Sunday, October 28, 2007

Temptation Everywhere!

I just barely escaped...from my parents house. I have told them a thousand times: "I do not want to eat cooked food, and definitely no meat!" So, of course, I come over for a short Sunday visit and the first thing my mom says is: "Want some pizza, I've saved some pizza for you?"

"No mom, I don't want any pizza."

Then my dad: "How about a taco?" They've got Taco Bell bags on the counter.

"No dad, I don't want a taco. How about that game last night?"

It has not been a good week. It had been two weeks since my last burger and fries and it was Friday night with nothing to do except go out and eat half a pound of ground up cow. I hated myself the next morning. On top of that I've been slowly eating some of the Halloween candy I bought for next week. I knew I should have left it over at my mom's house.

So here is the story. I really, really, want to eat a raw food diet. I know that my health depends on it. I have been motivating myself by reading all the books and joining a yahoo group on raw foods. I am immersed in it. But I am really struggling. (Am I sounding like an addict?) What else can I do? Maybe I'm being to easy on myself. I cut myself too much slack. It is so easy to go backwards.

When you cut out animal foods, cooked foods, sweets, ice cream, geeze...that doesn't leave you with much except fruit and salads...and nuts. The only hope, as I see it from this hole that I've dug for myself, is to dive into the recipe books and start making some tasty foods. The only problem with that is...I've never been much of a cook. Popcorn and cooking on the grill was about the extent of my chef skills. Anyhow, I don't have a choice, I can't go back to eating meat and rewarding myself with Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I'm gonna have to find my way around the kitchen.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Raw Spirit Festival - The Payoff


I spent most of Sunday attending cooking classes. This was great. I learned the basics of making raw dinners, salads, and deserts. Most of all, I learned the importance of experimenting. Try to include the five tastes (bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and spicy) in everything you prepare. Use a lot of cayenne pepper, tumeric, yacon powder. In recipes, use avocado instead of butter, macadamia nuts instead of dairy.

I did attend one lecture on Sunday, it was given by Matt Monarch. This was titled: Advanced Raw Living Talk. I figured that should be interesting. Matt walks around the stage like a rock star. So, what do you think is the key to advanced raw living? You guessed it...colonics. And lots of them! I swear to god, these people have issues! I walked right out of that talk, I'm not ever going to be an advanced raw person. I like my shit just the way it is.

Enough of the criticisms. While some of the big name speakers were less than impressive, the many people that I got to meet while waiting in the long dinner lines made the whole trip worth while. Here are some of their bits of wisdom, hard-earned over many years:

  1. It takes time to change. I spoke to many people who had been raw for more than ten years. They all told of what a struggle it was in the beginning and that it took years before they ever became 100% raw, if in fact they were 100% at all. It seems that more than a few do eat some cooked food, but don't talk about it.
  2. Don't beat yourself up about eating cooked foods some times. The idea isn't to be 100% raw, the idea is to be 100% healthy.
  3. Don't think that just because it is raw it is good for you. Too much fat from nuts, seeds, avocados, hinders utilization of carbs from fruit.
  4. Don't listen to everyone, experiment, see what works for you. We are all different. Most of all...don't go to extremes.
  5. Make sure you take a B12 supplement, no matter what anyone says, if you are being vegan.

So, my trip wasn't the most fun thing I've done this year, but, it was inspiring. There were plenty of ups and downs, however, what I learned will bring me to the next step in my raw food journey. More importantly, it will help me to become more healthy. And that should be the number one goal.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Raw Spirit Festival - Sedona, Az. (Part Three)


I woke up this morning thinking that life's journey is not about what and where, but about why and how. How am I living my life, and why am I. The what and where is not as important. Think about that while you are drinking your green smoothie David Wolfe.

Cathy "Goji Berry" Silvers began the day with an inspirational talk on how her daughter was responsible for her becoming a raw food person. Sounds like me, right Gina? Cathy's father was Phil Silvers (Sargent Bilko for those of you old enough to remember), and Cathy played Jenny Piccolo on Happy Days. I met her at her booth, she has a new book out called Happy Days Healthy Living. It looks like a good introduction to raw foods. She brought David Wolfe on stage to read a poem. She is doing an Internet television show on healthy living with David.

Later in the morning I ran into Jenna Norwood, who's introduction to raw foods is chronicled in the documentary Supercharge Me! 30 Days Raw. She also was the executive producer. It is an inspiring video to watch as she takes off the weight and becomes healthy eating raw foods.

She was looking pretty good to me. The only thing I didn't like about her film was the part about colonics and watching what was coming out. I think poop should go right into the toilet and not through some see-through tube to be discussed.

After lunch Dr. Jameth Sheridan talked about the benefits of fasting. While we fast, the body is releasing toxins that have been stored. This is a good thing. However, too much detoxification clogs up the blood. High water fruits and veggies help. A juice fast is good. Then his talk turned into an infomercial and he told us about all the products he invented that will make our colons healthier. As for me, I'm of the opinion that if you eat plenty of fruits and veggies the indoor plumbing will take care of itself.

By now I was getting tired of all the big name speakers promoting their products so I went into the Food Demo Room to see what I really came for: to learn how to prepare some raw dishes. I couldn't escape the colon fixation as Chef Suki Zoe of the UK demonstrated how to make "bum friendly" food. She made a really good raw pesto sauce and something she called "squidge."

By 7 p.m. dinner had not been served so I left for my motel. The Red Sox are in the postseason playoffs so I figured I'd watch them. I went to Picasso's, which advertised gourmet salads, but there was a long wait to get in, so I settled on the Bar and Grill next to where I was staying. The Sox game was on the big screen TV, I settled in with some Coronas, and I admit that by the time the Red Sox had lost, I had consumed another burger and fries. I'm eating more meat at this raw food festival than I do at home. F**k.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Raw Spirit Festival - Sedona, Az. (Part Two)


I spent the morning trying to see as much of Sedona as I could and arrived at the festival early in the afternoon, in time for several keynote addresses...two memorable, one not.

Viktoras Kulvinskas gave a lively opening presentation. He is the co-founder of the Hippocrates Health Institute and a pioneer in the live food movement. At 70 years old he looked fragile, but energetic.
I learned from the address that often it's not what we eat, but what we don't eat that can help us to get healthy. In other words, don't eat animal products. Our bodies store toxic waste, we need to keep it out of our systems. Heated animal protein causes oxygen depletion and that triggers cancer.

I learned that our belief system does more harm to us than chemicals and poisons. Viktoras said that it is easy to change our thoughts. The mind is stupid, if we monitor it we can silence the unhelpful tapes just by telling our mind to turn away. It is funny that if you tell your mind to stop thinking something, it will obey. Awareness is the key.

Victoria Boutenko spoke before dinner. It was her book, Green For Life, that got me interested in raw foods. Victoria told how humans share 99.4% of our DNA with chimpanzees. They do not get cancer or heart disease. She wanted to know what they eat, maybe that was the key to good health. She found out that their diet consists of 50% fruits, 40% green leafy vegetables, and 10% nuts, seeds, and insects.

So, when she tried to copy the chimps (without the insects) she had a do you eat all those greens? Eventually she hit on putting them in a blender, which tasted horrible. Then she added fruit to the mix and the whole thing tasted delicious. And Green Smoothies were born.

The advantage to blending greens, besides being able to consume more of them, is that they are much easier to digest having been liquefied. It was the Green Smoothie that got me interested in raw food because for whatever reason, after making them for breakfast everyday, I stopped craving meat.

Victoria recommends that we follow the example of our nearest relatives and consume lots of fruits, Green Smoothies, and a large salad at dinner time. So far, she makes the most sense to me.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Raw Spirit Festival - Sedona, Az. (Part One)


Within ten minutes of reaching Sedona, for the Raw Food Festival, I was at the McDonald's drive-through ordering a Big McTasty and fries.

I had been so good. I planned everything perfectly. I drank my Green Smoothie on the way to the airport. In the terminal I was not at all tempted by all the people eating greasy, on-the-go- breakfasts. When I missed my connection in Newark I ignored the pizzas and ate three bananas instead for lunch.

In Houston I had apples and an avocado for dinner. When I landed in Phoenix I ate almonds as I walked through the food court minefield. But by the time I arrived in Sedona, midnight my time, I had nothing left but hunger. My reward for trying so hard was a restless nights' sleep as the decaying cow flesh worked its way through my system.

Disastrous ending aside, it was not a wasted day of travel. Had I brought two more apples, or a little raw treat, I might have made it. I didn't count on that missed connection and arriving in Sedona so late. Anyhow, I spent a lot of time reading and meditating. Breathe in...healing; breathe out...forgiveness. I practiced awareness and being in the now. Tomorrow is a new day, I'm alive, and I'm learning how to change a lifetime of bad habits. That doesn't happen overnight. Tomorrow starts the Raw Food Festival and I'm going to learn a lot.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


When I was told that my cholesterol was above normal, I could almost see the glee in my doctor's eyes when he said that I should start taking medication. And if I were the type of person who did not question everything I am sure I'd be popping pills now.

One thing I have learned after having my own company for such a long time: all good advertisements do not look like advertisements. The most profitable ones are disguised as recommendations. More money is spent on secret advertising than is spent on what we all think of as advertising on television and print media. When my doctor wanted me to go on medication he was doing advertising work for the drug company.

When the food pyramid promoted by the government tells us that we should be eating three servings of dairy products and two servings of animals a day--I bet you think that is based on scientific research. Wrong. The meat and dairy industries are behind it. Guess who's getting brainwashed so that people can sell their products.

Sitting in the waiting rooms of nearly all 50,000 family doctors in the US is a magazine published by the American Academy of Family Physicians called Family Doctor: Your Essential Guide to Health and Well-being. Guess who sponsors pays for this free periodical? MacDonald's, the Atkins diet people, Too Tarts (selling spray candy), Bimbo (pastries), PepsiCo, Sinfully Delicious, and 3-A-Day (marketing the benefits of three servings a day of dairy). Do you think that this magazine is truly about health and well-being?

My point in bringing all of this up is to suggest that we call into question all of the beliefs that we have grown up with regarding food and what is and what is not healthy. In researching this book on Raw Food, I hope to get to the truth of what kind of foods are best for us to eat. I am starting from a perspective of skepticism concerning what I know. I want to find truth, not advertising.

In the next post we will discuss the human body and what it is designed for. Are we carnivores, omnivores, or herbivores?

Personal update: Good news and bad. I had a hamburger and french fries Friday night at the bowling alley watching the Red Sox. I thought I could deal with the temptation by having dinner before going out. It didn't work. I wasn't even hungry, but my friend Mike was eating one and I couldn't resist. I also had pizza at my Mom's house this weekend. That's the bad news, I just don't have the willpower sometimes. I am not discouraged though, I'm starting fresh again today. The good news is that I can see that eating fruit for breakfast and lunch, on an empty stomach, is a good thing. You have to eat fruit on an empty stomach, otherwise it gets stuck behind other slower to digest food and rots back there...causing gas, and then you do not get the benefits of the fruit. Anyhow, despite the slips recently, my body feels really loose and free of any aches and pains, even after running six miles almost every day. I am excited about learning more. Even though I am a long way from being raw I feel great and I know that little by little my diet is improving.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Welcome to Reasonably Raw

If you want to learn something, write a book about it. I desperately want to learn how to eat a raw vegan diet. So, I am writing an introductory book on how to succeed. The working title is: Introducing Raw Foods: A Reasonable, Rational, Realistic Guide to Raw Food.

I have seen my daughter and son-in-law literally transform before my eyes when they began eating a raw food diet. I made a half-hearted attempt last year. Now, I am going for it full on. I will share what I have learned with you in this blog. Keep in mind--I could live on hamburgers and french fries. I would like nothing better than to have Ben and Jerry's every night in front of the television. So, I am going kicking and screaming. Why? I will share that with you over the course of writing this book...and maybe beyond.

A quick background check: while I am not a medical doctor, I do have a Ph.D. in psychology. A Ph.D. is a research degree, which means I've received a decent amount of training in getting at the truth of things. Having degrees also in business and philosophy I'm hoping that I'll get at the real truth of raw foods and avoid being tricked into seeing what I want to see or what others would like me to see so they can sell me and you their products. My approach will be skeptical, the research I will base my writings on will be backed up with concrete evidence.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback. Your input can make this a much better book and blog. As I write this I am finishing up my second apple for lunch and fighting the urge to eat a big chocolate chip cookie. So far today I've had a big green smoothie (a fruit smoothie with a bunch of kale blended in) for breakfast and tomatoes and apples for lunch. Maybe an avocado will get me through till dinner.

It has been four months since I've gotten serious about raw foods. While I am not 100%, I have seen significant changes. I've lost 12 pounds (I have not been this weight in 20 years), my blood pressure is back to normal, I run much better, and I have few aches and pains anymore. Good reasons for me to continue the path. Hope you will be inspired too.