Friday, January 23, 2015

Things I Eat That Aren't Raw Vegan... and Why I Don't Care

There are a million different reasons why people choose the diets they do. On the positive side people are taking into account their health, the impact on the environment, or ethical leanings. On the downside people might make the choices they do out of convenience, impulse, or cheapness. Worse than all of these, to me at least, is not making a choice for yourself at all. Sometimes people make initial decisions and then become a bit lackadaisical about the details. It is easy to become swept up in dietary movements and think, "I do this because I am vegan". Or raw. Or paleo. Or anything. I am not a fan of extremes or mob mentality.

So here is a list of things that aren't raw vegan that I still include in my diet because, well, my diet is mine. I respect everyone who may oppose these decisions I have made personally. Whatever you decide to eat, or wear, or buy, I hope you do so consciously. Continue making the best decisions for you!

1. Maple Syrup- No, it isn't raw. The trees are tapped and then the sap is boiled to make syrup. It does, however, contain over 54 antioxidants and has a high mineral content. When compared to something like agave, maple syrup is much more beneficial to your health.

2. Honey- I prefer raw honey, but obviously this is not technically vegan, as it comes from bees. There are some ethics debates as to whether this hurts or helps the bee population, and I have heard both sides. I have known beekeepers, though, who LIVE bees. These people wouldn't do anything to endanger their little workers. I do think it is important to be specific about the source of your honey. I also can't help but appreciate the health benefits of this magical substance. Honey kills anti-biotic resistant bacteria, helps with seasonal allergies, and is full of nutrients and minerals.

3. Bee Pollen- As with honey, this is also not technically vegan. But it is anti-inflammatory, packed with B vitamins, and a source of protein and anti-oxidants.

4. Olives- Most olives are cooked in the canning or jarring process. Some are packed in brine, which isn't the best. They also help control blood pressure, lower cholesterol, protect against anemia, and are a source of vitamin E. You can also buy raw olives, which is great, but they are hard to find and a bit expensive.

5. Dandy Blend- Yes, it is a hot beverage. Hot beverages are boiled water, so obviously not raw. But this drink has over 50 trace minerals, is rich in photo-nutrients,  reduces inflammation, and is an excellent digestive aid. It also beats any coffee cravings you might have, in case you are trying to avoid caffeine or acidity.

6. Tea- I must say, if you call yourself a raw vegan to the extent that you avoid drinking herbal teas, I might have to question your motives. There is a plethora of amazing herbal and medicinal teas out there that are ethical and healthy. Many of these amazing teas are caffeine-free. At this point, if you are avoiding tea because it is cooked, why are you raw vegan? Don't ask, "Is it raw?" Ask, "Is it harmful or is it beneficial?"

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