I’ve been eating a lot of raw vegan food lately. Not just the yummy raw vegan cheesecake I’ve shared at 52 Sweets, but full-on meals. I’m also spending quite a bit of time studying raw eating and nutrition. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I drink a lot of green juice, less than affectionately called swamp in a glass by a few folks in my life.
|Dave the Raw Food Trucker with Lovey Jane Van Benthusen|
So this may confuse you…especially if you’ve followed my blogs for a long time. I started out writing about donuts, then about gluten-free sweets, then food on a stick…and now here I am telling you about the wonders of green juice. That’s because it’s about balance. That’s where the 52 projects have come into play for me, eating one delectable sweet every week. Part of my balancing act is eating really healthy most of the time and then indulging once a week or so. And as time passes, even my indulgences are becoming more healthy. Maybe you’ve noticed more non-sweet recipes coming from me lately. My tastebuds have changed, my body craves different food than it did four years ago.
While I have no plan to become 100% raw, I have to tell you that I feel ahhhh-mazing when I drink juice made from dark leafy greens. My friends are barely tolerating me right now because it’s my solution to everything. I think everyone would feel better if they just started the day off with a juice and I have difficulty not shouting it from the rooftops. Got a cold? Have a green juice. Grumpy? Green juice! Bored with life? Green juice! Want to really LIVE your life? GREEN JUICE!
The reason I share this is that while doing research on juicing, I heard about Dave the Raw Food Trucker. Wouldn’t you know, his tour was taking him right through Kansas City. I signed up and went to see him speak at my local Whole Foods.
Here’s the skinny on Dave: he had stage 1 colon cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, kidneys leaking protein that were soon going to require dialysis, was taking 19 prescription and 6 OTC medications. And he weighed 430 pounds. He has lost about 230 pounds, takes 1 prescription medication, got off of his diabetes medications in 4 days after he began juicing, he’s healthy! While my weight loss and health journey is different than Dave’s, I’m always fascinated to hear how others make it happen.
For two hours, Dave spoke about his raw food journey in the cafe of Whole Foods. There were about fifty people there. I feel so encouraged when I see this many people willing to listen to someone who is living healthy! There were folks who eat high raw and folks like the lady in front of me who didn’t know the difference between a smoothie and a juice–all levels of knowledge, everyone welcome to learn. I feel certain every single person, regardless of their prior knowledge of raw foods, left with several tidbits of information that could be life-changing if they use them. Here are a few of my takeaways and my take on them:
* A healthier lifestyle takes just as much commitment as a non-healthy lifestyle. I get this! I don’t work overly hard at staying healthy now and the effort I do put into it is enjoyable. Sure, when I first went gluten-free, there was a learning curve. I didn’t like a lot of what I was eating and I still learn more about what my body likes best every single day. But I don’t work any harder at this than I worked at eating too much of the wrong foods when I weighed over 300 pounds.
*Initial attraction to a raw vegan lifestyle was the promise of weight-loss and being able to eat as much as you want. Does this resonate with any of you who are serial dieters? I would have gladly signed up for any plan that promised me I could eat as much as I wanted and still lose weight. If any of those plans mentioned to me that I would get healthier along the way (or, as is often the case, that my health would suffer while on their eating plan), I would have never heard it. Just the promise of weight loss was all it took to lure me in. I struggle with this right now because I want people to choose to eat in a way that is healthy first and trust that the weight will settle in time.
*Eat By Example. Dave shared a story about parents getting their child to drink green juice by drinking it themselves first. I am so lucky to have friends in my life who eat by example. They are teaching their children healthy eating and healthy body image by example. All of us can eat by example, example to not just children but to everyone in our lives. Eat By Example, love it!
*You can read every book out there, but look for someone living it! I have a bookshelf full of diet books. A year ago I cleared out that bookshelf and yet here it is, full again. I’m always reading what’s new in weight loss and healthy nutrition. But the people I learn best from are those who are living it!.
*Make an action plan. Dave talked about what he did to avoid triggers, like the mall food court and the movie theater concession stand. I, too, live by action plans to help me avoid food exceptions. Right now, that means I drink a quart of juice when I crave something I really shouldn’t eat (like too many cupcakes) and then I re-evaluate. By then, my stomach is full and usually the craving has passed. I used to wait 17 minutes before opening the refrigerator door to evaluate if I was truly hungry. Whatever it is that works for you, have a plan.
*The most healing produce for juicing is the freshest. I have a habit of throwing into the juicer anything that is starting to look a little sad, wilted or bruised. Dave pointed out that the freshest produce will have the highest nutrient content, but that any juicing is better than no juicing. I feel this way about juicers, too. I have a fancy-schmancy one now, but a year ago I was juicing with a $30 juicer. And you know what? I’m healthier for it. It was something, a place to start and what I could afford at the time.
*One pound of dark leafy greens contains the protein of a one pound cooked steak. I must learn more about digestive proteins! This was a fun takeaway, since that’s the first and most frequently asked question I get, “Where do you get your protein?”
Which leads me to my final take away:
*There is no One-Way for every single person. Find out what lights up your body and move in that direction. Isn’t this the truth?!? What is working for me is probably not right for you. I enjoyed that Dave was so non-judgmental. Sometimes as a dairy-free, gluten-free vegetarian, I am judged by vegans. I was judged big and bad, out loud, at a nutrition retreat last year because I choose to eat eggs from my backyard hens. Dave’s message reminded me that the way I eat is fine, the way he eats is fine and the way you eat is fine, as long as we are moving in the direction that makes our bodies healthy.
Check out Dave’s list of upcoming appearances on his Facebook page. Go see him, it will make you healthier just by listening to him. I’m not a doctor and make no medical claims, but do really believe that. Go!