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Saturday, 02 October 2010 13:50

What is RAW?

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You may have heard about the raw food diet trend that is sweeping the nation  . . . and with a very good reason!  Raw foods are also referred to as “whole foods” or “living foods.” A raw food diet consists of unprocessed whole foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius).   Foods cooked above this temperature begin to lose their enzymes and thus lose a significant amount of their nutritional value.  Of additional concern, a chemical reaction occurs during the cooking of certain foods that can lead to harmful (toxic) effects on the body.  And, when heated above 115 degrees, a variety of amino acids, including many of the essential amino acids, are no longer biologically available to the body.

Many people are accustomed to eating certain foods based on labels, advertising, or simply out of habit over many years of repetition.  My experience has led me to believe, however, that most people truly want to eat in a way that provides their bodies with the nutrition it needs and to consume food that optimizes their health and overall well-being.

The fact is, however, that even though most of us have a desire to feed our bodies the most nutritious way possible, most people are not prepared to switch to a 100% raw diet. Good News for all of us . . . current evidence indicates that even modifying an existing Standard American Diet (SAD) by adding more raw foods has a significantly positive impact on one’s health.  Switching to 100% raw is not necessary to gain some amazing health benefits in our bodies.  Among the experiences that many people have noted by adding raw foods include: weight loss, more energy, clear skin, improved digestion, decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, and improved overall health.

My goal is to provide workshops that educate people on the science behind what they are eating, as well as how they can add certain types of raw foods to enhance their health and overall well-being.  Whether you seek to become 100% raw, or just modify part of your current diet, these workshops will provide you with enlightening information and the knowledge tools you need to make the changes you desire!  After all, if you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?
Saturday, 02 October 2010 17:16

Myths About Raw Food

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Myth #1: You need to switch to a 100% raw food diet to experience the health benefits.

While some people adhere to this myth, the reality is that for most of us who are eating n Standard American Diet  (SAD) which is high in processed and fast foods, any increase in fresh, raw foods is beneficial.  The more raw you eat, however, the more benefits you will notice.

Myth #2: Everything you eat on the raw foods diet will be cold.

Absolutely not! This is a myth that many long-term raw foodists still don't know is false! In fact, anything you eat can be warmed up, as long as you don’t heat it above 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  Food can easily be warmed up in a dehydrator, a slow-cooker, or an oven set on low.

Myth #3: The raw food diet consists of only raw fruits and vegetables.

Just like the myth that a vegan food diet consists of nothing more than tofu and sprouts, this one is also false. A raw food diet consists of much more than fruits and vegetables. Seeds, nuts, sprouted grains, seaweeds and juices are all included on a raw diet, as well as some fermented and processed foods such as raw soy sauce, miso, raw nut butters and cold pressed raw oils.  Simple, whole ingredients can be prepared in ways that resemble the foods that we are comfortable consuming, including cookies(!), but that contain healthy ingredients and prepared without damaging the natural health benefits of the food.

Myth #4: The raw food diet is more expensive than other diets.

Any diet can be more or less expensive, depending on your tastes. Some of the most expensive foods on the planet are certainly not raw foods, or even vegetarian or vegan for that matter! Filet mignon and caviar are not raw foods! Certain pre-made raw items will be rather expensive, but some of the best bang for your grocery buck will be found in the produce section of your grocery store. Apples, bananas, salad greens and many vegetables are all a bargain compared to steak and lobster.

Myth #5: You will have to eat all your meals at home when on the raw food diet.

More and more restaurants are beginning to recognize that diners are looking for healthy alternatives to traditional high fat, cooked meals. Many restaurants are beginning to add a vegan or raw food section to their menu.  Salads, however, are always a standard staple for dining out on a raw food diet. The fresh mixture of lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, cucumbers, avocado, and onions, for example, can become a delectable treat! Most restaurants will also create a salad to order, if you simply make the request!  And, again, unless you are moving to a 100% raw diet, eating from the menu can still be relatively healthy if you make the right choices.

Myth #6: You will spend all your time in the kitchen chopping vegetables and dehydrating foods for hours on end.

Well, you could. But who wants to do that? Salads, smoothies and many raw soups and entrees are quick to prepare and many can be stored for several days or weeks. As someone who often works 7 days a week, with little time (or patience) for chopping and prepping, I personally know how important it is to have healthy whole food ready to consume.  That being said, investing in a Vita-Mix™, food processor and a dehydrator is an excellent investment for anyone serious about incorporating raw foods into their diet.
Saturday, 02 October 2010 17:50

About Me

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Cindy Douglas at The Raven RestaurantLike most people, I was raised on a Standard American Diet (SAD.)  My father was a car salesman and the food that we ate was often determined by the sales commissions from that month.  When commissions were down, we could expect to eat a lot of “chipped beef on toast” for dinner!  And my father, out of pure love for his two children, would bring home a U-NO candy bar every night for us!  I don’t know if you are familiar with a U-NO bar, but it wasn’t something I really enjoyed eating. But I always ate it because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and I knew it was a gesture of his love!

Through college and early adulthood, I ate as most young adults do . . . based on cheap and convenient!  But by the time I was in my late 30s, I was experiencing significant pain in the joints of my fingers and was finally diagnosed with lupus.  My doctor sent me to a rheumatoid arthritis specialist who confirmed that the blood results indicated lupus.  He said that when the pain got bad enough come back and see him and he would prescribe as much medication as I needed to control the pain.  I walked out of his office dazed.  But as the days went by, I realized I was not OK with his response to me.  I knew in my heart there must be another option.  Thus, my quest began and eventually led me to discover the amazing power of food!

Since then, I have been on a perpetual quest to gain knowledge about nutrition and its impact on health! Through the guidance of an amazing naturopathic doctor, I began to change my diet, and as a result, I began to change my health!  It has been over 12 years now that I have been lupus-free!  The current blood tests show no sign of lupus at all! And since incorporating raw food into my diet, I have lost 26 pounds, have been amazed to see my triglycerides go down 150 points, and I no longer take blood pressure medication!  

I have taken many courses over the years and have studied the health benefits of various types of food, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.  As a result of my own personal journey for the answers to nutrition and health, I was fortunate to be able to take the series of courses and exams that lead to becoming a Certified Raw Food Educator through the Living Light Culinary Institute in Ft. Bragg, CA.

One of the greatest joys I have now is being able to share my knowledge and experience with others.  I offer workshops on a variety of topics including the science of nutrition, and incorporating raw foods into all diets, as well as enthusiastically accepting invitations to speak to small or large groups!  Most of my workshops also include making a raw food smoothie during the class that all participants can taste.  My goal is to educate through the science of nutrition but to also illustrate how easy it is to incorporate the powerful foods that create optimal health!  

Join the fun and sign up to begin your own personal quest for better health and energy! I look forward to meeting you at one of our next classes!


I have a testimony about the smoothies and I'll try to make it short.  I started walking in Lakeside this past Monday.  I'm not an exerciser at all so this is as new to my body as all the good smoothies I've been drinking!  There's a pretty big hill where we live and I like to challenge myself to walk down and then back up the hill.  Today was my fourth day walking about three miles.  I've done pretty good each day except for today.  When I got home I was in so much pain I could barely stand up, I was hurting all over.  So much that I took ibuprofin and lay on the bed in tears.  I was laying there for a while wondering why today was so much different than the other three days where I'd had some muscle aches but nothing too unbearable.  Then it hit me.  The ONLY thing I did differently today was I DID NOT have my smoothie.  I usually make a good amount and drink 1/2 during the day before my walk and then I drink the other 1/2 after my walk.  The more I thought about it, I felt like if I would just get off of the bed and make the smoothie I would feel better.  I don't think I'm crazy or that it's all in my head.  Of course the pain reliever helped but I honestly feel like my body was craving the "good stuff"!

Thanks for letting me share this with you.  My family and friends all think I'm crazy for drinking my smoothies and even my husband is complaining because I'd rather drink the smoothie than eat the SO-bad-for-you sloppy joes and macaroni & cheese that I made him for dinner.

Thanks for taking the time to tell people the TRUTH about food, SAD and the science behind WHY we need to change our diets.  If you ever wonder if what you're doing is making a difference, it is.  :)


Rebecca B.
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