People ask me all the time: “how do you just eat raw, vegan foods? It seems way too hard!” You know what I think is hard? NOT just eating raw, vegan foods! Today alone, I 1) listened to NPR’s story on palm oil, and how that’s causing environmental destruction, 2) signed a petition against the use of BPAs in Progresso’s soup cans, and 3) yapped with a friend about GMOs. And that’s only the tip of the (rapidly melting) iceberg! What about all the uproar about high fructose corn syrup, “bad fats,” antibiotic use in farm animals, leaching of toxic chemicals into foods and drinks, diseases of the fork (diabetes, heart disease etc.), fish-farming nightmares (fissues–badaboom) and factory farming horrors, just to name a few? How can anyone keep up!? Impossible. Makes you want to just give up and open another bag of Double Stuffs, right? But what if you could easily avoid it all and spend ZERO TIME reading food labels or attempting to discern your furiously scribbled notes about the newest toxic substance and THEN trying to remember what it’s in and all its “technical” names that may have you consuming said substance unawares (e.g., MSG–a neurotoxin, btw–has at least 23 pseudonyms)?
YOU CAN. Here’s your healthy and profoundly simple answer: Eat Raw Organic Vegan Foods.
I realize not everyone wants to commit to the unique adjustments necessary to eat this way, but imagine not ever again worrying about the health factor of what you ate? What if EVERYTHING you ate was good for you? Yeah. That’s my life. Sure, I’ve got to make sure I’m eating a variety and a good balance of foods, and true, sometimes I indulge in too much sugar (you would not BELIEVE the raw vegan cheesecake), or devour 5 delicious figs at a sitting, but my body can handle this. My body, and yours, knows what to do with Real Food. With real food, there’s no illness-inducing body-system-confusion about how to process or store what you ate. Not true with trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, or genetically modified anything. The food I eat is what my body LOVES, 100%. No question about it. I know this not only because of the research, but also because I’m super healthy and I FEEL amazing! My doctor even refuses to test my cholesterol anymore, unless, she says, I change my diet significantly.
I just nod and smile every time I hear yet ANOTHER new study come out singing the praises of a plant-based diet. I’m entirely unsurprised by discoveries of new and heretofore unknown benefits of one phytochemical or another: it’s clear to me that when I eat like this, my body is getting what it needs and wants. Period. Science is incredible in so many ways, but it’s in its infancy as far as the brain goes, as any neuroscientist will tell you. And with foods and their effects on said organ, as well as all the others, well, it’s not so far along either.
Somewhere along the way we got distracted and re-routed from eating what our bodies need, to eating what companies wanted to sell us. But now, particularly with the increasing availability of organic, non-gmo unprocessed foods, we can make different choices without much hassle. Oh yeah, and if you’re eating raw organic vegan, not only is shopping WAY easier, but you’re also relieving the planet of tons of packaging you would have added to landfills otherwise, keeping pesticides out of our air and water, saving the lives of more than 100 animals per year and generally benefitting the environment in countless and significant ways (see here).
Some of the main reasons folks perceive eating raw vegan as “weird” is that a) we’ve been indoctrinated with the belief, all our lives, that we need meat and milk* (we don’t), b) we’ve grown up thinking that real food comes in cans and bags and boxes and has to be cooked –just eating plants seems “unnatural” (aaaaaand that’s how far out of whack we are, people), c) they can’t imagine raw food tasting good (it does) and d) processed food is just SO darned readily available. Oh and a big fat E) MARKETING. Mmmhmmm…
I’m not saying there aren’t challenges to eating raw vegan; there are–and, approaching 4 years eating this way myself, I believe I’ve dealt with most of them. I always say that finding raw vegan food at a typical restaurant is like finding a bolt of fabric at Macy’s: everthing’s made out of it, but to find the thing itself can sometimes be next to impossible. I do get tired of ordering salads, which is why I created the More Than Just Leaves Coalition, to encourage local restaurants to offer more raw vegan menu options. But I don’t eat out all that often, and if I do, I can always find SOMETHING on the menu to munch on, as eating out is more of a social thing for me than anything else.
All that said, everyone has their own path to tread, and not any one path is right for everyone, but if you’re looking to avoid spending your time researching which toxin, additive or chemical is in which food, eating raw organic vegan is a bit of a panacea. Plus, eating fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds is food is to live for 🙂 Live Love, All. Peace.
* I heartily suggest reading The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell; it decimates those animal-product myths we all grew up with.