I just recently switched from a vegetarian diet consisting of fatty fried foods and breads with a little fruit thrown in to mainly raw veggie and fruit. Before I had pizza 2-3 times a week, cheese and crackers as a favorite snack and loads of diet soda. I substituted carbs for meat. I felt awful and gained a ton of weight (5'6, 245 lbs), but took a daily vitamin. I have gotten several books on juicing and raw vegetarian diets but am still confused on if I will be lacking certain minerals. I did read my protien intake should be fine, and I have B-12 supplements, but I think I read somewhere that since no foods I eat will be fortified or processed, I could be lacking minerals. Do you know anything about this? I have already started the diet in an effort to feel better and lose weight. Thanks in advance.
Though a raw foods diet can certainly be beneficial, I think you may be over compensating for your past indulgences. You can change your diet and feel better, and lose weight without going raw. Secondly, you can be a vegetarian and be very healthy... I eaten a primarily vegetarian diet for many years, eating fish only a few times monthly.
I usually recommend following the 50/50 rule; eat 50% raw, 50% lightly cooked. Cooking vegetables does make it easier for your body to digest and absorb many nutrients but also destroys others; by also eating raw you will obtain other nutrients that would be destroyed.
Juicing can be very beneficial to your health. I highly recommend it. Juicing vegetables is especially rewarding- go for the greens!
You do not need to eat fortified foods to get sufficient nutrients including minerals. If you are eating plenty of vegetables and some fruit you will do fine.
Also include nuts (walnuts, almonds) and seeds (milled flax seed, sunflower, sesame, milled hemp seed) for healthy fats and fiber. Use olive and hemp oil in your juicing or raw soups for healthy oils as well. Grains are also important, choose whole grain such as brown rice, oatmeal, kashi (buckwheat), and use Ezekiel bread (sprouted grain- minimal cooking). Bean sprouts such as mung bean are also very healthy and provide a rich source of minerals.
You can also purchase a greens supplement in powdered form to mix in smoothies or juice, or just with water (barley greens...). These will also give added vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to your diet. If you are interested, check out my web-site under the health and nutrition line for good quality supps and a greens powder.
I am glad you chose to improve your lifestyle!
Dan Haley, CNC
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