I'm back! Sorry to leave you hanging for such a long time. It truly does a body good to get out of town every once and a while. I went to Los Angeles with no set plans other than to relax, explore, and have fun with friends. It was a great weekend- except for the weather. Apparently I brought the rain and wind with me. It was actually nicer in New Jersey than it was out there.
The highlight of my exploring (with some suggestions from Lisa) was eating at a raw food restaurant- my first ever! I figured since I was in the birth place of raw food (so I'm told), I might as well experience it. The restaurant was Planet Raw which is owned by Juliano, a raw food chef. I must say, a year ago I would have scoffed at the idea of paying so much money to eat something that wasn't cooked. But now, I appreciate raw food so much more that it intrigues me to see someone make such beautiful and tasty creations. Albeit a little pricey, Juliano's dishes are more than amazing. He uses flavors that I have never tasted before and exotic ingredients that make the dishes all the more unique.
|Spring Roll w/ avocado, kelp noodles, Thai herbs, in a coconut wrapper w/ no-peanut sauce|
I decided to go with a few appetizers instead of ordering an entree just because I wanted to be able to try a bunch of different things. I also made sure I was good and hungry when I got there. The spring roll was my favorite by far. I'm not exactly sure what the Thai spices were, but it had a flavor that I had never tasted before. So amazing!
The great thing about raw foods is that even though I ate a huge meal and was stuffed by the time I left I didn't get that after-meal sleepiness that so often follows a filling meal. The reason for this is because when you eat raw foods (uncooked fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds) all of the enzymes are present in the food, which mean that your body has to do little work to digest the food. That is the enzymes' job. The more I read and learn the more I am convinced that enzymes are just as important as vitamins and minerals. The concept that uncooked food is capable of digesting itself is very new to me. I didn't start hearing about this until I became interested in all this raw stuff.
One of the many benefits of eating more raw foods is that, because your body doesn't need to stop to work on digesting the food you ate, it can continue to work on repairing what it needs to repair. Your body is constantly repairing damage done by stress, toxins, and physical degeneration. Cells are constantly being replaced. Your immune system is fighting off foreign invaders. So when you eat raw foods, the enzymes present are doing the work for your body. There are still things that your body has to do to deal with the food like produce stomach acid and bile and hormones, etc, but the bulk of the work is done by enzymes.
|Truffle Heirloom Brushetta|
The digestion of cooked/processed foods is much more taxing. The reason being is cooked foods, and therefore processed foods, have no enzymes. This means that your pancreas has to produce enzymes to digest the meal, the enzymes need to figure out what the food is exactly, break the food down into its absorbable form, and then tell the body where to send the nutrients after they have been absorbed. This is a lot of work and can be taxing on the pancreas and other organs involved.
This becomes really important for people who are seriously ill with cancer or any other terminal illness. You want your body to spend all of it's time fighting the disease and not digesting what you are eating.
|Sliders w/ fresh & sun dried tomatoes, onion, avocado, on flax cracker w/ fig balsamic reduction.|
So what do you do if you can't stomach the though of giving up your steak and pizza? Just start eating more fruits and vegetables. There are simple things you can do to start to make the transition to adding more raw foods in your diet. If you eat out a lot you can start by always ordering extra veggies to come with your meal. If you get a pasta, get a salad and a side of veggies. If you can, make fruit & vegetable smoothies for breakfast. Replace lunch with a big salad. Make fruit salads. There are tons of little ways to begin to increase the amount of raw in your diet.
It isn't realistic for all of us raw food lovers to be able to eat gourmet raw food like this all the time. First, unless you are in a big city, or live on the west coast it is very rare to even be able to find a raw food restaurant. Second, it is costly which is fine for a treat, but would be way too much unless you are super loaded (one day!).
|Last but not least- pudding made from Irish moss. You would think that's weird, but it was literally AMAZING!|
I have no idea what was in it but it vaguely reminded me of a thicker version of key lime pie.
So do what you can! Remember it is all of the baby steps that add up to something tremendous. Often times people think all or nothing, and most of the time that is counter productive to making progress. Life is a journey and a process.
Anyone else have a raw food experience lately? Good? Bad? Indifferent?