May 22, 2008

so i've had a few nervous breakdowns recently, have noticed changes in my body and my emotional health, and have decided to do something about it. i've recently become more interested in raw foods, and the health benefits associated with eating a mostly raw diet. i purchased a new book the raw food detox diet, and i'm both nervous and excited about the prospect of changing my diet habits for the better.

the diet is based on a few basic principles (in addition to many more , which make perfect sense. it's all about doing what's best for your body, rather than tricking it or forcing it to behave unnaturally.

1) enzymes. your body uses enzymes to break down the foods you eat. "dead" (cooked) foods do not have any live enzymes in them to replenish what your body is using to digest them. raw foods have all of their enzymes in tact to facilitate digestion. as you grow older and your metabolism slows down, this is due to the depletion of enzymes.

2) food groups. different types of foods (meats, fruits, starches, dried nuts and berries) require different enzymes to break them down in the stomach. when you mix them, the different enzymes can fight against each other, requiring much more time for digestion, therefore leaving the food in your body much longer. eating in specific groupings and avoiding mixing will help digestion along happily and smoothly.

i'm not going to go all out and totally raw (i love my braised meats more than anything), but i am going to make a few key changes in what i put into my body.

1) more raw veggies. this is always hard over the winter months when our csa is on hiatus and walks to the grocery store are undesirable, but it's getting nice out and our veggie deliveries start in a mere 3 weeks! i'm also purchasing a juicer to make some enzyme rich breakfast juices.

2) less alcohol. i keep threatening this, but i'm finally doing something about it. i feel better when i curtail my drinking, less bloated, fewer headaches. some mineral water with lime in my wine glass gives me the same mental pleasure (i deserve something special) that a glass of wine does most of the time.

3) better planned meals. i can never give up my white pasta (they don't make whole wheat buccatini that i can find), but i'm going to start thinking more about what i'm eating with what. i generally create well rounded meals, in the traditional sense, but following the raw diet guidelines will become more of a part of my meal planning. veggies with everything, no mixing meat and starch, no fruit for dessert (causes fermentation in the stomach), waiting 3-4 hours in between meals and snacks, with the exception of fruit which leaves the stomach in 30 minutes. (did you know that?)

there is lots of room for flexibility here, but i truly believe that following these few basic principles for the majority of my diet will be highly beneficial to my overall well being. for me it's not so much about losing weight as listening to my body and treating it well, which is important as i'm getting older. plus, i never knew how tasty juiced romaine lettuce is.