Raw Food-The Way God Meant Food To Be!
Raw Food, No it doesn't mean taking a bite out of the cat!Nor does it mean chasing down a deer or chicken and eating it skin, blood and all! Okay, now that we have that out of the way, what other creature on earth cooks its food? None. Only humans destroy the inherent life giving energy, vital nutrients, vitamins and enzymes of their food by cooking it. Many health advocates now suggest taking supplemental enzymes to help people digest their food. Duh! God meant for us to eat the food he supplied for us with this beautiful life giving planet. Natural from the earth, food. Fruits and vegetables, grains and grasses. Life force is still in natural and raw fruits,vegetables, grains and nuts. It is the life force that sustains us. Over the past hundred years, man has industrialized, processed, and pesticides the one thing that can keep us alive and healthy. What has it done for us? Cancer is at epidemic proportions. Everyone I know knows of at least one person who has cancer or has had cancer or has died from cancer. Most all diseases and ailments come from not eating proper food. So who am I to be writing this article? I work in the food industry, for one of largest processors of grains on the planet. Everyday I see advocate groups protesting the processed crap we make. Everyday I see our lobbyist and scientist spouting off report after report to simply defend the processed crap that my company makes. Yes, you too have probably consumed something we make. No you say! Have you had a soda in the past ten years? Have you had syrup, beans, any thing at all that came from a box or mix? Then you too have consumed pesticide residue or high fructose, or some other abomination that is put in our foods now. The children get the worst of it. Highest rates of obesity in the history of the world. With the fast food industry taking the lead only closely followed by the snack food industry. Preservatives, chemicals, processed and colored crap. It is a shame that we teach our children that this crap is food. Oh, you say but my kids love the Happy Meal. No they don't, they love the toy. But because of the toy they are now addicted to the crap in the chicken nuggets. My daughter refused to eat anything else for months, until I took the time to put a stop to it. But that is the issue is it not? Time, convenience, cost, those are the real reasons why we buy the prepackaged, processed, frozen and sometimes ready to eat right out of the can garbage the food industry passes off as food. Food industry, what a joke. The food industry is really a farm, where they still grow food from the ground. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains. These are our true foods. In the natural form they come in when they are pulled from the ground or plucked from a tree or vine. This is what we were intended to eat.
Okay that was my rant on the situation we have come to in this society with the so called food industry and what and why we eat their poisons. Now on to Raw Food!
I was introduced to a raw food diet back in the late nineties while working on my graduate degree. I had a professor who had been diagnosed with colon cancer. They gave him six months to live. He told me he refused to believe that nonsense and planned to do something about it. I was thinking Buddhism , witchdoctors in the Amazon and other thoughts went through my head. He turned to me and said no, I am going to go back to the basics and eat what God put here for me to eat, I am going to change my life. This was pretty heavy duty coming from a man who only had six months to live. I asked him what he had in mind. He said I am going to eat like my grandmother ate. She lived to be ninety nine years old and lived her entire life on a farm within a one mile radius of where she was born. So I said you mean like fatback grits and gravy? He said no, she never cooked their food because they were always working in the field. She lost his grandfather in the first world war and had to manage everything herself. The only thing she cooked was eggs for breakfast, always boiled, and soup. So Tom, my professor did just that. He only ate raw vegetables and fruits. Sliced tomatoes with salt, broccoli apples, bananas and so on. So six months later he went back to the doctors who were baffled by him still being alive, but not only that, the tumor was gone, not bigger like they expected, not smaller as they might assume since he was still alive, but gone. Absolutely gone. Vanished. Not only that but his colon was now healthier than it was before, in fact his whole body was healthier than he was six months before. So Tom became my hero. I thought I would try this idea of eating only raw food. I did not last two weeks. I really loved steak and I really loved burgers. It was just too much. But I did try it though, and I did feel better and more energetic. It was hard though. I was single, back in school at thirty and drinking every day, which of course left little time to prepare food so I blew off the idea and went on my merry way.
Then came the american dream. Got married, had children, house, picket fence and a dog. My wife loves to snack(not that she was to blame for anything but her own weight and health struggles). I never cared much for snacks but I think it was how you were raised as to how important such things are to you. My wife grew up never having snacks in the house. It was always something special or an occasion to have chips, candies or cupcakes. Not me, my house always had lots of pop tarts, twinkles, cupcakes, chips of every make and imagination and dips to go with. My parents entertained a lot as well as having gone through he depression era, they were not about to do without now that they had progressed so far up the life ladder. So for me, it was no big deal, it was not important. I always had that junk. So there was never a desire for it so never a habit developed of eating snacks. But my wife on the other hand was a hard core snacker, which of course made my kids snackers as well. So one day eight years later as I climbed the corporate ladder sitting behind a computer eight hours everyday, I had the most horrible realization. I looked in the mirror one morning on the way to take my kids to the pool. Oh my God!! What had I become? I weighed only 160 pounds when I met my wife, I had over the course of eight years added an extra sixty to that. I was ashamed. I was disgusted. How did this happen? What did I do? How did this come to be? I always was the skinny guy. I wanted to hide. I did actually. I would not were shorts or shirts that were not loose enough to cover the rolls of fat that I found on my body. Remember that old cereal commercial, pinch an inch. I could pinch a lot more than an inch, I could pinch a half a foot. So what happened? How did this happen? I took a long look at my lifestyle over the past eight years. What had changed?...... Well, it was my Dad. I had become my Dad. My Dad would always eat what we left behind as kids because he could not stand to waste food. I apparently inherited this issue. Oh well, it also could have been the M&M's I ate everyday, or the milkshakes and ice cream floats I made for the kids each night. And of course the left over candy. I usually ate more of the halloween and easter candy than the kids did. This all called for drastic measures. I had to change. Food had become more important than I realized. It became a habit instead of a fuel stop like it was when I was single.
Enter the Raw Food diet.
My wife was not about to change her lifestyle or eating habits. So I immediately realized this was something I had to do for myself. I was on my own.So I immediately became a vegetarian and based my entire consumption of food on 80% raw foods. This vegetarian thing alone upset my wife. "What will I fix for dinner if I cannot base the meal on a meat?" I said there are so many other foods we can have that do not revolve around meat. This is when it hit me. Our entire lives we have been programmed that meat is dinner. Remember the commercials"Beef, its what's for dinner". I could not think of a single meal for the past eight years that did not revolve around some form of meat. So, my wife agreed to make me vegetarian dishes for dinner. She was not happy about it, but agreed. So my first day with my plan to change my lifestyle was met with horrible realizations..... Fruit sucked! I started that first day with strawberries, which now I find very sweet but that first day, tasted awful. Then I had bananas for lunch. What was that all about, I thought. It was filling but I could not stand the taste of it. It was like eating bland mush. I really wanted meat! I had been used to going out to eat for lunch each day, usually to a buffet of some kind. Chinese, barbeque, country cooking', there were a plethora of buffet's to choose from. So I ate well everyday before that day came. By three o'clock, I was starving. Absolutely starving! I was ready to give up on the whole idea, until I got home and took off my suit and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Once again I felt disgusted. Starving but disgusted with my weight. My wife had cooked spinach stuffed cannelloni for dinner with a marinara sauce. The kids wouldn't touch it. I was starving so I sucked it down like candy. So I realized I would have to try something different if this was going to work. I remembered Tom and how he used to create different recipes with raw foods instead of cooking them he made substitutions for meals you would normally cook. He had given me several recipes way back when. I remembered one for raw food spaghetti. I took one look at all that was involved and gave up before trying.
Raw food, so what was the point really? It was for my health, the way God intended it to be. So I sat down that night and meditated on it and prayed. This was not just about my weight it was about my lifestyle and eating so many things that were dead. Dead, yes that is the truth, if it is not living , alive with nutrients and enzymes and life giving energy , it is dead! So, as a very spiritual person I meditated on it and asked the universal spirit to help me with this effort. Immediately it came upon me that I did not have to eat the raw fruits and vegetables by themselves. I could spice it up a bit. I was making this change for the life giving energy and to reverse the damage I had done to myself over the past eight years, I wasn't trying to be a food guru or some hard core vegetarian. I just needed to change. Peanut butter! Hey, it is natural, and honey, it is natural too. So the next morning we tried the strawberries again, this time soaked in honey. Much better. Took three apples and three bananas for lunch. Coated them in peanut butter. Also much better. So then I was on a roll. I came home that afternoon not as starving as the day before. And I was on a mission. I spent an hour in the pantry going through different spices and condiments to see what they were made of, I was searching for anything that would make this a better experience for me. My wife had gone shopping and brought me home broccoli, carrots, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber, romaine lettuce, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, apples , plums and peaches. I was set. Day three was much better. I actually went out for lunch with my coworkers and they being intrigued and supportive of my new plan, we went to an all you can eat salad bar. I learned something that day. Salad sucked as bad as fruit did. I ended up coating the salad in Italian dressing and cheese. It was bearable. My wife had grabbed some vegetarian cook books and was trying her best to accommodate my plan. Very gourmet funky stuff I would never had ever tried otherwise. But day four was much better. Strawberries began tasting okay by themselves, but more importantly I changed, I felt better, more energetic, more alive. Lunch was better too, I ate the bananas with cashews instead of peanut butter and the apples by themselves. The fifth day, I actually went for a bike ride after dinner. I was feeling alive again. The point is, I was so conditioned to things being a certain way, salty and greasy and grilled, that my taste buds were not accustomed to the real taste of food anymore. Real food had become bland and tasteless. By the sixth day, that all changed. I could taste the sweetness of the peaches and strawberries, and the blueberries, oh my God were they tasty. It was an awakening experience. Then I was reading a book by Edgar Cayce about food where he had said that we should eat a diet consisting of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic. I thought well, I had gone this long without meat, why go back now? My wife though was getting tired of a meatless life, after only a week, and wanted steak. Unfortunately she wanted me to grill it. Not going to happen. I remembered some other books I had read on the Essene diet, how they were all about living food and based their entire diet on fruits, vegetables and grains. I think the authors name was Edgar Sekeley(sp) but he had a book called Biogenic Living. Basing the diet completely on living foods. He was some sort of guru in the 1920's who lead a group of followers to different healing retreats throughout the world, but his big thing was sprouts. Eating of living sprouts they grew themselves daily. I was intrigued by this but hated sprouts. After a little research I found that broccoli sprouts were a complete food, protein plus all the vitamins of full grown broccoli. What a deal, right. Tasteless though, even with my new found ability to actually taste the food I was eating. More to come....As a primer, in the second half of this article we will talk about recipes, where to get the best fruits and vegetables, does it matter if its organic and other topics about the way I changed my life with Raw Food! Read part two of this article series....