Raw Vegan/Living Food Potluck - Central NJ Pages

Why Raw? by Barbara Shevkun (aka - Rawfully Tempting)

Why did I make a decision to transition into the Raw Foods lifestyle? Honestly, it was never my plan to do this. It evolved and is still evolving over time. I still zig-zag in and out of it...still processing and working on old food addictions and habits. But hey, life's a journey, and this is part of it.

A raw vegan lifestyle generally consists of eating about 80 - 100% raw plant-based products. I know to some this sounds radical, and most will have no interest in taking it that far. We all want good health, and we can all benefit by eliminating processed foods, and adding more living foods to our diet. I enjoy teaching people just how to do this.

Most raw foodies are people, just like me. They start out innocently sampling a few raw foods, perhaps at a meetup group like this one. A little try here, a little try there, and over time, they may notice some subtle changes, how they feel during or after ingesting this kind of food. They may find themselves feeling more energetic, sleeping better and they crave processed foods less and less

The enthusiasm you hear from myself and others is REAL. Most of us came from a place where we consumed SAD (Standard American Diet) foods, junk foods, processed foods. Most of us did not intentionally set out to go RAW. It evolved.

So, what's so great about it? Well, aside from the fact that W and I both noticed we had a TON more energy, as we researched it, it just made sense. What about those ENZYMES? Enzymes are the life-force of food. Once you cook food above 118 degrees, you destroy the enzymes and obliterate the life force of the food. There may be traces of nutrients and vitamins, but the food is dead. Seriously - dead and many of us feel the difference in our bodies. As we started eating more and more ALIVE food, we noticed that WE felt more and more ALIVE too!

When we arrive in this world, our bodies include a LIMITED supply of enzymes. When we eat cooked food, our bodies work very hard and must steal from that limited supply of enzymes to digest what we are eating. Raw food, as it comes to us from nature, is a sweet little package that includes it's own enzymes. Eating raw foods, gives the body a break. It doesn't have to work so hard to digest what we are eating.

When we steal enzymes from our own enzyme "bank", they are not a perfect match, and while our bodies try to compensate and digest this food, often, it's not digested properly or completely. This leftover gunk begins to ferment in our gut and as a result, we develop acid reflux or indigestion, not to mention other illnesses that result from a prolonged period of mal-nutrition. And yes, when you are not giving the body the nutrients it needs, it is indeed a form of mal-nutrition.

Many of us take these ailments for granted and think they are “normal.” Indigestion? Pop an antacid and we are good to go! Constipated? Take a laxative and everything is fine! We have become so out of tune with what our bodies really need and actually start to believe these things are normal. These ailments are not normal, and the pills we pop and over the counter remedies we choose to take, all have side effects that could be detrimental to our health in the long run.

As we started to include bits of raw meals into our daily routine, we immediately felt more energy. My gut was always hard, bloated and distended. After dinner, I always felt lethargic and ready to wind down for the night. I can tell you that after a full raw meal, we never feel bloated, sleepy, or lethargic. It's amazing to get up from the table after dinner, and not feel like I need a nap. In fact, we would feel so energized that we wanted to take a walk AFTER dinner. We are no longer two zombies camped on the couch in the evening. And at the same time, after years of suffering from insomnia, I am sleeping 6 -7 hours a night, sometimes more ,and for me, that is amazing!

Prior to eating raw vegan, we were both really bothered by acid reflux. I'd often sleep sitting up in bed, propped on pillows. These symptoms stopped almost immediately. The bloating, spasms and swelling in my belly disappeared. Our skin began to clear up. Blemishes and skin tags faded substantially. There was a glow about us. We both lost weight. W lost 35 pounds and I've lost about 25, (although, I still need to lose much more).

I’m still working on some other chronic health issues and I don't necessarily believe eating raw cures everything by itself! Stress is a huge factor and we need to always remember the Body/Mind/Spirit connection. I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis over ten years ago and have lived with chronic pain most of these years. I'm hoping that as I continue to nourish myself with raw, living foods, chock full of nutrients and enzymes, that my body will continue to restore and heal itself. For now, we are both very pleased with the results. Enough so, that we continue explore this lifestyle further.

How did we get here? We started out with W eating my main raw meal, as a side dish and his cooked meal as the main dish. He quickly recognized that we would fill up very quickly and were very satisfied eating much less food when the food was raw. He noticed he ate at least double (if not more), when food was cooked. He began to favor raw food over his cooked food. Then he started losing weight and feeling great. He looked better, and felt better...a no brainer!

I've gotten quite adept at creating my own recipes and some are seriously decadent! But as with SAD (Standard American Diet) desserts, while they are much lower on the glycemic index, many of them do contain nuts and seeds, and may be higher in fat content, (even though they are healthy fats). Balance is the key. But hey, it's sure nice to know that if I want to, I can make an exquisite decadent gourmet dessert that everyone will enjoy... and not feel guilty about it! (And not feel like crap an hour after eating it).

There are ways to prepare raw meals that are absolutely satisfying and enjoyable!!! Some meals are quick and easy, while others do require a little more advanced planning. It's all about choices. Being healthy, treating my body like the sacred vehicle it is, and nourishing that vehicle is important to me. The quick rush that I get from eating a cooked or sugary treat is nothing compared to the overall sense of wellness I feel when eating raw. It was a much easier transition than I ever thought possible.

Creating a blog was the last thing I ever thought I'd be doing, but after experiencing the benefits of eating this way, I had to share this information with others. Preparing and eating raw cuisine is not a diet, it’s truly a lifestyle, and while it takes some planning, it is much easier to do than you can imagine.

How should I begin? To start, add one raw meal a day to your regimen. It can be a green smoothie or a big salad. Eat something you've never tried before. I attempted to add one new thing every day until I found enough things I liked and then could repeat them. I now have multiple uncookbooks worth of recipes that are outrageously divine!

Raw food has changed my life in many ways. We are living beings made of energy. Energy lives and vibrates. Living plants, nuts and seeds are made of energy too and also vibrate. The more alive something is, the higher frequency of vibration it has. Many people believe that by ingesting these living, high vibrational foods, we can regenerate our bodies on a deep cellular level. In doing so, we promote healing, slow down or reverse aging and support LIFE. All I can say is that I feel MUCH better eating this way, than the old way.

When you consume raw food, you will probably feel the difference. If you listen to your body, instinctively you will want to continue. I'm not saying that old addictions don't make this difficult, but if you take this step, be sure to pay attention to your body, and work through the changes...

Nourish and nurture...one bite at a time!

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About Raw Vegan/Living Food Potluck - Central NJ May 10, 2013 8:39 AM Barbara (Rawfully T.

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