Wednesday
Oct142009

Raw Diet Fundamentals: The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes

To get the best out of something, it's always important to understand the fundamentals.

If you're going to become good at a sport, you need to know the rules.  If you're going to do well at your job, you need to know what's expected of you.  If you're going to make a fancy dinner, you need to know the recipe.  This logic holds true with your raw-vegan diet as well. 

For those of you who've already subscribed to my newsletter, you'll likely recognize the following post.  It's the summary from my free eBook "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes".

Even if you've seen this already, I strongly recommend looking at it again.  These simple rules are some of the most important guidelines to ensuring you succeed on your raw vegan diet.  Not only should you look at them now, but I suggest printing them off and referring to them regularly.  Put them on your fridge and keep reading them every day until remembering them is effortless.  Once these rules become a regular part of your raw-vegan diet, you'll be well on your way to achieving the incredible health you deserve.

The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes

  1. Just because it’s raw, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. 
    You shouldn’t get so caught up on the term raw that you forget what’s more important — healthy.  There are plenty of "raw" recipes that will leave you feeling like crap.

  2. Don’t eat too much dried fruit and fats.
    Relying heavily on dense foods like dried fruit, nuts and oils will weigh you down, dehydrate and constipate you.  You’ll likely even end up feeling worse than if you just ate a standard cooked diet.

  3. It’s a single-lane road.
    Your digestive tract is a single-lane road.  Don’t eat slow-digesting foods before quick-digesting foods or you’ll be setting yourself up for indigestion, gas and cramps.

  4. Eat enough calories.
    If you aren’t getting enough calories you’ll always feel hungry — no matter what diet you’re on.  You need to realize that fresh fruits and vegetables are less dense (calorie-wise) than most cooked foods, so you need to eat a larger volume than you may be used to.

  5. Don’t buy unnecessary appliances.
    Don’t waste your money on appliances that do nothing but stray you away from the foundation of the raw-vegan diet — simple, whole foods.  I strongly recommend getting a Vita-Mix, because smoothies are the cornerstone to succeeding on a raw diet. Other than that, you shouldn’t need any significant appliances.

  6. Plan ahead and be prepared.
    This really comes down to just making sure you have enough fruits and vegetables on hand to keep you full.  Having a well-stocked kitchen and taking food to work or school with you will make things easy.

  7. Be dedicated, but not a fanatic.
    Enthusiasm is good, but don’t over-burden yourself.  Expecting perfection from yourself will only drag you down and lead to frustration.

In the next seven blog posts I'm going to address each of these rules in more detail.  Tomorrow we'll start with Rule # 1.

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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.

Tuesday
Oct132009

The Importance of Good Digestive Bacteria

 

Digestive bacteria are essential

Digestion is more than just stomach acid and enzymes.  Our digestive systems rely upon a healthy balance of bacteria to break down the food in our intestines.  Without these bacteria, digestion simply won’t work well. 

They are fragile

We shouldn’t take their presence for granted.  Our digestive bacteria are sensitive to the type of environment we provide for them and can be killed off by poor dietary choices we make.  The worst offenders are antibiotics, drugs, and intestinal “cleanses” which are very harsh and will massacre our intestinal flora.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Eating too much of the wrong foods can be problematic too.  The delicate bacteria can be damaged by excessive acidity in our diets, irritants like hot peppers and caffeine, and fermentation from chronic indigestion.

Provide the right environment

Theoretically, if we’re eating a healthy diet the natural bacterial balance should flourish on its own.  New bacteria should be continuously introduced from outside sources, such as home-grown produce, and multiply happily in the ideal environment our intestines provide. 

Supplementation

Unfortunately, since none of us eat a majority of our food straight off the plant anymore, we no longer get a steady intake of good bacteria.  In a weird sense, our food has almost become too clean for our own good.  This is why it’s a good idea to take a probiotic supplement that reintroduces the good digestive bacteria into our system. The one I recommend is a brand called “Udo’s Choice”.  They have a range of several probiotic supplements that are tailored to specific age groups — adults, children, and seniors — all supplying an excellent range of beneficial bacteria in 100%-vegan capsules.  You’ll find them in most health food stores in the refrigerated section.  It costs about $30 for ninety capsules, which will last you between one and three months, depending on how frequently you take them. 

Establish and maintain

Probiotic supplements are not something you'll need to take indefinitely.  Once you start your raw-vegan diet, it’s a good idea to supplement and get everything well-established, but after a while, depending on how well you eat, you shouldn’t need to worry too much about it all the time.  I’ll generally buy a bottle once or twice a year just to help things out, but that’s about all.  The key is simply to give your "guests" what they need to be happy, once you get your system in good order.  As long as the foods you eat provide a healthy environment for you digestive bacteria, they’ll continue to multiply effectively on their own.

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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
Oct092009

Soy Doesn't Belong in Your Raw Diet

Soy beans are commonly used by vegetarians to fill the roles held by meat and dairy in the mainstream Western diet.  Rather than eating them in their whole form, which is unappealing and very hard to digest, soy beans are put through various refining processes and used to make a whole range of products such as soy “milk”, “cheese”, tofu and even mock “meats” — all of which are perceived by many as healthy alternatives to the animal products they replace. 

While it’s certainly a good move to drop meat and dairy from your diet, choosing to swap soy in their place isn’t really the big improvement you might think it is.  In fact, despite all the hype to the contrary, it might surprise you to learn that soy isn’t a very healthy food at all.

One of the proposed “benefits” of soy is that it’s hailed as a good source of protein and a key substitute for those who don’t eat meat.  What we rarely stop to consider, however, is that this solves a “problem” that never actually existed.  The widespread fear that vegetarians put themselves at risk of a lack of protein has no basis in reality.  Rather, it’s solely the result of years of one-sided marketing campaigns from the meat and dairy boards, and the tendency to trustingly follow-the-leader.  Remember, as we talked about earlier, you don’t need protein to make protein.  I really can’t stress this enough.  Your body builds its own proteins from amino acids — molecules which are, quite conveniently, abundantly available in fruits and vegetables.  So as long as you don’t take a vow against eating in general, you won’t have any trouble getting all the protein you need.

Consuming a high-protein diet is actually very unhealthy.  The overload of acid-forming minerals that we get from excess protein throws the body pH balance out of whack and causes a drain of alkaline minerals.  As we’ve already seen, alkaline mineral deficit has become a plague upon our society and a major contributor to many adverse health conditions — not least of which include osteoporosis and cancer.  Simply put, for the sake of our health, we don’t want to eat a high-protein diet.

Okay, so if we throw away soy’s primary selling point of being a vegan protein-source — and actually make that a strike against it — what does soy have left going for it?  Not much, actually.  Soy is very low in virtually all of the nutrients we need.  Its minerals are mostly of the acid-forming variety, it contains virtually no vitamins, and all the fiber has been refined out of it in the manufacturing processes.  This leaves us with a food that’s little more than a source of hard-to-digest, empty calories.

Once we come to see soy in its true light, all the initial appeal is washed away.  Who cares if it’s a vegan food — it’s still the total opposite of what we want.  The real foods that our bodies are designed to excel on aren’t made in factories, and they don’t require heavy processing to be made edible.  They can be eaten whole and fresh and are loaded with all the nutrients we need.  These include a full assortment of vitamins and minerals, soluble fiber and a natural moisture content — all of which seem to be sorely lacking in soy.  While the intentions may be good, relying on soy foods is a misguided effort and will leaving you falling far short of the spectacular health you deserve.

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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.

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!

Thursday
Oct082009

Protein Supplements are Totally Unnecessary

The other day, I was reading a magazine and came across an ad for vegetarian protein supplements.  Because the ad shared one of the common tricks pulled by supplement companies, I thought I'd share it with you.

The ad opens with the headline, "Real Health... Starts with Real Foods"
It's a pretty good line.  I'd use it myself if it weren't taken already.

Going further, the ad reads, "Did you know that plant-based proteins can provide enough essential and non-essential amino acids to meet your dietary protein needs?"  Again, a very solid point.  I totally agree.

A little further down it states, "Diets high in plant-based foods are also typically lower in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than animal-based diets".  This is all good stuff.  I couldn't agree more.

So, I suppose you're wondering what my issue is with this ad.  Well, everything changes later on when they start pushing their products...

Somewhere along the line they decide that using their soy, rice or hemp protein supplements is an important move for your health.  This is where we part ways.

Simply put, there's no need to use their product if we take their earlier advice to heart and consume a diet "high in plant-based foods".  In other words, eating our raw-vegan diet.

Supplements of this sort are for people who don't want to make any real changes and would rather just stick a couple bandages overtop their bad habits. 

Don't waste your money on protein supplements.  They "solve" a problem that never needed fixing in the first place. 

Remember, as we covered in my book, your don't really need much protein.  Our bodies are amazingly effeicient in retaining and reusing it.  In fact, protein shouldn't comprise more than about 10% of your daily calories.   

If you're eating a healthy diet of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, you're already getting all the protein you need.  There's no need to try and get more elsewhere.

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

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!

Tuesday
Oct062009

Take a Vitamin B12 Supplement (No Matter What Diet You're On)

I make a habit of avoiding supplements whenever possible.  In my opinion, paying premium prices for manufactured products seems pointless when we can simply eat fresh, raw fruits and vegetables and get better results.  Even so, I don't make any rules simply for the sake of being stubborn.  There are some nutrients that we simply can’t reliably get naturally from our foods, regardless of our diet.  Vitamin B12 is one such nutrient. 

The importance of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for the normal function of the brain and nervous system and for the formation of blood.  It’s involved in the metabolism of every cell in the body and is especially important for DNA synthesis, which means we need vitamin B12 for our cells to divide and grow. 

Do you need to supplement?

Vitamin B12 can’t be made by plants or animals.  The only organisms that possess the right enzymes to produce B12 are bacteria.  Humans and other plant-eaters are designed to get B12 from the bacteria present in the dirt on the fruits and vegetables we eat. This worked fine when we foraged for our food outdoors, but now we buy it from a store instead, clean and dirt-free.  The cleanliness factor, coupled with the fact that the process of absorbing B12 is very complex, means that it’s very easy to not get enough Vitamin B12 in our diets. 

Recommendation

For this reason, I strongly recommend using a B12 supplement.  I take one every other day, myself.  Look for one that says “methylcobalamin.”  This is the form of B12 that's biologically-active. In other words, it’s already in the form that your body needs and it doesn’t have to go through the complex absorption process.  Also, make sure the label says “sublingual” on it.  This simply means that it dissolves under the tongue.  This is the best way to administer B12 as it's absorbed right into the blood vessels in the mouth.  Conveniently, B12 supplements aren’t expensive at all, and you should be able to get several months worth for around $10.  

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

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

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.