Thursday, March 15, 2012

Raw Food

If you've been reading for any length of time, you know I talk a lot about food.  I've written about our general eating habits, and more recently Dan's thirty-day 100% raw detox eating plan.  I don't think I've explained why he chose to eat this way for a month, and I know some of you are wondering!  No, I didn't nag him into it; he researched everything himself and was the one to get me on board.   

Nearly two years ago, Dan was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, a recurring disease in his dad's family.  He immediately began to make changes to his [already fairly healthy] diet.  He cut out all processed foods and nearly all sugar consumption.  We have always eaten a meat-restricted diet due to financial constraints, as I have ethical concerns about purchasing anything but organic meat, which is obviously more expensive than it's non-organic equivalent. However, after Dan's changes to his diet, we decided to cut out meat altogether, apart from the occasional meal including chicken or fish.  This gradually dwindled to around once a month, then not at all unless the kids were asking for a specific meal that included it. When you lose your dependence on animal products, it's so easy to replace them with other foods that taste just as good or better.

Last year, Dan began to research diet-related ways of reversing diabetes, encouraged by reading even news articles that admitted the scientific proof for this possibility.  He finally settled on doing a raw food detox for thirty days, deciding that February would be his detox month.

At first, I felt concerned about the sustainability of the plan, even though we do eat quite healthily anyway.  However, it turned out to be much easier than I'd thought.  I've detailed our raw eating some;  recently writing about breakfast, with plans for future posts about lunches and main meals.

Dan has been so much healthier in the last thirty days.  When coughs and severe colds assailed the rest of us last month he was the sole member of the family, the 100% raw-eating one, who remained healthy apart from a few minor sniffles.  Unfair? Comparatively not.  He was the one eating a plate of cold food when the rest of us enjoyed steaming hot soup on a freezing winter's day!

However, his body liked the raw food detox, that's for sure.  His thyroid doesn't produce enough thyroxin [a condition called hypothyroidism] and he's been taking thyroxin medication for the last six years.  After his detox, the thyroxin levels in his thyroid have risen, indicating that his diet could possibly be helping his thyroid improve it's natural levels of thyroxin.  Also, his blood sugars have been found to be in what's considered to be the normal range for non-diabetics.  A cynical doctor has admitted he's found all of this hard to believe, and even mentioned the possibility of putting Dan on a particular type of medication reserved for diabetics, in spite of the fact that every one of Dan's blood tests proved to be normal, with no cause for concern.  Not surprisingly, I think Dan's going to be visiting a different doctor from now on!

I'm thankful for the opportunity to use the general knowledge about food and nutrition that I've been gathering for so long and put it to good use.  Already others have been encouraged by the improvements to Dan's health and have expressed a desire to do something similar.

However, it's not a quick-fix solution to weight or health problems.  If not done properly, more issues could result!

I was very careful to ensure that Dan had enough protein, calcium, and other vital nutrients in his diet.  He wasn't just eating salad and fresh fruit.  Chia seeds and cold-pressed hemp oil provided the Omega 3 fats that he needed.  Sprouted chickpeas, mung beans, and lentils gave him calcium and protein, as did nuts like almonds.  Brazil nuts, walnuts, and cashews provided other minerals and protein.

As long as you understand what you need to include in order to incorporate raw food into your diet more, or just as a detox, there is so much scope for creativity!  I enjoyed making up new recipes almost every day.  I'll be including a few in future raw food posts, and will also be posting them on my recipe page.

The following recipe books on Amazon received great reviews from raw food novices, so if you feel you'd like extra help getting started, here are the titles:

Ani's Raw Food Kitchen, by Ani Phyo
Raw Food Made Easy, by Jennifer Cornbleet

And three links to raw food blogs with great recipes, and/or links to recipes:

Raw on $10 a Day
Happy Foody
Fragrant Vanilla Cake

We didn't buy a dehydrator or a food processor, which many raw foodies use to make palatable raw food that more closely resembles cooked food.  For a month-long detox, there was no need.  We haven't ruled them out as future purchases, though.  We're making raw food a large part of our diet as a family, and a dehydrator or a food processor would help us include even more recipes.

Dan has slowly re-introduced some cooked food into his daily intake, though the transition hasn't been easy. He says his tastes have changed, and he craves fresh food.  At the moment, he's having raw food for breakfast, lunch, and snacks; and he's eating whatever we're having for tea, which consistently includes a wide variety of fresh salads.

I hope this answers some of the questions I've been asked about raw eating.  Please don't hesitate to contact me by e-mail if you have any more! 


  1. so much wonderful information here! very inspiring. As you know, that was my plan as well, to do the raw food cleanse myself. I haven't gotten there yet. I want to do more research first and you've given such good information here that I can use :) thank you so much for sharing this journey. You may get an email soon ;) xo

  2. Wait a second, was it before or after the detox that Dan's dr wanted him on the medication. Either way, it does seem pretty rediculou if your bs levels (ha!) are normal. Yay for normal bs levels!

  3. Dr wanted to put him on statins after the detox... refusing to judge from current blood results, using diagnosis from two years ago as the reason! Crazy, huh?

  4. I eat 50/50 raw, and Ani Phyo's Raw Food Kitchen is my FAVORITE raw book- BUY IT!! I found a food processor at the secondhand store for $5- it really zings up your raw food experience. I use a dehydrator sometimes, but I'm usually too busy to want to bother making myself special "two day in the making" treats. Bravo for you guys!

  5. ....and HEY!!! I just looked at your profile and I know you from flickr!! I <3 you!! Hi again.


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