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My Diet: What I Eat and Why by Rob Hull

This article was first published in the Funky Raw magazine issue 19.

If you have been following closely, you will have noticed that over the years my diet has changed significantly. I started investigating the raw food diet over 8 years ago and started out on a vegan raw diet, moving to a low fat vegan raw diet following the principles of Douglas Graham (80-10-10). Whilst I initially felt great on that regime (it’s a very cleansing diet), I eventually felt that maybe there was something missing nutritionally, and I added raw dairy products to my diet.

More recently, after having problems with my teeth, and doing more research on diet, particularly by reading Diet and Nutritional Degeneration by Weston A. Price and Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel, I have added more animal foods and more fermented foods to my diet. There are several nutrients that some people might have problems with on a vegan or vegetarian diet:

  • Vitamin A: This is quite a confused subject. When people say vegetables like carrots have vitamin A in them, this is not correct. Carrots have beta-carotene, which in theory humans can convert to retinol, the active form of Vitamin A. The problem is that whilst many people might be able to make this conversion perfectly, some people can’t make this conversion at all and others might not be able to convert optimally. Retinol is only found in animal foods, so if you have problems with this conversion, you won’t thrive on a vegan diet.
  • Vitamin D: In some climates you might be able to get enough vitamin D from the sun, this is probably not true for those living in Northern climates in the winter. There are two main forms of vitamin D, D2 and D3. D2 is found in some plant foods (eg mushrooms) in small amounts, but D3 is what the body needs (which is what it makes via exposure to the sun) and the only food sources of D3 are animal based (fish and animal fats are the highest sources).
  • Vitamin K: This is also a confusing one as there are two forms of vitamin K, known as K1 and K2. Whilst they have similarities, and some animals can convert between K1 and K2, more research needs to be done on the ability of humans to make this conversion. But it seems best to consider them as two separate vitamins. K1 is available in green leafy vegetables so is plentiful on a raw diet.

    K2 is mostly available from animal foods. There are many types of K2, one form MK-7 is found in very high quantities in Natto and in smaller amounts in sauerkraut, MK-4 is in liver, egg yolks, butter from grass fed animals and other animal foods. It is not currently know if these two types are interchangeable.
  • Vitamin B12: It is quite widely accepted among raw vegans that a raw vegan diet doesn’t contain B12 so taking a supplement is usually recommended. Personally I prefer to get my nutrition from foods rather that supplements.

What I Eat

Here is a typical day for me, although obviously I don’t eat the same thing every day. And it’s an experimental diet, I could change it again at any point!

For breakfast, I eat a hemp seed milk pudding. In the past I’ve talked about this a lot (as chocolate pudding), although at the moment it usually doesn’t contain chocolate. It contains lots of superfoods including maca, suma, goji berries, camu camu, mesquite, etc. Occasionally I’ll add some raw cacao beans, around 6 beans for 2 people. It’s not the same every day, ingredients vary depending on what is available. Pears work well when they are in season, sometimes to replace a banana.

I eat the pudding with some kefir made with raw milk, usually goats milk while we are travelling in Spain. Kefir is a wonderful fermented food full of probiotic bacteria. If available I will also have a little raw cream or creme fraiche.

About a week ago I started experimenting with adding fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil to my breakfast. These are two ‘sacred foods’ as discovered by Weston Price, and between them they give a very large dose of vitamins A, D3 and K2, plus other important nutrients.

Lunch is usually composed of two separate smaller meals, one maybe around 12-1pm and the other around 3-4pm

Usually the first one will be some fruit, whatever is in season, at the moment maybe oranges, custard apples (cherimoya) or apples. At other times of the year figs, kakis, pears, plums, etc. Usually I will only eat one type of fruit in a meal.

In the past, the second meal would also be fruit, but more recently I’ve been experimenting with raw eggs. So some days I’ll still eat fruit but often instead I’ll have two or three raw egg yolks, beaten up with some kefir, and something to flavour it, mesquite, lucuma and raw honey works well. This is a new and experimental part of my diet, it seems to be working for me at the moment but I’ll see how it makes me feel over the long term.

Just before dinner I will have a glass of kombucha, before a meal it can help with digestion and detoxification.

Dinner is a large salad – lots of wild greens, half an avocado, seasonal vegetables, fermented foods like sauerkraut and home made pickled veg, seaweed and raw cheese. Once or twice a week I’m experimenting with more animal food, raw fish (marinated in lemon juice), raw cured meat or liver pate (some of the only cooked food I’m currently including.) This is based on information from Weston Price.
As much as possible, I try to eat local and seasonal food. In this modern world this can be difficult, with so much choice of foods imported from all over the world, so produce doesn’t seem to have seasons anymore! But if you shop at farmers markets, generally they will only have in season food they have grown themselves.

After dinner I’ll sometimes have a snack of dried figs with grass fed butter. Butter must be from grass fed animals for it to include the important vitamins A, D and K2. With cows butter, the colour should be yellow, if it is white it doesn’t have the required nutrition. Try getting butter from your local farmers market, but if you have no success with getting quality butter, Kerrygold butter from Ireland is grass fed and high quality. (And Anchor butter from New Zealand if you are in that part of the world.)
Water: throughout the day I drink water sometimes with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I try to drink freshly collected spring water wherever possible. If not available, I will always filter tap water before drinking.

I think the key is a balance between fresh fruit and vegetables and some of the denser animal foods. I’m still experimenting to find the balance which works well for me.

Read more from Rob on his blog at www.rawrob.com

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