Q. Does a raw and living foods diet include raw dairy and meats?

A. There are individuals who consume raw dairy and meat as part of this lifestyle. However, Live Island Institute does not recommend this practice due to the increased risk of food borne pathogens, parasitic infestation of meats, colon and artery clogging cholesterol of animal fats and the extensive mucous build up caused by dairy.

Q. Is there anyone who cannot or should not eat a 100% raw foods diet?

A. Most people thrive best on an 80/20 raw cooked vegan diet. Due to certain digestive disorders, there are some people who do better by adding some cooked meat dishes to their diet. There have been many reports of people transitioning to a raw foods diet and becoming ill. However, closer examination of these cases reveals that the individual was not balanced in their approach to the diet. The diet did not make them ill, their lack of balance did. They concentrated too heavily on one aspect of the diet and ignored the others. For example, they may have eaten too many nut based meals and left out greens. Many ate too much fruit. Live Island Institute believes in moderation and balance in all things . For this reason, we do not recommend frutarian, sprout only and juice only (except in cases of fasting) diets as they are too extreme and can leave a person malnourished. A raw vegan diet that incorporates greens, sprouted seeds, root vegetables, fermented foods and legumes provides all of the essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes that we need for proper health can be incorporated into most if not all daily diets.

Q. I’ve been trying to go 100% raw for months now, but just can’t seem to do it. What am I doing wrong?

A. Nothing. The transition from a SAD (standard American diet) to a 100% raw diet is different for everyone. Some do it overnight and some take years. Some never become 100% raw preferring an 80:20 raw to cooked vegan diet. The important thing is to take your time, educate yourself not only about what you’re eating, but why you’re eating it. Gradually add more raw foods, especially greens, to your diet. If you snap and have a Twinkie or extra cheesy pizza one day, don’t beat yourself up about it. But ask yourself, is this good for me? Is it worth it? What would be a better choice?

Q. Can you eat out on a raw foods diet?

A. You sure can! Raw foods are not the fringe fad it was a few decades ago. Most cities host a number of outstanding raw food restaurants. Most small towns usually have a health food store where complete pre-packaged raw take-out meals can be found. Even in conventional restaurants, most chefs don’t mind fixing a plate of raw vegetables on request. Just scan the menu and see what vegetables are served with the standard entrees. For example, if they have spinach quiche on the menu, that means there is raw spinach somewhere in the kitchen. Ask for a little cold-pressed olive oil and a few lemon wedges on the side and you have a pretty decent meal!

Q. I travel extensively. Can I stay raw on the road?

A. Absolutely! You can carry zip bags of fresh and dehydrated fruits and grains in your bags. When you reach your location, find out where the local organic markets and health food stores are to obtain fresh produce and pre-made meals. Many hotels have dorm-room sizes refrigerators you can request be set up in your room on arrival. Because you don’t need a stove or oven, you can even make a pie in your hotel room!

Q. I’m often invited to friend’s and relative’s homes for meals. How do I turn down their food without insulting them?

A. First understand that an invitation to dine with friends and family is a request for your company above all things. In other words, people don’t invite us to dinner because they think were starving. They invite us to share in a meal as an act of friendship, hospitality and community. So an invitation to eat at their homes should be accepted with the same goodwill that it was extended. Food wise, you could offer to bring a special dish or just eat whatever raw or vegan fare that’s offered. Explain to your host’s ahead of time that you are embarking on this new lifestyle and what it’s done for you health wise. True friends and family will understand and not insist that you eat something that may make you ill anymore than they would press drinks on non-drinkers or cigarettes on non-smokers. If they insist, be firm, but gracious. Don’t make yourself physically ill just so you won’t hurt someone’s feelings. Reassure them that you love them for who they are not what they cook. If you choose to eat whatever is served, do so without fear and with gratitude. The next day, resume your raw diet .