Friday, October 5, 2012

Our Current Raw Strategy

Here's our current way of doing things. It's in a constant state of evolution, and what is working for us to day might not be what we are doing tomorrow.

Every Saturday, we pick up produce from Bountiful Baskets, then we go to the local "pick your own" farm and pick whatever is in season.  (This weekend will be pumpkins, yay.)  Then we go pick up produce from a community supported agriculture program we are signed up with.  On the way home, we pick up extra supplies from Costco and Winco. 

So on Saturdays, with the kitchen overflowing with fresh produce, I try to figure out how we are going to use it all up by the following Saturday.  It's a good day to wash everything so that it will keep longer, and start making decisions about what should be consumed first.  I may start hunting for recipes, and making a list of additional items that will be needed.  Most meals are high-raw vegan, and what I mean by that is that we sparingly use non-raw flavorings and condiments like maple syrup, agave nectar, smoked paprika, tamari, etc. 

Thanks to what we learned on The Garden Diet, my husband and I are attempting a three day mini cleanse nearly every week until the rest of our excess weight comes off.  The three day cleanse mostly consists of juices and smoothies on Thursday, mostly water or herbal tea with lemon on Friday, and more juices and smoothies on Saturday.  The idea will be to rest our digestive systems during that time.  On water fast day, we can add a bit of fruit to the water and blend it if it gets too difficult.  We avoid spices and non raw condiments during the three days.  However, this is not a succeed or fail type thing.  Each week we try it, and if it doesn't work out that's okay.  If it conflicts with a special occasion or an event with food, we won't stress if we break the fast.  Of course, the kids will eat as usual while the grownups are on their mini-cleanse.  After my husband and I reach our ideal weight, we will fast less often, and increase our overall caloric intake.

While most of our meals are as simple as possible, once a week or so I may try to do something a bit more fancy.  That is, if I feel like it and have time.  For example, I keep thinking that one day I'm going to attempt a raw vegan Indian meal, complete with samosas.

My 12 year old still enjoys making pizza and other cooked foods, so perhaps once a week or so we enjoy a cooked vegan or vegetarian meal.  However, I find that the more adept we are at prepping raw meals, the less I enjoy cooked food.  When we do eat cooked vegan food, I can feel the difference in my body as well.  I have less energy and more soreness and stiffness in my body the next morning.  The feeling is similar to that of a hangover.

Once in a great while, we may partake in a typical SAD meal, either because of social circumstances or because of family traditions.  It's not something that I necessarily think is a great idea for myself, but for us I feel this lifestyle should not be too rigid or difficult.  So at times we may decide to "go with the flow."

One thing that does complicate things a bit is that one of our children was born with a disabling medical condition which caused a problem called oral praxis, and is in ongoing occupational therapy to work on his ability to process food in his mouth.  He is progressing nicely, but has difficulty eating sufficient quantities of food to grow and sustain life.  The process of chewing and swallowing causes fatigue for him.  At one meal, he can only manage about half the amount of food a young man his age should eat.  As a result, he is fed a supplemental liquid nutritional formula via gastrostomy tube.  The formula is dairy based.  Because learning to eat food is critical to his long term health, anything that we can get him to eat is better than nothing.  For years, one of our goals was for him to be able to chew and swallow meat, and he began to approach this goal just as my husband and switched to the raw vegan lifestyle.  Also, because of his feeding difficulties, he needs to eat high fat, calorie dense food so that he can consume as many calories in as few bites as possible.  In his case, processed foods are better than nothing at all.  He doesn't have a problem with weight, and he is in public school where he is exposed every day to the Standard American Diet.  Of course we encourage him to eat as much raw food with us as he can, but we also allow him to choose foods from the Standard American diet, including animal products.  As a result of this, our home is not 100% raw or even vegan.  But it's okay, and I suspect that many raw foodists share their kitchens with family members or roommates with different diets.

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So what do you think? Have you tried raw vegan food?