Saturday, January 19

More than Just an Apple a Day...

The live food movement is an emerging culinary culture we are seeing come on the scene right now, much as the vegetarian movement did in the early 1970’s. People did not flock to a vegetarian diet when it first began, in fact we were somehow a little frightened! What were we afraid of? Did we think vegetables were going to kill us? Perhaps given our high-protein diets at the time we were terrified of not getting enough protein. But, slowly, as we began to understand that grains and nuts are super high in protein too, tasty recipes were introduced, and nutritionists and even doctors began to endorse it, our culture began to accept it. Now a vegetarian diet is not so unusual and most of us recognize eating this way as a healthier trend than the meat and potatoes diet we grew up on. We’re finally accepting that vegetables and fruits aren’t going to kill us and in fact, might improve the quality of our lives.

So like vegetarianism was 30 years ago, the live food movement is being met with trepidation and suspicion. How do you get your protein? Isn’t preparing raw food hugely time-consuming? These are the most common questions I get. Yes, changing your diet seems scary, but it doesn't have to be! And there is a learning curve, for any diet! Yes, live food may seem as weird as vegetarianism may have seemed the first time we heard about it, but like vegetarianism, live food too might one day (soon) be accepted into the fold.

But there’s nothing weird about live food, in fact it is the stuff life is made of. And furthermore is quite gourmet! Live (raw) food is vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains prepared in ways that retain the food’s enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients. That simple. Live foodists flock to this diet not just because of taste and purity, but mainly because they want to maximize the amount of nourishment (and healing) that takes place when they eat! In short, live foodies feel more alive than they’ve ever felt in their lives. Charged, clear, energetic, healthy and thriving.

Raw food is “alive” because these foods have not been cooked or heated higher than 118 degrees. Conventionally cooked foods have had their vitamins and nutrients cooked right out of them, plus it takes them from an alkaline to an acid state, but the cornerstone of the live food philosophy is enzyme retention. Cooked foods are stripped of 100% of their enzymes in the process of being heated at temperatures higher than 118 degrees. Enzymes are essential to digestion! In fact enzymes are essential to our very life! Enzymes act as catalysts for every metabolic reaction in our bodies. Cell division, energy production, brain activity, all need enzymes. Vitamins and hormones need enzymes to do their work, as does our immune systems.
The other interesting note is that cooking converts alkaline foods (most vegetables) to acid ph. Disease thrives in an acid environment, it needs it! Conversely, disease cannot live in an alkaline environment.

When you eat cooked food all the time, the body has to function and fight diseases in a pro-disease (high acid) environment. It also has to scramble to try to generate the necessary enzymes to digest that food. What stress on the body! Here we are trying to nourish our bodies with food and instead we’re stressing it out! The body is only able to poorly replicate the enzymes you just killed by cooking your food. So digestion is not maximized, and many of us suffer from bloated bellies, flatulence, constipation, acid indigestion/reflux, poor memory and other maladies, very probably originally caused by basic poor digestion. Ask a raw foodie the last time they were sick. Cold or flu this year? Nope. Their body’s in a higher alkaline state, resistant to disease, and their immunity is stimulated and on active alert. In the driving position to eliminate any threats to the body as they are introduced.

I’ve been practicing this diet (but still do incorporate cooked food regularly) about 50% to 80% each day for about 13 months. The first thing I noticed was that I had more energy and needed less sleep each night. That means I woke up in the morning more refreshed. I had been feeling before that time groggy, sore and heavy when I first woke up. I have not been sick with a cold or flu once, and it’s mid-January. My bowel movements have been more frequent and regular THAN EVER IN MY LIFE, and I have always been on the constipated side. My pot belly that I had accepted as part of my genetic physique, is no longer puffy but flat and smooth. About 7 years ago I was diagnosed with Hepatitis-C and while I have been a-symptomatic my blood levels showing stress to my liver had been slowly and consistently rising each year. This year my blood levels were down to as low as before I knew I had this disease! The other thing that has changed for me is my brain fog and memory issues have cleared up. My mind feels sharp and clear and I’m not having trouble recalling “that word” I so often had trouble remembering.

I did drop some weight initially but I have leveled off, which is good for me as I am thin, only about 120 lbs. My husband, however, who was overweight did lose 17 lbs. He has not practiced this diet as much as me and is more closer to about 20% to 60%, but he's had benefits besides losing weight. His skin conditions have been relieved somewhat and he also has not been sick once this year, although he is still slightly overweight.

The food is delicious and it is exciting learning to prepare foods this way, although I admit there is a learning curve. I hope you'll enjoy my trevails and recipes on this site, but know that this blog tackled a very off-the-charts high-end recipe book! There are many books with simpler gourmet recipes that prove to be successful your first time.

When you maximize your nutrition by adding foods with the vitamins and fiber intact and live enzymes to your body, metabolic reactions take place and your nerves, hormones and most importantly your immunity/health are maximized. They say the body already knows how to cure cancer and all diseases. It’s just that when we short-circuit the body’s ability to act, we disable this function. Eating live, raw vegan cuisine awakens our immunity and maximizes our health.

It can’t hurt to try it. Vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains never hurt anybody.