Going Raw

Bliss Cafe & Chocolates, Sedona, AZ

While we were in Sedona, we discovered a really neat restaurant called Bliss Cafe & Chocolates.  Bliss is a raw vegan restaurant — meaning they serve only vegetarian dishes and nothing is cooked.  I’ve been aware of the raw food movement for a while, so I was interested to try it out.

The basic idea behind raw food is this:  When food is heated over 118 degrees or so, its natural enzymes are destroyed and vitamins and minerals become depleted.  This makes food far less nutritious and harder to digest, which causes the body to become overly acidic (which, in turn, causes a host of other problems). 

Granted, a raw vegan diet is pretty extreme (personally I love a good steak every now and then), but there is a lot to be learned by studying the extremes.  I’m not ready to go vegan, but I believe that a large percentage of a healthy diet (maybe 70%) should be raw and vegan.  Unfortunately, for most Americans, 90% of foods consumed are cooked and processed and have little nutritional value.  Go to any mall on a Saturday and you can see the results of that.  But I digress…

The thing that impressed me about Bliss was that the meals were both delicious and filling.

Me holding a collard green wrap — it tastes better than it looks!

Bliss also serves raw chocolate (cacao).  Most of us think of chocolate as being bad for you — a treat to be eaten sparingly.  And most of the “chocolate” you buy in stores is bad for you.  But raw chocolate is actually good for you — and tastes even better than processed chocolate, without any sugar or artificial ingredients.

During my vacation, I also read The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier, a professional Ironman triathlete. 

Brendan developed his diet over the course of his athletic career with an emphasis on optimal nutrition for training and recovery.  He contends that many athletes focus obsessively on training, but very little on recovery.  The Thrive Diet is mostly raw and vegan and also emphasizes superfoods such as chlorella, acai, maca, and others.  I’ve read quite a lot about nutrition, and this is the best book I’ve found yet.  It sort of brings it all together in a way that makes sense.  The first 100 pages explain the theory behind the diet:  that the role of food is to combat the various stresses we encounter (physical, emotional, environmental, etc.).  Yet much of the food we eat today actually puts more stress on the body.

As I said earlier, I’m convinced that a large percentage of our diet should follow these principles.  Unfortunately it’s hard to make the switch — not because these meals are harder to prepare or less tasty, but because our entire food system is built around the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).  But the raw diet is slowly becoming more mainstream (there are now several raw 5 star restaurants).  It just makes sense.


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