But, how do you get you [enter vitamin/mineral here]?
This is a post for skeptics, because I was once one of them as well. I'm also going to go all scientifical on you, which doesn't happen very often, haha. As much I believe in the power of the raw diet, its capacity to provide me with everything I need to achieve and maintain optimal health, it still sometimes seems unlikely to me that I can get my daily dose of ALL my vitamins and minerals by just eating fruits and veggies. I was feeling this particularly strongly when I was on my banana island, pretty much just eating bananas and greens.
Call me the Saint Thomas of the raw food diet but I need to be "shown" that this works... I finally took the suggestion of lots of seasoned LFRVers and downloaded Cron-o-meter. Cron-o-meter is the best nutrition tracker I have used to date. More so than just giving you the usual boring caloric breakdown, you can program it to your own specific dietary needs. In short, you can set how many calories you want to eat, how much of those should be carbs/fat/protein (perfect for 811), and it'll tell you exactly how much of each essential vitamin and mineral you are getting. It uses up-to-date USDA nutritional data and you can add whatever foods you want to your list if they're not there (think spirulina or maca or something...)
The results? This is what I got on a day of eating 1/4 watermelon for breakfast, and then splitting 15 bananas, 3 C spinach, 1/2 a head of romaine lettuce, 2 dates, and just 1 brazil nut for lunch and dinner, plus a B12 supplement. Please take into account that this was my food intake on a day when I was choosing to eat just 2 kinds of fruit and greens for 10 days, so it isn't necessarily typical of the diversity of my usual high raw diet:
- Calories: 1998 (89% carbs, 6% protein, 5% fat)
- Vitamin A: 1855% of my DRI
- Vitamin C: 367%
- Vitamin E: 31%
- Vitamin K: 851%
- Folate: 264%
- B1: 110%
- B2: 163%
- B3: 106%
- B5: 173%
- B6: 522%
- B12: 41667%
- Calcium: 50%
- Copper: 248%
- Iron: 74%
- Magnesium: 225%
- Manganese: 342%
- Phosphorus: 96%
- Potassium: 181%
- Selenium: 215%
- Sodium: 8%
- Zinc: 64%
Gotta say, that's probably worlds better than anyone on a SAD diet, and again, I was pretty much just eating bananas! On just those foods, I was a little low in iron, and lower in calcium, zinc, and vitamin E, but playing around with numbers a bit, this could have been easily corrected just by adding:
- For Vitamin E: Tomatoes, broccoli and mangos... or if I was going the healthy fat route, could have added just a miniscule amount of nuts (especially almonds), sunflower seeds, flax seeds, or avocado to hit that 100%.
- For Calcium: dark leafy greens, almonds, flax, chia or hemp seeds, or carob powder
- For Zinc: very minor amounts of pumpkin seeds, flax, chia seeds, or nuts
- For Iron: more spinach or other leafy greens
So, on any old day in the life of me, when I'm eating all my fruit for breakfast and lunch, and finishing off the day with a big salad with a pittance of nuts and seeds every once in a while, I'm pretty much getting everything I need. 100% vegan. 100% raw. 100% delicious. Yes, I love this lifestyle, and it's been confirmed to me in cold hard cynical numbers that it works!