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Vibrant Living, Issue #143 Socializing in the Raw & New Raw Recipes
July 09, 2013
|Greetings Health Seekers,
Welcome to the VIBRANT LIVING NEWSLETTER
Ah, summer has arrived, bringing with it all that is wonderful and good…like figs, my summertime passion. Things seem to flow along so effortlessly during these summer months. Food is plentiful, people are out enjoying the weather and nature, and everyone seems a little more amiable towards their fellow homo sapiens.
This is an ideal time of year to be a raw fooder and to share your way with others if they are open. Sharing can be as simple as inviting friends over for a meal that just happens to be raw. And at this time of year it’s so natural to serve raw dishes in various salads and dips that no one will think much about it at first, but over the course of the evening it will undoubtedly bring forth inquiries. Answer questions, loan a book or refer them to a good website like raw-foods-diet-center, all in your easy natural way and they’ll come back for more when they’re ready. Sharing the gift of health is the most noble of endeavors.
In this issue of Vibrant Living there is an article on how to eat raw while visiting friends and family who are not, some wonderful new raw recipes for your summertime or anytime enjoyment, a few interesting health statistics and the usual pearls of wisdom from the health quotes of various knowledgeable individuals. Please Enjoy!
Gretchen, my significant other, suggested I write an article on how to eat raw while visiting friends and family who eat regular diets. She should know because she travels 5 to 6 times a year to spend time with family and friends who generally consider themselves “healthy” eaters, but are a long shot from her raw food diet. Due to her job, she also finds herself in many social/work situations where the standard American fare is being offered and has become quite adept at enjoying her meal and eating with others without standing out.
So many people feel that socializing is the biggest challenge about eating raw, and it can be if you don’t plan ahead and don’t have the right attitude. My number one rule for anyone starting on a raw food diet is, keep it to yourself. Don’t proclaim to the world that you are now eating a raw food diet and all cooked food is poison. I would tell people you are doing a cleanse, trying a cleansing diet, experimenting with a natural diet, or anything else that sounds relatively short term and fairly mainstream. You can even say your doctor has you on this diet. And you can say that without lying if you’ve watched a raw video or read a book by one of the many doctors promoting a raw diet.
Otherwise, being ignorant about the raw diet, others may worry about your health. And if you have been following the diet long enough to see noticeable results they may feel threatened. They feel threatened because if you’re getting good results following the raw diet that means they must be doing something “wrong” and will have to change their behavior if they want to achieve those same results.
There can be a big difference between a social event and dinner with your family, particularly if you have already lost some weight. Co-workers or friends may be a little concerned, if they even notice, but family members may think you’ve joined a cult and need to be saved.
As creatures of habit it is very difficult for most people to do anything more than ponder a lifestyle change. Self defense mechanisms start to work on the psyche until we feel happy and content to stay with the status quo. When you bring the highly emotionally charged topic of food into the mix it can be like trying to pull someone out of solid concrete. They’re happy where they are…and not always, but often, they want you back the way you were too.
The only thing in America we like more than heroes is tearing one down and seeing them fail. Whether out of love or fear friends and family members may tell you that you look unhealthy, you have lost too much weight, when actually according to the BMI index you still need to drop a few more pounds to be in the healthy range. They’ll ask where you get your protein and calcium, vitamins and minerals. And perhaps even play the guilt card…you’re ruining Christmas dinner because you won’t eat what everyone else is eating.
In situations like these, it’s helpful to remember that it is usually other people’s issues, not yours that is creating the stressful situation. You’re only trying to improve you health and perhaps protect animals and the environment. So sometimes you need to be part magician and part therapist to navigate these situations to a positive outcome. And sometimes people will still feel threatened and worry about your health, but once again those are their issues not yours. You’re on your own path, a journey to greater health, compassion, and understanding of all creatures and the universe we live in.
I hope I haven’t painted too dark a picture, but I did want you to know how it can be. As for Gretchen, her family is wonderful and supportive, although when she first went raw they became concerned with her weight loss. My mother thought I was being extreme and worried about the usual protein and calcium issues. Over time when she could see I was thriving on the raw diet and she met some of my raw friends who seemed healthy and normal she began to accept that it was a healthy path for me.
When we would go out to dinner I would bring an orange, avocado, and cucumber to add to the large bowl of lettuce I would request from the waiter. She and my brother would chuckle as I dressed my salad with the items I brought.
So knowing your family is a good place to start. Be aware of their hot buttons and decide how exactly you’ll tell them about your “cleanse”. A little lead time over the phone a week or so before your arrival is a good way to let them digest what you have to say. At that time tell them you will provide your own food, but if they ask what they can supply let them know. You can ask them to shop for a few items or to stop by the market on the way home from the airport. Sometimes that really helps because then they feel like they’re doing their part as host.
As for the logistics, here’s our list of helpful tips:
• If your hosts ask about what you’ll eat be very clear with them that you will probably not be partaking of the general fare and offer to provide your own food.
• If your hosts are shopping for you be specific and if they’re getting something that needs to ripen like bananas or avocados suggest when they should be bought.
• We've found that if we just get the food we need and prepare it to eat at meal times with everyone else, it's really no big deal at all. We don't isolate ourselves, but join in at mealtime and everyone is usually fine with it.
• Let the host provide something for your meal if they want. It makes you more a part of the group and satisfies the host’s needs.
• Sometimes we make things to share, like a big salad for others to enjoy too. My cousin Jane used to love to have me come and stay. She would say will you make one of those big salads you make tonight. She might have some fish with hers, but we were mainly sharing the same meal.
• Don’t bring up your cleanse or diet unless they do, but if it does arise, I advise against getting too in depth about it. Say you’ve read about it and done research and decided to try it for awhile to see how you feel.
• If you’re not 100% raw then you can partake of some cooked veggies, potatoes, or rice. Just remember not to go totally junk food and make yourself sick. If you do overdo it don’t beat yourself up, it was only one meal. Get right back on track with the next meal.
• The main thing is doing your own thing, and not worrying about what other people say or do. Remember why you’re eating a raw diet and why it’s important to you. Know that and be crystal clear about it before you arrive at your destination.
If you’ve been on this earth for very long at all you are aware that as people change and grow their sphere of influence and friendships can shift and they remake themselves time and time again. Sometimes we look back and wonder what happened to some of those that at one time were close, but are now just a memory. This time in your life is no different. The raw food lifestyle and all it represents can move you light years from where you were and away from some of the people you know in a very short time. I’m not saying you have to give up all your friends or your family, only that this journey may put you on a different path than some of those people. Your family will always be your family, and hopefully they are as wonderful and supportive as Gretchen’s are, but this way of life can bring up issues for all those involved. It’s important for you to not lose sight of your dream if things begin to feel uneasy for anyone.
Now the truly Wonderful side of all this is that you can have an amazing positive influence on your family and friends, and they will become engaged and ask questions and become thirsty for knowledge because you were brave enough to step outside your comfort zone and seek a greater you. In my experience this is usually what happens.
You have the opportunity to have a huge impact on the health of those around you. You hold the possibility of extending the happy years of your parents and making the lives of your siblings more enjoyable and filled with life, enhancing the lives of those around you in more ways than you can imagine. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
“Early human ancestors were not predominately meat eaters, or even eaters of seeds, shoots, leaves, or grasses. Instead, they appear to have subsided on a diet of fruit. No exceptions have been found. Every tooth examined from the hominids of the twelve-million-year period leading up to Homo Erectus appeared to be that of a fruit eater.” ~Dr Alan Walker of Johns Hopkins University, in the May 15, 1979 edition of the New York Times
“Seafood is simply a socially acceptable form of bush meat. We condemn Africans for hunting monkeys and mammalian bird species from the jungle, yet the developed world thinks nothing of hauling in magnificent wild creatures like swordfish, tuna, halibut, shark, and salmon for our meals. The fact is that the global slaughter of marine wildlife is simply the largest massacre of wildlife on the planet.” ~ Captain Paul Watson, SeaShepard.org
The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that high animal protein intake is largely responsible for the high prevalence of kidney stones in the United States and other developed countries and recommends protein restriction for the prevention of recurrent kidney stones.
It takes 10 times the amount of energy from fossil fuels to produce a calorie of animal-based food than it does to produce a calorie of plant food. ~Forks over Knives video
“Our work shows that casein, the chief protein in milk, is the most relevant cancer promoter discovered.” ~ T. Colin Campbell, Ph. D., Cornell University, author of The China Study and Whole
Water required for producing one pound of food in California, according to soil and water specialists working with the University of California Agricultural Extension:
Water used to produce:
1 pound of lettuce - 23 gallons
1 pound of tomatoes - 23 gallons
1 pound of potatoes - 24 gallons
1 pound of wheat - 25 gallons
1 pound of carrots - 33 gallons
1 pound of apples - 49 gallons
1 pound of chicken - 815 gallons
1 pound of pork - 1,630 gallons
1 pound of beef - 5,214 gallons
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
• In recent years, heart disease played a role in one of every four deaths.
• In 2008, 405,309 people died from coronary disease.
• Every year about 785,000 Americans have a heart attack.
• Another 470,000 who have already had one or more heart attacks have another attack.
• In 2010, coronary heart disease alone cost the United States $108.9 billion. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.
• Heat disease is the leading cause of death for most people of most ethnicities in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians.
• For American Indians or Alaska Natives and Asians or Pacific Islanders, heart disease is second only to cancer.
All of the above information is stunning in its entirety and yet it is only a minute compilation of the devastating effects of animal product consumption. It certainly makes me ever so thankful that I found the vegan path. That decision to switch to a plant centered diet has changed my life and continues to change my life in innumerable ways.
Super Summer Salad
”If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” ~ Desmond Tutu
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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