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Vibrant Living, Issue #134 What's the Right Amount of Fat - Guidlines for Starting a Raw Food Diet
September 03, 2012
|Greetings Health Seekers,
Welcome to the VIBRANT LIVING NEWSLETTER
Well it’s hard to believe, but the summer is already winding down…Where did it go?….lol. There’s plenty of warm weather ahead, but the days are getting shorter and the leaves on the trees are beginning to change. That said there’s still plenty of summer bounty at the farmers market and in my own garden for that matter.
I’m still in fig heaven and looking forward to the start of the very short Jujubee season any day now. Also known as Chinese dates or Chinese apples, Jujubees are a small light brown pitted fruit with amazing nutritional and medicinal properties. The fruit is light green on the inside and does taste a bit like apple. They’re quite cleansing, and very tasty in my humble opinion. Later in the year they can be found dried which I also enjoy. If you see them at the market give them a try and see what you think. I think they’re truly one of Fall’s fruity gems.
In this issue of Vibrant Living I cover the always controversial fruit or fat topic and share my Guidelines for Starting a Raw Food Diet which I feel are useful for everyone no matter where they are on the raw path. I have only one new recipe this month…sorry, I’ve been eating out of hand mostly and just haven’t created any new dishes. I will have a few more next month though. At any rate enjoy the newsletter and the fresh raw bounty available to you wherever you are.
“The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.” ~ Deepak Chopra
What’s the Right Amount of Fat for a Raw Food Diet?
There is a lot of conflicting information in the raw food community as to what constitutes the correct amount of fat in your diet and I want to share my viewpoint on that and overall dietary guidelines here today. First let me say that I don’t think there is one absolute for everyone; we are all unique individuals and our nutritional needs may very well be just as unique. Overall I believe a low fat diet is best, and there is much scientific data which shows that a low fat diet is best for overall health and longevity, but once again, different people may have different needs in general and different needs at different times or under different conditions during their life.
For instance it’s quite normal for a person new to a raw food diet to eat a higher percentage of fat to make up for the calorically rich cooked foods that have been eliminated. Of course usually over weeks or months a person naturally cuts back their fat intake to the level that works best for them, and that may vary with the seasons, the level of stress and activity, or your body’s current nutritional needs.It’s been said that people who live in cities, or areas of higher pollution may require a higher percentage of fat in their diet to help buffer the pollution. A lower intake of fat for these people would generally mean a cleaner body system, which would be more sensitive to pollution - rather like the canary in the coal mine. I don’t really know if that’s correct, but it does make sense. I know I am far more sensitive to car fumes, paint and chemical vapors, and other types of pollution today than I was some twelve years ago when I was a vegan, but not totally raw.
I don’t particularly care for setting “ideal percentages” for dietary intake because there are so many variables. My personal guideline is to follow my natural instincts at the time of each meal. I do generally eat a low fat diet, but I listen to my body as to what exactly it’s asking for at each meal. Typically breakfast and lunch contain no overt fats. As for dinner, I may have some form of fat, or I may not. It just depends on how I feel at the time, although more often than not I will have some type of fat with my dinner meal. Fat with dinner may be a half or whole avocado, several teaspoons of tahini or nut butter in a freshly made salad dressing, or a few whole nuts with my greens. On the very rare occasion that I do eat too much fat I can usually tell right away and certainly the next day when I feel more lethargic. That’s because fat is harder to digest and process.
The cleaner one gets the more sensitive one’s digestive system and body become to the food choices we make. What may have been fine for someone several months ago or last year may cause significant bodily distress today. Excessive dietary fat intake is also a factor in developing type II diabetes.
Overall in my meal planning I’m looking to find the very best nutrition. I favor foods that are easily digested and assimilated, so the least amount of energy goes to digestion, leaving me with abundant energy throughout my days. When we are eating high quality food that’s giving us optimal nutrition, it’s much more easily processed by the body, which means more immediate energy, overall better health and a longer life. The caveat here is not to over eat. If one over eats even on high quality food, then digestion is compromised and poor health is the result.
There may be days when your level of activity is lower, or you just may feel satisfied nutritionally with no hunger present and decide to skip a meal. That’s probably one of the best decisions for health you’ll make in your lifetime. Many times on the weekends I’ll only have two meals, one about 8 or 9am and the other about 2 or 3 pm and I feel wonderful, not hungry, not tired, but Wonderful.
What’s the Right Amount of Fruit for a Raw Food Diet?
This is the other half of the dietary equation question for the raw food community. Once again this depends upon one’s own individual make-up and situation. It’s a little confusing because really what the question is about is the glycemic load, or how fruit will affect the insulin response, and how quickly it will be absorbed into the cells. I say it’s confusing because fruits vary widely on the glycemic index, which is basically the measurement of glucose (blood sugar) level increase after eating. Tomatoes and cucumbers are both technically fruits, but have very low sugar content. One reason for this is their high water content. Some fruits are very calorically dense like dates and bananas because they have low water content.
I feel athletes are able to handle more fruit in their diets because they’re burning massive calories and can perhaps handle the added fruit. Too much fat in the diet can adversely affect the ability of insulin to usher sugar into the cells which as I mentioned above can lead to type II diabetes.
Many people may do well with some fruits and not well with others, so sometimes it can be a matter of finding the fruits that work well for. One way to do that is to eat one fruit at a time or mono meal as they say. That way you can see how it makes you feel and be aware of any issues that may come up.
Some people eat "mono" fruit meals all the time, although many people like me mix fruits and greens because they find that’s what works best for them. Combining fruit and greens does two things. First, it buffers or dilutes the sugar in the fruit to create a meal with a lower gylcemic index. Secondly, it provides minerals to support the cleansing effects of the fruit.
For example, for breakfast I have a green smoothie with at least 2 types of fruit and some combination of greens, herbs, celery, or cucumber (a non-sweet fruit). For lunch, I’ll have some type of fruit mixed once again with celery, cucumber, or leafy greens. For dinner I usually eat no fruit at all...except tomato and cucumber. To clarify, I believe that a large amount of leafy greens should be included in the diet, but keep in mind that a pound of greens only contains 100 calories. So the bulk of your daily caloric intake will come from either fruit or fat, and it’s up to you to determine the right ratio for you.
An Important Note if You’re New to the Raw Diet. If you’re losing too much weight, or losing weight too quickly on a low fat diet (mostly fruit and greens), adding a little more fat often has the effect of slowing or stopping the weight loss. Although sometimes your body just needs to throw off the garbage to rebuild a quality body and some degree of weight loss may be inevitable.
”It takes more than just a good looking body. You’ve got to have the heart and soul to go with it.” ~ Epictetus
It’s important to note that a high raw diet may be as good as an all raw diet for some people. Extraordinary results can be obtained on an 80% to 90% raw diet.
It’s OK to break some of the “raw food rules” when you’re first starting out on the diet. Don’t beat up on yourself, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
I recommend not following a very high fruit diet, unless you are an extreme athlete and or young. Even then I feel a more balanced diet may be better.
Copious amounts of greens and in particular green juices are very important to developing and maintaining good health on a raw diet.
Try not to eat too many fancy raw recipes or dehydrated foods. Whole raw foods in simple recipes without adulteration are the healthiest.
At first you may want salt and oils in your food, but as your journey progresses I would encourage you to get off oils and eliminate or cut way back on salt. As your diet gets cleaner your taste buds will begin to come alive again that makes eating raw foods like a plain tomato taste like a gourmet feast.
Chew your food thoroughly and then chew a little more. Wait until your stomach has completely emptied out and you are experiencing real hunger before you eat again. Don’t eat at least 4 hours before bedtime, and longer if possible.
Keep a good stock of fresh fruits and vegetables at home and plan out your next few meals so you have a rough idea what you’re going to eat. Buy organic if you can.
Always have a few pieces of fruit, celery, cucumbers, soaked nuts, or whatever with you when you’re out during your day so you’ll have something to snack on if you get hungry. (#1 failure on raw food diet is making poor food choices while out during the day, which leads to more and poorer choices)
Try to follow basic food combining guidelines at least until you’re doing well enough to experiment.
Do not consume large amounts of fruit and fat together. Orange juice mixed with avocado for a salad dressing is OK, but a third of a pound of dates dipped in almond butter is not a good idea.
You may be eating lots of avocados or nuts when you first go raw to help make up for all the calorically dense foods you’re used to, but as you acclimate to the raw diet try to get your fat consumption down. What percentage of fat depends on what works best for you, but I would say somewhere below 25% of calories from fat would be good for most.
I recommend purchasing a good blender like the Blendtec or Vitamix, a good juicer that will handle greens like the Hurom, and a large food processor. If you want a few dehydrated foods order them online.
This should be a fun and exciting time in your life so enjoy the journey.
A Rough Outline of My Daily Meals.
My basic diet model doesn’t change too much during the year, just the types of fruits and vegetables that I’m eating as they come and go in and out of season. I may be drawn to eat a little more fat, a little less fruit, or a few more greens now and then, but just listen to my body and what it’s asking for. Over time that is quite easy to do.
Just about always a super green smoothie unless I’m travelling when I usually opt for fresh fruit and greens. I do at times travel with my blender, but it does add to the luggage. I've been having a green smoothie for breakfast since 2006 and it has served me well. My smoothie recipe is here. super green smoothie There are several other smoothie recipes on the recipe page that are quite good as well. Basically my morning smoothie consists of about 50% fruit and 50% greens by volume. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of a super green powder like Vitamineral green or Ormus Greens. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of chia or flax seed.
Some type of fruit and some celery, cucumbers, or greens. Right now at this time of year in late summer I’m eating 2 baskets of figs and 4-6 lemon cucumbers. About 4 hours after lunch I drink 1 or 2 pints of fresh green juice. I own a nice juicer, but there’s a cafe nearby that serves up super delicious organic green juices at a very reasonable price so I usually go there.
I very rarely eat fruit at dinner. At this time of day I’m drawn to some type of savory salad, usually full of greens…or I just may have a head of lettuce, some tomatoes, a few cucumbers, and a half or whole avocado. On occasion I may have just a green juice or skip dinner entirely. Once again, listening to what my body is asking for. My raw recipe page is loaded with healthy raw recipes for any meal of the day.
Raw Food Recipes
Listed below are recently added recipes to the website. Tasty, quick, easy, and HEALTHY!
Fig, Orange, and Cucumber Smoothie
”I really believe the only way to stay healthy is to eat properly, get your rest and exercise. If you don’t exercise and do the other two, I still don’t think it’s going to help you that much.” ~ Mike Ditka
Although I believe strongly in a diet comprised mostly of fresh raw foods, I do supplement with super green powders, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables, and the occasional dried fruit such as goji berries. If you’re like me you’re always looking for a good deal on quality food whether it’s fresh from the farmers market or purchased online, so I thought I would share with you where I make most of my online purchases.
You may already be aware of the Raw Food World and their “at cost” specials, but if not here you go. When you go to purchase supportive foods like those listed above you can save money and get “at cost” special pricing by going to the link below and clicking on the “at cost” specials tab. This also allows you to save up to 14% on every order of their already good deals. The important thing to remember is that fresh is best and these products are supportive and should not be your mainstay. Enjoy!
There are a number of new testimonies at the website which I hope you will read and pass on to others when you feel they would benefit. And please feel free to leave your own story if you feel moved to do so.
You need not be 100% raw to share a testimony; the fact is most people on the raw diet are not 100% anyway. Your story may inspire someone else, perhaps from the other side of the globe, to give the raw food diet a try.
Please send me your health questions, they can be submitted anonymously if you prefer, and you may help someone else improve their health and quality life.
Be Well and Wonderful, Hugh
The contents of my website and my newsletter are gleaned from my experiences and observations, meant only for educational purposes and not intended to replace medical advice, consultations, or treatment of any kind. I recommend you see your professional health care provider if you suspect you have an illness or disease of any kind. I'm not medically trained, and I would never suggest or imply that I know what is best for someone else's body or overall health, ultimately each of us is the only one who knows what's best for us.
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