Raw Food Potlucks: Helpful or Harmful?

Are raw food potlucks helpful?

One of the first things I learned about when getting interested in raw foods was the raw food potlucks. They were recommended to me to learn more about the lifestyle, meet other raw foodists and learn new recipes.

After a few months I did learn those things; met others at all points of their journey to better health, learned new recipes, resources and lifestyle ideas.

Over the years, I made an important distinction. Long term raw foodists don't normally eat the foods brought to a raw food potluck.

Why?

I've determined that raw food potlucks are most beneficial to those new to the lifestyle, those looking to make a change for their health, making new friends or those curious and wanting to learn more.

Long term raw foodists can be helpful to those that are new and provide guidance, although do not normally eat much at the potlucks. Since many who attend are new, they create dishes that are high in fat, lack proper food combining principles or are gourmet style recipes (all of course are great once in a while). For those experienced in raw foods, this type of meal is affectionately called "combo mambo" since the food combining is not the best and there are all sorts of foods mixed together when you try a little of this and that.

I noticed after about a year that eating at potlucks was no longer pleasurable. It often brought indigestion, gas and uncomfortable feelings. You see, as you progress in eating raw foods, you start to prefer simpler meals and normally combine foods naturally. Eating a combination of different foods that are normally high in fat (nuts, pates, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, etc) and normally more than just a bite can easily upset a digestive system that has been already cleaned and prefers simpler foods.

In fact, as I now bring simpler dishes, interestingly enough, they are not as popular as the more 'gourmet' meals I once brought. Most seem to enjoy the fancier foods that resemble cooked food dishes - just with raw ingredients.

So are potlucks helpful?

Absolutely!

First, they are a great support network for those interested in learning more about better health, raw foods and recipes. Second, as you learn and become more experienced, you can be helpful to others just starting out and looking for answers. Many long term 100% raw fooders I notice don't eat much at the potlucks and spend most of the time sharing with others. I've learned to do the same, and often eat prior to attending and bring a simpler meal for others to enjoy.

You also make new friends and can build long term relationships with like-minded individuals in your area... which can be very helpful when making changes like this in your life.

You can learn more about the potlucks in your area by visiting: http://www.livingnutrition.com/potlucks.html
http://www.rawfoodnetwork.com/potlucks.html
http://www.rawfoodinfo.com/directories/dir_rawpotlucks.html

To your best health!

Mark

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The One Book For Advice on Eating Raw

Posted on September 17th, 2005 in eating,food,meals,organic,raw diet,recipes,vegan diet,weight loss by Vegan Raw Diet Advocate 1 Comment »

I often get asked what one book I would recommend for advice on eating raw and vegan.

Although there are many excellent resources, there are two I'd recommend today, you can choose the one best for your situation.

The first resource is The Garden Diet by Storm and Jinjee. Storm has been eating raw vegan for most of his life and you can see the benefits by just looking at him. His entire family is an inspiration. He and Jinjee share their research on the benefits of a raw vegan diet, their experiences along with delicious and easy to make recipes. One note, they don't use or recommend a dehydrator (often used by many raw foodists) so their recipes can be made and enjoyed simply and quickly. I would recommend their entire collection of ebooks which includes the Garden Diet, Anti-Aging, Raising Healthy Children, The Orange Juice Diet and several other related titles (ten in all). This collection is all meat, no fluff - direct and to the point. You get to know Storm and Jinjee throughout the books as well as learn about the benefits of a raw vegan lifestyle.

Note, this collection is in online and downloadable format. I would recommend downloading and then printing your copies for reading at your convenience. I've found that printing the recipes, hole punching, slipping them inside plastic sheet protectors and into a 3 ring binder works best for reference when preparing meals in your kitchen. Read more about the Garden Diet.

The second resource I recommend is the The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose. Natalia offers a flexible and sensible approach to adding raw food to your diet. The background on the benefits is not extensive, but offers the main one, detoxification, as the primary reason for eating raw. By eliminating the buildup of toxic and unused waste from your system, you regain the balance your body needs. She focuses on elimination, and for good reason. If your system eliminates quickly and easily, there is no ongoing buildup to clog your system and it can deliver and use the nutrition your body needs. Natalia offers different levels of the raw food diet which may be helpful to some. She offers a good set of recipes, and a special section for children and family eating. She is flexible in her approach and offers a plan that most readers can relate to and follow easily. Compared to The Garden Diet, I would describe Natalia's book the "light" and introductory version of learning about how raw foods can benefit your health.

As much as I recommend the book, there are a few issues I don't agree with Natalia on.

First, she recommends the use of Splenda as a sweetner. I don't agree. Splenda (sucralose) is a man-made abomination that has been linked to dozens of health problems including enlarged kidneys and liver, migranes and reduced red blood cell count among others. Read more about the effects at Healthy Living Talk. So skip the Splenda and enjoy the rest of the book!

Second, Natalia doesn't specifically advocate a vegan diet. I believe the benefits outweigh the occassional eating of fish, meat or dairy products and although not for everyone, I highly recommend it. Once you get used to fresh, organic and raw foods, your body no longer craves the processed foods you ate in the past and instead craves more fresh, raw and nutrient dense foods.

This book is a hardback although also available in a download version from Amazon.

Search for The Raw Food Detox Diet at eBay
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May your journey to enjoying fresh, raw foods be filled with health and happiness!

All the best for your health,

Mark

Are You Dressing In Chemicals Today?

Posted on September 13th, 2005 in clothing,organic,toxins by Vegan Raw Diet Advocate Comments Off on Are You Dressing In Chemicals Today?

Along with a diet rich in fresh, organically grown foods, consideration should be given to the clothes you wear as well. Not only for the fact that your skin is in constant contact with your clothing, but also for the way certain fabrics are made and their impact on our environment.