Sunday, August 9, 2009

What is RAW food and for heaven's sake WHY?

Whenever I tell people that I am or have gone "raw" I usually get contorted faces of disgust wondering why I would ever want to subject myself to such a thing. Many think I am eating raw eggs and meat. I am not eating raw eggs or meat. I have no intention of subjecting myself to food poisoning. Raw food is a way of eating that is all nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies in various forms and combinations.
I was first subjected to "raw" food when I was studying kundalini yoga and sound healing. Most of what I experienced was made in a blender and was a bit too spicy for my taste. I usually went to these events smuggling in granola bars to sustain me as I politely sipped my baby food. I'm not saying what I was served was not good, it probably was delicious but I could not tolerate it for whatever reasons being physical, emotional, spiritual or just plain not my desired food combinations.
Working in the "wellness" industry, I have lots of folks in various stages of seeking health. Very few come in with McDonald's and there is a lot of discussion about nutrition. As I am a larger kinda gal who works out regularly, eats pretty darn healthy but still battles a slower then average thyroid and genetics that really like fat to stay on my body, I prompt a great deal of critiques from my yoga students, pilates students and bodywork clients. Still big and bending like a pretzel don't seem to match in peoples minds, but possible none the less.
I have been all organic or at least mostly organic for years. I believe in the power of nutrition. My son, who has autism, has taught me the power of nutrition in healing. Modifying his diet early on changed his behavior dramatically. Dieting has been in and out of my life more than men or good dates and I have tried everything to break my sugar habit (sometimes successful-sometimes not) from Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, medicine, herbs, standing on my head and whistling dixie.
One day a yoga student told me that her daughter had gone all "raw" and was eating delicious recipes. She asked me if I had ever heard of the program, which I had not and later brought me a DVD of this woman cooking raw food. It looked so easy and delicious but I still had a bad taste in my mouth from kundalini. I held off but it ate at my brain.
Several months later, I decided I would buy some equipment to head into the raw direction. For my birthday, I got a dehydrator. Not your average birthday present but it meant I did not have to commit right away because I had not spent MY money on it. My dehydrator sat in it's box for months. Maybe half a year later, I decided to go on some websites and find a class. I took my tax return money and signed up. At this point, I got the dehydrator out of the box and gave my first go at "going raw".
The class was SO MUCH FUN! I enjoyed learning the basics that I was fumbling over and we made delicious raw italian food. I went 100% raw for about two and a half weeks until my children got a pizza and my will power went down the toilet. The pizza won. It tasted AWFUL but I stomached it and then convinced myself that I could live in both worlds. I took another class and became certified to teach raw food cooking to others. I had so much fun but I found it extremely difficult to prepare raw foods for myself while preparing regular foods for the kids. Not only was I doing twice the work but my old programming went the way of tortellini before it went the way of raw. I tip-toed in and out of raw-ness for the next several months with varying reactions in my body but never stayed there long enough to really go for it.
Recently my daughter seemed to start getting sick on most dairy products which prompted me to re-examine our diet and nutrition. My son's fixation is global warming so we are already mostly vegetarian to reduce our carbon foot print. He has been asking to go vegan for awhile but I did not support it because I wanted to make sure he would get enough protein. With my daughter's intestinal objections to dairy and meat already pretty much out of the picture, I picked up my books on raw food and re-examined the issue.
I called a family meeting and asked the kids if they wanted to go for it and got a thumbs up from my son and a pensive thumbs up from my daughter as long as I still allowed oatmeal and brown rice in case she didn't like what was being served. I agreed and three weeks ago we began our journey as a family into being raw. Being hip and cool to my pre-adolecent children and building my own enthusiasm for this new lifestyle, we have titled our journey together as the RAWKIN ADVENTURE! Did you hear the enthusiasm? We make RAWKIN food! We are a RAWKIN family! You gotta feel it by now.
It has been an interesting three weeks so far with some success and some failure but our commitment grows stronger as our journey goes on. I want to chronicle this journey as we examine how changing our perspective on food, it's preperation, our health and the social impact we face doing it "different" then the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) and all that society places on it's importance. Take what you like and leave the rest but know that I am NOT preaching nor trying to be idealistic, I am simply trying to do what is best for my kids, myself and be honest about the ups, the downs and the all the way arounds. Hopefully with some humor and a lot of reality.

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