{Book Review: My raw food diet experiment}

While I was training for my half marathon and full marathon this past year, I began to experiment with my diet by incorporating a more vegan raw food approach towards eating. Not that I eat terribly bad, I do love to indulge and you don’t ever have to twist my rubber arm when it comes to ordering dessert, but I do try to eat healthy about 70% of the time.

I started by decreasing my consumption of red meat, then transitioning to only eating meat about once or twice a month. I bought a couple books for recipe ideas and inspiration. As a jump start, I bought Natalia Rose’s “Raw Food Life Force Energy”, a book that offers an approach to raw food living without having to give up chocolate and fish. Natalia explains that incorporating a raw food diet along with eating foods in accordance with her food combining rules will allow us to experience radically improved levels of health, beauty and happiness. She provides a 21 day program with recipes in her book, along with tips to help with the detoxing process and ways to relieve daily stress.

What I love was that you didn’t need to buy any fancy equipment to follow her recipes, like a lot of raw food recipes I see (requiring expensive dehydrators, $400 blenders, etc..) Plus the ingredient list for each recipe was simple and easily accessible at your local grocery store. Plus she encouraged indulging in dark chocolate after a meal. Yes.. this sounds like my kinda healthy eating.

The thing i DIDN’T love was the eating without mixing food groups approach (which was supposed to make digestion as efficient and as speedy as possible, so as not to decrease your life force energy). She splits up foods into groups: fruit/vegetables/grain/flesh(meat & fish)/nuts, etc..

She explains that you should combine foods in a way that you don’t mix certain categories, so no eating bread/grains with flesh, eating fruit ONLY on an empty stomach, nuts only with veg and no other group, etc.. If you follow the recipes, it’s easy enough. But it gets pretty frustrating when you start to cook on your own. I’m sure if you stuck to it long enough, it would become second nature, but the last thing I want to distract me from creating a delicious meal is being pre-occupied with thinking “can I combine this.. crap, I can’t mix cheese and nuts..” The big turnoff was that I wasn’t supposed to eat my tried and true morning toast and nut butter.

Overall impression, the book had great simple recipes that are both easy and delicious. But as for the food combining, I will eat fruit WHENEVER I want and continue to enjoy my heavy-handed slathering of peanut butter on my cranberry pecan toast.

Did I feel healthier, more invigorated after?.. Quite honestly, I think the abundance of raw veggies actually made my digestion kinda uncomfortable at times. I DID notice I went to the bathroom more often as result of the “quick exit” way of eating.. not sure if that’s a good thing.

What am I taking away from this book to incorporate into my lifestyle? Not being afraid of good fats, like avocado and nut butters. Since increasing my intake of these, I have noticed my skin is more hydrated and my nails and hair seem more healthy and strong. I also discovered a few new items that are now staples in my house like cinnamon date manna bread (an “almost” raw bread – found the frozen section in health stores – so good toasted and smeared with almond butter).

As well as a healthy alternative to ice cream – blending frozen bananas in a food processor – instant soft serve “ice cream”, mix it with some mint and cacoa nibs for a refreshing dessert.

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