ADOPTING THE BALANCED RAW LIFESTYLE
A diet in which canned or cooked foods are considered void of nutrients. A diet in which bottled condiments like salad dressings, marinades, and concentrated oils made from soybeans, peanuts, and corn are excluded. This diet is rich in raw and organic vegetables, fruits, seaweeds, nuts, sprouted grains, seeds, and legumes. In most cases, animal products are omitted, but some followers choose to supplement their heavy roughage intake with raw beef, dairy, and fsh.
This diet is known as “raw” because it includes only those foods that are unaltered, made from scratch, and eaten in their most natural form. Although some raw foodists eat a small portion of cooked foods, to preserve the nutritional content most fare is eaten cold, at room temperature, or warmed to heats never exceeding 118°F (48°C).
” believe eating mostly uncooked and unprocessed foods is the gateway to a disease-free existence and by doing so they thrive from eating a Living Foods Diet, a name interchangeable with “raw.” To some, and even you, this diet may sound perfect. But is it?
A new raw food approach, or as I like to call it, “Balanced raw,” is gaining momentum and being recognized as the program of choice for optimum health, sustainability, and balanced nutrition because it includes a variety of both raw and cooked foods that are low in fat and rich in enzymes, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. even some of the most respected and steadfast raw foodists are converting to this new approach, and their swing from “high raw” (75 percent raw or more) to “balanced raw” (50 percent or more) is due to the belief that cooked foods are nourishing and grounding and that cooking enhances the absorption of nutrients in certain foods, as is the case with tomatoes.
A balanced raw diet is lower in fat than a 100 percent raw diet because it is not heavily reliant on high-fat nuts for protein, and instead includes cooked legumes and grains. This is essential as low-fat diets help to protect against high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even cancer. Furthermore, a balanced diet of raw and cooked foods is common in Asian cultures, which include some of the healthiest and longest-living people on the planet.
And in a 2012 article in The Hufngton Post, author Isaac eliaz, M.D., M.S., L.Ac., suggests that eating cooked foods brings warmth to the gut and increases digestive fre, resulting in more efcient digestion and assimilation—something you will come to understand is essential for optimum health.
In a January 2012 interview in veg News, victoria Boutenko, a pioneer of the green smoothie movement and follower of a 100 percent raw diet for more than a decade, shared her conversion to a part-time raw approach. She said, “What is more nourishing: steamed asparagus or cashew nuts? Lightly cooked red cabbage or an ounce of raw almond butter? A baked apple or a slice of a raw dessert? I know now these cooked foods are nutritionally superior, but I didn’t know then to ask these questions.” victoria afrms that by eating some cooked foods we are exposed to variety, and that eating cooked vegetables is better for our health than eating a cup of nut butter.
Chad Sarno, a revered chef who for years developed raw menus for restaurants around the globe, has also recently changed his rawtarian tune. After getting a complete blood panel, he found his cholesterol and triglyceride levels to be deep in the unhealthy range. He attributed the disappointing results to eating a traditional raw foods diet. He believed for many years that an abundance of nuts provided a healthy source of fat and protein. However, after receiving the results of his blood work, he realized the negative health consequences of eating these foods in excess.
He immediately put himself on a part-time raw diet consisting of mostly vegetables (raw and cooked), cooked grains, and legumes, and was astonished when after only four months his cholesterol dropped one hundred points and his triglyceride levels came back into the healthy range. This book isn’t just for people who eat only raw foods and want to enhance their diet with cooked foods. If you have been eating a diet composed mainly of cooked foods and want to convert to a greater percentage of raw, you will also be enlightened because this book is all about balance.
Whether shifting from high raw to balanced raw, or the opposite, the goal is to help you fnd middle ground. The program and recipes will be your guides to health transformation and will support you no matter what your eating habits are today. Through these pages you will be introduced to lifestyle tools, resources, and meals that will bring equilibrium to your scales.
Manage Your Macronutrients for a Strong and Healthy Body
weighed down by too many fats. They also lack macronutrient variety. According to respected medical professionals such as John McDougall, M.D., and T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., fat consumption should be limited to only 10 percent of your total daily caloric intake, and fats should come from whole food sources, such as olives, seeds, and avocado, and from small amounts of nuts, if at all.
Traditional raw diets have focused on using nuts and oil to create richness, creaminess, and texture in plant-based sauces, desserts, and dressings. However, legumes, healthful seeds, and starchy vegetables can also add decadence to a tart, silkiness to a cream sauce, and increased emulsifcation for dressings.
So just how do you use these other ingredients to achieve the same richness and texture that oil provides? To bring this into view, visualize making a salad. you have chopped up lots of fresh veggies, selected your greens, and perhaps added some chickpeas, cooked quinoa, or steamed beets. rather than making a traditional dressing of one-third citrus or acid and two-thirds oil, omit the oil and season the citrus or acid with dried or fresh herbs, minced garlic and shallots, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Then, to bring a touch of fat to your fresh meal, garnish with one-fourth of an avocado that has been cut into small cubes.
If you prefer a creamy dressing, add the avocado cubes to the other dressing ingredients and purée in a high-speed blender until smooth. The silkiness of the avocado will go a long way toward adding creaminess to the dressing without the use of oil.
When making sauces, experiment with using cooked beans or starchy vegetables to thicken and emulsify. In the case of the shaved roots and herbed Parsnip stack (page 85), I suggest blending cooked parsnips with fresh herbs and garlic for a savory and versatile purée. other legumes and vegetables that are ideal for sauce and dressing bases are black beans, chickpeas, peas, and cooked cauliﬂower, parsnips, and sweet potatoes. When used in moderation, hemp, pumpkin, ﬂax, and chia seeds are also excellent for thickening and adding creaminess to your sauces and dressings.
Full-Flavored reduced-Fat tip
another way to lower fat is to pulse nuts such as pistachios, almonds, brazil nuts, or walnuts in a spice grinder and then just sprinkle a teaspoon or two on your dish. You will use far less this way, yet still beneft from the added ﬂavor, crunch, and touch of healthy fat.
The Balanced raw diet encourages an 80:10:10 macronutrient ratio, with 80 percent reserved for carbohydrates and 10 percent allocated to both fats and protein. extensive research conducted by renowned cardiologist Caldwell B. esselstyn Jr., M.D., showcases a reduction in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even the reversal of cancer when this ratio is adhered to. In addition, this approach appears to be most similar to the diet followed in Asian cultures, where inhabitants have historically lived long and thriving lives.
you will see in chapter 4 how okinawans, the society with the largest number of documented centurions, eat a diet rich in carbohydrates, and use fat and protein to enhance a meal as a condiment, and not as the main attraction. In the provocative 2008 documentary eating, director Mike Anderson interviews experts in health and nutrition such as esselstyn and Joseph Crowe, M.D., who describe how our ancestors ate a diet rich in carbohydrates and low in fats and protein. Prior to the agricultural revolution, humans survived on an abundance of fresh vegetables, greens, roots, herbs, fruit, protein-containing grains and legumes, minimal game meat, and nuts and seeds in limited quantities.
It was only after the agricultural boom that humans began indulging in processed and refned foods and eating concentrated fats such as vegetable oils. If you think about the foods available to our ancestors, greens, root vegetables, and fruits were most abundant, meat was sparse because of the need to hunt for game, and nuts and seeds were either unavailable or difcult to harvest. Take cashews, for example. Shelling cashews is a time-consuming process that is achieved by using wooden mallets and sometimes wire to extract the kernel from its hard shell.
Then the cashew kernel must have its thin resin coating, known as the testa, removed before consumption. This is achieved by heating the kernels until the testa dries and becomes brittle and thus easier to remove. It is essential that those harvesting be protected from the poisonous ivy– like shell oil, which can damage mucous membranes and severely burn the skin. When you consider this lengthy and somewhat risky process, it is unlikely our ancestors were enjoying cashews or any nut by the handful, and neither should we.
As a Balanced raw foodie you will easily be able to navigate the complex world of carbohydrates, feeling confdent about which are most healthful and nourishing to your body. I am giddy for grains and after you read about how powerfully nutritious and versatile they are, my hope is that you will be, too. There are so many varieties of these glorious morsels, and the dishes that can be made using these gems are endless. Here are some examples:
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a grain native to the Andes, literally means “the mother of all grains” in the Incan language. Quinoa has been a sacred crop of South American inhabitants for centuries. It has superior digestibility, a high protein content, and a full amino acid profle—it contains all eight essentials acids that your body does not manufacture. It is a mainstay of many South American meals just as rice is of Asian fare.
This light and gluten-free grain is technically a seed and a relative of spinach and beets. In addition to being enjoyed as a side harvest. Take cashews, for example. Shelling cashews is a time-consuming process that is achieved by using wooden mallets and sometimes wire to extract the kernel from its hard shell. Then the cashew kernel must have its thin resin coating, known as the testa, removed before consumption.
This is achieved by heating the kernels until the testa dries and becomes brittle and thus easier to remove. It is essential that those harvesting be protected from the poisonous ivy– like shell oil, which can damage mucous membranes and severely burn the skin. When you consider this lengthy and somewhat risky process, it is unlikely our ancestors were enjoying cashews or any nut by the handful, and neither should we
or main dish, cooked quinoa can replace oats or cracked wheat in breakfast porridge, may be tossed with fruits, vegetables, or legumes in a grain salad, can be ground into ﬂour for baked goods, or be used to add texture and volume to a veggie burger. you will soon experience the nutty taste and health qualities of quinoa because it is used in a number of dishes included in this plan.
Prepare Your Body, Kitchen, and Mind for the Balanced Raw Plan
Perhaps you have role-played for an upcoming interview, enrolled in classes to pursue a specifc career, taken lessons to learn how to play an instrument, or started training in preparation for a race. you may not even realize all the foundation building you have been doing to support the weight of demanding tasks, goals, and responsibilities.
Adopting a sustainable Balanced raw lifestyle is no diﬀerent from these other endeavors and also requires a frm and steady foundation. This foundation includes a pantry that is free of junk and instead stocked with foods that nourish and support your health goals; kitchen tools and equipment that make Balanced raw meal prep a breeze; a support system of people who encourage and keep you motivated; and most important, a clear intention about why you desire to live this way.
may become weake ned and your dedication can lose its oomph. you have likely seen examples of this in the frst month or so of each new year. The new year typically starts with an explosive rise in gym memberships, diets, workout programs, and sky-rocketing sales of get-thin-quick pills. Millions are suddenly dedicated to losing weight, giving up their smoking habit, saving more money, or being more kind and loving to their spouse or children. But then what happens? Why, after only a few weeks or months, are commitments broken and dedication diminished? Why do the once devoted give up?
More often than not, it is not because these devotees want to fail at achieving their goals; most really do want to be slim, smoke-free, and more loving. What makes them give up is a weak or nonexistent foundation. It happens when the person committed to losing weight signs up for the gym or purchases a weight loss supplement but does not eliminate junk food from his pantry. It happens when a lover or spouse sets a goal to be more kind and loving but fails to forgive hurts from the past or fails to learn how to communicate and show love in the way her child or spouse will best receive it.
A stable foundation and clear intention are the keys to success when altering your lifestyle for the better. Have you stopped to consider why you are committing to this four-week program? Is it for weight loss? Are you an athlete looking to achieve peak performance? Do you want to fnally be free of digestive pain, headaches, insomnia, or allergies? Are you fed up with battling diabetes, heart disease, or chronic fatigue? Have you “tried everything, but nothing has seemed to work”?
Whatever your purpose is for following the Balanced raw system, put pen to paper and clearly defne your intention. Display this written reminder prominently on your refrigerator, computer, bathroom mirror, or anywhere you will see it throughout the day. you can even set an alert on your cell phone to remind you each day of your purpose for choosing the Balanced raw way.
The support system I spoke of earlier is essential for building a frm foundation. Maybe you will turn to a spouse for support, or a caring friend. Consider joining a Meetup group in your area whose focus is on health and wellness. These local groups host potlucks, seminars, and other gatherings and get you rubbing shoulders with some people who may be making a similar transition or are already living the Balanced raw way. Being around like-minded people, or engaging those nearest to your heart to keep you motivated and on track, will ease you through the changes.
If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, speak freely about the physical, mental, and emotional changes. Share your goals and milestones and ask for help when needed. With a clear intention and a supportive network, you can begin building the foundation that will serve you during this transition and set you up for success in achieving your goals.
In the next chapter, you will give your kitchen a complete makeover—a healthy overhaul, if you will. your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry will be stripped of all garbage food that brings harm to your body and will be restocked with an abundance of nourishing, whole, and natural foods to enjoy in your home cooking. you won’t feel deprived after learning how incredibly tasty and satisfying whole and natural foods can be.
Have you ever gone to the store and picked up a bag of brightly speckled beans or colorful rice you had not seen before only to get it home, put it in your pantry, and completely forget about it? If so, you are not the only one. Many do this with the intent to prepare the new food, but without it prominently displayed, and without some guidelines for preparation, it could end up living for years in your cupboard completely neglected.
Part of the process of building your foundation includes storing and displaying your foods in a way that makes them more appealing and appetizing, and that puts them front and center so you are more likely to eat them. Decoratively display the jars of dried, whole foods in your pantry and refrigerator and on countertops so they stare back at you, enticing you to eat them up.
you should also begin to shop the bulk aisles of your markets for dried goods such as grains, legumes, seeds, fruits, ﬂour, and spices. Buying from bulk bins saves you money and encourages you to either purchase large quantities if you have the storage to do so, or smaller quantities more frequently while still reaping the benefts of bulk pricing. Following are some key dried ingredients you will want to have on hand.