Raw Foods

One thing you should know: this was a failed experiment and the resulting calorie deficit may be partly responsible for my pitiful stature of five feet, two inches. Probably not, but maybe.

Another thing you should know: if you embark on a raw diet, in order to consume enough calories, you’ll have to eat a lot. And I mean CONSTANTLY. Whatever you accomplish during the day, it must be accomplished between devouring fistfuls of unpasteurized almonds and dehydrated apricots. And you’ll still be too hungry to haul your anemic self much of anywhere but back to the refrigerator for more raw broccoli florets.

That’s what I found, anyway, during a month of raw veganism when I was sixteen. The rationale was that the body benefits far more from the nutrients and enzymes found in food that have not been damaged by heat or processing than it would from, say, a grilled cheese sandwich. This means a diet of raw and dehydrated fruits and vegetables, nuts, sprouts and smoothies — anything that can healthfully and reasonably be consumed raw (For some, this includes eggs, meat and dairy.) As a health-conscious youngster and an on-again/off-again vegetarian, I was all for the idea. Talk to any ardent raw foodist, and he or she will tell you that leaving your food untouched by heat and selecting foods that do not require cooking translates to tremendous energy and weight loss. After my experiment, I can’t vouch for the energy part; but sure, by the end of that month you could definitely count my ribs.

As with everything, though, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things, and I am now convinced that my efforts were of the latter sort. Eating raw requires planning, culinary expertise, commitment, research and networking — none of which I did or had. I was so intimidated by many of the complex and time-consuming recipes that I often opted to not eat at all.

Of course, there are healthy, vibrant raw foodists out there who make a positive contribution to our planet’s well being with their support of organic and sustainable agriculture, and whose avoidance of meat and dairy products is nothing to sneeze at in terms of its potential impact in curbing an excess of greenhouse gasses. As for me, I prefer to do other things throughout my day in addition to eating. Grilled cheese, anyone?

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