Whoa, Pure Jeevan's Back?!

2016 update: Aha, you noticed?! Welcome. Yes, we wanted to bring the site back online again, mainly because it's so packed with articles and information. It will be a work in progress for some time, as we changed web platforms and all sorts of tech stuff. So, a lot of links are hard-coded to old Wordpress-style links... just awful. But, in time we'll get all of it back in shape. For now, enjoy clicking around and reading!

Jim here... As I hinted at last week, I decided to try changing things up a bit and seeing what I thought of it. The salad you see above included the first cooked food I've had in more than two years. If you look closely, you can see that I sprinkled on a few spoonfuls of black beans. Also, in the upper left corner, there's a small spoonful of quinoa. I don't want to give the wrong impression here: ?This blog will certainly remain a major go-to source for raw food nutrition information. It's just that, today, I want to talk about experimentation a little bit.

First, I think it's generally healthy to experiment with your diet -- especially when you get the sense that something isn't working in your current diet. The fact is, diet is a dynamic thing, not a static aspect of your life. It has to be this way because so many factors affect our physiology on a day-to-day basis. Off the top of my head, these include the facts that:

  • We age. Hey, I'm not getting older, though! ?Sure, many people in the world are getting older by the day. Not me... I'm aging backwards! ?But that's still aging, and I want to address the nutritional needs of my ever-younger-growing body. (I'm only half-joking here, by the way. My goal is to look and feel like I'm 20 for the rest of my life.)
  • We can easily fall into a routine that, while generally healthy, might be lacking in some area. Of all the factors I'll list here, I suspect this one is (mostly) responsible for my black bean experiment, although I'll explain further, below.
  • We experience physical changes related to our environment. For example, we might feel more cold during the winter, and desire warming foods. (This can be accomplished in other ways than cooking, I should note. We've run many articles on wintering in the raw, if anyone is interested.)
  • We experience physical changes related to our current levels of exercise (or lack thereof). I've always suspected that diets like low-fat raw veganism (generally higher in fruits) are better suited for the more active set -- and, likewise, that the lower-fruit-sugar regimens are more suited for the less active. This is a huge area of future experimentation for me, as I've experienced amazing energy on raw foods, yet have not followed a structured exercise routine very seriously while eating this way (aside from my nightly 100 pushups).
  • We might "need" to change things up, temporarily, in order to reset our balance with respect to certain minerals and/or nutrients. For example, think of the natural alkaloids in various foods such as the greens. They're there so that we are naturally inclined not to deplete the entire crop of local resources. Thus, we're supposed to change things up once in a while. As far as greens go, my own "circuit" tends to run from spinach to kale to dandelion greens (as far as, say, a green for smoothies) -- although I'm ?fairly regular, year-round romaine eater.
  • We experience changes in our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves, which translates into desires and urges for various types of foods, cooked and uncooked. There's no doubt that we "self-medicate" with foods, as we've written about for years.

With all of those points in mind, I'm not suggesting that the answer is cooked food. ?Indeed, I suspect there is probably a raw answer to most of the above. In my own case, I mostly began to feel that something was missing in my diet. My digestion has been changing somehow, and I'm just not sure why! Sure, it could be stress from the move, trying to sell our home, my job, figuring out our future, etc. But, intuitively, I just felt like I needed some sort of tweak, and I wasn't sure what that was (and, frankly, I'm still not sure).

Anyway, over the past few months, I've also had occasion to visit Mexican restaurants a few times (for takeout for Cat -- now known as Bailey, btw -- and her friends). Each time I'd visit a place like Qdoba or Chipotle, my eyes would just lock-in on those gently steaming black beans. I wanted them -- I wanted them bad! -- but I was raw, and raw foodies do not eat beans. I have to admit leaving those places feeling deprived, even though I'm supposed to be someone who quite often coaches other people on how to get past that sort of thing. But, upon reflection, I don't think this was the same as the classic "pizza and ice cream craving" type of scenario that most raw foodies struggle with from time to time. What if it was something more? What if it was an authentic "hunger" for some nutrient available only in those beans?

I began to consider: Are there cooked foods that are relatively nutritionally "neutral" What might those foods be? Might they be beans? Rice? What else , I wondered. After considerable internal debate, I went ahead and tried it. And, guess what? ?Nothing happened. It tasted pretty good, as I'd suspected, and I felt normal both during and after. No unusual digestive problems followed. (Your results may vary, of course.) However, I drew no solid conclusions from the experiment, other than not being put off about trying beans again perhaps once per week and seeing how I feel as time goes by. But, the notion under consideration here is: What do I think of a very high-raw diet, with the addition of, say, 5-10% of non-raw foods made up of things that, while not as healthy or nutritious as raw veggies, are nutritionally neutral?

So, there you have it -- a ridiculously long tirade from some guy who ate a few spoonfuls of beans. (Yes, the Internet now officially contains every known scenario imaginable!) ?There are two ways to read this article: (1) I've either given my body what it was hungry for, or (2) I sold out and rationalized my own slippery slope back into unhealthy foods. For some people -- especially early adopters of raw foods -- I might be worried that it was the latter. But, raw foods have changed me so profoundly that I'm confident now that it was the former, or at least an attempt at the former phenomenon. Time will tell.

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On September 28, 2010, Mindy wrote:

Interesting post, Jim. We're all experimenting and trying to find what's best for us. I remember reading an interview with Ani Phyo a year or 2 ago. She mentioned after 7 years of being "100%", that she now occasionally eats a little vegan cooked food. One reason she mentioned, is that her energy level remained so high on all raw that she would just "go, go, go, go" and she accomplished a lot and never got sick, but she still felt she was depleting her body somehow by not resting enough. She feels that the cooked food is somehow grounding for her, facilitating her ability to rest and slow down. Sounds like her own way of putting on the brakes a bit. Anyway, given we're out on the edge of diet ville, it's always interesting to see what's up with others. Thanks for sharing.

On September 28, 2010, Errigal_lass wrote:

Great article, Jim! That salad definitely reeks of Whole Foods! Looks like what I get when I am shopping there and enjoying a dinner beforehand! I have experimented a bit lately, too, and find certain foods do not agree with me and others are okay for that time.....but then happy to get back on my raw food things. Also, happy that I can enjoy something different for a just a change and can go back and forth. Happy Trails to ye! Errigal (AKA Tracey Anne Miller)

On September 28, 2010, Jim Dee wrote:

We're having problems with the comments again. I'm trying to figure out why a few comments her have not shown up. (Thanks, Mindy & Tracey... we're working on the problem.)

On September 28, 2010, Chantal wrote:

Funny that you mention this because I've been going thorough something similar recently. Having gone 100% raw over the last little bit, I suddenly found myself unsatisfied and even less vibrant then usual. Suddenly I found that I craving cooked lentils and similar pulses (something I've NEVER had a desire for), so instead of beating myself up about it, I had some. And it felt divine.

Now, I'm not going to do it every day, like you, I understand and acknowledge the power of raw food, but maybe it is about some nutrient deprivation that I don't understand. I've realized that my focus is health, not an obsessive adherence to raw food, so if my body craves something that's a whole organic food, I won't make a big deal about it if it's cooked every once in a while.

On September 29, 2010, Drmarionrollings wrote:

I applaud your willingness to try something new and for paying attention to your body. Regimented eating habits that we hang onto because of our dietary "rules" are the hallmark of disordered eating. I suffered from (and not treat) eating disorders and find that the percentage of raw food I eat has a lot to do with weather and season. The goal is healthy and satisfying eating without rigid rules. I find that I do crave raw foods though--more than I ever craved unhealthy food.

On September 29, 2010, Jim Dee wrote:

Yes, the raw cravings are super! I find that they're a key to becoming in touch with intuition and opening a dialog with the body at perhaps the cellular level. Wendi is so much better than me with respect to that particular skill / gift / ability. You may be onto something about the weather and season. With Fall here, and with my being cold so much lately (actually, I'm *always* cold!), perhaps I finally got the big message. (Although, the beans I ate were cold -- probably just from a can and rinsed.) But, definitely... the warmth aspect could be part of what I'm craving, which isn't so much dietary as it is physically soothing. Being cold is *awful*!! I do drink tea more in the winter, but it lacks the substance that I suppose I might be wanting. Perhaps seeking this in some semblance of a healthy way (using these foods that I'm terming "neutral") is, well, healthy. Beans, rice, maybe some steamed broccoli... I don't think that's a sin. I want dahl this winter. If I could have dahl once/week in the winter, I think I'd be a-ok. We'll see, though. If I feel worse for it, or if my own self-measurements of various physical health indicators fall into zones of concern, I'll revisit all of this PDQ. But, again, we're really only talking about a small percentage of my very high-raw existence.

On September 29, 2010, Jim Dee wrote:

Comment system is running screwy tonight... User "MINDY" posted this comment:

"Interesting post, Jim. We're all experimenting and trying to find what's best for us. I remember reading an interview with Ani Phyo a year or 2 ago. She mentioned after 7 years of being "100%", that she now occasionally eats a little vegan cooked food. One reason she mentioned, is that her energy level remained so high on all raw that she would just "go, go, go, go" and she accomplished a lot and never got sick, but she still felt she was depleting her body somehow by not resting enough. She feels that the cooked food is somehow grounding for her, facilitating her ability to rest and slow down. Sounds like her own way of putting on the brakes a bit. Anyway, given we're

out on the edge of diet ville, it's always interesting to see what's up with others. Thanks for sharing."

On September 29, 2010, Jim Dee wrote:

Thanks, Mindy. Sorry our Disqus system is messed up. It's been an area of frustration for us over the past many months, and they've been unable to fix it.

I like Ani... she's really cool! Yes, I believe that's likely true. I wish my own rationale were as admirable as that. I never hit the "go, go, go go" stage being 100% raw. I think I did hit the "go, go go" one, though. But, I want all FOUR "go's" -- know what I mean ?!! So, I'm finding what's right for me. But YES, I've definitely heard of such things. I think in Gabriel Cousen's book "Spiritual Nutrition," he mentions a practice in Ayurvedic medicine in which they actually recommend certain foods in order to sort of bring people back down to earth a bit more -- even meat in some cases. I mean, can you imagine that -- Dr. Cousens recommending meat ?!

On September 29, 2010, Jim Dee wrote:

TRACEY commented:

"Great article, Jim! That salad definitely reeks of Whole Foods! Looks like what I get when I am shopping there and enjoying a dinner beforehand! I have experimented a bit lately, too, and find certain foods do not agree with me and others are okay for that time.....but then happy to get back on my raw food things. Also, happy that I can enjoy something different for a just a change and can go back and forth. Happy Trails to ye! Errigal (AKA Tracey Anne Miller)"

On September 29, 2010, Jim Dee wrote:

Thanks, Errigal ;-) And you're absolutely RIGHT! That WAS a Whole Foods salad. Wow, your photo-discernment abilities are phenomenal -- either that or you really get to Whole Foods a lot.

I don't know... there's something weird going on w/ me lately. I'm craving new things, and some of my old standbys are no longer agreeing with me. Like... I'm getting a belly ache from grapes lately. I mean, what ??! I can usually eat a few pounds & feel awesome. Why the belly aches? Cashews... I used to eat way too many cashews, and they never bothered me as long as they were raw. But, on one of my 801010 kicks recently, I gave the up again. Then last night I ate a bunch of them & got a HUGE stomach ache. I just didn't understand it. Wendi said maybe it was the beans from Sunday, still lingering. I thought about it, but really think it was the cashews -- threw the rest right out. On the other hand, we just had a equinox... who knows...? lol.

On September 29, 2010, Jim Dee wrote:

" if my body craves something that's a whole organic food, I won't make a big deal about it if it's cooked every once in a while."

Yes! That's how I feel, too. It's affirming to hear of others who have felt similarly -- especially w/ respect to beans and lentils. Whatever I said about beans here goes double for lentils. I do love them also. I think I talked, above, about loving dahl & figure that might be a good (occasional) food in the winter. I really do want to keep this as more of an occasional thing, though. (I could easily see this as seasonal. Who would want dahl in the summer, anyway? On the other hand, dahl IS an Indian dish, and it gets quite hot in India.) :-)

On September 29, 2010, bitt wrote:

I crave beans once in awhile and when I have them they really satisfy. I had a problem with iron when I was 100% raw so I think it makes sense I'd want some beans. I no longer think all cooked foods are poison. It takes awhile to adjust to what portion of raw feels right and you will get there. And it might change too!

On September 29, 2010, Joanna_Steven wrote:

Well, I just go to read this post... and I have to say, I'm changing things up a bit too. I don't know if it's the pregnancy or what, but some things really feel awesome. For example, cooked kale (along with lots of raw kale) feels terrific. I had a soup today with cooked sweet potatoes, and it was fantastic. Now for dinner all I want is a giant salad, but that doesn't mean the soup made me feel bad. I must be doing something right, because everyone comments on how great I look, and I'm 8 months pregnant! I think that many of us get really in tune with our body, and so our cravings for something cooked are not like some unhealthy guy's craving for potato chips. I think we should trust ourselves :)