In a message dated 8/16/02 2:29:59 PM, Amanda writes:
First let me say you are beautiful and look fabulous!
My name is Amanda, I am four months about 90-95% raw and loving it! Cannot eat cooked food anymore and don't intend to ever go back that way! I love you sites and visit them quite a bit checking more things out and I have a few questions for you!
Are sprouted grains really not the best for you? I have heard it said at the living foods forum and I am wondering what your thoughts are.
Also, I hear most 100%ers say that after a while they just grab food and go they don't make meals as such anymore. I love food and flavors and love to create and see my efforts afterwards and hope that doesn't happen to me. I was wondering if you prepare your recipes for yourself too or if you just eat simple things.
And one more! Did you take all the raw food classes too, as well as the culinary classes? I live in Manitoba Canada and have 2 small children and cannot possibly get away to take all of these classes and wonder if it is necessary or if I can learn just from books and recipe books. I would like to get into teaching it out here in our area as there are a lot of very sick and overweight people in the town I live in.
I plan to buy your book sometime within the near future!
Thanks for you time and many blessing be unto you!
August 17, 2002
Thank you! And I'm glad you "love" my website. I love to hear that!
It's great that you've joined the growing worldwide Raw Family – people who have discovered the benefits and value of eating food as Nature provides.
Within the raw community you will find that there are many points of view and perspectives on what raw food is acceptable to eat. Some are against grains, fermented foods, mushrooms, roots, herbs, spices, etc. and say only to eat fruits. These are usually the fruitarians or natural hygienists. I have seen enough serious damage caused by fruitarianism – so I do not advocate that a person try to live only on fruit. Fruit is good (especially "ripe" fruit), it is necessary and has its place, but it is not the only food that is good to eat. Today is a sweltering day in New York City – my body says "eat watermelon" – so I listen and as a result am able to withstand the heat better.
There are some people that advocate not to eat grains. They feel that grains are damaging to health. Dr. Douglas Graham has a book out called Grain Damage. He sent me a copy, but I was not convinced that grains are detrimental, especially soaked and sprouted grains. He had very few, if any, references for his assertions. What I did learn from his book, after thinking about it and reading between the lines, is to eat grains, especially the more hybridized grains, in moderation.
When you read my book – there is a section where I talk about the inadvisability of eating wheat – even sprouted wheat. I am allergic to wheat of all kinds and so could not put any wheat recipes in my book because I could not work with it. But then I realized from observation that huge numbers of people are allergic to wheat without even realizing it. I would observe the symptoms, because I had had them myself. Some of the symptoms of wheat allergenicity are sleepiness after eating, lethargy, swollen or sensitive lymph glands (behind and under the ears), puffiness and inability to lose weight. This allergenicity does not apply to wheatgrass juice or even Rejuvelac, a fermented drink made with wheat berries. The allergenic qualities appear to be in the gluten part of the wheat. Barley and oats also have gluten, so some people are sensitive to those too. In my case, barley and oats do not give me any symptoms. The grains that I like the most though are buckwheat (not really in the grain family but used like a grain), amaranth and quinoa. Rye, according to Dr. Bernard Jensen, builds muscle, while wheat builds fat.
As a long term raw foodist, I find myself eating grains in moderation. For me, maybe once a week or even less. It just happened natually. When I want bread, I usually make it out of flaxseed. By the way, there is a very good flaxseed bread recipe on my site in the Recipes section under Recipes of the Month.
Usually when people convert to a raw diet they are missing the "heaviness" of their former "stick to the ribs" diet. In this case sprouted grains and legumes come in very handy because they stick with you a little longer and give satisfaction. As you probably know, fruits are digested very fast and so you get hungry again in a short time, especially newcomers.
So, to sum up, my answer is to eat sprouted grains in moderation, except in the beginning of the changeover when you might need them to help you get over the "hunger hump."
You asked a very good question about eating simply as opposed to eating gourmet food. The diet itself will lead you to simplify over time but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy a good prepared gourmet meal too. I do both. Sometimes I eat very simply, even grazing for days like a deer (ha, ha) on wild leafy greens on my farm and then sometimes I get the urge and I'm in the kitchen making more elaborate things. The answer is – just go with the flow of what your body is telling you. After you have been on raw for a year or so, you will be able to trust your own instincts.
And to answer your last question. I did take classes in raw food preparation when I spent time at the different institutes that teach the raw food lifestyle, like the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico, Optimum in San Diego and others. While I know it is difficult with two small children, there are some things that are better learned by demonstration. Like how to make Rejuvelac, nut yogurts and cheeses, or how to grow wheatgrass and other sprouts on a thin layer of soil. When I wrote my book, I tried to explain it as clearly as I could. I had the advantage of having an editor who knew nothing about raw foods and so this helped me greatly because I had to make it clear and understandable to him. But many gourmet dishes are just straightforward and easily put together just from reading a recipe.
I've never taken any culinary classes but I'm thinking about it because I want to learn how to work with herbs and spices better for my next book.
I will be doing a video series on raw food preparation sometime later in the year. Right now there are two videos that I know are available. One is by Viktoras Kulvinskas (he's one of the pioneers) and the other is a three tape series by Nomi Shannon, author of The Raw Gourmet. They will be offered for sale on my website within the next month.
I think it is fantastic that you want to teach and pass this information and food preparation skills along to others. I feel that you will do it and help a great many people.
With blessings and peace,