Sunday, April 22, 2012

High Raw

I just finished reading a very important book written by three long term raw food pioneers, called Raw & Beyond, How Omega-3 Nutrition Is Transforming the Raw Food Paradigm. It talks about the importance of focusing more on balancing omega 3's and 6's, and incorporating in cooked food if necessary. They all found that about 6-7 years into a 100% raw diet, that their health was not as tip top as it had been. They each individually discovered on their own that they were needing more omega 3's in their diet. They discovered that that was the one thing that a 100% raw diet couldn't provide for them in a sustainable way.

For example, raw foodists turn to nuts to get enough calorie intake, to get healthy fats and to keep them feeling full. But with more reaserch they discovered that most nuts were high in omega 6's, which ironically, if too much is consummed, it counteracts the Omega 3's that are consummed. One of the authors even started feeling nauseous at the even thought of eating nuts. She started listening to her body and cut back on her nut intake and like the others, did more research on how to improve her diet.

Despite possible scruitany, they looked to a few cooked foods, like quinoa, millet, various beans and vegetables that are a little easier to consume lightly cooked, like broccoli, bok choy, and sweet potatoes. They decided it was better to eat some of these foods that are omega balanced or a have a good amount of omega 3's, than to eat more nuts or oils that were high in omega 6's. They decided to evolove into what they call a "High Raw" diet, or a diet consisting of 80-95% raw foods.

I was relieved to read this for many reasons.
One - I was glad to receive such important nutrition information early in my raw food "journey".  I've thought about omega 3's and their importance but didn't know much about them or took them very seriously.
Two - It is more sustainable in the long run to be able to eat out at more places, or more easily with non raw foodists.
Three - I too had moments of feeling like my body was trying to tell me to ease off the nuts, just in my short time of eating all raw. I had mild moments of nausea, feeling dehydrated, tiredness, and now I know why.  Just since incorportating in more omega 3 heavy ingredients, I haven't felt those things and I'm back to feeling consistantly good.

Some foods that are high in Omega 3's that are good to focus on getting more of:

greens greens and more greens
chia seeds
hemp seeds/milk
flax seeds/meal/oil
kidney beans

Eating a high raw diet might also be easier for newcomers to transition into raw food as well. There is less pressure to be 100%, all or nothing. I echo the authors in the book, and still value the importance of a mostly raw food diet, for its low inflammatory, high enzyme, high nutritional makeup. So I focus on eating raw first, getting enough omega 3's and welcome more lightly cooked foods when I am needing them.

One dish I made last week that was partially raw and partially cooked:

Modified Macro Plate

Raw kale, wakame and arame on top of cooked quinoa, black beans, and lightly steamed sweet potato, topped with raw tahini dressing and avocado. First time I had beans in 2 months! I was definitely glad to give the cashews a break for a night.

You can find more info from Victoria Boutenko about omega 6's and 3's here.

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