Tuesday, February 3, 2009

90% Raw Food Diet January Results

On January 1, 2009 I started a "Raw Food Diet".  The goal was to eat 90% of my foods in a raw natural form.  I weighed in at 186.5 the morning the diet started.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="320" caption="Weight on 1/1/2009"]Weight on 1/1/2009[/caption]

I found over the course of the month that it was difficult to fully reach 90% raw;  I believe I was probably closer to 70%.  This was still a drastic step for me as before this diet I've never gone without meat or eaten nearly this much raw food.  Over the course of the month my wife and me consumed over 50 lbs of carrots, 40 heads of romaine lettuce, and countless beets, red bell peppers, celery stalks, and apples in the form of fresh raw juice.  We also ate lots of salads filled with more romaine lettuece (ultra high in potassium), red onion, tomatoes and avocados, using only simple healthy oil-based dressing.  In addition to eating raw I completely cut out all dairy, eggs, red meat and poultry.  I had fish 8 different times over the month to average about 1 serving of fish every 4 days (most of my protein came from hemp seed, beans, nuts, and whole grains).

In terms of cooked food we ate mostly whole grains including brown rice, wheat berries, quinoa, and whole-wheat pasta;  we also made some excellent salad wraps with whole-grain tortilla wraps and several tomato/avocado sandwiches on whole wheat toast.  We also had several different applications of beans in salads, dips, and in dishes like black bean chili (that was something my wife made that was fantastic!)

The goal of the diet was to become more healthy and to generally feel better.  So far the diet is definitely working in this regard.  I have more energy overall and just feel better.  I still do not feel like I am in perfect health, but I am moving in the right direction.

One thing I will say about this diet, that is true of any diet that significantly restricts your normal habits, is there have been times where it has been very difficult.  Several things helped me overcome these challenges:  1) my wife was on the diet with me and we were able to encourage each other to perservere.  This was a HUGE help!  2) come up with healthy snacks to satisfy your urges... for me I had a banana with almond butter or a rice cake with almond butter and a little bit of raw honey several times in order to satisfy my desire for something sweet.  I was forced to use my imagination on this diet, but I usually was able to find something to help me get over the hump.  3) go out to eat sometimes!!!  We went to a couple different Italian places and had whole-wheat pasta dishes with tomato sauce  and this helped us to feel a little bit "normal"

Another thing about this diet is that I did consume plenty of food each day.  I wasn't starving myself, I was just consuming lots of food that had a very favorable nutrition to calorie ratio.

Although not the expressed purpose of this diet, I did lose some weight.  On 2/1/2009 I weight in at 170.5 lbs for a total of 16 lbs lost.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320" caption="weight on 2/1/2009"]weight on 2/1/2009[/caption]

I'll be continuing this diet for most of this week, after which I'll start to reintroduce some lean proteins back in to the diet.  The goal, however, is to maintain many of the healthy habits I've developed, and to continue to try to consume a significant ratio (greater than 50%) of raw food.

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="480" caption="Grapefruit and Tangelos"]Grapefruit and Tangelos[/caption]

One of the great things about winter is that it's orange season!! That means fresh squeezed orange juice!!  Not only does it taste better, but I've got to believe that it is better for you since it is closer to its natural state and hasn't been heated up via pasteurization.

It does take a bit longer to make than simply opening the refrigerator and pouring from the OJ carton, but I think it is worth it.  I believe I'm averaging about 5 minutes each morning to make enough juice for the family and me.  Also I've been mixing in some Grapefruit juice in order to lower the sugar content a bit.

My parents live in Florida and actually have several citrus trees in their yard!!!  So they get as much citrus as they want for almost FREE!

The net/net of this post is simple... while it's in season (i.e. is fresher and costs less) DRINK MORE FRESH CITRUS!... it is good for you and tastes great!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice"]Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice[/caption]

Friday, January 30, 2009

Eat This Not That or That

MSN has an article up entitled, "America's Worst Supermarket Food".  It basically selects 20 foods commonly found in grocery stores that are absolutely terrible for your body and suggests more healthy alternatives.  While this is a step in the right direction, it still contains lots of processed foods that could easily be improved upon.  Here are some simple alternatives that are even better.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="480" caption="Fruits, Beans, Whole Grain Rice, Honey etc."]Fruits, Beans, Whole Grain Rice, Honey etc.[/caption]

  • Crunchy Snack:  Eat some nuts and/or seeds.  Roasted nuts, Raw nuts, the less sodium the better... Walnuts, almond and pistachios are great nuts; sunflower and pumpkin are great seeds.  You will grow to love these and they are great for your heart (as long as they are not heavy on the salt).

  • Worst Cookie:  Drop the cookies altogether and eat a rice cake with almond butter and a bit raw honey.  It will soothe your sweet tooth and be good for you as well!

  • Worst yogurt and ice cream alternatives: Make a smoothie with frozen blueberries, almond milk and hemp seed or ground flax seed; if you need a little sweetener add some honey

  • Worst condiment: Don't eat either of the syrups listed.  Use 100% pure Maple syrup and only in moderation; avoid sugar free stuff that is full of artificial (chemical) sweeteners.

  • Worst drinks: They have two "fruity" drinks  here and one is definitely a lot worse.  However to really be healthy you need to learn how to enjoy water! ( I like it with the juice from 1/2 of a lemon);  your body was built to drink water.

  • Pantry Items:  eat a piece of whole wheat toast with a little Smart Spread; it is a great snack... especially if you add some not pantry items like fresh tomato and avocado.

  • Frozen Entrees:  Don't eat them at all... they are generally so far removed from their natural state that it is easy to do much better wo/ spending too much time.  Replace the frozen dinner with the tomato/avocado toast above!

  • Pasta: make the switch to whole grain pasta... you'll grow to not even notice the difference.

  • There are several items on frozen foods... drop them all... eat frozen fruits and vegetables, but ignore all the junk that has been cooked then frozen.  Significant nutrition has long since left those foods after being cooked, frozen, then microwaved!  WHAAAAAT??!!  This food is cruel and unusual food in terms of nutrition.


So... eat this (natural foods like fruits, vegetables, salads, nuts, whole grains, beans, & lean protein), not that (really bad stuff) or that (better stuff, but still not that great!)

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="Honey, Maple Syrup, Almond Butter"]Honey, Maple Syrup, Almond Butter[/caption]

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Superbowl Food (that is actually healthy!)

Superbowl XLIII is in 4 days and frankly superbowl parties are one of the best times to eat snacks!!  With a little planning though you can eat some snacks that taste good, but also actually have some nutrition

Here is what I am planning:

  1. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

  2. Jalapeno Lime Salsa

  3. Fresh Guacamole


These are all fantastic dips and all of them have some great nutritional stats.  I'll be serving these with lightly salted Triscuits and the Natural Yellow Corn Tostitos (these are not nutritious, but you could do A LOT worse, and it is the SUPER BOWL after all!).  As with anything enjoy some of each, but don't gorge out!!! (Save some room for next year! :-) )

Given that the Superbowl is on Feburary 1st, that means I will have completed the entire month of January on my 90% Raw Food Diet.  So I am also planning one major step out from my normal diet of raw foods/juices, fish, and whole grains.  The splurge??? CHICKEN WINGS!!  Fried in good ole fashioned oil!!!  ... any probably dipped in Blue Cheese dressing!!  Remember... it is okay to enjoy some non-healthy food sometimes... just try to remove these items from your normal lifestyle, and enjoy them on "Special Occasions"!!

So...

  1. Enjoy the Superbowl!

  2. Plan to eat some healthy snacks!

  3. Plan at least one "step out" from your healthy diet (the super bowl is a special occasion... even if you hate football!)


Oh... and GO CARDINALS!! 

Digg This Story

p.s.   Here are a couple of interesting super bowl links:

Cardinals Quarterback, Kurt Warner is a really good guy.

The Superbowl is the BIGGEST pizza day of the year! (if you love pizza the Superbowl is a good time to enjoy this unhealthy pleasure!)

p.s.s. Here are a couple other cool links about Superbowl food:

Pittsburgh vs Arizona Food Off!

Onion Dip

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

90% Raw Food Diet

About two years ago I was diagnosed with a heart condition; the term for the condition is Aortic Insufficiency (or Aortic Regurgitation) which effectively means that blood leaks back through the valve causing the heart to work harder than normal. The severity of this condition is quantified as "mild", "moderate", or "severe"; mine is currently moderate. My cardiologist put me on an ACE inhibitor and suggested that we monitor the condition bi-annually.

Some intermittent pain in my chest and stomach areas is what lead me to seek medical attention in the first place (again, this was two years ago). Over the past year I've continued to experience sporadic symptoms that included strange feeling head aches, tightness in my neck, light headedness, and continued pains in my chest and stomach areas. It isn't enough to stop me from working and living a fairly normal life, but it does slow me down some. In addition, since the cardiologist said that the heart valve problem would not cause these symptoms, I decided to search for a cause through a string of various doctor visits accompanied by a battery of tests. All the tests indicated that everything was fine, so despite not providing an answer, it did produce some value: it relieved my mind that at least I didn't have some other serious health issue.

I still had these persistent chronic symptoms though and was getting frustrated that I was functioning below what felt normal for me. So I decided to see a naturopathic health advisor. He said that the pH of my body fluid was too acidic and that my body was experiencing some inflammation. His recommendation was that go on a 90% raw diet that was very rich in nutrients and enzymes. I decided that since conventional medicine had not provided any answers that I would try this; if nothing else, just eating more healthy would be good for me even if it doesn't bring me back to what I think of as normal for me. This visit was in early December though, just before the holidays; I knew I'd be eating lots of meat & sweets over the holidays so I decided I'd start the diet on January 1!

So beginning on 1/1/09 I began a diet consisting mostly of raw vegetables, raw vegetable/fruit juice, raw nuts (almonds and brazil nuts) and sprouts. Whenever I eat cooked food it is a whole grain product (wheatberries, brown rice, quinoa etc.) or one of three types of fish (salmon, halibut, or cod). In addition I've been taking some supplements including hemp seed, krill oil, flax seed oil, and barley/wheat grass (i.e. green drink).

I plan to post updates about this diet over the next few weeks; I've already seen some tangible results as well as come up with some interesting recipes to support these changes. The goal will be to come up with several ways to make living healthier more simple!

All the BEST!

p.s.  Here is an interesting link on eating raw food: 10 Reasons Eating Raw is Healthier...