I often get a lot of questions from people when they find out I eat a raw food or vegetarian diet. I usually love answering them, as I find it gets people thinking about their own healthy. I actually was talking to one friend the other day that reads my blog and was telling me how some of my posts have inspired him to run. So, I present to you answers to some commonly asked questions.
Where do you get your protein?
Simple, I just eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. I also take a few tablespoons of hemp seed powder in my daily smoothie that gives me about a 16-gram boost of protein for the day. Other than that, I don’t worry about it.
Many people worry too much about protein. I have come to believe that our FDA Food Pyramid is faulty and recommends more protein than we actually need. I have had blood work done twice since becoming vegetarian. Once, two months after I started and the second time almost a year latter, and both times all of my levels were fine, even calcium – everything was at a perfectly healthy level.
How do you get enough calories?
Some people have wondered how I get enough calories eating mostly fruits and vegetables. Well, I make sure I get enough calories by eating a lot. I am constantly snacking on fruit and nuts throughout my workday. I felt like calories were a problem when I first started eating raw foods, but now I have come to realize I get an ample amount of calories.
Do you feel better?
Yes, yes and YES! I feel better than I ever have before. I have more energy than ever before; I am able to function off only six hours of sleep, sometimes less. I also noticed an increase in my climbing ability after going raw.
An improvement to my cardiovascular system was also a benefit. Once I started getting into running I was already at a good fitness level. After starting to read The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier I believe this to be because of the consumption of chlorophyll-rich foods that help improve oxygen transport in the body, thus increasing energy levels and athletic performance.
This blog is still pretty new, so as I continue to post you will better understand how raw foods increase your energy level.
Is it hard being vegetarian? (i.e. finding things to eat at restaurants, etc)
No, not at all. A vegetarian diet is just what I eat, just as some people are allergic to gluten, others choose not to eat red meat, and everybody has particular taste buds. Sure the menu selections might be smaller, but I can always find something to eat. I rarely eat out on my own anymore, but when I do it’s simple for me to make healthy choices (although I do indulge now and then).
I would actually say it’s easier for me to be vegetarian than just having a balanced diet. The reason being, I used to be a straight-up meat and potatoes guy. Vegetables never touched my tongue, except for the occasional house salad at a steak house. Being at the “extreme” end helps me limit my choices. I desire to eat healthy now, so not having the option to swing into the BBQ joint around the corner from my office helps me stay on a healthy path.
What do you usually eat?
As far as my raw food diet is concerned, I start off every morning with a smoothie, for lunch I will have a large salad and snack on fruit and nuts throughout the day. I occasionally will prepare a raw meal or make a raw desert to snack on for the next week, but the raw deserts actually usually don’t last very long, especially if I make them for a party. My dinner is usually a cooked meal at home or a simple sandwich consisting of mostly raw veggies. The really interesting meals are ones like raw nachos, BBQ portabella burgers and raw pizza’s.
Some of my favorite places to eat are: Spiral Diner vegan café, Cosmic Café vegeterian restaurant and Bliss Raw Café. Oh, and my local favorite (in Denton, Texas) is a bar called The Greenhouse that has the largest vegetarian selection of any restaurant in town, aside from the iconic Mr. Chopsticks, but I’m not a huge Asian food fan anyway.
Do you ever crave meat?
Not really, about the only thing I ever crave is a burger. If the craving goes long enough I will fulfill it with a black bean burger, which has been a little bit too often lately. Other than the burger nothing else really appeals to me that much anymore.
What is your reasoning behind going vegetarian?
My primary reason was health. I had spent years of my life eating a very unhealthy diet, heavy in processed foods – mostly through eating out. It would not be odd for me to eat out every meal of a day, on average I would say I ate out eight times a week.
My second reason was environmental. I believe as a Christian I am called to be a good steward of the earth, and going vegetarian reduced my carbon footprint. There really isn’t a third reason, but since going veg I have started to see problems in the factory farming and have somewhat of a moral problem with the treatment of animals – again this goes back to being a good steward of the land, but am not opposed to eating meat. If I ever do go back to eating meat I would make sure I was wise in my food selection – eating only grass feed free-range animals.
What is your food philosophy?
Well, it’s pretty basic. Eat lots of whole foods, mostly raw, and consume as little processed foods as possible. I also allow myself some freedom to “indulge” on occasion. My life often centers around community and dining with friends so I don’t want to restrict myself too much, that is the main reason I am not 100% raw, plus I really do enjoy cooked foods. Additionally I don’t want to be defined by what I eat. There is more to me than that, while I really enjoy promoting healthy eating and seeing my friends make changes to their lives but there are other things I would rather emphasize.