Monday
Nov022009

Is "Flash Pasteurized" Juice a Good Substitute for Raw Smoothies?  

 

Whole-food smoothies

If you've read my book, or followed me for very long, you know I recommend making whole-food smoothies as the perfect meal-to-go.  In particular, I recommend keeping several made in advance and ready to take with you when you head to work or school.  This simple habit makes staying raw outside the home a really easy process. 

Flash-pasteurized juice

Of course, getting things done in advance like this requires a little bit of planning.  Sometimes things come up and we find ourselves rushing out the door without our lunch...  When I'm out and about and don't have a smoothie on hand, occasionally I'll grab one of those premium juices to tide me over.  I'm not talking about the regular juice you find in the grocery store aisles.  I mean the flash pasteurized ones you find in the refrigerated section. 

This begs the question, "Is flash pasteurized juice a good substitute for raw smoothies?" 

My answer is pretty simple.  "No." 

Flash pasteurized juices are a little better than cheap, conventional juices because they haven't been heavily processed.  They manage to retain a decent amount of their vitamins and minerals and thus can offer us some nutritional benefits.  That being said, no juice, pasteurized or not, can ever replace whole fruits and vegetables.  Our foods are much more than just the sum of their vitamins, minerals and calories.  There's a reason we don't just live off vitamin pills and sugar water.  Whole fruits and vegetables offer us so many indispensable nutrients that we often overlook.  Soluble fiber being one of the most important examples.  The high-quality fiber in a whole-food smoothie is an essential difference because it allows for a seamless digestive process rather than the potential blood sugar peaks and valleys that come from drinking large quantities of juice. 

An occasional fix, but not a true substitute

Juice is not an adequate substitute for fresh, whole, raw smoothies, packed with fruit and green vegetables.  You can't live off juice and experience anything close to the amazing health benefits that come from a raw-vegan diet.  But if we're just talking about grabbing a juice once in a while to keep you going, there's certainly no shame in that.  As long as you realize you aren't getting nearly the same benefits as you get from your raw-vegan diet.

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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.

Wednesday
Oct282009

Give Your Body a Rest: Try a Mini-Fast

A diet rich in fresh, raw fruits and vegetables is the best path to excellent health.  But while it’s important to know what to eat, it’s just as important to know when (and when not) to eat.  Occasionally, there will be times when true hunger just doesn’t seem to present itself.  When this happens, even eating a perfect diet isn’t the right choice.  Taking a short break to allow your body to rest is a much better idea. 

A fresh start

A great habit to get into is a monthly one-day fast. Taking one day off from eating gives your digestive organs a much-deserved chance to relax.  It also has the added benefit of giving you a great opportunity to push the reset button. Believe me, even as dedicated as you are, there will still be occasions where you slip up and eat things you regret.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Big changes are always tough at first and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be perfect.  Just do your best, learn from your experiences, and be proud of your progress; then start with a clean new beginning. 

Energy reserves

Don't be concerned that going without food might cause you to "waste away".  Our bodies actually keep a day’s reserve of energy in the form of glycogen ready and available, so even if you go without eating for 24 hours you shouldn’t miss beat.  Remember, those headaches and fatigue symptoms you’re feeling when you haven’t eaten for a few hours aren’t really hunger at all, they’re the signs of your body detoxifying.  Once you've been eating a clean diet for a sustained period, you won't experience those symptoms anymore.  When I take a mini-fast, as long as I keep myself well-hydrated, I feel no ill-effects whatsoever because there's virtually no toxins for my body to flush out.  

Pick a busy day

You can pick any day for your mini-fast that works well for you, but I’d recommend choosing one where you’re busy or out of the house.  It can get really tempting to snack when you’re at home surrounded by food all day, but when you’re occupied with work, school or errands time flies by and you likely won’t have time to even think about food.  Start your mini-fast by eating a light dinner the evening before.  Remember to leave several hours between when you eat and when you go to bed or you won’t sleep very well.  The next morning, start by having a big glass of water and then go about your day.  Make sure you stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle with you.  Like I said, if you have a busy day planned you’ll be surprised how quickly time passes.  Before you know it, it’ll be dinner time again. That’s it, you’re done! 

Let your body rest

You’ll be amazed by how invigorating it feels to free yourself from the burden of a full stomach for a while.  You really can’t realize how much of an energy drain digestion is until you experience a short fast for yourself.  What I want you to understand is that there’s nothing to fear from skipping a few meals on occasion.  From your body’s perspective, there’s no such thing as "skipping a meal" anyway.  Just because we’ve developed social customs for eating at habitual times (whether we’re hungry or not) doesn’t mean it’s always in our best interests.  Instead of following this arbitrary routine, you should simply listen to your body.  If you know you aren’t hungry, don’t feel obligated to eat anyway.  Take the opportunity to let your body rest.

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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
Oct262009

Eating Raw in the Cold

Not all of us are lucky enough to live in a sunny, tropical paradise.  For those of us who live somewhere that gets cold in the winter, hot foods and drinks may be part of the daily routine.  If so, you may be wondering how you can replace your usual coffees and soups with raw alternatives.

I'm going to answer this question a little differently than you might expect.  In fact, I'll flip it on it's head.

Generating heat internally

Finding raw replacements for hot cooked foods might seem important at first, but with a little reflection we can see it’s actually backwards reasoning.  We’re proposing a bandage solution for the problem  rather than preventing it in the first place.  Humans are warm-blooded animals, which means we generate our own heat internally.  Unlike cold-blooded animals, we don’t rely on the incoming warmth from our environment such as sunning ourselves on rocks (or eating hot, cooked food).  All we need to do is provide our body with the right conditions to allow it to do its job and produce sufficient body heat.  Eating a raw-vegan diet is one great way to do this because it frees up a lot of extra energy which can be used to keep us warm. 

Rebuild your vitality

That’s really a very important key.  If your body is sick and fatigued from eating an unhealthy cooked diet it won’t be able to resist the cold.  Downing hot, cooked food doesn’t fix this.  What you really need instead is to change your lifestyle and rebuild your vitality from within. 

Avoid cold food and drinks

Another way to help your body keep warm is to avoid eating cold foods.  This seems obvious, of course, but if you think about it, how many times each day do you find yourself grabbing something straight out of the fridge and eating it?  Likely more often than you realize, and each time you do that you’re sending an ice pack directly to the core of your body.  This is hardly the best way to keep the cold out.  Instead, remember to plan ahead by keeping a day’s worth of fruit sitting on your countertop.  I make a habit of setting fruit out every night so it’s ready for the next day.  This way I’m not eating chilled apples, oranges, and grapes right out of the fridge.

Yes, of course you can still have warm stuff

If you’re keeping these tips in mind and still find that you need something on occasion to warm you up, there’s nothing stopping you from warming up your foods and drinks.  That doesn’t mean you have to cook them of course, but simply warm them up a bit.  Make yourself a raw soup and use really warm water in it.  You may want to do the same thing with your smoothies.   And for those really cold days, there’s absolutely no reason to feel guilty about drinking a piping hot cup of tea, or hot chocolate.  Remember, this isn't an inquisition.  You only need to be as "perfect" with your raw diet as you want to.  If a hot drink makes you happy, go for it.  It's not something I do very often, but I certainly wouldn't hesitate to recommend a hot drink to someone who needs it.  What it really comes down to is doing what makes you feel your best.  If a hot drink is part of that, just remember to limit how much dairy and caffeine you're getting.      

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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
Oct232009

Raw Mistake # 7: Be dedicated, but not a zealot.

Raw Mistake # 7: 
Be dedicated, but not a zealot.

Over the past week we've covered six of the "7 Biggest Raw Mistakes".  Today, I'm going to tell you about the final killer raw mistake.  This one’s different from the others because it’s not really about what you’re eating or how you’re eating it.  Instead, it has to do with your mindset. 

When I first started going down the raw-vegan path I was extremely devout.  Actually, I think obsessive would be a more accurate word.  I wanted to call myself a true 'raw-foodist', so I wouldn’t touch anything that wasn’t raw.  In one respect, it was great that I was motivated.  My enthusiasm led me to do a lot of studying and experimenting, and it ultimately led me to successfully find what I was looking for in a diet and lifestyle. 

I should emphasize, however, that that is how devout I used to be.  Despite learning more and more about how beneficial eating a raw-vegan diet is to one’s body, over time I became less intense in my approach.  Why was that?  It’s because I learned through experience (and maturity) that problems can arise from being too extreme.  For starters, going into a diet with an expectation of absolute adherence puts way too much pressure on you.  Trying to go 100% raw-vegan and NEVER eating anything else for the rest of your life is unrealistic.  I used to try that — I’d even keep track of how many days I went without slipping.  I’d often go for many months, but every once in a while I'd eat something wrong... and of course I'd feel guilty about it. 

When approached incorrectly, a diet or lifestyle can become an obsession and your efforts will start to stray from their original purpose — to achieve great health.  When you try to be 'perfect' you begin to focus too much upon the negatives.  That's not a healthy mindset and you’ll put yourself down and discourage yourself. 

Furthermore, if you parade about claiming to be a raw-foodist you’ll become a spectacle, which can be annoying for everyone else.  Your peers may feel you’re trying to push something on them, which is a bad idea because nobody likes a know-it-all.  Plus, you’ll feel an increased load of expectations due to this spotlight you’ve placed upon yourself.  You’ll be afraid to be seen ‘cheating’ in public.  All this posturing and drama really isn’t helping anyone.  Rather than labeling yourself, simply approach your raw-vegan lifestyle with the mindset of being someone who likes to make healthy choices.  That should be more than enough. 

If those reasons aren't enough, I should also point out that being overly-devout can be socially limiting — or even isolating.  When I was over-the-top into being raw, I never went out.  I didn’t want to eat at a restaurant and go through the difficulty of finding something that fit my new 'religion’.  If you truly don’t want to go out to restaurants, that’s fine; and it certainly makes things easy.  I don’t go very often myself, and that’s usually only when I’m accommodating other people.  I feel much better staying away from restaurants and eating raw.  But if you're totally depriving yourself of things you want to do, you won’t stick with a raw-vegan diet.  I guarantee that.  You’ll get unhappy and frustrated with the perceived limitations.   I say ‘perceived’, because eating raw-vegan is only as limiting as you chose to make it.  If you're dedicated to you dietary choices at home and you do a good job of eating raw-vegan at work or school, don’t beat yourself up over the occasional slip.  If you want to go down to the coffee shop with a friend on your lunch break, or if you want to go out on Friday nights with your friends, you can still make sensible choices that won’t make you feel like crap afterwards.  I’m not saying be a bar star.  I’m just saying be realistic.  In the big picture, eating 75% raw in the long-term and being happy will do much more for your health than eating 100% raw for a month, burning out, giving up and walking away from it

Take the raw diet as far as you want to go, but don't push harder than you're ready for.  Baby steps are okay, as long as you're getting results and feeling better.  I'll always be here to help you along your way.

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This wraps up our little 7-Mistakes mini-series.  I hope these tips help you avoid some of the major hurdles beginning raw-vegans make.  If you've missed any of them along the way, take a peek back at the archives.  You can also get your own copy of "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes" when you sign up for the free monthly Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition newsletter.  If you're ready to take the next step and really excel with your raw-vegan diet, I strongly recommend checking out my book, "The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet".  It's the total, definitive resource for anyone wanting to get the most out of their raw diet.  You can download a free preview of the book by clicking on this link.

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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.

Thursday
Oct222009

Raw Mistake # 6: Not being prepared.

Today we're going to look at the sixth of The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes.

Raw Mistake # 6: 
Not being prepared.

A little bit of planning goes a long way towards succeeding on a raw-vegan diet.  Obviously, you can only eat what you have available to you, so you need to keep fresh fruits and vegetables accessible. 

The first way to do this is to keep your kitchen well stocked.  It may take you a little while to get used to gauging how much produce you’ll be going through, but after a while you’ll get in a routine and basically have a standard shopping list outlined.  In my case, I shop once per week and I buy enough fruits and vegetables to fill my fridge, plus about a dozen bunches of bananas for my smoothies.  Yes, bunches. You aren’t going to succeed on a raw-vegan diet if you starve yourself. 

The second way to be prepared is to eat before you go out.  It’s a lot easier to choose what you eat at home where you control your environment.  It’s not so easy to rely on what you'll be able to get out and about.  If you know you’re going to get hungry an hour after leaving the house, I recommend that you eat something before you go. 

The third way to be prepared should now be obvious.  Take food with you.  If you find that it's not very practical to take a bunch of loose fruits and veggies with you, that's okay.  We've already found a great solution for that, thanks to our trusty Vitamix.  Make a couple of smoothies in advance and put them in thermoses or quality water bottles.  They’re optimal on-the-go meals.  You don’t need any utensils, there are no peels to discard, they’re super-easy to digest, they’re unassuming so you don’t become a spectacle in the cafeteria or break room, and you’ll easily be able to fill yourself up.  Making smoothies makes it much easier to get your fruit quota for the day, and they taste awesome!  Add a salad if you like, and you’ll have an easy raw-vegan day’s meals ready to go with minimal effort.

I spend at most a total of 25 minutes per day doing food prep and cleanup, combined.  If I was cooking meals and cleaning the resulting dishes, it would easily take me twice that long, plus I’d be less healthy because of it!  A little organization makes a big difference.  I’ve been doing this routine for years and it works great!

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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.