(I wrote about this in the editorial of the Funky Raw magazine issue 37, and I’ve already had a good response from readers so I’m posting an expanded version here.)
I’ve been following a raw food diet for about 14 years now, mostly fairly strictly, apart from an occasional cooked cake here and there and a cooked meal in a restaurant maybe a few times a year. But last year was a bit different. As you may know, I eat a small amount of meat, usually a small portion twice a week. I had been eating this raw for several years, but for some reason I started to cook it, along with cooked onions. Then over the summer I added a few cooked tomatoes to the mix. With pretty much 100% of the rest of my diet raw this has been fine for me, it hasn’t caused any issues, no digestive problems, and I’ve generally felt good. (Although I’ve actually gone back to eating the meat raw now.)
This led on to more experiments. Last year was quite different to previous years for me, I went travelling more than usual, to festivals and communities, and sometimes it was difficult to take my own food, and in some cases I wanted to join in with group meals so I ate a little bit more cooked food. In November I stayed at a community for a few days and decided to try eating what everyone else was eating, although making sure I didn’t eat wheat/gluten and not eating rice and potatoes unless they were mixed in with the rest of the meal. The food was “healthy” vegetarian and there was usually some salad along with the cooked food. And this is where I got a major realisation – it’s so much easier to eat a healthy portion size when eating raw food! When I eat raw, I stop eating when I am full – my body is physically full and I can’t really eat anything else. But when eating cooked food I couldn’t stop myself. I found I still wanted to eat more until I felt I had eaten way too much.
There are a couple of reasons why this may happen. I think the main one is the sheer bulk of raw food, it physically fills up the digestive system. But also maybe the raw food has more nutrition which actually satisfies what my body wants more than the cooked food. If you have any thoughts on this, please add your comment below.
After 4 days of eating cooked food (although still at least 50% raw) I was looking forward to getting back home to my own kitchen and raw food! In general I was feeling ok, although my digestion wasn’t as good as when I eat only raw, particularly after eating cooked beans. I’ve noticed this previously, that my body can’t easily digest cooked beans.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a friend’s place for lunch and I decided to not make any special requests with regards to diet. When I found out that it was pizza I was initially worried about the amount of wheat, but there was also some salad… I ate the pizza, and survived! I’m sure if I made a habit of eating that much wheat it would start to have a bad effect on me, but I’m happy that I can finally stop worrying about what I will eat for occasional situations like this.