Tuesday, June 12

A Wooly Tale

I was on the editorial staff of a magazine in Hong Kong where we sat in a sort of bullpen, my colleagues and I, and razzed one another.

One of the editors started a fairly extreme diet that involved her running off to the toilet every few minutes. I wondered whether she’d gained access to a secret stash of Taiwan tap water – which in my experience has pretty much the same effect.

“No,” Helen assured. She was just eating lots of pork products, along with some dead chickens, grapefruits, eye of newt, and cat nostrils, if memory serves.

“What tosh,” said Keith, our erudite and elderly British colleague.

“I have to lose weight!” Helen protested. “My trousers are getting tight at the waist.”

“So eat something healthy.”

“That’s takes too long and I get hungry,” Helen said.

“Then why not,” Keith asked, “just eat a plate of cotton wool and be done with?”

* * * *

There are lots of compelling reasons for eating raw vegan.

Nearly all the arguments against begin like this: “But I’m afraid that if... But what if... But I don’t really... But what about...”

Mehh.

Here’s my number-one argument for eating raw vegan: Nutritional density. I can pack my gut chockfullonuts (or better yet, chock full of bananas, oranges, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and apricots) and be 50 times fuller, and 4.8 thousand percent healthier, than if I ate a single Whopper Junior with Cheese.

Number two: The cotton wool argument. I simply cannot eat enough raw food in an entire day – even if I sincerely made an effort – to equal the calories I’d down in just one typical American meal, particularly if that meal is served in a restaurant.

Number three: Simplicity. I don’t have to plan dinner if dinner is: Whatever looks good in the refrigerator. A handful of broccoli, a piece of cauliflower, some sliced apples, a few chunks of fresh pineapple. Oh, and then I’ll have maybe a bosc pear. And some sliced sweet yellow bell peppers. (But I’m probably too full to bother.) Breakfast is a green smoothie with a few almonds blended in. It’s just so darned easy.

Fourth: Cheapskate alert. Not only is this lifestyle cheaper than eating cooked food. It also happens that when people learn you’re trying to eat raw, they give you produce. I cannot explain this. Food just magically appears. Strangers give away their gardens, their extra watermelon, their overbought mangoes, the fruit on their trees. Today one friend gave me a container of raw coconut oil. Another gave me a pineapple. A pineapple! (Thank you J and K. Love you!)

Finally: Energy. I feel like I’m full of light and joy when I eat this way. It’s a pretty great high. I know how weird it sounds to suggest that raw food provides some sort of life force, but I can’t find an alternative explanation for the way this feels. Live enzymes? Who can say. A spiritual high? Indisputably. Some sort of cosmic unity with the universe? Ummm...or maybe I’m just stoned on bananas.