So anyway, back in the summer Pirate and I were at the Grand Lake farmers' market and decided to pick up lunch. I forget what he got, but I got a collard wrap from the Easy Living Foods booth. Wow, that was tasty.
A couple of weeks later, I was browsing the New Books shelf at the library and came across a copy of The Raw 50: 10 Amazing Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Drinks for Your Raw Food Lifestyle by Carol Alt. Hm. That raw collard wrap was pretty good, I think to myself, and the worst that happens is I lug the book home, either don't read it/read it and decide it's not worth any attention, then lug it back to the library.
So I checked it out and brought it home and read it, and found a number of tasty-sounding recipes. Back to the library (or to the catalog, at least) to see what else they had about raw food. Most of their books were out and had multiple holds on them, so (after placing a number of holds myself) I hit the net to read more and find more recipes.
...and now it's mid-November, and I find myself eating much, if not mostly, raw, and wanting to do more. And, even weirder, pulling Pirate along with me without even intending to.
I had heard of "raw foodism" before, of course. If you live in the Bay Area and are into food, you've heard of Cafe Gratitude, even if you've never been there. And at least one person on my f-list is interested in raw food, I know. But overall... as I read on one blog (don't remember where), "How weird is raw foodism? You know how the rest of the world looks at vegans? That's how vegans look at raw foodists. So..."
So it hadn't had any kind of "ooh, I must try this" feeling. And, to be honest, I had a (possibly paranoid, possibly justified) hunch that if I took Pirate to Cafe Gratitude he'd either slug somebody or wind up ordering "Yeah, I'll have the I am ATTITUDINAL and the I am ANNOYED and the I am FROM FUCKING NEW YORK WITH NO PATIENCE FOR THIS CALIFORNIA NEO-HIPPIE BULLSHIT" and it would just get ugly, you know? *grin*
At first we started with green smoothies, as I recall. Tasty, easy, and an incredibly easy way to massively boost your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Warning. Green smoothies are a gateway drug. Pirate will testify to this. You start drinking the green smoothies, you start getting a desire to eat more salads, and it's all downhill from there.
One of the interesting things about this for me is that it doesn't feel like it's coming from a place of "I should" or "I ought to" or "they say this is good for one's health" or anything like that. I haven't, for the most part, been wanting to eat cooked food. The more raw I eat, the better I feel. My energy is better, my digestion seems to be happier, my skin looks better, my libido seems to be improving...
Have no fear, my rationalist friends, I have not taken leave of my senses. I don't think that eating raw food and decreasing the amount I eat will somehow reverse the aging process, or that it's going to somehow cause me to move to a higher vibrational level of energy or anything like that. (The whole "higher vibrational level of energy" thing sounds like low blood sugar to me. Maybe you should be eating some more? Just an idea...)
The approach I'm taking is a more sensible one. I'm educating myself about nutrition and incorporating a healthy degree of cooked food.
Like a number of areas of my life lately (which I will probably post about at some point; they're kind of in germination stage right now), it feels like this is something where a whole lot of things are all pointing to the same thing (in the way that Zen teachers use "pointing to").
I've been wanting to eat more vegetables, in general. The longer I have a Zen practice, the less right eating meat feels. I've been wanting to cut down or eliminate dairy. I've been wanting to do more meal planning and less last-minute "what do you want to make? I dunno... uh..."
So the raw food feels really right in those ways. More vegetables and no meat? Oh yeah. Less to no dairy? Yeah, aside from in coffee, I've pretty much cut it out. More meal planning? Definitely — although many raw food dishes can be prepared in not much time, because I don't have a lifetime of meal-planning reflexes to fall back on (however badly) the way I do with cooked food, I have to plan ahead. Plus a number of raw-food dishes do take pre-planning and pre-prep, whether to soak nuts or dehydrate crackers or what have you.
Because of the whole raw-foodists-are-weird thing, I felt a bit embarrassed at first about acknowledging to Pirate that this is where my interest seemed to be leaning. He's been great about it, though, and took to green smoothies with enthusiasm. "Shit, you mean I'm getting half a bunch of kale in this banana-almond butter-cacao smoothie that tastes delicious? Pour me more!" And he's found himself ordering salads more often, of his own free will, and suggesting that we make salads at home for dinner. He's also become the morning smoothie-meister, making me a thermos (or two) of green smoothie to take to work with me every morning. Big warm fuzzies, on top of a thermos of cold smooth fruities. *grin* (I am so lucky to have him in my life, for all that he makes me want to bang my head against the wall on a fairly regular basis.)
His attitude, as he has expressed it, is basically, "My center of gravity will probably always be hamburger-and-fries. So if you want to tug it more towards the salad-and-vegetables end, probably for the better."
And then we watched the movie Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days (which is, of course, available to view online) as well as the extended interviews with various experts.
Okay, Pirate and I are both big sappy mooshes, so it's no surprise that we were both cheering for the participants as the movie went along — and I, at least, got weepy at the end. But you don't have to be a sappy moosh to be impressed by the fact that all the Type II diabetics who stuck with the program (four of five; one dropped out) reversed their diabetes — they got off insulin and had blood sugar levels and other lab test levels that say "you don't have diabetes" — and the Type I diabetic reduced his insulin from 70 units a day to 5 (despite — spoiler warning! — possibly having drunk regularly throughout the 30 days).
And then to find that one of the people identified as a Type II diabetic was, upon close review of his past medical records, actually a misdiagnosed Type I all along — who got off insulin and had normal blood sugar and other lab readings... wow. Pirate has found himself returning to something Morgan Spurlock said in his interview (misquoted from memory): "If you'd be willing to make this kind of change if you were diagnosed with cancer or some other fatal disease, why not make it now, before you get cancer?"
So, yeah. Raw food. For me it's feeling so right, so natural, so this is the way I want to be going, this is the direction all signs are pointing, this is it. For Pirate it's much more I know this is the right, healthy choice, and I'm going to work to find ways to find it enjoyable. Poor guy, he was veg-averse when we met and it's been an uphill struggle from there. But he's willing (as Cheri Huber says, "Willingness is what's there when you don't want to") and I'm doing my best to find recipes he'll find not just tolerable, but actually tasty.
I started a blog on Tumblr a little while ago, to collect interesting-sounding recipes, links to relevant articles, appropriate quotes, etc. I thought it would be mostly a personal reference, but to my surprise and pleasure it's up to 49 followers to date. Please come check it out: Raw Right Now.
It's an interesting and unexpected place to find oneself in.