This time of year, rich, fattening foods are everywhere. Eating is an important part of our holiday and family celebrations.
It is said people gain an average of seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Is it from all the socializing and pressure to overeat? Or is it the emotional stress and the anticipation of that New Year's diet resolution?
Whatever the reason, I am focusing this column on making healthy eating choices, specifically concentrating on raw foods.
Before you say "yuck" and dig into that pecan pie, keep reading. You may be surprised to know that a raw food diet is not as bland and boring as you think.
A group in our area called the Concord Raw and Living Foods Meet Up shares and discusses the nutritional benefits of eating delicious plant-based, unprocessed, whole foods. Allison Hase, a raw food enthusiast, launched the group in August.
Every month the group gathers for a potluck dinner, where members share recipes and offer encouragement.
"I started the Concord Raw and Living Foods Meet Up group because I wanted to find other raw foodists in the area to share recipes and to give each other support," Hase said. "Raw or living foods are those that are found in their natural state. They consist of raw organic fruits, vegetables and sprouted grains, nuts and seeds and are never cooked above the temperature of 118 degrees.
"Cooking destroys enzymes. The natural enzymes found in raw foods mean that our bodies do not have to produce these enzymes to digest the food we eat, therefore allowing the body to rest, detoxify and heal," she said.
This diet is good for the body, Hase said, and has been known to prevent or reverse some diseases.
Hase has been eating this way since May and considers her diet to be 80percent raw. "So do I eat just celery and salad? Heck, no! I eat crackers, burgers, pizza, pasta, pies, truffles, cookies, granolas and, yes, lots of greens," said Hase. "For breakfast I have a green smoothie, and for lunch I might have carrot-almond pâté with rye crackers, and kale chips for an afternoon snack.
"Then for dinner, raw chile and a slice of coconut cream pie for dessert.... In the first two months I dropped 20 pounds without trying. I feel great."
The next potluck is Wednesday at Hase's home in Concord, and all group members are welcome. For more information about this way of life, go to www.meetup.com and click on Concord Raw and Living Foods group.
Unfortunately most of us are used to the Standard American Diet, and change is hard. But maybe this is the New Year's resolution you have been looking for.