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From: Ryan (71.238.189.52)
Subject:         Re: mom wanting to start family on raw foods - LONG
Date: July 18, 2012 at 11:59 am PST

In Reply to: mom wanting to start family on raw foods - LONG posted by Julie on July 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm:

I applaud your efforts to remove animal products from your diet and to eat raw foods, which are what humans are designed to eat (like every other animal on earth).

My recommendation is to eat a low-fat raw vegan diet, as it is closest to the ancestral human diet, the diet that humans ate when anatomically modern humans emerged about 200,000 years ago. Such a diet will consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, in their whole, fresh, ripe, raw, minimally processed state. Organic is preferred.

Fruit should be predominantly tropical (based on our human heritage)-bananas, mangos, papayas, watermelon, pineapple, etc. They should be eat whole, from the flesh and not juiced. This will provide you with the bulk of your calories and vitamins, and a good amount of minerals. Aim at getting more than 85% of your calories from fruits.

To balance out the fruit you need vegetables, predominantly tender leafy greens and salad greens, such as various lettuces, spring mix, baby spinach, baby bok choi, etc. They should also be eaten whole, not juiced. Do not add any oils or oil-based dressings or vinegars, as these are not whole foods. They are concentrated fat sources or irritants which are not found in nature. You can add non-sweet fruits (tomatoes, cucumber, summer squash) and vegetables (carrots, broccoli) to your salad for variety. Aim at getting at least 2-3% of your calories from leafy greens, but 5% (more or less) is optimal. As an example, one large head of lettuce or one pound of spring mix or one pound of spinach give me 5% of my calories when sedentary, but less if I am more active, in which case I will eat a little more. It may take time to develop a taste for plain greens, as our tastes have been perverted by agricultural and industrial foods.

Fruit and leafy greens in the correct proportions are all that is essential to a healthy raw vegan diet, but nuts and seeds can be added in small amounts. Try to keep nuts and seed to 8% or less of your calories. I go for long stretches eating only fruit and leafy greens, and only eat raw nuts very infrequently.

If you eat as I have outlined above, and you eat a sufficient amount of food, and you eat it correctly (with gratitude and thanks, peacefully, relaxed) and assimilate it well, you should not have any dietary problems.

Your budget, however, could be a problem. I spend $150-200 on food just for myself and I buy mostly non-organic, as I cannot afford to buy 100% organic. Assuming you could get by spending $150-200 per person, and assuming that your two children eat the equivalent amount of food that I alone eat (which is likely off the mark, do not take this as dietary advice), you would need to spend $450-600 per month on food. This is probably a realistic budget.

You could instead plan on eating one or two meals per day low-fat raw vegan, and the remaining meals low-fat cooked vegan. This is the best compromise that I can see for such a situation. If I were starving and unable to obtain fresh fruit, I would fall back on whole grains and legumes and cooked vegetables. You want to be careful not to add any fat to the cooked dishes. Instead, you will have to add herbs, spices, low-sodium and MSG-free seasoning mixes, nutritional yeast and low-fat sauces. Try to limit or eliminate salt, vinegar and MSG (or autolyzed yeast extract).

Since you are preparing meals for family members you may need to dress things up to make them appealing, as some experience difficulty eating plain fruit and vegetables at first, and plain cooked vegetable foods are extremely bland. There are many cookbooks for both low-fat cooked vegan and low-fat raw vegan diets.

Here are some LFCV cookbooks:
The Mcdougall Quick and Easy Cookbook
The New McDougall Cookbook
The Happy Herbivore Cookbook

And some LFRV un-cook books:
Megan Elizabeth has some books on preparing raw foods
Veronica Grace has a book and DVD set on preparing raw foods.

I prefer the simplicity of eating the foods as nature provides them, and one type of food at a time (monomeals), with a rest between meals. This way the food digests and is absorbed easily, and you develop a keen taste for each food. But starting out you may want to mimic the mixed meals you are used to.

A good overview of the diet can be found in The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Doug Graham. He also moderates a Raw Foods & Sports Nutrition Discussion Forum on VegSource.com. It is important to understand that diet is just one (though usually critical) aspect of health, and attention must also be paid to exercise, clean air and clean water, stress and your environment, and many other factors.

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