Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


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Eating 100% green

I hope you have watched all those awesome videos in TED about what's wrong about our food and about leafy green vegetables.
I have been eating one meal everyday comprising of raw food for a year now. It's not completely vegetables and fruits, I have tried eating raw fish too. I have developed eating raw eggs, in fact that goes really nice with milk.
I think Steve Jones, the famous geneticist from UK commented somewhere about humans not surviving more than 3 weeks on raw food alone. He made an off-hand remark that we, humans, have evolved with an external stomach - a frying pan.
I wish to test my idea of living on 100% raw food. By living I mean healthy, disease free and longer life. By raw food I mean food not cooked over stove. It can be marinated, mixed, garnished with other raw ingredients. No frying, steaming or sauteing. The idea is supplying little or no heat to the raw ingredients.
If done, this can help in reducing expenditure in energy, which I presume is considerable fraction of a household budget.
Do you think this is possible? Do you have any suggestion on reducing the risk of E-coli ingestion through raw food? Or better still, can you propose a sample daily menu for home comprising of 100% raw food?

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    Jul 21 2013: Hello Pabitra,
    You told me you were going to start this conversation, and I just discovered it!

    I believe we can survive with a diet of raw foods, and I like everything in moderation! I eat lots of raw vegetables out of the garden in the summer, and also often steam, or stir fry vegetables, which does not cause them to lose as many nutrients as fully cooking them.

    I eat more cooked foods like soups, stews, etc. made from frozen garden vegetables, in the winter, when the wood cook stove is going.

    I feel like I am fulfilling your idea of eating raw, healthy foods AND cooking on a stove that also heats the house, thereby reducing energy use:>)

    To reduce the risk of E-coli, I suggest growing your own food, which I know you have begun to do Pabitra:>)

    Daily menu?
    I usually start the morning with a quart of smoothie....yogurt, various fruits (often seasonal), ground flax seed, fresh mint, lemon balm, red clover when blossoming in the garden (I also freeze red clover for later when it stops blossoming).

    I suggest using everything that is available in the garden (veggies and herbs) for a HUGE salad, with olive oil, vinegar and fresh herb and garlic dressing. I honestly don't like raw fish or eggs, so I might add a little cooked fish, cooked egg or cheese to the vegetable mix.

    For a change, you can take most of the same vegetables and make a stir fry, (which only uses a couple minutes of energy) and serve over noodles or rice. When I do stir fry, I make a big batch that can be used in wraps, as well as with noodles or rice, or, as a side dish with meat or fish:>)
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      Jul 22 2013: The whole description is mouth watering! Thanks dear heart. :)
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        Jul 23 2013: AWWW thanks Pabitra:>)
        I agree that it is mouth watering, and after writing it, I was hungry, so I made a huge salad and sat on the porch with a glass of wine....enjoying:>)

        Another thing I do, is eat when I'm hungry rather than at a scheduled time. Some nutritionists and doctors say that it is better to eat on schedule every day, and some say it is better to eat when hungry. I prefer eating when hungry, so that is what I do:>) I usually have one "meal" in mid afternoon, and "graze" the rest of the day.....veggies with hummus (which I make), cheese and crackers, nuts, fruit, etc.
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          Jul 23 2013: I follow a schedule but it is such that I feel a little hungry before each meal. My principal meal is the breakfast which I take at 8 in the morning on workdays and 8.30 on holidays. I like my breakfast a little on the heavier side, fresh bread, hand made rotis with multigrain wheat flour, fresh salad, egg-white and milk and an apple or a banana. I indulge in English breakfast on holidays - toast and butter with fresh salami with lots of homegrown lettuce complete with a glass of fruit juice.
          My lunch is a spartan affair on workdays, mostly vegetarian meal but on saturdays and sundays I still enjoy cooking fish, these days mostly grilled or baked.
          Dinner is over by 8 PM and its even lighter, veg soup and two rotis.
          I have given up red meat.
          I drink wine rarely. My favorite drink is Jack Daniels Old no. 7 black label - one large peg before 10 PM in my study.
          Mike may think that it will be impossible for me to live on 100% green :)
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        Jul 23 2013: But your bread cannot be raw, right? Something grain of a granola-type could.
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          Jul 24 2013: Of course it's not. That's why I am still not on a 100% green diet :)
          But I try to use traditional knowledge (borrowed from my mom) and websites like this to keep on experimenting. I tried home made granola type bread but with little success.
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        Jul 24 2013: Pabitra,
        Generally, some kind of schedule is needed when we work, and share the living space with other people. When I was working, and the kids were home, we had more scheduled times for meals, because I had to know when to prepare a meal, and everybody had to know the approximate time of eating the meal. A work or school situation usually does not provide the opportunity to visit the kitchen every time we are hungry. I think it's important for us to explore what works for us and what feels like the healthiest choice at any given time.

        I find healthy choices are important no matter what our schedule is. People sometimes say it is easier to grab prepared foods when we are on the run. I think it is just as easy to grab a piece of fruit, nuts, carrots (which I almost always have cut up in the frig in little packages), etc.

        My biking group often stops on the trail somewhere for lunch, and that is fun sometimes, however, I found it to be more comfortable eating a little bit every time we stop, rather than sitting down for a big lunch. So, I pack my bike pack with a couple pieces of fruit, sometimes, carrots, cheese nuts, and a hummus sandwich. Variety is the spice of life!
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          Jul 24 2013: True. I spend 50 hours a week outdoors for work, so time management is necessary. Thank you for mentioning hummus - looks yummy. My next experiment :)
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        Jul 24 2013: Oh Pabitra! It is yummy, nutritious, and very simple to make!

        Here is a basic recipe given to me by a friend, and I alter it quite a bit!

        1 large onion
        1-2 cloves garlic (I use way more than that because I love garlic)
        1 tablespoon oil (prefer olive oil)
        2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
        1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (I use whole peeled lemons and more than is called for)
        1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use more soy and no other salt)
        salt to taste
        1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
        1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted and ground (I don't usually toast's an extra step)
        Blend all ingredients, serve with pita, dip for vegetables, spread on sandwiches, bagels, etc.

        Sometimes, I don't have tahini, so I use more ground sesame seeds....sometimes I don't have seeds....use more tahini. As long as you use most of the basic ingredients, you can play with taste and consistency. It freezes really well, so I usually make a HUGE batch, and freeze some in small containers. Always have some available in the frig. for dipping vegetables, pita, crackers, making sandwiches (I usually add cucumber, avocado or red pepper slices and/or lettuce), etc........have fun, and I'm anxious to hear about your experiment:>)
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    Jul 16 2013: PM
    I can see that no one cares for you. They keep encouraging you to continue on this self destructive bent.
    Great food, fine wine, a loving woman, a good cigar in no particular order is all that any man could want.
    I have already lost two and I can/t tell how much I miss them. So enjoy all while you can.
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      Jul 17 2013: I have at least three of them still, Mike and raw food can be great I tell you :)
      I think you care for me, don't you? :)
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        Jul 17 2013: i don't disagree about raw foods. Apples, bananas, fresh cling free peaches, figs and dates,
        the list goes on, but, there is so much more....
        I have cut back nutritionally before and it has deleterious effects. Short temper, irritated bowels, severe incontinence, lower back pain all seemed to occur during this period. I care that anyone should suffer these symptoms. Enjoy life to the fullest, it's way too short.
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      Jul 21 2013: Dear Mike,
      FYI....we can still enjoy fine wine and loving people while eating healthy food... I have proof of that:>)

      To a certain extent, I agree...enjoy life to the fullest.....I love and eat ice cream and cookies too!
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        Jul 22 2013: You point is well taken

        But PM is not speaking of having a light salad for lunch.

        Most edibles are not at their best when eating raw if at all. If I am not the authority... consider the old Greek adage... all things in moderation..... except maybe fine wine and good cigars....

        OK, I added the last part.
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          Jul 23 2013: Mike,
          I'm not speaking of having a "light salad" for lunch either! Often, a salad is my meal of the day, so it's dinner plate size, full of different kinds of lettuce (green and red), spinach, avocado, pepper (red, yellow or green), mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, cucumber, chicken, fish, cheese, beans, etc......and various combinations:>)

          I believe vegetables are most nutritious when eaten raw, because the more they are processed, the more they lose nutrients.

          I agree with you about everything in moderation, including wine:>) You can keep your cigars, thank you very much! My dear, wonderful nephew was here the other day, from away, and as we sat on the porch visiting, after a lunch of vegetable/cheese wraps, he asked if he could light a cigar. I said ok, since I don't see him very often, I could deal with it. The next day, I could still smell the cigar in the air on the seems to permeate everything! Just think of what it is doing to the mouth, throat, lungs and blood system! YUK!
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        Jul 23 2013: Cigars stink the next day... I'll give you that. and it is a vice... I'll give you that. But, I believe that vices give a man character.... I am a man with a lot of character...

        You salad sounds a lot like what would be called a salad compose'. We have those several times a week. Now, PM can speak for himself, but I don't think he is experiencing fine French cuisine. I see him sitting at plate filled with heads of green... stuff... not even dressed with a touch of oil and a hint of acid.

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          Jul 24 2013: Yes Mike, your profile picture shows that you are a man of character...cute character! LOL:>)

          Funny what imagination can do for us! I picture PM experiencing fine, healthy cuisine, sitting at the table smiling because he is being so good to his body:>)
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    Jul 28 2013: I applaud you on trying this out. It's fun to experiment with our lives. Good luck.

    Some simple last minutes suggestions:
    1. Extend the concept of raw meaning uncooked things to include meaning eating living things. Chia seeds that have been soaked for a couple minutes and start to congeal, or mung beans that have sprouted after three days on wet paper towel in a dark place, are a couple of the things that I eat most everyday. I'm eating the entire plant, small as it is, it has a seed, a stem, a leaf. It has life.
    2. I'm sure that this sounds obvious or redundant, but eat fresh, not simply raw. This isn't true in all cases, but most things start to lose their vitamins and minerals and other nutrient value the moment they are picked, harvested, dug up, whatever. So the fresher the raw food you consume is, the better it will be for you. Cooking vegetables often decreases the nutritional value of the vegetable, because it breaks down many of the beneficial compounds or they are leached out into the water that it is cooked in.
    3. Make use of herbs and spices to flavor everything.
    4. Look at this 100% Green challenge as an opportunity to cultivate your pallet and develop your culinary knowledge.
    5. Make a lot of smoothies and juices. This will allow you to combine a lot of raw ingredients. It will also make everything that is raw easier to digest.
    6. Cooking (meaning applying heat to food) often helps break the food down into digestible elements. Blending or pureeing food and chewing solid foods really well and drinking lots of water will really help.
    6. Egg whites don't need to be cooked and are safer to consume raw than whole eggs.
    7. Fermented things, like yogurt, kombucha, kimchee, etc. have a lot of the probiotic qualities that will help strengthen both your digestive and immune systems.
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      Jul 22 2013: Green is good, So is yellow, orange, blue, purple and my favorite... warm pink.... which is the best way to serve steak....
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    Jul 21 2013: PM
    In acknowledgement of your cultural and nutritional piety, I found a new product line from Houston Tx, created by your fellow countrymen who have migrated. It seems they are creating baked goods with minimal and simple ingredients, based on lentil flour. They are very good. What makes them special is the absence of all those unpronounceable additives found in most commercial products. So, while you are wasting away on raw celery, please encourage your productive neighbors with great food products to immigrate to Houston and get their stuff on the market. They'll find at least one happy customer here.
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      Jul 22 2013: That will require a serious change in US immigration policy! :)
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        Jul 22 2013: They come through customs with samples, they are in like Flynn

        As the story goes, Flynn is a smooth talking Irishman who came to American with potatoes and got in...
        It's totally a legend but fun to repeat....

        Seriously, talented people come here and do really well from almost anywhere....
        Sometimes it is hard to get the gatekeepers attention, but perseverance is key.
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    Jul 16 2013: This is a tough challenge! I'm sure it can be done though with the right amount of reseach and available food.
    Food can still be processed and be considered raw (ground, pureed, minced, chopped, etc)

    Would you still consume fermented things such as vinegar? How abour raw honey?
    There are many cold soups you can make with raw ingredients.
    You can sprout raw chickpeas and then puree into hummus w raw garlic and minced vegetables.
    Like many have suggested below, be sure to wash very well and aim for all organic produce.
    Not being able to survive for more than 3 weeks on raw food is a crazy notion! It can be done and has been done.
    You just need the resources to ensure you are getting your proper nutrients.
    Do you own a juicer, Pabitra?
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    Jul 16 2013: PM...
    Why do you give me these opportunities...
    OK, You want to live on the raw diet. If you were in the position to raise all your own food stuffs, you have quality control and you could avoid some if not most of the pathogens out there to get you. But... Why?
    Mankind has in the distant past lived on raw food. There was no evidence that they lived better and longer. In fact, it seems that the "discovery" of fire for the warmth and cooking seemed to increase life span.
    Here is my challenge with your proposition, I don't know your situation, but there is so much wonderful foods out there
    I have been fortunate to visit several parts of the world and have enjoyed so much of the local cuisine. Just across India alone there are... what thousands of local dishes, even some raw. Why would you deprive yourself of all the edible treasures out there.
    You could sustain yourself for years on lentils and rice... oops cooking is involved.
    Meanwhile, there are 60+ regional cheeses made in France and I have only had 43. There, raw food.
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      Jul 16 2013: Mike, I am glad that you seized the opportunity :)
      I admit that there is so much wonderful food out there. I am not even sure if I can live entirely on raw food. Indian cuisine is so rich that after eating Indian food for 50 years, I think I have gastronomically maxed out :)
      You can say I love to experiment with my limits.
      About a year ago, I with a group of my friends in India and UK, tried to live on exactly Rs. 100 per day, which is about 2 dollars (one pound and a quarter in UK) for a week. Lost 2 kilos and learnt a lot.
      Btw, in that money it is difficult to have lentil and rice.
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        Jul 16 2013: OK, Limits... go climb Everest. swim the Ganges (sp) lengthwise.....

        I am sure that you are insulting 17 Indian Deities who will seek revenge in the next go around for not eating all the wondrous foodstuffs your country has been blest.

        But, you can't do lentils and rice on $2 a week???? What the hell has the world come too?.
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    Jul 15 2013: Well, Pabitra, you might have noticed I've been talking on TED conversations about having been living on skim milk for the last five years. Every day I drink between one and two gallons of skim milk, and don't eat or drink anything else. But most of this milk is processed, that is, pasteurized and homogenized, as it's very hard to obtain raw milk here in the United States on a retail level. One rarely finds it for sale, and when one does, it is extremely expensive. One time I did get a half gallon of raw milk and I got very sick from drinking it, well, I drank about three-quarters of it very fast and got sick, but this may have been because I drank it so fast, because after I got over my sickness I drank the last quarter more slowly and had no problems. If one wanted to live on raw milk, one would probably have to own a cow. Are you in a position where you could own a cow (I am not, as I live in a suburban city where it is illegal to have livestock), and would this interest you?
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      Jul 16 2013: I grew up on a dairy farm and drank raw milk direct from the bulk tank. The only "processing" at that stage is that dirt is filtered off. If I wanted cream I could dip from the top of the tank, and for pure milk from the faucet at the bottom. Delicious! My guess is that you drank your raw milk to fast as it is heavier than even "whole" milk. That farm is long gone though, so I have learned to drink 1% just like everybody else. It all tastes like water to me after growing up on the real thing, so I figured I may as well choose the healthiest option.

      Good memories.
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        Jul 16 2013: Thanks, M. By "heavier," do you mean more cream? Actually, it was half a gallon of skim raw milk (no cream), and I drank about three quarters of it in an hour and a half, and did get sick. I contacted the owner of that company, Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures here in California, and he thought it was simply that some bacteria in the milk disagreed with my system. Well, since I hardly ever drink raw milk, I'm almost never exposed to those bacteria. But the last quarter did go fine when I drank it more slowly.

        Eventually I nominated Mark to give a TED talk, as he's a pretty good promoter of raw milk, but I don't think they've chosen him yet.

        I have a friend who grew up on a dairy, and he said they lived on milk and hay, I think he meant as they worked with the cows and wanted something to nibble on, it was natural to pick up some hay and eat it. Was this your experience?
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          Jul 17 2013: Yes, I am talking about milk that is essentially straight from the cow. This is just after it is milked out and any chunks of dirt that accidentally got in are strained. Fresh, and still warm from being in the animal. Best stuff on Earth, and nothing that you can buy in the store compares. The closest I can image is a gallon of whole milk and a pint of heavy whipping cream. Still not fresh though.
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      Jul 16 2013: A Greg :Half a litre a day is what I normally consume. My son consumes one litre. I drink what is known as whole milk here, which contains cream. I just cannot drink skim milk.
      It is interesting to know that you are living entirely on skim milk. But I don't think I can survive on milk only. Don't you crave for some food that you can chew? Not hay :)
      @Michael: I drank milk almost from udder of our cow, that we have in our ancestral farm house. It is not possible to own and maintain a cow in the city of course.
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    Jul 15 2013: We can reduce risk of feco oral route tansmission of disease . Three factors are important Agent causing disease, host (our body) and environment.
    Improve and support the environment and neutralise the host

    1. Hygene
    Hand washing
    Washing food before eating

    2 Selecting food
    Avoid contaminated food
    Do not eat food know to harbour infective agents
    Do not eat dead and decaying food (Tamasic food)
    Eat Satvic food

    3 Improving health to aovoid getting sick
    Balanced Diet
    Eat food rich in vitamins and minerals
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      Jul 15 2013: I use a pinch of potassium permanganate in the water that i use to clean raw vegetables. Is it wise?
      Do you think putting a fruit/vegetable (raw) in microwave for 30 seconds can kill e-coli? Do you think ultraviolate cleaning of food stuff can be effective?
      Sorry, too many questions. But I am serious about it.
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    Jul 15 2013: Hi Pabitra Congratulations for the idea and your experiment.

    Remove fire from human cooking,
    we will survive but not all of us with lessened mean age for survival.

    Remove fire from human use,
    we will survive but not most of us, but earth will again thrive and nature will survive.
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      Jul 15 2013: Lessened mean age : I have a feeling that nature did not intend for us the humans to have a standard life span all over the world. However with technology and homogenization of cultures we are approaching towards such a global standard (mean life expectancy still vary from country to country).
      My research tells me that a person who lives predominantly on green vegetables and fruits tends to have lighter body mass, but that does not necessarily mean bad health. Only negative thing I found that women living on predominantly green vegetables and fruits tend to develop osteoporosis with advancing age.

      Our survival : That's a big issue and nobody can say the last word I guess.

      Since you are from medical profession, what is your opinion about the common observation that most carnivores have shorter life spans? I think our metabolic rate plays an important part on our life expectancy. Slower the metabolism, longer the life. Will you agree?
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      Jul 15 2013: Thanks. I remain careful. :) But that prevents me from having a go at meat and eggs. Unless I turn into a complete vegetarian, it looks difficult to eat 100% green.
      I also know that I miss out on perhaps the greatest supply of food nature presents - the insects. Some cultures do eat insects, but not raw.
      Our concept of food is too plant oriented, I think. I know about the goodness of plant foods, but what is disturbing is that possibly earth is running out of land to provide us with photosynthetic food. May be it is also running out of land to raise animals that we can eat.
      When I say 'green' I wish to include everything natural, just not cooked.
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          Jul 15 2013: In a populous and land scarce country like India, I think a co-operative community based model will work better. In fact I am presently working on one.
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    Jul 15 2013: The whole reason for cooking food was to kill the harmful bacteria since they can't survive high temperatures.

    But hey, try some Sushi, maybe with vinegar.
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    Jul 15 2013: .

    It is the way our ancestors ate 10,000 years ago.
    They ate "100% raw food" or "living cells".

    That is why the fruit and vegetable foods taste "instinctively" nice today.
    Instincts are our ancestors' successful experiences in DNA.

    However, raw meats do not taste well.
    So, I do not think our ancestors ate meats except during famine.