Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Raw Vegan 101: Shed Weight and Improve Your Health This Season- With Raw Treats

Don't you dare not read this entire article! Get back here! These healthy lifestyle posts get less views, but dammit, I will LEARN YOU because I care about you and your health. The Spring (Autumnal if you're in the Southern Hemisphere) Equinox begins tomorrow. A fresh season is the perfect time to reboot healthy eating habits and my Essential 5-Part Raw Vegan series will help you get healing food into your body! I'll admit I've slipped back into cooked vegan eating (and gained 5lbs along with that) so this is a refresher and journey for both of us. First let's discuss What exactly Raw Veganism is and why it's so good for you:

1) What the hell are "raw" vegan foods? You eat uncooked food?! Satan, Unclean!

You've never had salads, salsa, or guacamole then? Nor freshly peeled oranges and bananas? Think of raw vegan eats as another way to prepare minimally or unheated fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

2) What do you mean by "minimal" heat?

Raw food shouldn't be heated over 118 degrees Fahrenheit, 104-118 degrees is the normal range. The food is "heated" via a dehydrator if it needs to be.  Most raw meals are not heated at all.

3) Why are raw vegan dishes minimally heated?

Enyzmes and nutrients in your meals are damaged once heated over a certain degree. Unheated fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds are still "living" and full of undamaged fiber and water when you consume them. They clean out your cells when you eat them.

4) "Living" Food? Woman, you're losing me on this crazy hippie train! Why is it living? Why does that matter?

A lot of raw vegans will explain that eating "living" food makes you feel more "alive". I have a layman's, yet scientific, explanation: Our bodies haven't evolved to break down processed food, it takes your body systems and their respective organs/cells more time and effort- the more time spent breaking down complicated meals, the less time your body can spend on boosting immunities and other internal healing. Simple raw food is more swiftly converted into ATP- energy. Think of it as energizing "healing" food.

5) Why is raw vegan food "healing" food?

Raw vegan food is food in it's simplest form, it's incredibly easy for your body to digest. With less time spent on digesting, your body can spend more time healing itself. This is the perfect diet for anyone trying to boost immunity, heal maladies, and lose weight. You'll find you rarely, if ever, get sick. I'm excited to write some diets for sick family members and report the results. It's also very beatifying.

Note: I promise you will never get bored eating "raw" food, above is an amazing raw vegan "cheese" burrito made with nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies. You can make healtheir versions of any food you crave and even warm it up if desired.

6) Interesting. Beautifying? How does that work?

First, your filling your body with beautifying nutrients like Vitamin K, D, A, C and E and Omega fatty acids from the fruits and veggies you fill yourself with on a raw vegan diet. This, coupled with the increased time and energy your body has now that less time is spent on digestion contributes to a swifter cell turn-over-rate, the result is glowing, youthful skin. You can look younger and healthier eating delicious raw food. I had a break-out that persisted until I stuffed my anti-inflammatory fruits and veggies. I look younger and weigh less than I did in my early twenties now being in my late twenties.

7) So you can lose weight on a raw vegan diet?

Many find it helps you reach the weight you desire if you balance it right, whether you're trying to lose or gain weight. Many will find themselves losing weight on a raw vegan diet because they fill up on the water and fiber still present in their "uncooked" meals. BUT you can gain on gourmet raw meals, so be careful.

8) What are "gourmet" raw vegan meals?

You can prepare ANY cooked food equivalent you can imagine using only raw fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. The art and challenge of accomplishing this is known as "gourmet" raw foodism. These meals can be very high in calories, fat, oil, sugar, and salt so depending on how you balance your diet it's not for everyone and not all of your meals should be salt and calorie fests no matter if they're raw or not.

9) How do you know so much about raw veganism anyway?

I've been cooking in a gourmet raw vegan kitchen 1 to 2 times per week for over a year now, and I've been sticking to eating a mostly raw vegan diet for the past 2.5 to years or so, and experimenting with it before that. I go back-and-forth with what percentage of my diet is cooked and what is raw- but I'm always much healthier, happier, and lighter the closer I am to fully raw. These hands are now trained to whip up delicious vegan meals swiftly!

10) So I'm confused, what's the difference between raw vegan, vegan, vegetarian again?! Too much info!

Vegan: Doesn't eat eggs, cheese, or meat. Doesn't wear fur/leather.
Vegetarian: Eats eggs and cheese, does not eat meat. May use animal products.
Raw Vegan: You only eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds not heated over 104-118 degrees faranheit. DOES NOT eat tofu, tempeh, legumes, beans, rice and other cooked starches.

11) Can you recommend any books or resources?

I have a whole post on tools, pantry staples, books, websites and resources coming soon but my two favorites are: Ani's 15-Day Fat Blast and Ani's Raw Food Essentials- I adjust her recipes to lower fat/salt nowadays. Easy to be Raw and Fully Raw Kristina have helpful, high-quality YouTube channels full of recipes and tips.

You Can Do It! DON'T let all of this confuse or daunt you, I'll be breaking it all down further from here. You don't have to jump into raw veganism cold turkey. I've experimented and have to say just switching your breakfast for a berry smoothie in the morning and adding a large green salad to your day can make a world of difference. Go slowly, go at your terms, and do what works for you.

The Raw Vegan 101 Series: 
Part 1) What is it and Why is it Good for You? You Are Here
Part 2) My Raw Journey, Routines, FAQ, and Tips to Stick to It (March 25)
Part 3) Essential Raw Vegan Tools, Books, and Resources (April 1)
Part 4) Pantry Staples for Creating any Dish you Crave Rawfully (April 8)
Part 5) Adding More Raw Healthfulness to Your Diet On-The-Cheap (April 15)

/ Comments Off but Will reply swiftly on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter. I have a Spring Cleaning series on the way for the new season, too! E-mail me if you have any questions.
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