FAQ

exotic
How can you eat raw in a cold climate? Doesn’t this diet conflict with eating locally?

I’m still shocked when I get asked this question because I’ve never not been able to find fruit. Here’s an exotic array (soursop, dragon fruit, tamarillo, atemoya, kiwano melon and cactus pear) that i found in a Toronto Loblaws grocery store. What a gift that this modern world allows for fruit availability of all kinds, all year round, all over the world! Of course the price point of the exotic varieties is higher, so i wouldn’t recommend making them a staple.

“But isn’t it unnatural to not be eating locally?” Sure, but it is also “unnatural” to be living in cold climates- proven by the ubiquitous use of heaters and heavy clothing in winter months. Somehow we don’t think twice about that.

“But shipping isn’t environmentally friendly, right?” Certainly. However when circumstances aren’t ideal, something gets compromised. When we aren’t living in a climate for which we were biologically designed, we make sacrifices, for example, using energy to heat our houses. If a situation isn’t “perfect,” the best we can do is make conscious decisions. Sometimes this means accepting that at least one compromise will be made, and then choosing which one will best align with personal values. How will this choice affect the planet? how will it affect my health? how can i best support the planet as the healthy person that it has supported me in becoming?

Version 2

I’m in my teens and living at home. Do you have any tips on telling your parents you want to go fully raw?

Your two biggest tools are going to be education and patience. They may not be accepting right away and will likely have skepticism. Arm yourself with substantial knowledge on raw veganism so you’ll be able to adequately answer the questions they’ll have. Remember that their concern is coming from a place of care. If they are open, share your resources (books, websites, video interviews etc.), to help them have peace of mind. Share your recipes too! There are easy ways to assure they feel included. Bring them home some extra figs from the market; let them try a bit of your zucchini noodle dish; prepping a raw dessert together. Have patience because they probably won’t be on board right away. Be loving and kind. Keep discussions light hearted and bite your tongue before you make any defensive comments. Challenge yourself to think about what might be going on for them.

 

sundried
Do you eat dehydrated foods?

On occasion, but only if I can find raw, organic, salt-free foods that don’t contain sulfites and haven’t been irradiated. Orasta and Made by Nature are good examples of companies who make wholesome products that tick all these boxes.

Sun-dried tomatoes are a great way to add natural sodium to your diet, just make sure you’re able to find quality ones like these. Dried fruits and vegetables should be slightly brown after oxidizing. Preservatives are often added to keep their colour and enhance their flavour but cause many people to have allergic reactions. Always read your labels and be skeptical of those extra salty sun-dried tomatoes (salt); sweet dried cranberries (sugar); dry bulk dates (flour to minimize stickiness); shiny raisins (oil); and bright orange dried apricots (sulfites).  (I am not affiliated with any of the aforementioned products.)

 

tea
Do you drink tea?

Yes, i drink tea.* One of the only choices I make that would fall into the “raw vegan grey area.” Ultimately everyone has to decide what their definition of raw vegan or simply, what their definition of a healthy diet is. There is no “diet police,” you are only accountable to yourself and you are under no obligation to justify your decisions to another.

If there is something you are on the fence about consuming tune into how it affects your physical & emotional body and ask, how is it serving me? Maybe in this moment it can act as a substitute for something else that would otherwise be more harmful. For example, using decaf tea instead of regular coffee. Maybe the benefit of you not having a worse alternative out-ways the negative affects of the food you do choose. For example, having some steamed veggies because that satisfies one craving, keeping you from indulging in a fast food, greasy, salt-filled stir-fry. (With some foods the point is less that they are harmful and more that they aren’t offering as much as their raw counterparts. For example, steamed veggies will not provide as much water and phytonutrients, but for most, is not worth losing sleep over.) Let’s continue to make the best decisions we can in each moment and not be so hard on ourselves and on each other. Let’s accept our brothers and sisters where they are at, as although it may look differently, they are also doing their best.
*I will typically consume warm water, but if i decide to have tea i ensure that is caffeine-free with no flavourings or preservatives. Something warm can be really nice when it’s a chilly day!

money
I don’t have a lot of money to spend on food. What would you suggest?

Being low fat raw vegan on a budget is doable. Here are some tips to make it happen.

1. Make your staple foods cheap fruits, like bananas.
2. Buy in bulk and get case discounts. Always ask at grocery stores and farmer’s markets and research your nearest produce wholesaler, some even do free delivery!
3. Shop locally and in season.
4. Find reduced, “aesthetically challenged” fruit at grocery stores and markets as they’re often on discount.
5. Don’t waste your coin on expensive low cal fruit, for example, out of season fresh blueberries. Don’t waste your coin on smoothies from restaurants. It is likely you can make that same drink at home for a fraction of the cost. Don’t waste your coin on the pre-cut, prepackaged fruit and veg you see in grocery store fridges. It may seem convenient but it is just their way of squeezing your dollars and getting rid of their moldy fruit. No one likes to walk out of Whole Foods with an eleven dollar cup of melon.
6. Maybe you can’t buy 100% organic right now, that’s okay.
7. Secondary options include buying frozen fruits and vegetables or even pasteurized 100% fruit juice.
8. As a final option, a cooked 80/10/10 meal plan, with the inclusion of steamed or baked vegetables. Potatoes, squash, and other root vegetables can be an easy source of calories. Gluten-free grains (like rice, quinoa, millet etc.), followed by lentils and beans would be the next best choices. Finally, simple, gluten-free, low sodium pastas or tortillas. These products, often corn-based for example, can work for some individuals. Always keep in mind that the more refined a food and the more ingredients in a product, the farther from healthy it can become.

I like to encourage rearranging finances so that you are able to afford the food you desire. It’s helpful to really look at where your money is going and decide what is important to you. Remember, “So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.” – Materi

nans
Why so much food at one sitting? So many vegans on Youtube seem to be gorging themselves.

I certainly don’t condone “gorging.” Regardless of portion size, it is not advisable to eat too fast, too late, too the point of being in pain, when not hungry or while dehydrated.

A meal of raw food can be striking to the conventional eye because there is a lot of mass. Realistically most of this is fibre & water and may be calorically comparable to a cooked food meal. Eat enough to where you feel satisfied until your next meal, and to where you’re able to balance out your activity level. For some beginners this means eating more than they are comfortable with, as the stomach learns to stretch – for the first time having to accommodate this quantity. I believe the intention of this message is shared among fellow 811 YouTubers.

choc

I’m a chocaholic, but I want to eat healthier. What can I do?

I was able to wean myself off of junky milk chocolate by slowly eating higher quality chocolate bars, containing less and less ingredients, and containing higher and higher percentages of cocoa. Lindt makes one that is 99%! it is a great practice to refine the taste buds and allows us to tune into what we are actually desiring. is it really the chocolate you like, or is it the sugar you are wanting, or perhaps the salt? There are differing opinions regarding the healthiness of cacao but I think most can agree that cutting down on processed foods is wise. There are products available that can be useful transitional tools to support one in doing so.

So if you are trying to get over eating processed chocolate bars, full of refined sugar, additives and preservatives, this may be a great option for you. Organic Traditions offers organic, raw, non-gmo, gluten-free, kosher, vegan chocolate. and it consists of just ONE ingredient! The cacao is pressed into pieces that simply melt in your mouth. Navitas Naturals also offers clean raw cacao powder great for adding to smoothies. Raw carob is another fantastic food because it doesn’t contain the caffeine that cacao does, however I understand it is quite a leap for most people.
Cravings are something to be looked at. In the initial stages of cleaning up any diet it is common to have cravings for foods we’ve enjoyed in the past, even if it is not our present healthiest option. In most cases these are results of a physical or mental addiction, which manifest in a voice that says, “my body just needs chocolate,” or “I just need coffee!” Ultimately any true food craving can be sated by fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds. Whether you are looking for vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, co-enzymes, carbohydrates, protein, fat, water or fiber, the highest quality source remains to be be good ol’ fruits and veggies! Take a minute to think before being fooled by that little voice.  
(I am not affiliated with any of the aforementioned products.)

http://instagram.com/p/mVRMC6izTc/

Isn’t eating just fruits and vegetables boring and restrictive? What are your favorite fruits?

Since coming to raw food my diet hasn’t restricted, but expanded- in variety, quality and quantity. I’ve come to learn about and try hundreds of new fruits & vegetables. It’s crazy to think that just five years ago i would not have been able to identify this tasty jackfruit for example. Once not even in my consciousness, some of my favourite discoveries these past few years have been rambutan, white nectarines, white peaches, persimmons, mangosteen, rolinia, atemoya, star apple, longan, chiku sapodilla, abiu, fuji and pacific rose apples, figs, and honey mangos! I am so grateful and welcome this continued abundance of nature’s sweet treats!

obsessed

All the raw vegans I’ve met can only talk about their diet. Can such a person still be healthy if there is such a mental fixation?

This funny photo brings to mind the more serious topic of what it is to be far too involved with something. Inherently, obsession is unhealthy as it’s existence is fueled by an imbalance. Even wellness focused actions can be had in excess. take the sun for instance. It’s the ideal source of vitamin D and great way to get some colour, but burns can cause long-term damage. Take the raw food diet as another example. These are the foods for which humans were biologically designed to consume, but if the mind turns it into an obsession where it begins to negatively affect other aspects of one’s life (becoming self righteous and losing friends, neglecting your body’s needs in order to abide by some rules outlined in a book, judging yourself for “giving into” cooked food cravings etc.), it becomes a stressor.

The internet is a third example. It’s amazing to have the technology to communicate with loved ones afar and to connect with new people from across the globe. Fantastic to have access to almost any intellectual resource at our fingertips. But diving into these other online worlds can mean leaving this one, the present. There is an addiction to this distraction in our culture that is now crippling our ability to relate to each other as people, our ability to sit still and therefore our ability to develop our relationship with the inner/outer universe.

We all have things to work on and the first step to doing that work is in mindfulness. The first step is undoubtedly looking at the self, how you are participating in the world, and to start to ask questions. What is behind this action? Is it truly inline with the creation of my best self, or is it just to appease the mind? Is this something pushed by cyclic thoughts, or pulled purely by passion? Watch self talk and the vocabulary that comes up. Is it the source of your negativity, or your rigidity? What might it be like to gain freedom from dogma and addiction? What might it be like to practice awareness-investigating the roots of actions as they will bloom into reality. What might it be like to live being led not by compulsion and habit, but by inspiration and intuition?

What are your thoughts on digestive enzymes?

With a healthy gut and raw diet one doesn’t need enzyme supplementation in my opinion. I don’t think they are the the worst thing, just kind of redundant if you are already eating well and taking care of your body. My approach is to always experiment on oneself. I did so many years ago, taking digestive enzymes with every meal for 3+ months. I felt ZERO difference. That’s enough evidence for me to know that for my body, diet and state, they are superfluous. If you are struggling with digestion and find them to be working as an aid, I think they can be a pretty harmless transition tool. Ultimately though, we want to restore our bodies to their natural state, one where they are able to breakdown, assimilate and absorb the food we eat, on their own!

overhead
Do you mind giving me your opinion on product “X”?

Be skeptical of anything coming from a can, box, bag or other package. Be skeptical of anyone trying to sell you something. Most products put a whole lot of effort into their ad campaigns and are targeted toward a specific, misinformed and desperate audience. Any claims along the lines of “anti-aging,” “collagen production,” “all-natural,” “antioxidants,” “low cal,” “immune boost,” etc. are cliche marketing strategies. These are all healthy sounding buzz words that appeal to the average eye because the consumer heard a snippet of a nutrition fact on tv or read about beta-carotene in some magazine.

By the way, labelling something as “natural” holds no ground. There is no “natural” certification and it therefore holds a frighteningly broad definition.

While some products do contain certain nutrients that result in these said claims, it doesn’t mean an individual can’t get those same benefits from their simple organic fruit. When eaten from whole plants these nutrients are often more compatible for the body as they come in balanced ratios of other nutrients. Plus, in whole organic plant foods there aren’t the added preservatives and leached chemicals from the packaging.

Why are we fractioning our foods? Breaking them down and building them back together? Whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic plants grown in healthy soil make for the best quality sources of minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, fiber, enzymes, co-enzymes, phytonutrients, antioxidants and it’s all in one tasty, guilt-free package!

Ever wonder why you never see an ad campaign for apricots, or bananas, or tomatoes etc? It is because people don’t see there being any money in selling plain old fresh fruit. My opinion on many “health food” products is that they are often glorified and although they might be a better alternative than junk food, they are certainly not getting close to the benefits of fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Remember that we vote with our dollar. If we continue to buy these packaged faux health products, they will continue to market and sell them. If we create a demand for fresh fruit and veg, support our local farmers, grow our own, we will be voting for true health!