Reasonably Raw

by Susan on April 5, 2010

I love tea. I love losing myself in all of the wonderful aromas, the ritual of preparation, and savoring the moment that it brings. I get asked often if I drink tea. I do. Is tea raw? Not likely. I could dismiss the issue by reminding people that I am not 100% raw all the time, but I think there is a bigger question that needs to be addressed here. It is about being “reasonably” raw.

Being reasonably raw asks the question, “If it is good for me, gives me health benefits, and doesn’t interfere with the benefits I am getting from being a raw foodist, do I really need to eliminate it from my diet because it isn’t 100% raw?”

Tea has amazing health benefits. It is full of antioxidants that help fight the free radicals that do so much damage in our bodies. There are many studies that demonstrate the cancer fighting properties of antioxidants. Green tea has even been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. I choose to be reasonably raw when it comes to tea. I don’t want to give up such an enjoyable way to give myself the health benefits of tea simply because it isn’t 100% raw.

Being reasonably raw involves listening to your body. I know that because I am almost 100% raw, when I deviate with unhealthy foods, my body immediately starts screaming at me. Not an exaggeration. I get lethargic, have digestion issues and mostly just feel cruddy (as I ask myself…why did you do that?) But when the deviation from raw involves feeling great, getting health benefits and supplementing my raw diet, I believe I have made a reasonable choice for myself.

Everyone must find their own “raw” path. I am not here to tell you what you can eat and what you can’t eat. I am here to guide you in your choices and hopefully help you to find interesting, healthier alternatives in the form of great raw food recipes, to what you have been eating. I want you to get in touch with your body and discover what works for you. Hopefully, we can all find a reasonable path in our quest for health.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

JeanB April 5, 2010 at 11:22 am

Agreed! As you can tell from my email addy…I’m a tea drinker too…good loose leaf teas….mmm.

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bitt April 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm

awesome post!!!!!

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Eco Mama April 5, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Right there with ya!
xo
Eco Mama

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Rick April 5, 2010 at 2:54 pm

agreed 100%. i’m trying to stress this in my blog as well.

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Blaine April 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Totally with you – I love me some tea.

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Dot D. April 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I’ve been drinking tea since I was very young, first as a medicinal and then because I liked it and hated coffee. Today, I still drink tea and love it. Thanks for the post. This site is one of my top 3 favorites. I love all you do and thank you from the bottom of my heart for it.

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Marianne April 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Thank you for this. I love your approach. You may know a healthy way to live, but you offer it as an exciting possibility, rather than as something that “should” be done. Very nice.

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Mary Turtle April 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm

I like this post. I’m an avid tea drinker – not quite doing half raw, but trying to eat a healthy diet. Green Earl Grey is my fave. I am addicted to it, either hot or iced. Onward!

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cristina April 6, 2010 at 9:28 am

reasonably raw is the best term I have yet heard, Susan I will pick this up and re-use it… again you are rawmazing, love c

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scherry valentine April 6, 2010 at 10:01 am

Not a tea drinker yet, but I have aspirations. I think new raw foodies feel that they have to shoot for 100 percent because they (me) are saturating themselves with raw food info and love what they are learning, most of which touts cooked foods as void of any nutrients. So that is the impression that sticks with us newbies. Thanks for your balanced approach.

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Gail April 6, 2010 at 10:11 am

Hi Susan. I love to receive your emails. I was drinking my morning Chai Tea as I read this one. I’ve tried creating my own healthy version of the Starbucks Chai Tea using Roobais tea, Indian Chai seasoning, a slice of ginger, coconut milk powder or cashew milk for the creamer, and stevia for sweetening. Do you have any suggestions on improving on this? You have the BEST recipes out there!

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Kathleen April 6, 2010 at 10:32 am

I have a lot of herbal/medicinal teas. Traditional chinese medicine is fascinating in relation to the medicinal purposes for teas. And there are many teas that either have no caffeine or minimal caffeine. I love being a raw live foodist but I do not give up a good pot of medicinal tea.

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Zoe V. April 6, 2010 at 10:34 am

Great blog with an important point. The raw food journey will be different for everyone. Some may feel best at 50% raw, others at 90% and there will be those who have no problem maintaining 100% all the time. Personally, our family is around 85-90% raw and plan to increase that number once we get a dehydrator (hopefully this month). When I give advice to others on the raw food path, I ask them to incorporate as many raw foods in their diet as possible, and go from there. Telling someone to go 100% overnight will only alienate and kill the enthusiasm. It’s about making this your lifestyle and not a temporary diet to lose weight.

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Catherine April 6, 2010 at 11:17 am

Thank you for voicing what I so strongly feel. My biggest fear in going down the raw path was not being “raw” enough and that I would never measure up…but what a trap that is. It really is about doing what is best for yourself and setting your own standards. So I lift my cup of tea to you! Cheers!! :)

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zc April 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Totally true and totally agree. Thanks for sharing that insight. You’re great !

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Tressey April 6, 2010 at 6:00 pm

I love tea during all seasons. My current love is nettles tea. It works wonders on my intestinal tract, boy I had no ideal what was lurking about in the midst of all the fabulous fresh, unprocessed eating. Do share, what are some of your non-raw eats?

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Marty April 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I agree to. I can not and will not, nor do I think we need to give up hot or warm beverages. I need hot beverages, esp in the climate where I live, Alaska. At -40 to -60 in the winter, even +20 to -20, I need hot tea. I drink it all day long actually, yerbe matte or green or herbals and sometimes chai though without any milks of all. I use stevia for sweetener because I would use way to much honey otherwise. I don’t drink my tea boiling hot but wait until it cools slightly. I think we’re being fanatical to entertain the thought of giving up “hot” beverages. The tea leaves are dried, not processed. If someone really has a pinch with it, use only 105 degree water to steep your tea? Or only make sun tea when you can.

If I lived in a tropical climate all year long, I might do only sun teas and harvest my own herbal plants to make herbal teas. No matter where you live in the U.S., there is no tropical climate year round.

Good points, something I’d never even considered before, but I can’t go to the extreme of giving up warm beverages esp when my body is needing it! I have many chinese medicine remedies (one for my asthma) that I drink – there are just many other schools of thought that we can embrace while maintaining the food part of the diet raw.

Gail, I can write later a homemade chai recipe I have, with whole herbs and with powdered herbs that I’ve had for years.

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Neeta April 6, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Love this post, speaks right to my heart!!
Thank very much for all you share……

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Wind April 6, 2010 at 9:26 pm

It’s fun when the rigidity falls away. I am always looking at this issue. It is lovely to eat almond butter made in the processor even though the almonds are pasteurized. I feel so good making salad dressings out of soaked cashews even though they are steamed open. Tea is so lovely as a tonic or personal rejuvenating ritual. I am always asking myself what matters most. I think it’s fun to follow that strand of thought over the years..

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Lola April 6, 2010 at 10:30 pm

After the initial excitement of going raw waned, I realized the importance of asking not ‘is this raw?’ about every little thing, but instead, ‘is this healthy?’ I found this a more balanced approach.
For me, I’ve never desired to let go of my love affair with maple syrup.

Thanks for your post.
:) Lola

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Mike April 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

Uhm, guys, me and my family are not also 100% raw no matter that we have tons of recipes and we enjoy every single one. However in relation to the tea I can just offer a little alternative, as sometimes if you read enough about your tea you will find out that about 70% of the vitamins inside (vitamin C in the green/white tea is about 2000mg as far as my research pointed) will be destroyed and in this case only the minerals (which are in no way less important of course) are left behind the healthy scene. So we have started making our raw tea and I must admit that it is no way worse in taste and warmness than the regular method of preparation. All we do is just to soak the tea overnight (and we use all sorts of flavors, even nuts mixes with almond, carob powder etc.) and then put them in the dehydrator for about 20-30 minutes before the time we want our warm tea. Of course feeling 40-46 in your stomach is completely different than the 60-70C temperature, however if you put just a tiny pinch of chilly, some cinnamon and/or ginger that will really replace the heat need :)

Other than that in order for us to be 100% raw we will need our bodies to tell us to do so. If we have no cravings about some potatoes and or brown rice (I know they have good sides too if we eat them once in a while) than there will be no guilt and no stomach upsets. I totally agree about the Raw food style as I have spoke with hundreds of people that are either giving up or are somehow on their way to do it just because they are punishing themselves when they had satisfied one of their cravings and have dropped the percentage from 100 to let’s say 80-90 for a day or two.

So No guilt, No problems, just try to find your recipe that is as healthy as the raw one is and enjoy it!

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FrugalMegan April 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Wonderful! I totally agree :D.

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Augusta April 22, 2010 at 7:24 am

Susan, thank you for this perspective. This is EXACTLY how I feel about raw. When I get comments like “oh she won’t eat it, it’s not RAW,” note the sarcasm, it can get under my skin. I just want to eat healthy and happy. And what’s healthy and happy for me will be completely different for someone else.

When I teach raw food preparation classes, the question always comes up about whether I am 100% raw. And I like to explain the individual raw journey similarly to how you have here. Thank you again for this post.

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Russ April 25, 2010 at 11:30 am

I love this post and the term “reasonably raw”. So much effort goes into categorizing ourselves, are we raw, raw vegan, vegan, vegetarian? But really, why miss out on {insert your simple food pleasure here} just because it’s not raw or because it doesn’t fit properly into the category you want to fit it in. Personally, I am not raw, nor am I even vegan or vegetarian since I do deviate from time to time, but I believe in those lifestyles, I believe in what they represent to each of us. I am vegan most of the time with heavy leanings towards raw, but just because once in a while I don’t follow the rules doesn’t mean that the rest of what I am doing is all for naught. Thanks for this post to show that we all make the decisions that are best for us, and it doesn’t change the big picture of our lifestyle choices.

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Susan April 27, 2010 at 7:36 am

Thanks, Russ! I think you stated it better than I did!

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FrugalMegan June 8, 2010 at 6:27 am

I liked what Mike had to say about making Raw tea…I was wondering myself if I found some good sun dried loose leaf green tea and made “sun tea” out of it, if it would technically be raw…I’m certainly with you guys about being reasonably raw, but it would be an interesting technique to get more nutrients!

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Susan June 8, 2010 at 7:25 am

Megan: The issue would be in finding out how the tea was dried in the first place. If it was dried with heat over 116, you are starting with a tea that has already seen too much heat to be raw. Sun tea is would be a great option. It is not only good, it is very energy efficient!

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FrugalMegan June 27, 2010 at 8:44 am

I might just try my hand at Kombucha- You know, when I have “spare time”! http://www.seedsofhealth.co.uk/fermenting/kombucha.shtml

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