30 May 2012

Why raw vegan? | An insight into a healthy lifestyle option-PART I

***Guest Blog by Registered Dietitian, Kareen***
In this first guest blog on making a raw food diet a healthy lifestyle option, Kareen shares her decision to embrace this way of life and the impact it has had on her health. Kareen is a regular contributor to the blog as she has written extensively for our Health Naturally! Series.


A photo of one of Kareen's recent recipes:
Salad with a Dill Cucumber dressing

I write "vegan" in the title because for most of the world, it's an easy to recognize term associated with an animal-free diet; however, I prefer "plant-based whole food diet" which describes what I eat and not how I live. I find that vegan is morphing into more than just a descriptive word about diet and I'm not necessarily comfortable claiming all that it stands for. But that's a topic for another day :) 

I choose not to eat meat because the thought makes me queasy. And while I love cheese, I'm lactose intolerant with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) so it's just not good for me and that's why I don't eat it. My dietary choices are based on what makes me feel good. 

I grew up in a vegetarian household but occassionally ate meat when I was out. When I moved out, I ate out more frequently and more of my choices were meat based. That changed when I met my husband who had been vegetarian his entire life. While dating, it was just easier to eat similarily to him and so I made the switch. The hardest meal to give up? KFC's Chicken Burger with extra mayo LOL! 

Eventually the change became second hand but to make due I sustained myself with meat analoges. You know, soy products shaped into meat-like substances. My favorite line was Schneiders Au Naturel, from a Canadian company. It tasted so real which was comforting to me. 

After many years of moving between vegetarian and plant-based, I began looking for alternatives. That's when I stumbled on raw eating two years ago. I definitely fell into old habits and my weight reflected that with a 12 lb gain in a couple of months on top of the 40 I'd already gained in the past five years. I was at the my lowest point health-wise so in the past ten months, I've focused on raw foods and juicing. As a result I've lost 37 lbs! I've been fortunate to share this journey with my husband and so far he's lost 43 lbs! We're still on our journey but feel fantastic with what we've accomplished so far. 

That's my health story in a few words. In the next post I'll talk about what is a raw food diet and share what I usually eat. 

Have you made significant changes to your diet recently? How did you feel? 

- Kareen, RD

*Kareen holds a Masters in Public Health from a Southern California University. She is a Registered Dietitian and currently works at a local community hospital. Kareen is available to field your comments or answer any queries which you might have on the topic. So please, feel free to communicate with her via the box below. For more on her personal journey, delicious raw vegan recipes, exercise and other information, you can follow Kareen on i_amEatingRight

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