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Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Detox (My Experience with 80/10/10) Part I

I'm sure that if you are interested in health whatsoever, you have heard of the raw food movement. The diet has been gaining popularity since around the 1980's and recently it has really gotten a whole lot of attention.

Do the names Ani, Jennifer, or Kristina ring any bells? These three ladies are just a few out of many people embracing the diet and touting it's benefits- such as weight management, clear skin, lots of energy, and even a better spiritual life? Hmm, that last one seems questionable.

Raw foodies claim that cooking kills vital nutrients/enzymes. Some say that consuming cooked fat and starches is toxic to the body, as well as eating protein in abundance.
For these reasons, they stick to unrefined, uncooked, whole foods which (in most cases) are plant-based. However, there are some raw foodists who will eat raw animal products- think fish, milk, and cheese. Sometimes eggs or even meat!

As I previously mentioned, I can be swayed very easily by what I read. If something seems "healthy", has sufficient evidence to back it up, and makes sense to me, I'm all in. It doesn't help that I have a very all-or-nothing approach to anything I do.
I can learn about anything and, if I am intrigued, decide to test it out. I have some innate desire to see if the effects on my own body match up to what others say.

I am not recommending anyone do this, as it is not very safe or smart to go into any major decision (especially a diet) without first letting others in on what you are about to do and seeking their input.
(And I'm talking others like health care professionals and family, not your neighbor or hairdresser.)

The reason I am bringing this up is to explain where my mind goes in situations like this and why I am so susceptible to "experimenting on myself".

I had been reading about raw foods for a while when I decided to test it out. I was interested in doing a detox at some point but unsure of what kind to do. I definitely didn't want to do any sort of fast, and I wasn't interested in lots of planning or prep work.
That is why I decided that a few days or raw eating would be a perfect way to both detox my body and try the renowned diet out.

A raw dinner might look something like this...
Or this.
In general, there are two approaches to raw food: high-fat, and high-carb. I have seen a lot of forums and articles about the adverse effects of high-fat raw... Everything from weight gain to sluggishness to heart problems.

As usual, I got sucked into what I read and determined that high-fat was not the way to go. It was then that I discovered 80/10/10.

Let me tell you a little about 80/10/10. It is a niche within a niche. A whole other world of raw eating.
This approach to a raw diet was popularized by Douglas Graham, a "lifetime athlete and raw fooder since 1978".
*Note that most people I've found who succeed on this diet are avid athletes themselves.

The idea behind 80/10/10 is that humans thrive on fruit. Therefore, the majority of their diet should be composed of it. Low-fat raw vegans also eat greens (for protein/minerals) and very small amounts of fat (usually avocados- they are fruit).

80/10/10 (sometimes shortened to 811) refers to the macronutrients that come from this diet. At least 80% of your daily intake should come from carbohydrates while no more than 10% should come from fat or protein.

To get some more information, I began to read the book 80/10/10, which accompanies this way of eating.
The book begins by explaining why fruit is what humans thrive on. We are able to easily digest the simple carbohydrates and it provides us with a fast-releasing energy. 

Our physiological makeup is perfect for fruit consumption (long intestines, dull teeth, opposable thumbs, etc.) but not so ideal for eating meat. All in all, the fruit theory made total sense. I felt the difference when eating a high-fruit diet. Having science to back up the benefits convinced me even further that 811 was the way to go.

The support for why we should limit fat was not as clear, but at this point it was too late. I was all in.

Thus began my journey with low-fat raw veganism.
Check out a second post coming soon to read more about the experience and my afterthoughts!

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