Raw Food Primer

It seems that I’m not the only one interested in keeping a raw food habit around here. Not only the twitter reactions I got after publishing my last article on raw food, but even a comment on my blog seem to show quite an interest on this topic. So, I decided to write a post in which I’ll describe the basic requirements for starting a 30 days raw food challenge.

Please keep in mind that I’m not a nutritionist, I’m only sharing my personal experience here, which may or may not apply to your situation. If you are going to start a raw food diet in order to overcome a medical condition I highly recommend you to consult a doctor first. In this post I’m assuming that you are already a moderately healthy person, with a normal emotional balance who’s trying to improve something in his eating habits. This disclaimer in place, let’s get started.

Raw Food Goal

If you’re starting a raw food challenge please make your goal really clear. Not only in terms of duration, but also in terms of raw food / cooked food balance. I am on a 100% raw food diet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have it the same way. Maybe you’ll want a 75% raw – 25% cooked diet, which may be a little easier in the beginning.

The milestones described in this post are for a 30 days challenge on a 100% raw food diet, so feel free to adjust them downward if you’re going to have only 20 days 100% raw, or 30 days on a 75/25 diet.

Having a clear raw food challenge goal is very important. You’ll know every moment how far or close you are from the finish. You will also know how to evaluate the changes.

This goal will include the initial assessment of your situation. This assessment contains a realistic image of your current eating habits (all meat, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, etc) and your current health condition, including your current weight. It will be important to re-evaluate your assessment after the challenge. Take the time to write this in a secure place, even if it will take you an hour or two, it will pay off well in the end.

Raw Food Gear

Eating raw doesn’t mean you don’t process your food. You just don’t cook your food by exposing it to high temperature. But you will cut it, blend it, mix it, whatever. And for that you will need some gear. It’s possible to make it without those modern appliances but it would be quite difficult.

You will need at least one big blender for making smoothies, and a mixer for chopping roots or sauces. I call blender the one with the knife inside the recipient, and mixer the one with the detachable knife and handle. Maybe they have different names in your culture, but I guess you got the idea. You can also use an all-in-one tool, as long as you can chop, blend and mix together fruits, water and vegetables. You will also need a juice maker, but that’s pretty straightforward.

You don’t need to have super professional tools, but keep in mind they will be used a lot so if you don’t have them yet, please buy on the higher price scale. It’s easy to get caught in a “this juicer is broken again, I won’t continue this silly raw food diet, coz I don’t have the tools” pattern, so make yourself a service and buy good stuff.

You will also need a lot of storage space. Eating raw means eating fresh and eating more. I had to bring in another refrigerator after I realized I won’t go back to cooked food, only to accommodate the produce for my own meals. I also conquered around 1 square meter from our kitchen space for storing fruits and gear.

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Raw Food Update – Almost 6 Months Later

After a series of 6 articles about The Making Of An Online Business, I thought it would be wise to write about stuff that has been ignored for long time here on my blog, and also about something a little more personal than business advices. Although they seem to have quite an audience, these advices are not my primary goal for this blog. As I always said, this blog is a continuous search for a personal path.

And that personal path lead me almost 6 months ago on the raw food track. My loyal readers know already what does that mean, but for the new ones I will outline some of the raw food specifics. I don’t eat meat, not any animal food like milk, eggs or cheese. I don’t eat processed food, anything cooked is outside my view. I only eat fruits, vegetables and seeds. The only exception is honey, which is the product of… I don’t know if I can associate it with milk, but whatever, I eat honey.

Although this seems like a very limiting choice of foods, it is in fact a very pleasant one. I eat apples, pears, bananas, avocados and all kind of fruits I can find. I eat a lot of roots like celery, carrots and parsley. I incorporate garlic and onions any time I can and of course I eat a lot of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicum. I discovered several months ago that pine buds are a fantastic food, along with almonds, nuts or pumpkin seeds. During winter I eat a lot of dried fruits like dates, prunes or raisins and of course oranges and mandarines. In fact, I do have a greater variety than before.

Raw Food And Health

I plan to have a complete medical test later this month and I will write in detail the differences from my last medical test. Please note that before going raw vegan I was a lacto-ovo-vegetarian for more than 3 years. I did have some cholesterol anomalies and I did had a colon sensitivity which was in fact pretty disturbing in the last 4-5 years. Before being a vegetarian I was a complete mess in terms of eating, I was also a regular drinker in my early twenties and I guess this can leave pretty powerful marks.

There are visible effects of my health even without the medical tests, which I guess they come clean this time. First of all, the weight loss is constantly at same level. I am 1,82 tall and my weight is between 79-81 kilos regardless of what, when and how I eat. During the first three months of being raw vegan I lost 14 kilos. This is a fantastic benefit and it will well worth a raw food diet even if it would be the only one.

My sleeping patterns are completely upgraded. I can go to sleep anytime now, have around 7 hours a sleep and then wake up relaxed and ready to go. Doesn’t matter if I go to bed at 23:45 or at 21:00, I do sleep 7 hours and feel ok. I had a lot of issues with my sleep before, I either overslept constantly, either made white nights every other week, in order to “win” some time. Not anymore. I literally sleep like a baby.

Oh, and one other thing to mention about my health, which I think it’s pretty important. During last month we were traveling for the holidays. While in Switzerland, Bianca caught a serious cold. She was feverish (around 39-40 degrees Celsius) for 2 nights in a row and had to have antibiotics. Usually, when somebody in the family has a bacterial infection like that one, all the family is picking it up. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t pick it up this time.

The other day, after 2 weeks of kindergarten, Bianca caught another infection (we were warned about that, every time a kid starts socializing like this, there will be an adaptation and immunization period). Didn’t caught this either. While Bianca’s immune system is starting to build up seems like my immune system is already better than before. It’s important to know that last year during May – just two months before starting to eat raw – I had a horrible illness in which I had almost a week of high fever, and it was a bacterial infection. So, it’s definitely a big improvement here.

I’m sure that my body is now in better shape and all its functions are better than 6 months ago thanks to this raw food habit. I also think that there are some better protection processes taking places in my body, but it’s too early now to write about this. I will monitor these patterns closer and see how it’s going. It’s basically about how my body reacts to a serious increase on stress (being it a fitness session, or a bacterial infection). I’m sure there is something much better going on, but without more details I can’t be sure and I really don’t want to go delusional here, keeping it only to the facts for now.

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2008 – The Outcome

With only one week left until the official end of the year, I don’t think I’ll have much time to wrap up some of the goals I’ve set for 2008. With an early holiday already started on December 20th I don’t have my focus on achievement monitoring also. So, I guess it’s time to write about how 2008 went for me. I’ll share something with you in the very beginning of this post: I’m somehow scared. I just reviewed my goal list for this year, a list written on the last days of 2007, and I’m amazed how much I accomplished.

First and foremost, this was my best financial year ever. I know this sounds a little bit shameless in the context of a global financial crisis, but I honestly don’t care. I just had my best financial year ever, and the fact that there is also a crisis playing around outside has nothing to do with it. Or with me. Or whatever. This year I made the exit for the company I set up 10 years ago and this was a huge leap forward for me. No need to hide this. It’s not only the financial freedom involved, but much more than that. The financial freedom was only a proof for something much bigger. More on that later, let’s take it the old “step by step” style for now.

As I told you, I am amazed of how much I accomplished, but also I’m somehow scared. I know I should be happy, but I’m still scared. We often function on lower expectancies and when things are coming to us in full flavor, shaped and behaving like we expected them to be, we tend to back up. This is how I feel right now. I feel like “wow, I really did it!”. I’m sure you felt this before, you know how it is. A feeling of satisfaction mixed with a strong vibration of “I just can’t believe this”.

Well, enough with emotions let’s get factual. I won’t give you any exact numbers on my goals. I don’t think the numbers are important, but the commitments are. The list I’ve made for 2008 was made up of 3 sections:

  • personal
  • professional
  • joy

At that time I was still managing Mirabilis Media, the company I’ve created 10 years ago, so my personal and professional path were still pretty mixed.

Personal Goals

The thing that was most important for me on the personal level was my financial income. I don’t think I feel the same way now. But at that time seemed like a priority. I set up a pretty high mark on that. And I did it. Of course, the exit from my company was the key factor in that. Most of my income is now based on that exit.

The second thing was my health, at that time. I’ve set up goals for exercising more (30 minutes per day) and for eating healthier (eating raw food at least two days per week). For the exercise part, I made it for about 1 and a half month from the total of 12 months. For the eating habits, I made it for almost 5 months. But I managed to remain on a raw food eating habit and that is fantastic. Now really, it’s a breakthrough in terms of personal development, no need to hide this.

The third goals was about Bianca’s day care. We managed to have her signed up for the next year, but I think I can safely check this as done, because we did it very well. We both like that specific day care facility and we’re both happy we managed to have her signed up.

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Therapeutical Talking And Writing

Every time I talk about something that was on my mind for a lot of time, I have the tendency to forget about it shortly after. Just talking about things that really were on my head seems to make them disappear afterwards. I had this impression a lot of times. Lately, I experienced this almost on any topic I am thinking about. Expressing my thoughts in words, written or talked, made the topic vanish. It’s like giving the thought some shape pushes it out of my brain, into another realm.

I had this going on for many years. I ruminated about something for months, making it bigger and bigger in my head, and then, all of a sudden, expressed it violently. Either in form of a journal entry, a blog entry, or sometimes in a fight or controversy with somebody else. After the eruption, the inside volcano magically disappeared. I even forgot that there was a volcano in that place. Shifted my attention to something else, and of course, started another ruminating session on a different topic, soon to be ended with another eruption, in several days, weeks, or months.

This chain of reactions lead me to the concept of therapeutically talking or writing. In today’s blog post I’ll try to understand what are the reasons for this therapeutical dimension of talking. Why is this happening, what are the triggers and what are the limits of this behavior. Is this a good thing, a bad thing or just a thing that I have? We’ll see about that together.

Healing Talking

During the last 5-6 years I started to pay more attention to this phenomenon. I monitored those “eruptions” and the subtle mechanism behind them. Gradually isolated similar events and tried to build on a pattern. It seemed that every confusion, fear, worry or lack of trust was in fact a root for a ruminating session. Not being able to express in the very moment my feelings about that confusion or fear pushed it back into my mental backyard, converting them in seeds of some huge wild-growing plants. 

Without paying attention to those plants, they grew until they started to shade my normal thinking patterns. They grew so big that they took some of the whole garden light. So big that I was forced to confront them. And the only immediate action I could take was to cut them out. Talking them out loud, writing about them, bringing them into conversations or fights. I just cannot leave in the dark, so I had to eliminate the obstruction, most of the time by violently expressing it.

After I eliminated those huge ugly wild-growing plants, the backyard was clean again. No need for another confrontation, my mental clarity was not obstructed anymore. Those wild-growing plants were out for good, so the very topic that generated them was forgotten.

This pattern was so powerful that it become my way of life. Almost everything that wasn’t managed was staying somewhere back, waiting to reach an “explosion” point. After expressing my feelings out loud, the problem disappeared. I went on this rollercoaster for years, until I started to feel annoyed about something.

I didn’t realize in the beginning what was my annoyance. But things around me started to lose consistency. I was forgetting stuff, more and more stuff and more and more often. If there was something that I was already “erupted” on, I even avoided direct confrontation. I knew from the beginning that this will lead to a huge wild-growing plant that will need to be cut in a painful storm of words, so I was keeping the distance. I didn’t engage in a lot of activities, started to work less, to keep honest relationships away, to avoid social interaction. All of that was before a source of pain expressed by words, so it had to be avoided.

But that was even worse. My way of dealing with negative emotions or situations was keeping me from experiencing a true and sincere life. Everything was thrown back and vomited weeks after in order to keep me clean. And between those periods I was almost invisible. I wasn’t doing much on my own. It was this chain of non-confrontation and therapeutical talking that took command of me. It was an auto pilot.

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Raw Food Update – 4th Month

It’s been more than 4 months now since I’m eating only raw food. That means eating only fruits, vegetable and seeds, unprocessed. It’s been quite a while since I’m doing this and I’m glad I did it. In today’s post I’ll try to outline some of the consequences of this lifestyle.

Raw Food Is A Lifestyle

Yes, that’s the most important thing about eating raw. It’s more than a diet. It’s more than an eating habit. It’s a lifestyle in itself. Eating raw food had a lot of impact in all areas of my life. The most noticeable effects were those related to my physical body. I will not insist on that, I’ve already published some graphs of my weight loss in the 3rd update about raw food. I will just mention that my weight remained steady, between 79 and 81 kg, no matter what I ate.

But as I said, it was not only the weight loss. My sleeping patterns improved dramatically. I can wake up every morning at 6 AM and have a full day without noticing fatigue. I can do all type of work, not only intellectual, and feel balanced and lucid. No matter if I do some DIY work in the garage, involving use of heavy machines, so to speak, or if I work on my social network or do some blogging, the overall energy level is still high.

Sometimes I wake up at 8 AM, but that’s because I fall asleep after midnight. I still feel ok. Sometimes I wake up at weird hours, like 4:43 or 5:32, several days in a raw. I have to find a way to cope with that. Sometimes I stay in bed, and sometimes I wake up and try to do some work, or to read or to surf the web. There are days in which I try to take the afternoon nap with Bianca. I don’t feel that strange feeling of oversleeping, even if I do take a one hour nap in the afternoon. I wake up alert and energetic.

In fact, this energy level is so much higher that I sometimes forget other people do experience spikes in their energy level. I noticed that before but it become much clearer in the last month. Right now I can feel if somebody has a energy spike or an energy whole. Most of the time those spikes are related to cooked meals – man, I feel so satisfied with this, I need to be lazy for a half an hour -  or to coffee. I don’t have this type of up and down energy line anymore.

My body appearance has also dramatically changed. Not only I dropped that ugly belly for good, but I can see that the muscles on my body are now in the correct place. I need to reboot my gym practice though, and I could hardly wait for it. I didn’t started right now because I know there will be an adaptation period of at least one week. And in one week we’ll going in Switzerland for the Holidays. We’re expected to stay there more than 2 weeks, have the New Year Eve there, and that would just made the first gym week useless. I’ll start it next year.

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Depression – How To Un-Handle It

That’s a delicate topic, I admit. Depression is one of the most delicate topics in the world, because it involves sharing the deepest parts of your being. And because it brings to the light feelings of shame, guilt and sadness. I never met any human being who was comfortable to those feelings…

For me, depression, despite its medical definition, is more of a state of rejection, of meaningless time and a lack of value. A state of withdrawal and surrender, a state of worthless actions and a wish to put an end to everything. Depression is just an enormous hole filled with lack of self-esteem and respect, lack of trust in you and anything. I’m not a doctor, and even if I do like to manage multiple skills I don’t intend to become a regular one, so take these definitions as my own personal view of depression and not as a medical approach.

Because I don’t put depression on the doctor’s plate, by the way. I take depression as a sign of imbalance in your whole being. It is not an illness, it is just the fact that some parts of yourslef are in need to take a break. To let go of the pressure. Maybe you asked to much. Maybe somebody else asked too much of you. Maybe you feel anger because you can’t get what you want, or because you had it once and now you lost it. Maybe you just need to rest for a while and your environment can’t let you do that. Whatever the form, the substance is the same: repressed, fermented emotions that are exploding inside and are looking for a way out.

Avoiding The Inevitable

Letting it out is the best thing you can do. Just be aware of the danger that this flow of emotions could take with it, though: it’s like a river that can take your house if you’re not paying attention. But you can’t stop it. That’s the biggest and most hurting mistake I’ve made. You can’t resist it and you can’t escape it. You must let it go, otherwise it will eventually overflow you by accumulation.

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Building Different Skills

People are often confused by the abundance of skills I developed over the years. And I guess what confuses them is the apparent spread of those skills over areas which are apparently incompatible or difficult to match together. For instance, if I bring into the conversation with a programmer an astrological opinion on some fact, chances are that I will get a “blue screen of dead” conversation. And if I bring into a fine arts conversation something about programming, I’ll be most likely left alone with that “mambo jumbo” sentence and labeled as an “unsolvable case of geekery”.

The examples above use extremely distant knowledge areas, but the confusion remains even on more closely related activities like business, marketing and sales. A marketing person will expect that I know nothing on entrepreneurship, since marketing guys are usually employed by somebody else in an established structure. And a sales person will expect that I know noting about marketing, since this should be a complete separate activity inside the company.

I can talk for hours with an astrologer only about astrology and have a fulfilling and entertaining conversation. I can do the same with a programmer and share a lot of the newest web 2.0 technologies and feel at ease with that. I can also talk about entrepreneurship and starting a company from scratch and never feel on moving sands with the person in front of me. But the moment I start to bring new perspectives on some topic and use other skills I have for that insight, my conversation partner becomes reluctant.

I acknowledge that I’ve been pretty affected by that. The moment I opened to somebody and let him know that I know more than what he expected, I was rejected. I came to the point that I felt ashamed of what I knew or learned so far. It’s better to stick on one topic of your life and seek only people who can understand you, I’ve said to myself. I do have the need for social acceptance, so if that’s the price to be paid, let’s pay it. Let’s stick with a limited set of skills, which at least will provide me with a comfortable environment and put me in touch with similar people, and bash all those new and interesting things I could learn.

But I confess I wasn’t able to do this. Although I did my best to succeed in limiting myself, I failed miserably. The dryness of such a life was simply unbearable. Limiting myself to only one major skill was just unconceivable for me and unfulfilling, at least.

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Is Water A Super Computer?

This is a movie I saw two weeks ago. It’s about one hour and 20 minutes long and it talks about unusual things about water. I got the link from one of my astrology groups where I’m subscribed, so I expected something beyond scientific. But most of the time in this movie, it’s the scientists that are speaking. And they’re speaking about stuff that we don’t know yet about water, even if we did walk on the moon or discover the atomic bomb (yes, they are talking about “heavy water” too, several times).

I’ll let you see the movie for now, and if you think like commenting upon it afterwards, you’re welcome. But if you don’t want to see it, I’ll outline what surprised me the most, and try to comment a little about it. So, without further ado, these are the key points in the movie:

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How To Make Fake Meat On A Raw Food Diet

Well, this is not exactly a tutorial for how to make fake meat, and, to be honest, I don’t even know what fake meat is. The fact is that today, mostly by chance, I found myself eating something that fantastically resembled to chopped meat. No, I’m still on my raw food diet allright, don’t worry, but it just happened that one of my meal courses for today came out like this, with a surprising, both visually and as taste, meat similarity. And I just thought you might be interested to know how I did it. I read a lot about people struggling to get on a raw food diet, and one of the most popular complaint is about the “awful taste” that raw food may have. Completely and totally wrong, at least from my experience: raw food can imitate, if you want, all the familiar tastes in the world: from chopped meat to pancakes. But, for now, back on my “fake chopped meat” story, let’s start this the easy way…

After my first 60 days of raw food diet, I made a commitment on trying to “cook” more. Cooking refers to the fact that I felt the need for more elaborate meals. In the first two month I only ate fruits and vegetables and the only processing I’ve done was blending all together. Quite spartan. The main goal was reached and that was to completely switch to raw food, but after that, something interesting happened. I started to feel the need to spend less time preparing the meals, while at the same time I needed something more elaborate, a regular meal, with main course, second course and dessert.

One week ago I made my first raw food chocolate and since then I made it again twice. Each time I experimented a bit and each time the chocolate came out better. And several days ago, not knowing how and what exactly am I going to “raw cook”, I started to make some stock. I thought it would be a good idea to store some of the main ingredients for my meals, like celery (and that would be the white root, not the leaves), carrots and avocado, after I blend them. Sort of a “fast food raw food” ingredients. I processed them with a slicer and chopped into small, rice like, parts. It took me about 25 minutes, and this is what it looks like:

Storage for fast food raw food cooking

Storage for fast food raw food cooking

The next days I started to take a spoon from there, a spoon from the other casserole, and try to play a little with quantities and taste. I will be honest and share with you that I initially aimed for some dumplings, but I didn’t know how to bring into the mix the dry, cereal-like part. Will see later about that.

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