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For the introduction of our one day retreats, we have the pleasure of welcoming Isabelle Huot who will also give a conference on nutrition and performance. While anticipating the official launch day (May 19 on Nuns’ Island and June 1 in Mont-Saint-Hilaire), we asked her some questions to demystify certain beliefs about the raw food diet and how it affects our health. Opinions on the raw food diet and staying healthy are mixed. What is myth and what is reality?

Myth or reality?

Only animal proteins contain the proteins necessary for our body to operate properly. Plant proteins are incomplete.

Myth! Proteins, whether their source is animal or plant based, help meet our protein needs. They are composed of a variety of amino acids. Amongst these amino acids are the so called essential 9! Our body is not able to make them. We have to consume them through food.

Unlike animal proteins, plant proteins do not contain all the essential amino acids in optimal proportions for our body, except soybeans. However, if we combine these plant proteins (beans, lentils, chickpeas) with a grain based product or a serving of nuts, we attain a proper balance of amino acids.

To be healthy, you need to consume significant amounts of protein, which is difficult to do with a raw food diet.

Myth! Protein needs are not hard to meet in the vegan diet. Legumes such as lentils, beans or chickpeas, nuts and grains/seeds, and pseudo-grains like quinoa have plenty. You just have to be ready to vary your diet!

Take a sedentary woman of 60 kg. Her daily protein requirement would be about 50 g. The following lunch alone, would meet more than half of her daily needs!

  • 1 slice of sprouted wheat bread toasted and spread with 10 ml (2 tsp.) of homemade veggie pâté (with sunflower seeds)
  • A salad made with: 250 ml (1 cup) mesclun lettuce, 175 ml (3/4 cup) lentils, 1/2 avocado and a handful of almonds, a dash of oil
  • 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable juice

People who do not eat meat are more susceptible to be frail and sick.

… Myth and Reality! Vegetarians or vegans are generally healthier if compared to omnivores. However, we noticed that raw food enthusiasts generally don’t consume enough calcium. Some studies have even observed that the bone mineral density of crudivores was lower than the one of people with an omnivorous diet. Something to watch out for! We should also remember that vegetarians or vegans consume a lot more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds and nuts, all of which are health-promoting foods. We think that the abundance of these health-promoting foods is the explanation for the better health profile of vegetarians and not the exclusion of the meat.

It is impossible to eat too much protein.

Myth! If we eat too much, the calories in the proteins will accumulate in our body as fat.

It is necessary to detox to be healthy.

A big myth. The body does not need to detoxify. Liver, colon and sweating easily allow us to eliminate toxins. The detox diets are in no way necessary. To give the liver a break, I propose instead a few days without alcohol and a diet low in fat and concentrated sugars. Lots of water and a daily dose of probiotics is the ideal diet.

For more details on our one day retreats at Strom Nuns’ Island, click here.

For more details on our one day retreats at Strom Mont-Saint-Hilaire, click here.

 

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