I’m considering embarking on the 100-day raw food challenge. It’s all the rage in California right now.
For a period of 100 days – the clue’s in the title – you eat nothing but raw food, and see how you feel at the end of it. By all accounts, it’s something in the region of absolutely tip-top. You lose weight, you get your old energy back, your mind is sharp and fit and focused – it all sounds fantastic. Except for the bit about eating nothing but raw food for 100 days. That’s haaaaaard!
The reasoning is the same one used on infomercials for juicers. Organic raw food is loaded with nutrients. It’s alive, basically. And when you put live food into your system, it feeds your cells and provides fuel for the delicate mechanism that is the human body. On the other hand, put dead food in – meat, cookies, bread, fried crap, cake (my favorite), pasta, cooked anything-at-all, in other words – and it leads only to decay and death.
You are what you eat, most definitely. Why d’you think so many people around us are sick or dying? They eat stuff that’s no good for them, then wonder why their body can’t sustain them.
Health is an investment. We spend our whole lives saving money, buying insurance, paying into pension schemes ready for our old age, then, when we get there, we find ourselves in a rapidly declining state of poor health so that we can’t enjoy it. Pills, surgery, cancer, dementia, hospitals, deafness, aches, pains, wheelchairs, canes, Alzheimer’s…the vocabulary of most seniors today. Why is that? Because we fail to invest in ourselves. Our bodies. Our future health. Nobody tells us the truth: that 95% of the body’s survival chances are dictated by the food we choose to put in our mouths. And so throughout our lives we continue to eat things that taste good – for instance, I’ll not hear a bad word said about Ding-Dongs; end of conversation – but are ultimately disastrous for our system. Most of what we eat is poison or pollutes/blocks our various tubes and organs.
Luckily, as well as cake (poison, pollutant and causer of blockages), I eat plenty of salads. Started in my twenties, as a matter of fact, when thankfully I had more sense than I do now.
At the time, nobody in Britain looked on salad as food. To eat it was considered stupid, short-sighted, and heretical – a nutritional felony almost. Friends were shocked and laughed out loud at my goofy food antics. I mean, my god, they thought, he’s turned his back on the delicious dietary staples of bacon, lard, chips, pastry, and lashings of milk, cheese, butter and cream, choosing to eat “rabbit food” instead. It didn’t bear thinking about. In fact, one time my father stared incredulous at the big bowl of salad I was about to eat for dinner and told me very loftily, “Salad is not a meal, it’s a side-dish!”
Naturally, hearing that from him only spurred me on to continue doing it.
I know what he meant, though. Back then, the word “salad” described a small plate or bowl containing a piece of iceberg or cos lettuce (nutritional value = zero, I believe) plus a quartered tomato and a handful of cucumber slices with the green skin left on, even though the skin had been “waxed” with petroleum and was apparently indigestible by the human body. That’s what people considered “eating healthily,” and even this they did under duress.
Of course, this was a while ago now, in the days when kids were only given vegetables as a punishment. We’ve moved on a bit since then.
Despite the ridicule, however – and there was lots – I continued wolfing down salads at almost every meal. Not just ordinary salads either. Mine were special, the product of much experimentation with what worked and what didn’t.
They consisted of romaine lettuce, grated carrots, chopped cucumber (with the skin taken off), nuts and raisins, chopped celery, grated cabbage, sunflower seeds, avocado, garbanzo beans, corn, a sprinkling of cheese for interest sometimes, diced tomatoes, bean shoots, sliced grapes and some pasta or potatoes on top now and then to keep it enticing. Plus, anything else I had to hand, which included ham and turkey occasionally, though I gradually phased those out. Personally, I never liked elaborate dressings, which seemed unnecessary. Instead, I’d just squeeze some lemon or lime into it.
Then came the neat trick. The secret to making a pile of vegetables interesting, I discovered, was to chop everything quite finely. Rather than eat a piece of tomato, then a piece of celery, then a piece of lettuce – which was the old way, and utter torture – it meant you got to eat a forkful of everything all at once. Your mouth tasted different things every time because the mixture on the fork was constantly changing.
I still have a salad most days. I call it Cash’s Confetti Salad. Patent pending, so don’t even think of stealing it. Then, about three days a week, I juice too.
Juicing is one of the fastest and easiest ways to bulk-ingest nutrients. Within minutes of drinking a 12oz glass of juice in a morning, my eyes get more focused, I have a fresh injection of energy, and the mind becomes a whole lot sharper. It’s miraculous. Even as I’m writing this, I’m sipping fresh-made juice from my centrifugal juicer – one of those Jack LeLanne things. Once I’m done, I may run to China or take up gymnastics. My day’s pretty open.
I threw in everything we had in the fridge: six leaves of romaine lettuce, three carrots, celery, kale, honeydew melon, spinach, a whole cucumber, three green apples, parsley. It’s delicious. Better still, it’s alive with enzymes and the cell-building goodies we need to stay young, fit and healthy.
In other words, I don’t really need to tackle the 100-day raw food challenge, do I? Because, apart from cake – the food of kings, my friend – I already eat about 80% raw every day. And since going that extra 20% would keep me away from things I like or am unashamedly addicted to, I figure my body’s doing pretty well as it is, so I may as well stay where I am and hope for the best.
TV Swami – he say NO to 100-day raw food challenge, but YES to 80% raw.
Cash’s new book is all about health, healing, nutrition, and how to work at reversing serious illness. Called a little book about believing, it’s available on Kindle now. In paperback July 5th 2011. It will revolutionize the way you think about health, life, and your relationship with the people around you.
More information here.
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