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Friday
Sep042009

Should I Use Dried Fruit on My Raw-Vegan Diet?

In anticipation of my soon-to-be-released book, "Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet", I've decided to toss another little sneak peek onto the blog.

The following is a snippet from the book, addressing the question of whether to include dried fruit in your raw diet.

Hope you find it useful!

When I first started going raw-vegan I didn’t really have a good understanding of what I was doing.  Not surprisingly, I made a lot of mistakes that had the entirely awesome consequence of making me feel not-so-great. 

One of those mistakes was eating a lot of dried fruit

Now, having the benefit of a nice pair of retro-spectacles and 20/20 hindsight, I can recommend that you not do the same thing yourself

Simply put, dried fruit is the raw-foodist’s junk food.  It shares several of the same problems that we typically associate with cooked foods. 

The first problem is that it’s very concentrated. One of the many upsides to fresh, raw fruit is that it’s moist and very easy to digest.  Dried fruit, on the other hand, is very dense and difficult to digest.  This means that eating dried fruit in volume leads to indigestion and gas. 

The second problem with dried fruit is that it dehydrates you.  When you eat it, your body has to provide its own water to rehydrate it before it can be digested.  This water drain often leads to feelings of sluggishness and fatigue

If that’s not enough, dried fruit is a dental disaster waiting to happen.  When we eat fresh fruit, the natural sugars are washed away quite easily by the water content.  However, when we eat dried fruit, the sugars stay stuck to our teeth, feeding the bacteria in our mouths that cause dental decay.  

So, am I saying that you shouldn’t eat any dried fruit at all?  Well, you’d certainly be able to get by just fine without it, but no, I’m not saying that.  While dried fruit isn’t nearly as good as fresh, it’s still better than most cooked foods. 

What you should do, however, is limit how much dried fruit you eat.  Keep it to no more than half a cup per day.  Dried fruit shouldn’t be the main part of any meal — just a small snack.  It’s also generally a good idea to pre-soak your dried fruit to add back some of the moisture.  This makes it much easier to digest and is particularly useful on tougher things like dried figs.  Just submerge them in a small bowl of water and let them sit overnight.

One exception to these limitations is dates.  Unlike other dried fruit, dates are naturally dehydrated right on the plant.  They retain a fair bit of their moisture and are quite easy to digest, so you don’t have to limit yourself to such small quantities.  A cup or two of dates shouldn’t cause you any problems, as long as you pay attention to basic food combining. 

Even so, I don’t recommend you get in the habit of making dates, or any other dried fruit a significant part of your regular diet.  They’re no replacement for fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, and you won’t experience the benefits of a raw-vegan diet if you’re relying heavily on dried fruit.  So long as you remember to keep them playing a supporting role, dried fruit can certainly be a part of your raw-vegan diet, but just remember to give the lead to the fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition:
The raw food diet made easy for your busy life!

Mike Dillman is a self-taught raw-vegan who began his journey nearly five years ago.   Having worked his way through all the challenges firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself.  You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. FREE eBook"The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes" Mike's FREE eBook lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get Mike’s FREE eBook click here!

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