a long time. There is an adjustment period as with anything. I’m probably doing as well as I am because I was already eating a lot of raw food. My problem was, I was combining it with cooked and high-calorie cooked, at that. Plus I ate a lot of bread (whole grain) and cooked cereals (the “good” ones).
17. Take it one day at a time. Be firm in your resolve to stick with it. By the same token, if you “cheat”, don’t beat yourself up. If someone tries to tempt you with some goodie, thank them but say no. I have yet to eat anything cooked since June 24, 2005. It doesn’t tempt me any more. That doesn’t mean it never will.
18. Be sure to eat enough. Decide on how much you want to weigh and multiply that by 10. In other words, I want to weigh 120. I multiply that by 10 and come up with 1200. That’s how many calories I need to eat in a day. As long as I am overweight, I will lose at that level. Hopefully, when I get to my goal, it will help me maintain my weight. I have heard (I don’t know firsthand) that a person usually goes below their goal for a time and then gains back up to the weight that corresponds with the calories ingested.
19. Make use of the resources online but beware of the sites that say you can eat all the nuts and dehydrated food you want. Track what you are eating for a week or two (or forever if you want) on fitday. It’s free and you can even put in what you plan to eat to see how it’s going to balance your diet. I’ve been impressed with how fast it is, even on dialup. (When is DSL going to make it to the boonies?????????)
20. Thank God that you have found a better way to live. Share what you’ve learned. It won’t be hard to do because people will see a difference in you and want to know what’s going on. Some will think you’re weird but most will be interested. One of my friends at work was commenting on my losing weight (my mother always said that there are two things you never ask a lady–her age or her weight. I’ve told you my age but my weight is still a BIG (unfortunately) secret) and she said, “And you are doing it healthily.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
That’s all for today, folks!