Jim here... An unusual occurrence prompted this post, and I'm unsure as to whether it's significant. I've talked about some of my favorite non-raw items before -- things that were tough to leave behind as I embarked upon this raw foods journey. I think I covered pizza in a relatively recent post.
?
Corn chips were another. In fact, after Wendi went 100% raw and I more or less began to follow her dietary choices, I clung to corn chips for dear life for quite a long time. I began eating a LOT of salsa in those days. Sometimes, that would be all I'd eat for lunch -- just an entire jar of salsa and a bag of corn chips (though, by then, I'd at least usually buy the organic ones and, quite often, a baked variety of chips as well).
?
When I finally decided I'd be better off transitioning to an all raw lifestyle, I figured my love affair with corn chips had come to an end. Farewell beautiful chips, I thought. I'll never forget our delicious crunchy time together. And that was that. I never looked back.
?
But then, at a local raw foods pot luck, I met a raw chef who had more or less perfected a raw corn chip recipe. Could it be , I thought. Has this delicacy returned to me after all, as though via some sweet culinary destiny? Ahh, my friends, that was a glorious day. Chips and salsa had returned to me in an enlightened raw form. I could enjoy them once again, guilt free. And enjoy them I did -- usually using a local shop's "Peruvian Purple Corn" (a living, sproutable, dried corn product).
?
Alas, fate stepped in once again. "Thou may partake of these crisps any time thou wishest," fate boomed. "Yet, in order to do so, thou must prepare them thine self using thine Vitamix and requiring an enormous flax-sticky mess with extended clean-up time, and thou must have parchment paper available at all times, and thou must exercise great care and patience in using your Excalibur, for these chips must dry for many an hour before ready."
?
Yeah, it was a bit of a chore to produce them. So, as the novelty of chip making and eating wore off, I slowly decreased the frequency of going through the messy, time-consuming hassle of preparing them. Until yesterday, it had been literally months since I made a batch. But... we'd ordered a few pounds of the corn from Natural Zing lately, and I found myself with some extra time the other night. So...
?
Now, I'm going to pause for a minute for a tangent on digestion. I know a great majority of people, it seems, complain of various digestive disorders. As a result, we have many raw foodie specialists schooled in the nuances of food combining. Oddly, I never paid much attention to these discussions, nor offered input on these matters, because they simply weren't relevant to me.
?
In fact, I likened my own digestive system to some kind of nuclear powered garbage disposal. It didn't matter what I ate; digestion wasn't a problem for me. So, for example, I'd routinely finish off heavy meals, and then follow them with a huge slice of juicy watermelon (a major no-no according to common wisdom). It just never bothered me.I always joked that, even though I'd been raw for ages, I could still probably go eat a Big Mac (not that I would) and be unaffected by it.
?
So powerful was my stomach acid that, admittedly, I sometimes privately *worried* whether this might mean something was wrong with me. I mean, shouldn't some of the things I was eating make me sick? Was it "good" to not be made sick by what is generally regarded as poor food combining choices? Do people commonly suffer from problems of efficiency as well as deficiency ? I still do not really know the answer to these questions, and suspect the answer is rather complicated, anyway. Fortunately, it doesn't matter now because...
?
Something finally made me sick!? I'm laughing now about that, but I spent most of the evening in terrible stomach pain after having over-indulged in some of those (in)famous raw purple corn chips.
?
So, what happened ? That's an interesting question for me. Here are some possibilities: (1) Perhaps my hyper-active digestive system *was* in fact a problem, and now it's beginning to normalize. Perhaps, had I been healthier all along, I would have been made sick by some of my food choices, but now my health is improving!? (2) Perhaps it's a fluke and I simply shouldn't have eaten mass quantities of corn and flax so late at night. (3) Perhaps my body is improving in its ability to communicate with me, and/or that I'm getting better at listening, and that the message here is that corn is not something my body gains nourishment from -- at least, not in this dried-reprocessed-redried form. After all, some leading raw food authorities, like Gabriel Cousens, aren't fans of corn (even fresh corn!).
Oh sure, there may be other explanations (e.g., "a bad batch of corn"). But, I'm actually most interested in #3, above. Even though this is an extreme example (more intense than it needed to be), I'd like to think that I'm getting better at knowing what I'm being nourished from and what I am not. I'd like to think that this is a latent sense that can be developed, much like our ability to know things by feeling and intuition rather via pure rationality all the time.
But, with food, I think it's a matter of inventorying your physical sensations head to toe, and also as a whole. How is the food you're eating making you feel? Do you feel satisfied or still hungry? Do you feel light or is the food sitting kind of heavily? Do you feel energized or dragged down? How's your mental clarity? Do you feel spacey or more grounded? Do you feel noticeably happier or more sad than before? How are all of these things mapping out over time? Is your weight moving in a positive direction for you? Are your illnesses improving? Food is medicine, after all; it has all of these effects and many more!
For now, I think I can safely check purple corn off of my own personal list of foods that make me feel good. I suspect my old assertion about "being able to eat a Big Mac without any side effects" no longer applies -- and maybe this is a good thing. I think perhaps it signals some progress in my journey toward optimal health.
In any case, I think this kind of purposeful introspection is healthy, and something we should all strive to do more often.How about you? Had any similar experiences? What have you learned from them?

Original Comments

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

On April 15, 2009, essie wrote:

Q. I am trying to go raw and juicing for only two days now and I am soooo hungry and I really don't quite understand what to eat. I went out and bought a bunch of raw vegetables but I am lost on exactly how to prepare the meals and I'm so tired of being fat. Can you direct me to a simple start of book or can you give me some simple recipes or what you did to get started on your first month? Thank you.

Signed,

Frustrated and Fat in Virginia

A. Dear LOVELY BEING,

Beginning today and running all through next week (and even spilling into the following week!), we'll be running videos from the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF East 2009) held in Upper Marlboro, MD, last weekend. If you've never attended a RSF event, you absolutely must. They're the best ever!

Today's installment covers the trip down, during which we stopped to visit Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, a historic spa town visited by the likes of George Washington and other famous folk. Of course, the spring there was in use long before this country was known as America. You can read the basics in this pic:

Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

In some recent Summertime Raw posts, we've focused on preparing delicious, nutritious raw foods *while* on the go. Today, however, we're doing an outing with all of the prep work done at home -- so no need to pack knives and cutting boards! We're also focusing in on a few seasonal ingredients. You'll see some really tasty uses for mint, and we'll also take a look at some wonderful edible flowers. Here's the video:

I like this "travelogue" format, so let's continue! Here's Wendi's comments from their adventures in San Luis Obispo, checking out the raw vibes along the CA Central Coast!

After a very active visit in the San Francisco / Berkeley area, we headed down the coast to San Luis Obispo, CA. There's a pretty active raw food meetup there and we were asked to stop in their town to give a talk to their group.

It was a nice drive south, but the sun is a bit brighter than we're used to (especially when driving long distances). When we arrived in the town, we were overcome by the beauty of the place. It's one of the most beautiful places we've seen in California, so far!

Jim here... "Do I Need to Eat a Certain Percentage of Raw Foods to Call Myself a Raw Foodist " This seems to be a common question among some people interested in pursuing a raw and living foods lifestyle. I fielded such a question recently online, and thought I'd recap my own answer here, somewhat edited for enhanced clarity:

I know what raw foodism means. And, if you're here, you probably do to, or at least you're interested in it and know the basics. But, to the mainstream population, raw is absolutely unheard of, totally out of the box -- relatively speaking. So, let's begin by taking a look at who in the world has potentially heard of RAW. Let's start more broadly and then hone in.

One of our readers, Julie, asked me to update her on what kind of diet I'm doing and why I'm doing it. The last time I publicly made changes with my diet, I received many similar questions. So, I figured maybe it would be a good idea to respond to her question here on the blog for anyone else wondering the same thing.

I did explain, in a long post, about experimenting with my diet being important to me.If you didn't read that entry, it will answer a lot of your questions. For many of you, I think I know what you are thinking: "Wendi was pretty much morbidly obese, her health was horrible, but she's now healthy. Why would she change anything with her diet when she has already found what works "?

Well, it's true. I am extremely healthy compared to how I was before I started consuming raw foods. Here are some pictures to show the changes, to motivate some of you currently struggling with eating more raw foods...

In one daily newsletter that Wendi and I subscribe to, there was a discourse recently about being right -- but being right for the wrong reason. I've long been interested in that concept; it's fascinating, when you really think about it -- like getting credit on a test for an answer you guessed at, or knowing how to say something in another language but not knowing what it means. Along those lines, I'd like to share some personal opinion with you.

One of the common pro-raw arguments is that it's a calorie-restrictive diet and thus healthy because it limits our caloric intake (a regimen widely associated with extended lifespans in scientific literature).If you consider that a pound of greens or veggies has about 100 calories (generally speaking) and a pound of fruit has 300-400, imagine the incredible amounts of food you could ingest daily and still be considered calorie-restricted (as compared with the recommended number of calories for your build and lifestyle)!

Aren't these videos wonderful ? Today we have yet another special Raw Spirit interview for you -- the mega-talented Markus Rothkranz. What can I say about Markus? He's a true inspiration, a man who truly lives by his heart and inspires thousands of others on a daily basis. He's actually very tough to interview because he's so interesting and self-actualized, you really just want to hang and chat with him (but then you remember that you're on film and you should probably get back to asking questions that people will appreciate).

Markus gave a great talk just prior to our interview, and made several points that resonated with me personally -- topics such as the way fear pervades our world and why it's best to live more intuitively, following your heart as much as possible. I've always held some strong personal views about the way that people tend to limit themselves in this life (perhaps from having spent way too long in the corporate world). Markus is not one of those people. I get the sense that he gets up each morning and truly basks in his limitlessness. And we're all similarly capable, in my view. You just have to shed that fear that is sold to you at a young age, and then take action on your passions. Yes, YOU can do anything you put your mind to! And if you're doing that AND living a life in true accordance with your conscience... well, WOW!

Before we run this blog entry, let me first announce one awesome thing:? Wendi and Kdcat are back home now!!? Yep, the trip is now officially over, and was a HUGE success. Not only did our fearless raw travelers identify Pure Jeevan's soon-to-be new home town -- Portland, Oregon! -- but Wendi and KDcat also met and made friends with hundreds of people from around the country. I'm sure Wendi will be back here on the blog with overall reflections and so forth soon. However, the trip generated so much content that it's going to take a while to catch up!? So, let's pick up with the travel narrative where we last left off. As you may recall, the girls were leaving San Luis Obispo and heading into sunny Los Angeles! Let's see what Wendi had to say, again with her travelogue:

Wow, it's finally looking like CA with all the palm trees! After hitting and dealing with some major traffic of a large city, we arrived to the warmest welcome at the home of Debbie Young (of DebbieDoesRaw) -- a decorative greeting waiting on the door, gift bags handed to us as we walked inside, loving hugs and smiles, and the most amazing raw meal ever (samosas!, chai, pineapple lassi, mango chutney, tamarind chutney, biscotti cookies), and a snack basket waiting in our private apartment! At this stop, we were totally spoiled by Debbie and her beautiful family!

This is one of the stops I was really looking forward to, because Debbie and I have been online friends for a long time. We were able to spend a short amount of time together at the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, and I loved her and wanted to spend more time with her and meet her lovely family in person (including their adorable dog, Malcolm).