Friday, November 11, 2005
Acing The 100% Raw Food Diet
Acing the 100% Raw Food Diet
This is my recent article as it appeared in Living Nutrition Magazine's latest issue, Volume 17, 2005. To get your copy of this 88 page issue and get a subscription please use the link below.
This issue is jam packed with great information including 17 great recipes with pictures. There's also a great interview with Dr. T. Colin Campbell the author of "The China Study." Is he a raw foodist?
You'll also find a super catalog raw food books, kitchen tools and appliances at his main site.
Here is my original title to my article, but David Klein changed it.
"How I Went from Failure to Success on the 100% Raw Food Diet"
This is what he changed it to:
"Acing the 100% Raw Food Diet"
Tennis Instructor Beats Depression and Anxiety and Forges a New Career in Radiant Health Coaching.
by Roger Haeske
As a Radiant Health Coach, I've had some requests to share about my initial failures at going 100% raw. This might help you, as you may have made similar mistakes and you can learn from my mistakes. I’ll also share the many ways the raw diet has improved my life. Starting in 1995, I attempted to go 100% raw for extended periods of time and failed at least five times. One problem or another always managed to get me off eating 100% raw. I started to believe that I would not be able to succeed at 100% raw.
The very first time I tried it, I read two books on the raw food diet. It was Arnold Ehret’s books called The Mucusless Diet, and Rational Fasting. I felt pretty good but after 3 days, I realized that I was giving up way too much. Where was the flavor? All I was basically eating where fruits and some vegetables. I didn't know anything about recipes. I ate very little in the way of nuts, seeds or avocados.
It was too big of a jump for me to make mentally at that time. The tastes were bland to me and so I couldn't imagine eating like this long term. This wasn't what I wanted for my life, so I stopped. The cost for super health SEEMED much too high. I was in my mid twenties and wanted to enjoy life. (Little did I know at the time that eating cooked food was causing my depression. My life is at least twice as enjoyable now even though I no longer eat my favorite cooked foods.)
The next time I tried going raw, I’d read more books. I read Fit for Life and Fit for Life 2 and then I looked for something in Natural Hygiene that emphasized going 100% raw. It seemed natural that 100% raw would be the best way to go. I got The Basic Health Library of three big 8.5 x 11 inch sized books, put out by T.C. Fry. So I learned all about Natural Hygiene, fasting and the other elements of radiant health.
I went 100% raw in the wintertime. I felt many benefits. I felt happiness in every cell in my body. My gums tightened up and I noticed I wasn’t getting any more infections. I had other benefits as well. Eventually I ran into some problems. First of all, I became very thin. This worried me. I didn't want to look that thin. (Now what I think is normal weight has changed. I've also learned to put on muscle so I don't look scrawny.) Then I was cold all the time. I was also hungry all the time. Eventually I realized that I didn't have as much energy as I used to have.
So I started eating dried fruit. Somehow this gave me a little more energy. But I never had as much energy as in my cooked days. Then I got flu symptoms. I decided to heal by fasting but I ate a small quantity of fruit. Therefore, I got even skinnier. This “FLU” just wouldn't go away. It lasted for 6 weeks. I got very skinny, but I refused to eat cooked food as I thought of it as being poison.
I started getting cramping in my feet and other weird symptoms. Had I known a few things I could have stopped that flu much sooner. Muscle cramping I later found out is a symptom of being either overly acidic or overly alkaline.
I was eating mostly oranges at that time with very little in the way of anything else. I ate small salads sporadically and not much else in the way of fruits. It wasn’t an optimal raw food diet and therefore I had to stop, as my health was in poor shape.
Going back to more cooked foods (I still ate at least 50% raw) gave me my energy back and I put on weight, but of course there were other poor health problems associated with cooked food. If I ate too much in the way of grains I’d start developing arthritis in my ankle’s and knees. I also wasn’t as happy as on the raw diet and the other benefits that I had while 100% raw, went away. But at the time I’d rather have those problems than the problems I faced on doing the raw diet but incorrectly.
Eventually I learned about eating raw and soaked oat groats by reading Gabriel Cousen’s book, “Conscious Eating.” I blended them with bananas. I also added lots of spirulina. Sometimes I would blend sunflower seeds with banana. So I tried again to go 100% raw. I did fine for about 2.5 months. Then I had a vacation coming up. I knew I wouldn't be able to handle travel and sticking 100% raw. The reason for this was because I needed my blender for just about every meal. This didn't seem practical that I should need a blender for every meal.
So I gave up eating 100% raw during my trip. Also blending oat groats with bananas was always producing loose stools for me. I eventually developed these red rashes on my face near my nose. I got those because of eating so much spirulina. I ate loads of spirulina for at least two years. It also gave me orange hands as if I were drinking a lot of carrot juice. This happened because of the high levels of beta carotene in spirulina.
Those red spots are gone now. It took about a year of going 100% raw and no spirulina. I learned that spirulina wasn't good because it had B12 analogues that could block the absorption of real B12 in my body.
*** My Raw Food Turning Point ***
Eventually I attended some talks by Dr. Douglas Graham that corrected all of my misinformation. Keep in mind that I had attended lectures by most of the world’s top raw foodists before this. They all came to NY City to lecture. But I still couldn't figure out how to do it. I even attended lectures a year before by Dr. Graham. I was open to new ideas; I just wasn't able to put them into practice for the long term.
The stuff that Dr. Graham covered at these two lectures corrected all of my false ideas about the raw diet. Without him, I would never have made it to 100% raw. The key thing I learned was that I wasn't eating enough fruit. That is why I was weak. Yet I thought I was eating a lot of fruit. But when I analyzed the calorie content in what I was eating, I realized I wasn't eating enough. Calories are important; don’t let any raw food elitist try to tell you otherwise. If calories weren’t important, then why bother eating anything at all?
Here's a great book to get you started with the teachings of my friend Dr. Douglas Graham.
A week after those lectures I drove with my friend and 100% raw foodist Joel Brody to Canada for a week. The night before I had my last Thai Food meal and I planned to go 100% raw for two months and see if I could do it. Having Joel on the trip was incredibly helpful. He brought lots of organic fruit and vegetables. I imbibed how to successfully do the diet in his presence.
A great point he said was that if I was craving cooked food I should just eat more raw food. That took care of the cravings pretty well. I soon realized that at least 50% of the entertainment value of my vacations were going out to all the restaurants. This was especially true as we were taking a tour of downtown Toronto and going through Chinatown. I was constantly thinking of all the restaurants I'd like to be eating in. This really made my cravings go up. I was constantly hungry for cooked food.
Joel told me that in the first year of going raw he really ate a lot. Now he eats much less and he gained back the weight he lost so he doesn't look skinny. I had to eat a lot of food since I was just starting to go 100% raw.
Later in the trip, I learned to focus my mind on all the benefits of the raw diet. I stopped myself from thinking that I could never eat in a cooked food restaurant again. I also told myself that I could eat cooked food again after two months, if I really wanted to. These psychological tricks allowed me to overcome my initial cravings.
Focusing on the health benefits and not thinking about what I was missing, reduced my cravings by 90%. Later I found out that most of the cravings were magnified by my thinking and not any actual physical craving. If you focus on the benefits of eating raw, the cravings for cooked foods reduce dramatically.
Much later on, I learned to start preparing raw food dishes that were so tasty that I didn't have cravings for cooked food anymore. The reason being is I knew I could easily satisfy my cravings through delicious raw foods. I would say that if you can learn to prepare just three tasty raw food dishes, your transition to eating 100% raw foods will be easy.
The easiest way to do this is by getting a great and easy recipe book. Frédéric Patenaude's book "Instant Raw Sensations," will do the trick. Most of the recipes can be made in 10-minutes or less and they don't require too much fancy equipment or difficult to find ingredients.
*** I Speak at Raw Passion – That was Great Fun ***
I was glad to be invited as one of the speakers at the Raw Passion Seminar in Pennsylvania, put together by Dave Klein and Dr. Douglas Graham. I really enjoyed doing my presentations and listening to the wisdom of the other great speakers including Dr. Timothy Trader and Karen Ranzi.
Dr. Graham had this great presentation on making simple and delicious salad dressings. He showed us how we could make a new dressing for each day for the rest of our lives. I believe he came up with over a million dressing possibilities. These were all dressings you could make in less than five minutes in your blender and sometimes with just your hands.
He also showed us how to make quick and tasty desserts. If you want to learn how to do the raw diet successfully on every level, then I highly recommend you attend any event organized by Dave Klein.
I believe that going 100% raw is easy, if you know how to do it right. Most people I've found had a hard time doing it without support. I had Joel to watch over me and help me through the initial stages. He told me the cold sores in my mouth were normal and that they were detoxification.
During the first week I had these sores in my mouth and I kept on biting myself. But they were gone in less than a week. If Joel weren't there I might have stopped my raw experiment right away because I was afraid that eating all that fruit was the problem and not that it was a simple detoxification.
I talk to Joel often and attend support group meetings whenever I can. The more you hang around 100% raw foodists the more it rubs off on you. Being 100% raw is a different way of thinking and you can only succeed once you have adopted the beliefs and habits of a successful raw foodist.
Keep in mind though that you have to be careful. Sometimes you can be doing the raw diet incorrectly and it isn't always detoxification. Check with a Hygienic doctor or health practitioner if you are having extended health problems.
*** How my Life Improved by Going Raw ***
Here are some more benefits I experienced when going 100% raw. Keep in mind going at least 50% raw I was able to overcome my depression and panic attacks, but going 100% raw gave me many other health benefits that just weren’t happening, even on a 90% raw diet.
At 100% raw I am the happiest I have ever been. Happiness is now a natural part of being alive; I don’t have to try to be happy. I also noticed that in the first month of going 100% raw, my body cleared out all the excess mucus that was in my lungs. For the first time in my life I was able to go jogging while breathing through my nose only. Just breathing gives me a high because I can breathe so much deeper. My whole body gets much more oxygen than it ever did before, and it feels fantastic.
Another major improvement is my ability to stand up for longer periods of time. As a tennis coach I used to stand for many hours at a time and I’d come home exhausted with painful feet. Only after going 100% raw, I noticed that I could stand a couple of extra hours without pain.
I never worry about getting a cold anymore. I have been sick, but that was due to eating a less than optimal raw diet. I can be around the sickest people and won’t catch a thing. It’s because germs don’t cause colds, they only show up if you have excess toxins in your body. The times I got colds were when I got a tetanus shot (I’ll never allow that again) and when I ate a lot of those raw dehydrated pizza crackers. A cold is really your body healing itself or a healing crisis.
Going 100% raw also improved my appearance. The bags under my eyes went away, my skin got much tighter. It was like a natural face lift, but for my whole body. I have more energy and at times my body begs me to exercise it.
I also feel more spiritually tuned and in harmony with nature. A big benefit of going 100% raw is that I have much less anger than I used to have. If I get angry it is less intense and for much shorter periods of time.
Life is much more enjoyable by eating this way. If you eat cooked food you only get enjoyment while the food is in your mouth. After that the pain begins. With raw food I enjoy the taste and I feel uplifted after I eat it. I also have more energy to do the things I enjoy doing.
I’ve also noticed my allergies are less severe. I don’t get infections anymore. When I had 18 stitches I didn’t take any antibiotics and I didn’t get an infection either. I knew I wouldn’t, so there was no way I was going to take those destructive antibiotics.
Athletically I have more endurance and I don’t have to work out more. I also have a distinct advantage in the hot weather. I love warm days, for me it seems to be about 7 degrees colder than it used to. On hot days I can run around the competition on a tennis court. They are overwhelmed by the heat and I am not. What an advantage the raw diet would be to professional athletes. Somehow a raw diet just makes you more resistant to hot weather. I don’t even use the air-conditioning anymore. (Save on your energy bills.)
I’ve also lost excess body fat and increased my muscle size. Exercise is what increased my muscle size. But I now look ripped. This is a great diet for natural body builders.
I also noticed I get injured less often. It’s like all the cells in my body were replaced by rubberized cells. You become rejuvenated.
Another major benefit is that I’m not as lazy as I used to be. I get much more work done and don’t have to force myself to do it. I’m also not moody anymore. I was like that my whole life, but that is completely gone. I also used to experience a mental fog after certain meals, that never happens anymore.
I’ve also noticed that my thinking is much clearer and that my creativity has increased. I also used to stutter at times, that is completely gone.
For a list of over 40 benefits of going 100% raw, please visit this page on my website.
I live in the United States in New Jersey. I’ve started two raw food support groups in New Jersey and New York City called “The Raw Health and Happiness Society. To learn more about them you can visit the link below, give me a call at 1-732-226-0782 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roger Haeske is a Radiant Health Coach, Tennis Instructor and the author of “Think and Go Raw,” “Infinite Tennis,” and of these informative websites that will help you succeed at going 100% raw:
Well I hope you enjoyed the article and make use of the resources I have linked to in the article as well.
To Your Radiant Health, Happiness and Fitness, Roger Haeske