For over a year, I have eaten 80% raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. The reason I say 80% is because I do use things like purchased Almond Milk and other items like raw cashews which are not technically raw. I also enjoy a glass of red wine.
Within the last two months, after much reading, I have added cooked legumes to my diet. I wanted the nutrients in lentils and beans but was not happy with eating sprouted beans which raw food recipes suggest. There are nutrients in legumes that we can not get in other foods. Some raw food nutritionists suggest eating cooked legumes for these nutrients. I enjoy sprouts in salads, but could not eat, with enjoyment, sprouted beans in dips, etc. The bottom line is that you have to enjoy your diet to stick with it. Most of the items I eat daily, I love! Raw tahini is one of my favorites.
It has now been about a year and a half that I have eaten all vegan with the exception of occasional drops of honey. I use my Vita-mix every morning and enjoy a daily smoothie with frozen bananas, cacao, blueberries, hemp seed, and almond milk. I'm not hungry until lunchtime. The cacao gives me the same boost I would get from coffee, in raw form.
All vegan diets are not alike. I found that even on an all vegan diet, some vegans still may eat a lot of cooked processed foods. Cutting the processed foods with "unknown" ingredients may be the key in all positive diet changes, in my opinion. For example, a few of the vegan cookbooks use a lot of what I call "copy-cat" foods. They try to make a vegan copy of sausage or other meats out of vegetable protein. To me, this is just more processed food. I don't eat them.
What I've learned over the last year and a half is that for me, the best diet is basically raw, unprocessed vegan foods (fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds) with a fresh soup, daily, made from vegetables and dried legumes. I plan to add some of my soup recipes soon as they have been staples in my house and popular with non-vegan family members during the holidays.
Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds has changed my health. I have been off of blood pressure medicine for over a year. My blood work is all within the normal range. I lost over twenty pounds. The most important fact is that I feel the best I have felt in years.
Every one has to find the diet that fits their body. Fad diets don't work. The diet that is healthy and gets your body into the best physical shape is what is best for each individual person. For me, I don't eat anything with a face. That was an easy choice for me because I love animals. It has changed my health and my system. It is not a temporary diet, it is a life style change. I hope that each one of us will find the diet that works best for you and will make this new year, the happiest and healthiest 2012 for you and your families.
Happy New Year!