Adventures in Raw: 80-10-10 or Gourmet?

I want to preface this post by saying I don’t believe there’s one right way of eating for everyone. Not only is it a matter of personal preference, but it’s also a matter of what works for YOU and your body and lifestyle. I do think that the SAD (standard American diet) way of eating isn’t good for anyone, but within the spectrum of healthy eating, there are millions of variations and one way doesn’t work for everyone.

If you do any research into the world of raw foodism, you’ll most likely stumble upon two different ways of thinking and eating. The most-discussed one is the 80-10-10 diet, which is based primarily on fresh fruits and vegetables, with the addition of some overt fats (things like avocados, coconut and raw nuts) very occasionally. The name ’80-10-10′ refers to the macro breakdown: 80% carbs, 10% protein, 10% fat. 80-10-10ers believe that it isn’t fruit or the sugars in them that make us fat, but the combination of sugars (primarily processed ones) and fats. They consume mostly fruit in order to get enough calories (and they generally recommend at least 2500 calories per day) and eat greens and other veggies to get more vitamins and nutrients.

An 80-10-10 approved mono meal of peaches.

An 80-10-10 approved mono meal of peaches.

On the other end of the raw spectrum is gourmet raw foodists. They also shun processed foods but focus their diets on raw, plant-based sources of fat–coconut, nuts and seeds, avocados. They generally get upwards of 50% fat in their diet, with relatively low carbs and moderate protein from the more protein-rich fat sources. They still eat plenty of fresh produce, but veggies and especially fruit are rarely the base of their diet.

Even though I’m not strictly 100% raw right now, I’ve still been considering both of these forms of raw foodism. Where do I fall, and which one is better? For me, I believe a balance between the two is optimal. I think fresh produce should be the base of everyone’s diet, but I’m not about to eat 15+ bananas in a day and nothing else. I also think greens are very healthful, but there’s honestly no point in eating them if they aren’t consumed with a fat. The nutrients found in fresh veggies can’t make it to the bloodstream as easily if they aren’t eaten with a fat–numerous articles and studies are coming out saying that having some fat with your salad is actually a good thing, and better than having a salad with fat-free dressing, for many reasons. I’m not a fan of most salad dressings from the store, but I love topping my salads with raw seeds or guacamole or a homemade cashew-based dressing. Am I freaking out because I’m eating more than 10% fat? Heck no! I definitely don’t want to go back to my eating disordered days where I was scared of fat. I’ve come to love my healthy plant-based sources of fat and I don’t feel guilty for enjoying these whole foods. However, I don’t plan on going to the other extreme and consuming most of my calories from fat–there is a limit to how beneficial fats can be and I wouldn’t want to crowd out other nutritious foods just to eat more fats.

I prefer more balanced macros, as seen in this banana softserve creation--still raw, but with protein (Sunwarrior) and fat (pumpkin seeds).

I prefer more balanced macros, as seen in this banana softserve creation–still raw, but with protein (Sunwarrior) and fat (pumpkin seeds).

I’m also probably eating more than 10% protein, from the nuts and seeds and Sunwarrior powder and sprouted legumes I eat, and that’s okay too! I don’t buy into the hype that we need so much protein (because we actually don’t), and 10% seems to be the magic number or at least the minimum for even active people, but I do like to have a little more than that to fuel my lifting workouts. Protein is in so many things, even vegetables, that it isn’t hard to hit 10-15% or more eating just plant-based sources.

A lot of things, especially eating, always seem to be so black-and-white, like one way is wrong and the other’s right, but it doesn’t have to be that way! You can eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and still enjoy plant-based fats and protein on a raw diet–it doesn’t have to be high carb low fat or high fat low carb. Moderation is always best, and when it comes to diets that are already pretty dang healthy as it is, there’s no need to nitpick over the logistics. Just eat whole foods from the earth, raw if you roll that way and don’t stress if it isn’t ‘perfect’.

What’s your take on the ongoing diet battles? 

WIAW: Almost Wordless Weekend

Yep, I’m back for another WIAW. This one isn’t focused on one day of eats, but mostly recaps my weekend and past week or so, almost wordless style. I wish I had better content for y’all but it is what it is–I’m super busy right now and I still want to blog!

Me and my sissy at the annual Father Daughter Dance.

Me and my sissy at the annual Father Daughter Dance.

Cheesin' solo at the dance.

Cheesin’ solo at the dance.

Pretty in pink.

Pretty in pink.

It’s a 9-year strong trend…our city’s annual Father Daughter dance. I’ve been going with my dad since the 7th grade and my little sister joined in a few years ago. It’s always an extremely enjoyable night, full of dancing, photos and bonding. And I also had an excuse to enjoy some Whole Foods salad bar goodies–yep, I’m ‘that’ girl who snuck in food to a catered event! #veganproblems

Lunch: green smoothie (vanilla u/s almond milk, spinach), green chia seed pudding made with Vega protein powder/coconut shreds/Justin's vanilla AB, frozen pineapple.

Lunch: green smoothie (vanilla u/s almond milk, spinach), green chia seed pudding made with Vega protein powder/coconut shreds/Justin’s vanilla AB, frozen pineapple.

Dessert for breakfast: chocolate PB chia pudding made with Vega chocolate protein powder and peanut flour, topped with coconut shreds, cacao nibs and Kit's Organic chocolate coconut bar.

Dessert for breakfast: chocolate PB chia pudding made with Vega chocolate protein powder, coconut flour and peanut flour, topped with coconut shreds, cacao nibs and Kit’s Organic chocolate coconut bar.

I can’t get enough of chia seed puddings now that I finally understand the secret to making them turn out thick. I eat them for breakfast, lunches and snacks because they’re so nutritious, well-balanced and great for toppings and different flavor combos. The combo above was particularly dessert-like but definitely not a splurge.

Kevita stevia-sweetened coconut probiotic drink.

Kevita stevia-sweetened coconut probiotic drink.

Breakfast for dinner: side of carrots, maple syrup for dippage, tirsmisu-inspired buckwheat-almond flour (GF) waffle topped with Sunwarrior protein frosting, coconut shreds and coconut whip.

Breakfast for dinner: side of carrots, maple syrup for dippage, tirsmisu-inspired buckwheat-almond flour (GF) waffle topped with Sunwarrior protein frosting, coconut shreds and coconut whip.

Raw vegan chocolate ganache for dessert.

Raw vegan chocolate ganache for dessert.

Obviously I have a love for all things coconut. Funny how scared I used to be of it–I used to claim I hated it to avoid its saturated fat content. Boy, was I wrong! It’s so delicious, and actually super healthy. The Kevita drink didn’t taste particularly like coconut, but I’m starting to really love their acidic taste and bubbly mouthfeel.

I accidentally made coconut whipped cream from light coconut that had been chilling in my fridge for a few weeks. Who knew? It was just as good as the full fat whip, and made for a great waffle topper.

And my newest obsession: (expensive) raw desserts from Whole Foods. Guys, I have a problem. I can’t stop drooling over these amazing desserts in the frozen aisle–they’re made from raw superfoods and taste so decadent. The only issue is the price, at least $3 per dessert, yikes. But since they’re so rich, I make them last a couple days despite their small size, so I guess it’s not too expensive.

What were you up to this weekend? Do you like chia puddings or coconut? 

Facing the Fats

Fats tend to get a bad rap. Not quite as much in the blog world, where almost everyone enjoys nut butters and avocado on the daily but they’re still viewed as somewhat scary. And I’m one of those people who used to be scared to death of fats. Because I thought they’d make me fat. I mean, duh, that’s their name, why wouldn’t they do that? Boy was I wrong!

My eating disorder days were when I feared fats the most. Can you blame me–I was a kid of the 90s, when low-fat was everything, and I was brainwashed by school nutrition programs to seek out lower fat options. Just before I was at my worst ED-wise, I replaced my old favorite snacks with fat-free pudding and those Snackwell cookies. What I didn’t realize was that low-fat is another name for more sugar, or more sodium. Without some fats, food doesn’t have much flavors (besides fruits and veggies, of course!) But I didn’t care, I felt like I was superior because I was eating little to no fat, unlike most people my age. In my worst days, I subsisted on black beans and rice, “light” toast, sugar-free Jell-O and fruit. The only real fat I was eating was maybe 1 teaspoon of almond butter per day. What a sad, flavorless life! At that point, I was not only afraid of fat but also carbs and my health and appearance were really suffering because of it. I took a nap almost every day after school because I had no energy–not something a normal 16 year old does. My skin was dry, my hair had tons of split ends and was falling out, I was super pale and just didn’t look happy and healthy. Little did I know that it was due to the lack of nutrients.

This is how the food pyramid should look!

During my early recovery, I started to eat more fats again, like larger servings of almond butter and guacamole, but I still shied away from them, especially saturated fats. I wasn’t so afraid of the total fat count, but I always looked at the saturated fat content on every food I bought. I tried my hardest to stay under 2 grams of sat fat total per day, which is damn hard to do. I looked longingly at Clif and Luna bars but always passed them up because most of them had just a little over my total saturated fat “allowance” for the day.

The Luna Bar I always wanted to try (but didn’t) because of the 2.5 grams of sat fat.

Unfortunately, this fear of saturated fat continued for almost three more years. I rejected foods I used to love, like dark chocolate, because they had too much of this scary fat. It didn’t help that most nutrition articles I read supported my fear. I continued to keep my saturated fat levels low…that is, until I transitioned to veganism almost one year ago.

As I embraced vegan foods and tried new things, I realized a lot of them had saturated fat–some more than the measly 2 grams I’d been allowing myself per day. Things like tempeh, nuts and dark chocolate all looked so good, but they were chock-full of fats, mostly the supposed healthy kind (aka unsaturated fats) but they also had a decent amount of saturated. Wanting to be a healthy, fats-embracing vegan, I decided to dip my toe into the world of plant-based saturated fats. And now I can proudly say that I’m never going back to the low-fat lifestyle again!

I would have never let myself eat this much guacamole a year ago!

I eat plant based fats on a daily basis and I love them. Nuts, seeds, tempeh, avocado, olives, dark chocolate and nut butters are my favorite sources and I don’t even want to try living without them. But coconut…that was a different story. I’ve feared coconut for at least 5 years, because it’s extremely high in fat, especially saturated. I wouldn’t touch the stuff with a ten foot pole, even though I kinda liked it pre-ED. Until a week or so ago, I hadn’t eaten it in any form since I was probably 13 or 14. Turns out, it’s not as scary as I thought, and I actually like it. Coconut milk ice cream is so much creamier than other vegan ice creams, and maybe even more than regular ice cream (from what I can remember). Coconut milk adds a really nice taste to curry sauces, and it works really well in Larabars. I’m even considering investing in some coconut oil for baking and cooking, since so many people love it and it’s a healthy fat. Yep, I said it, it’s healthy! Now I know that pretty much all plant-based fats are totally healthy, and offer so many benefits. And they taste so amazing!

How did I ever live without this deliciousness?

Basically what I’m saying here is if you’re like me and you are wary of fats, don’t be. Don’t fear the fats–they taste awesome and they’ll give you so much health and energy. I eat about 30 to 35% of my daily calories from fat, and I’ve never felt better! Stick with the plant based fats–nuts and seeds, avocado, coconut–and I think you’ll see the benefits too.

Have you ever feared fats? What’s your favorite fat source?

My Story: Part 1

Hi everyone! Thanks for all the well wishes for my foot! Unfortunately, I went to urgent care on Friday night and the doctor there told me I have plantar fasciitis. I’m so so glad it’s not fractured, but there isn’t much that can be done for PF. I did buy some gel inserts for my shoes and am planning on icing it and trying a new pain reliever, but the pain might become a chronic thing that only gets better with steroid injections. I hope it starts to feel a little bit better soon, though! I’ll be recapping my weekend on Wednesday (WIAW time!!!!!!) so be sure to check back for some amazing recipes!

Today I wanted to share my eating disorder story with you. This is a hard post for me to write, but it feels right and I know that much of the blogging community is so incredibly supportive, not to mention a lot of bloggers have also dealt with EDs/disordered eating and can relate.

My anorexia really began in the fall of 2008, but it’s safe to say that I started engaging in disordered eating a couple of years earlier, when I was a freshman in high school. I was in a required health class at school, and of course, we learned all about nutrition. I learned that fats are “bad” and you shouldn’t eat too much, or anything deemed unhealthy. Well, I took that information and ran with it. I was never a  junk food eater but I started actively seeking out fat-free products at the grocery store. I wasn’t really restricting or anything, so my parents didn’t notice the small change in my eating habits.

9th grade. Before my ED, but I still felt insecure in my body.

In the fall of my junior year, I started looking at Yahoo Answers, which is basically just an online community where you can ask questions and get answers from other users. It started out innocently enough–I was just asking for school and fashion advice and answering others’ questions. But for whatever reason, I really became dissatisfied with my body during this time. I’ve always been a small girl, one of the shortest and most petite of girls my age. I’ve also been teased a lot for my size, and I’ve never had much self-esteem because of it, plus I’m fairly shy. Not to mention, my best friend since third grade and I were slowly drifting apart and I found myself distant from the close-knit group of friends I’d had since elementary school. I started feeling like if I could improve my body somehow, my life and relationships would be so much better. So I started asking questions about if I was skinny enough, how to lose weight, etc. At that time, I was 85 pounds at a height of 5’1. So definitely not fat at all; in fact, that’s pretty thin. And honestly, my ED didn’t start out with a desire to lose weight. I just wanted to improve myself, so I started trying to eat super-healthy.

But it wasn’t that healthy. I started out being focused on cutting out fats. I was eating mostly fat-free products, which aren’t too nutritious. I really liked this one Lean Cuisine meal with shrimp and noodles because it was really low in fat and pretty low in calories too. I also would eat plain black beans and plain rice for dinner…that was it, and it wasn’t even a serving size. Around that time, I’d discovered almond butter, and I loved it, but I was so scared of fats that I would only eat maybe a teaspoon a day, if that. In February 2009 or so, I started cutting back on carbs too after reading about people’s weight loss success on low-carb diets. At this point, my eating had definitely become restricted, not only in variety, but also amount. I would have a slice of light toast with half a teaspoon of almond butter and “hot chocolate” made with Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder and water for breakfast, a sugar-free Jell-O and a jelly sandwich made on one slice (cut in half) of light bread for lunch, a sugar-free pudding or a small handful of pretzel twists for a snack and then a miniscule amount of the dinner my family was having. I thought I was being so healthy, and I thought I’d be satisfied with my shrinking body, but I wasn’t. I saw myself as fat and ugly every single day. I was freezing cold all the time, my feet were constantly purple, I was losing hair, my skin was dried out and it hurt to sit down for any amount of time. I used a tape measure every day to measure my arms, legs and waist to see if they’d gotten any smaller, since we didn’t have a scale I could use. I tried to convince myself I was happy this way, but I wasn’t.

February of my junior year. Almost at my worst point, but I couldn't see how sick and skinny I was.

My parents started really catching on in March. I was continuing to eat a tiny amount, while also working out in P.E. class every day for 45 minutes. Almost every day after school, I’d come home and sleep because I was so weak and exhausted. My mom showed me an article from Seventeen about a girl who had anorexia and she said it sounded like me. Of course, I denied it, but I knew deep down I had a problem–I just couldn’t stop. Slowly starving myself gave me a high, it made me feel good…at least for the short term.

Then came the day that I had to go to the doctor. I don’t think I was scared at all, because I honestly didn’t think I’d lost any weight. Then I stepped on the scale…76 pounds. I’d lost 9 pounds in the matter of a few months. I know that sounds like such a small number, but keep in mind, I was already pretty underweight to begin with. I’d lost 12 percent of my body weight, which is a lot.

The next day, I woke up thinking everything would be normal. But it wasn’t. My parents sat me down and had a long talk about my anorexia. They knew I’d been asking for advice on Yahoo Answers and they knew a lot of other stuff I thought I’d been hiding well. After the talk, I cried pretty much all day. My parents also started forcing me to eat–and it felt like a LOT! I felt so full, disgusting and fat that entire day and many more to come. That night, my dad made me eat an apple and I was so mad that I threw it at him and said I hated them so much. I really regret saying that now, but I know my mind was in such a sick place back then that I couldn’t see that they were trying to help. I just thought they were trying to make me fat…

April 2009. The beginning of my recovery.

 

Part 2 coming soon!