Friday
Dec042009

Calling All Vegetarians! Get Your Priorities Straight. (Part 2)

In my previous post, I used an anecdote about a recent staff function to illustrate a couple of issues I see with many vegetarians and vegans. 

My first point was that they make their diet into a religion and define their lives by it.  I've already elaborated on this and explained why I feel this is a sign of vegans losing their focus somewhere along the way. 

My second point was that they blindly follow the notion that nothing is healthy unless it's totally plant-derived; and vice versa, anything plant-derived is healthy.  That's what I want to talk about today. 

Why eat a vegan or vegetarian diet?

The easiest way for me to discuss this issue is to start at the beginning.  So, I'll ask the question... 

Why eat a vegan or vegetarian diet? 

The obvious answer is, because it's healthier than eating a meat- and dairy-based diet. 

Our bodies are equipped to handle fresh fruits and vegetables most effectively, and these foods are loaded with the best macro- and micronutrients our bodies need to experience excellent health.  

It's not only about what you "DON'T" eat

Most vegans focus hardcore on what they don't do (eating meat and dairy) and base their dietary principles around this.  But they're missing half the point. 

What you "DO" eat matters just as much

When you remove meat and dairy from your diet, what do you replace those foods with?  Strangely, this often seems to come as an afterthought.  It's almost as though people believe it's not so important. 

Processed food products are not an improvement

If you only care about meeting the definition of vegan, it's easy to get sidetracked.  Hence, we see all the vegan processed food products that are basically "un-meat" or "un-dairy" built in the image of the original. These processed products are loaded with salts, oils and other bad choices, and are often worse for you than the original animal products they're intended to replace. 

Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables

Focusing solely on what you don't eat isn't good enough.  What you also need to look at is what you do eat.  That's fresh, raw fruits and vegetables.  That's what should comprise the bulk of your diet.  Drop the meat and cheese... and grains too for that matter, and actively replace them with fruits and vegetables.  Then you'll be eating a truly healthy diet. 

Remember: Don't blindly think that eating "vegan" automatically means you're eating "healthy".  It often doesn't.  That only tells what you're not eating.  The second half of the deal is to make sure you replaces those foods with the right choices.

=========================================================================

Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve 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. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

Monday
Nov302009

Calling All Vegetarians! Get Your Priorities Straight. (Part 1)

Avoiding social events?

Last night, I attended the year-end staff function of the company I work for.  The day prior to the event, one of my co-workers (we'll call her "Jan") asked me if I was going to be attending.  Jan happens to be a vegetarian, and she knows I'm predominantly a raw-vegan.  I think Jan was asking me a leading question, because as soon as I told her "yes, I was planning to go", she promptly followed it up with the question, "But what are you going to eat?"

Changing the subject, I asked Jan if her husband was going.  She said that, because he's a vegan, he wouldn't be attending.  In fact, Jan was originally planning on skipping it herself, and only changed her mind when she heard there would be vegetarian lasagna. 

Keep in mind that this was a huge buffet with a bit of everything you can imagine, and the menu was announced well in advance, so we all knew what to expect. 

"Nothing" available to eat?

There were the usual fish and red meat dishes, of course; however, there were also fresh cut vegetables, steamed cauliflower, carrots and green beans, mashed potatoes, and eight types of salad. 

This was hardly a narrow assortment.  There was plenty to pick from. 

Yet still, even after the meal, I found Jan and another vegan co-worker complaining about how there was virtually nothing there for them to eat.  I find this to be ridiculous.  These are the same sort of people who sit on their lunch breaks eating and drinking highly-processed foods like "soy nog" and veggie burgers on white buns, but they scoff at a full table of salads because of the choice of dressings or because there's a little butter in the potatoes?

This is a perfect example of two problems with many vegans/vegetarians today:

  1. They blindly follow the notion that nothing is healthy unless it's totally plant-derived; and vice versa, anything plant-derived is healthy.

  2. They've made their diet into their religion, and define their lives by it.

I have to question a person's priorities when the first thing they ask about an event is, "What are you going to eat there?"  People like this look at everything with a perspective of, "Will it break my unyielding rules about veganism?"  I used to be this way when I started going raw, but I matured out of it. 

Your diet should enable you, not isolate you

At some point, once you've found a healthy lifestyle that works for you, you should move on to other things.  Don't keep nitpicking about it to the extreme.  Your work here is done, so now you can focus on the rest of your life.  Concentrate on some of the othere areas that matter to you, like your education, your career, your family, your fitness, the causes you believe in, the places you want to visit, and all the other items on life's big to-do list. 

Remember, food is the fuel our body uses to nourish itself and give us energy; it's a means to get us somewhere.  Once we've acquired a healthy, energetic body, we should be doing our best to use it to its full potential.  Don't waste your life parading around as the local vegan "mall cop".  There are much bigger things for you to accomplish in life.  Don't forget that.

=========================================================================

Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve 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. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

Friday
Nov272009

Conventional Wisdom Not Necessarily the Truth

This morning, I was listening to an audiobook (Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner) and was smacked in the face with an excellent point about conventional wisdom.

The authors note a quote by, the prolific author and economist, John Kenneth Galbraith:

We associate truth with convenience.  With what most closely accords with self-interest and personal wellbeing, or promises best to avoid awkward effort or unwelcome dislocation of life.  We also find highly acceptable what contributes most to self-esteem. ...we adhere, as though to a raft, to those ideas which represent our understanding.

Levitt and Dubner then go on to analyze Galbraith's statement:

So, the conventional wisdom, in Galbraith's view, must be simple, convenient, comfortable and comforting, though not necessarily true. ...noticing where the conventional wisdom may be false; noticing perhaps the the contrails of sloppy or self-interested thinking; is a nice place to start asking questions.

These words are exceptionally wise, and we can certainly apply these thoughts to the matters of health, nutrition and the way we eat.

There's a reason why the raw-vegan diet hasn't become mainstream. 

It's the same reason why most people continue to live the same unhealthy lifestyles that have made them sick.

People don't want to have to think or expend any extra effort.  It's easier for them to keep doing what they've always done than to learn to live another way.

If that means being sick, so be it.  They'll just convince themselves that what they're doing is normal.  That everyone does it.  That it's okay.

Unfortunately for many peoples' health, just because the general population believes eating a diet of refined, cooked and processed food products is alright, that doesn't make it true.

As you and I know, the reality is very much the opposite.

My hope is that, as time goes by and the sharing of information and ideas becomes increasingly easy, more people will come to question all forms of conventional wisdom.  

Take a moment to pause and reflect on the things you do every day without thinking -- the deeply ingrained habits and social norms. 

Do you do them because they're in line with what you really believe, or do you just do them because everyone else does it too?

Remember, conventional wisdom is the byproduct of public opinion.  It's doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the truth.

I wouldn't take lifestyle advice from a population of sick, fat people -- no matter how many millions of them parrot the same false ideas. 

At the end of the day, you're responsible for your own decisions.  Make sure you're the one making them, not someone else.

=========================================================================

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.

If you want to experience the amazing health that comes with living the one truly natural diet, Mike's new book, "Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet" is just what you're looking for.  See for yourself. 
To Download a FREE 20-Page Sneak Preview of the eBook click here!

Wednesday
Nov252009

Read to Understand for Raw Diet Success

If you want to really succeed with your raw diet, one of the best things you can do is read, read, read. 

Read to learn the foundations

You've likely already flipped through my book, and perhaps several other raw books as well.  That's a great start, but you don't want to stop there.  Don't just read about the raw diet once and put the books on the shelf.  No matter how attentive you are, I guarantee you won't get everything down on the first try.  There are too many old cooked habits to un-learn and new raw habits to put in their place.  You can't expect yourself to remember them all at once.  It will just be information overload. 

Keep reading to make it stick

You really need a deep understanding in order to do your raw-vegan diet well.  I learned that myself the long way.  The first two years of my raw diet weren't very successful because I had the wrong understanding.  The key is to keep reading on a regular basis.  Keep referring back to what you've read repeatedly until you've really got it all down.  Reenforce the information until you can't possibly forget it. 

Once you really understand, it's easy

After you gain time and experience, it will become intuitive.  You won't even need to give it a second thought.  The key is to get to the point where you truly understand what you're feeding your body. 

The point where you really understand why today's "modern" food products are so unhealthy, and why fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are exactly what our bodies are meant to thrive on. 

The point where you're able to read the signs your body is giving you and respond accordingly. 

When you get to this level of understanding, making the right choices becomes effortless.  This is when you'll start to feel your very best.  The best way to get there is to keep reading.

=========================================================================

Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve 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. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

Monday
Nov232009

"Raw" Vitamin Pills? What For?

When I saw this, I could only shake my head in disbelief

"Raw" vitamin pills?

Sure... why not?  We've already got every other imaginable high-tech health product you can dream up.  How about another one.

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.  It's not like we haven't gotten used to this.  Dozens of new "innovative" supplements products come out every week.  It's part of today's unfortunate state of affairs -- where health is an industry rather than a lifestyle.

Why this particular one ruffled my feathers is because of the "raw" label.  Most people are already confused about how to eat a raw diet properly.  Products like this only add to that confusion.

I don't like when people suggest you need to buy their supplements in order to experience better health.  Somehow it just seems a little bit suspect.

So, what sets Raw One apart from other vitamin supplements?  They claim:

Each vitamin and mineral contained in The Vitamin Code multinutrient formulas is individually cultivated resulting in a process that mimics plant activity.  In nature, plants transform inorganic material into useable and bioavailable nutrients.  Similarly, the Vitamin Code Process transforms isolated nutrients, renaturing them into whole foods.

... Until the Vitamin Code®, there have been few options available for those who wish to supplement with a RAW, living multivitamin.  The Vitamin Code represents the next breakthrough in multivitamins.

Interesting.  So you can get a multi-vitamin that more closely resembles your natural foods.

You know what else closely resembles our natural foods? 
Our natural foods!  Fresh, whole, raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

I hope you don't find my sarcasm too overbearing, but this really gets to me.  I can't stand this sort of backwards thinking -- especially from people who influence the public's health decisions.

We don't need scientists to engineer healthy foods for us.  They already exist in perfect abundance.

What we do need is to stop running in the wrong direction.

I can't believe how many of the raw gurus out there jump on board with this kind of thing.  It's totally misguided and sends the wrong message to everyone who follows them.  How can someone who believes in raw natural health recommend people waste their money on this?

I've said it before and I'll say it many times again.  Don't waste your money on expensive supplements!

You don't need them.  The best multi-vitamin is a healthy, raw-vegan diet, loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables.

In fact, as the folks at Raw One admit themselves,

No supplement can compare to the benefits associated with consuming RAW foods.

Perhaps we can find a little common ground after all.

=========================================================================

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.

If you want to experience the amazing health that comes with living the one truly natural diet, Mike's new book, "Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet" is just what you're looking for.  See for yourself. 
To Download a FREE 20-Page Sneak Preview of the eBook click here!