Sunday, March 21, 2010

A journey from Non-Vegetarian to Raw-Vegetarian

What is in a diet? If you are conscious about your health, fitness, and environment, you should be conscious about your diet too. Recently, I started experimenting Raw Vegetarian diet and I'm loving it. The diet makes me feel more fresh, healthy, and energetic.

My journey as a vegetarian started in 2000. I became a vegetarian for 3 reasons. First of all, I didn't have a desire for non-vegetarian food. Second of all, the horrifying scenes of animals getting killed in front of my eyes during my childhood days, had an influence on my decision to be a vegetarian. Third of all, when I read Mahatma Gandhiji's "My Experiments with Truth" in 2000, I decided to give up my meat eating habit, completely. (Also read: Why am I a Vegan? )

People wonder, "How did you manage to be a vegetarian, in US"? If you are under the influence of your taste buds, it is hard, to survive in US being a vegetarian. Especially, when you are traveling to places or not having food at home. If you are ready to eat whatever is available, you can manage in US easily. In fact, every restaurant in US has something for a vegetarian. You can customize your food. You can go up to the extreme of ordering a Chicken Burger without the Chicken.

A modern diet has deprived us from enjoying the freshness of hundreds of vegetables, fruits, and nuts that nature has provided us. Many of the things that I eat today were hardly part of my diet when I was a non-vegetarian. I have been practicing Vegan diet for the last 3+ years. I'm staying fit and healthy - no visits to the hospital, except for yearly health checkups. I've now started my experiments with Raw-Vegetarian diet, by reducing the intake of cooked food and increasing the intake of raw vegetables, fruits and nuts.

People think that 'pure vegetarian' diet lacks Protein, Calcium and other Vitamins/minerals available in milk/meat based diet. If you are making conscious choices of vegetable based diet, you can eliminate the need for non-vegetarian food completely. For example, my everyday diet includes Soymilk, Sprouted beans/nuts, Spinach, and a variety of nuts, fresh vegetables, and fruits. It provides me enough protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals.

I was once challenged by a friend of mine, who is a born vegetarian. He said pointing to his huge belly "I've been a vegetarian from childhood days. I get sick quite often and I don't feel healthy/fit". Being a vegetarian alone doesn't make you fit. What happens when you don't service your car/bike  for a long period of time? The vehicle loses its fitness - engine problems, brake/battery issues, clutch/gear problems and over a period of time gives you low mileage. Similarly, you need to service your body regularly. A good diet should also be complimented by a proper exercise program. Also, feeding your stomach with fatty/non-healthy vegetarian food is equivalent of fueling your car with a low grade petrol. The mileage/performance will also be low. Have you heard of "Garbage in Garbage out"? It holds good for your diet also :)  (Also read: Sunday - a day of mass murders in India )

If you would like learn more about Vegan or Raw Vegetarian Diet, you can read/listen to the following:

HappyCow - Becoming Vegetarian
Veganism in a NutShell
GoVeg - Podcast
Raw Vegetarian Food/Diet 

(Also read: Raw Vegetarian Diet - Experiment scaled down)

6 comments:

  1. If you are into eating raw vegetables (esp. in India) you may want to check out the pesticide residues. Especially on the leafy (spinach) & cruciferous (cabbage, cauli, etc) vegetables). Talk to some one in the Pesticide group (Entomology Dept, TNAU) for more details. Farmers and distributors tend to use more chemicals on high value vegges before shipment. Same holds true for grapes & apples.

    One option is to soak and wash these well in soapy water. This will get rid of most of the surface chemicals.

    -Ptero

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  2. Thanks Ptero for your input. Right now, I wash the vegetables thoroughly before eating them. I believe it isn't enough. I'll definitely check regarding how to get rid of pesticide residues.

    - Saro

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  3. Veggie diet (without milk, egg) will lead to Vitamin B12 deficiency. One of my friend is a veggie since childhood even though rest of his family members eat non-veg.

    One day this guy fainted & was admitted to hospital. It was found that he had a deficiency of Vit B12. B12 sources are only Animal products (found in large amounts in liver - chicken/mutton liver. Liver is the storage repository for this vitamin, & found in small amounts in egg, milk).

    If one does not even take milk/egg, you would have to seriously think about alternative like Vitamin Supplements. You might want to research more on what else may be missing in a pure Veggie diet by checking with a doctor or dietician & taking precautions.

    -Suresh

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  4. Thanks Suresh. Yes, you are right.

    There are lots of research materials available on this topic at

    http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/b12.htm

    Also, the website talks about the right choice of veg food/supplements one has to consume, when adopting a Vegan diet.

    http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/

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  5. Dear Saro,
    I am into raw vegetrian diet for the past 18 months and I too feel very healthy and not sick. Vitamin B12 deficiency, heme Iron , Calcium and Zinc deficiency are common in this diet.But in this diet the RDA defined 4 micro gram of b12 , 16 mg of iron , 1000mg of ca and zinc man not be applicable for raw foodist.But the transition should be slow , as you might know I have tried this diet 15 years before in our college days.
    Sincere attempt is a good step in this journey and do not get advice from people who do not follow this diet.Pay more attention on omega 3 fatty acid foods (walnut,flax etc.,) and DHA food sources such as blue green algae and for B12 rely on Sea Veggies

    Ram(Ray)

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  6. Thanks Ram for the suggestions !

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