One of the questions I get asked most often about my high raw vegan diet has to do with nutrient deficiency. Somehow people seem to think that without eating lots of meat, in particular, and other cooked foods, that I am lacking in some nutrient or nutrients, which, by the way, are usually undetermined by the person asking the question. (The implication seems to be, “You don’t eat meat….something must be wrong with what you’re doing.”)
The fact is, of course, that by not destroying all the vitamins and enzymes and many of the minerals in the cooking process, more nutrients of all sorts are bio-available and more readily absorbed than the typical cooked American diet. The one notable exception is vitamin B 12, a very important nutrient that we must ensure getting enough of, and which is a little tricky, though not impossible, to come by in a high raw plant based diet. I have addressed the B 12 issue in an earlier blog, and it is easy to find in the archives in the right sidebar, should you wish to pursue that subject.
Here, however, I want to emphasize some points to insure that you get the very best nutritional package you can get, whether or not your goal is to be 100% plant based or 100% raw. What follows are some good general guidelines for maintaining an optimally healthy eating plan.
Put dark leafy greens at the center of your eating plan. They are the absolute cornerstone of a healthy diet because of their high mineral and protein content. Have at least two cups, preferably four, per day in the form of smoothies, salads, green juice, or in some combination of them. Different greens have different mineral combinations, all of which are worthwhile, so vary them, and remember that the darker green they are, the higher in chlorophyll content they are – a good thing. Kale, collard greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula, bok choy, dandelion greens, beet greens, and parsley are among the most nutritious greens.
Eat a variety of foods. Eat the broadest variety of foods in as close to their natural, unadulterated state as you can. Each little step of processing and packaging subtracts large amounts of nutrient richness from them.
Go for the color – the more the better. Different colors of food reflect their containing different minerals and vitamins. Eating a variety of colors not only looks good, but feels good, tool! Make a rainbow of a fruit salad or a vegetable salad. Put as many different colors of fruits and vegetables into juices and smoothies as well.
Expand the groups of food . Dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, sprouts, raw nuts and seeds, seaweeds, and fermented foods all provide your body with different gifts on which it will thrive. Having something from each of these groups every day is wonderful, but as long as they are in your diet every few days or a week, you’ll be in good shape.
Experiment with new recipes. After you’ve discovered enough of them so that your life in a high raw food diet can flow easily, continue to experiment, so that your repertoire of recipes is constantly shifting, perhaps seasonally, to allow access to an even greater variety of nutrients for your body over time. Your body will thank you for it. Your emotions will benefit from your having avoided another rut.
Follow these simple guidelines, and you won’t have any trouble getting all the nutrients you need for the healthiest of outcomes.
Now, have a little fun here! Go to my facebook page and answer the question — What’s the latest improvement you’ve made to your health-seeking diet? I love the participation!
While you’re there, if you haven’t already liked my page, take a second to do it. Thanks!