There is a huge debate going on in the raw food community right now about how to eat. Do you eat a 100% raw diet? 50% raw? Do you include cooked food, should you eat meat? Can you thrive on a 100% raw food diet? Have I failed if I am not 100%? Can I get any benefit if I only include small amounts of raw?
I find it all exhausting. Take another step back and include all of the information we get bombarded with on a daily basis from the food industry that is misleading and inaccurate, how is a person supposed to figure out how to eat? I have a suggestion. Become aware of what your body needs.
Everyone has a different constitution. You need to find out what works for your constitution. I have become very aware of what works for me. In the summer, I eat almost 100% raw. In the winter, I like to supplement with cooked food, but in a very specific way which I will talk about a little later. I am finding that this works for me. Do I stick to it all the time? No. And here is where it becomes interesting. When ever I do deviate, my body rebels, instantly.
Your body speaks to you, all the time. But you need to become aware and figure out how to listen. If you know my back story, I waited until my body was screaming at me. Shortness of breath, horrible acid reflux, weight gain, sore swollen joints and fatigue were all symptoms that I was experiencing from the way I was eating. I knew I needed a drastic change and I made one. I went 100% raw. Luckily, it was summer and many wonderful raw foods were available.
Here is what happened. I felt amazing. I lost weight. All of my symptoms went away. It was fantastic and it gave me a really good set point for how I could feel. I kept up pretty much a 90-100% raw diet for quite a while. It was amazing. Then some interesting things happened. The first thing was that I started missing some of the food that I was used to. Cooked food. I also was having trouble navigating social events such as dinner at friends, or eating out. Lastly, winter hit. I found myself craving warm, cooked food.
I went though quite a few “ups and downs”, good food times and bad food times. I have finally figured out what works for me. But before I go into that, what I really want to stress is that I had to figure out what it felt like to really feel good, before I could realize when I wasn’t. Make sense?
Once I cleaned out, after I was actually raw for a period of time, I created a set point. A point where I felt great. So, now when I eat food that isn’t optimal for me, my body tells me immediately. So my first and most important suggestion is to clean your diet up. Spend some time getting off of all processed food, grains, and refined sugars. Really up your raw food percentage and eat very clean for at least 21 days. See how it feels. Remember how it feels. Use that as your base line. (Check back in March, we will be doing a 21 day cleanse.) Learn how to listen to your body.
What works for me? 90-100% raw in the summer, with some supplemented cooked food in the winter. When I say supplemented, I don’t mean a completely cooked meal. I mean a meal that is mostly raw with some cooked thrown in for warmth and that hearty feel. Even in the dead of the winter, I don’t feel good consuming a completely cooked meal. Which makes sense because I love raw foods so much!