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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Answering Leah's Questions About Raw Food

I received these questions on facebook and with permission I am reprinting it here so that more people can benefit from the answers.

Hi Jennifer,
I am hoping for some insight in to your vegan diet. I don't know if I ever told you, but I have type 2 diabetes. Recently I found out mostly from youtube that people have been reversing their diabetes by eating raw foods and only fish as their meat source. I love vegetables and I want to try to go vegan. The thought of eliminating meat from my diet is a bit scary but I think that it will be sort of a detoxing experience where after a while I will no longer crave meat...or so I hope. I can't have nuts in my diet because my son is allergic to nuts but I can eat sunflower seeds.

One question I have is, do I have to go raw to be a vegan? I love broccoli but only if it's steamed, I don't like eating raw broccoli. Will I really lose a lot of the nutritional value if I steam my veggies? I love lettuce so I can start there but I am worried that my new way of living might be too 'boring' and I won't stick to it. How do you keep your way of eating exciting? How did you start? Did you use to eat meat? Do you eat any bread products if they are whole wheat?
Thanks as always for inspiring me to be better,


First Leah, let me congratulate you on seeking the information you need to help you gain optimal health. Youtube is a great place to find tons of inspirational videos. I recently came across a program called Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days.  The testimonies I came across regarding this program are awesome.  There is a banner up top on the blog that links to the details.  There is also a Don't stop seeking the information that will help you in your healthy living journey. One word of caution - check everything you watch, listen to and read. If within you a red flag comes up then maybe that person's advice is not for you though it may be okay for someone else. The Holy Spirit lives within us who are Christians to give us such guidance for those who are not born again God has given them their conscience.

To clarify, my diet is not vegan. We are ovo and pescatarian vegetarians which in a nutshell means we eat eggs and fish but no other animals or animal products. A post I wrote on 7 Steps to Become a Vegetarian will further clarify what the other types of vegetarians are.

There is no need to be scared of cutting out meats. You can do a gradual cutting back until there is none left in your plate. There are those who cut it out all at once and do well but baby steps work better for most people. One solution to your son's allergic reaction to nuts is to have them for you only and not feed them to him. You could create snacks or so that are just for you to consume so that way you can still enjoy the nuts but keep them away from foods that you prepare for him and the rest of the family.

To answer your next question - No you don't have to go raw to be a vegan or vegetarian. We as a family are striving for 75-85% raw but we are not there yet so we consume the healthier side of cooked foods. Even when we reach our goal we will still be eating cooked foods. I don't believe that you have to be 100% raw to enjoy great health.

As far as broccoli goes I found a great way to have it in the salad raw. I'll share it in a post tomorrow God willing. Quite a bit of nutritional value is lost when foods are cooked but steaming veggies retains some nutrients better than boiling or frying. Don't worry about it too much.  If you eat a good portion of your veggies raw then having broccoli steamed or other vegetables steamed is still okay.

As for being boring, I've found that there are so many variations to basic salad recipes and other raw foods that it's been far from boring. As you've seen from your copy of my ebook - Insanely Simple! Salads For Beginning The Raw Food Journey it's just a matter of mixing 1, 2 or 3 veggies and adding seasonings. Just take it one day at a time in babysteps and you will be able to stick with it.

How do I keep my way of eating exciting? Menu planning is key to making sure that I have the foods on hand to make the various dishes. Just like you've been doing - I research raw food recipes on the internet and choose those that appeal to me. I've been going through the material to become a certified Hallelujah Acres Minister and included in the package is a dvd with recipes and a huge recipe book. Their website is also a great resource for recipes as well.

How did I start? Our journey into vegetarianism started when we did a 42 Day Fasting Program. After the program ended we added back sea salt, sweeteners, fish and eggs but stayed meatless and dairy free otherwise.

Did I use to eat meat? I loved meat particularly beef and chicken wings. I enjoyed preparing chicken in many different ways and my family totally loved it as well. The boys were privy to all we were learning and putting into practice every step of this journey. They heard us read aloud, listened to the audios with us so they were very much aware of the health benefits of what we were doing and why we were doing it. That helped tremendously to keeping them on board so much so that they ask us to do different raw dishes for them on their own initiative.

Do I eat any bread products if they are whole wheat? Yes we do, we eat whole wheat breads, pancakes, waffles and baked goods usually prepared by us at home. We sometimes add other things like flax seed meal, shredded coconut etc to make it more whole grain.

I hope this answers your questions satisfactorily. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

What about you my readers? Do you have any other suggestions for Leah? Or any other questions of your own. Put them in the comments or send me an email. I'd love to hear from you and so would Leah.

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