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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stuff Raw Foodists Like #5: Bye-bye dry, bloodshot eyes!

Three years ago, I was living in the States, studying and working at the same time. I lived on convenience vegetarian food (lots of soy and microwaving involved) and white bread. Once in a while I'd cook, but on lazy days, I would just opt for vegan bacon, vegan hotdogs, vegan ice cream, vegan burritos - everything junk vegan you could think of!

I thought I was healthy. I was a regular exerciser, I took vitamins. I belonged to a badminton club, and I wanted to be active in the outdoorsy community in Seattle.

One thing I did notice was that I would usually come home from work/school with bloodshot eyes. Even though I used artificial tears (P300 for a bottle that lasts a month) to keep my eyes lubricated (I was told that my eyes were going to be perenially dry after LASIK), it wasn't enough to keep the blood vessels in my eyes from reddening by four pm. I even got an anonymous text from someone who accused me of taking drugs!  

When I came back to the Philippines, I started preparing home-cooked vegetarian food more and more. I stopped taking "fake" food, and the redness stopped. My eyes were still dry though.

This all changed when I started eating fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables. Aside from the dryness in my eyes disappearing, I was considerably less thirsty. Best of all, my insomnia** disappeared. Amazing!

I still have a teeny bottle of artificial tears in my kikay kit just in case, but so far, I haven't had any reason to use it except for the two months it took to get used to the smog in Manila. Those days, I used the artificial tears thrice a day! 

What is in raw, organic fruits and vegetables that helped? The lutein and zeaxanthin that are found in a variety of vegetables!

Lutein is a naturally occuring substance in the retina of your eyes. Prolonged intake of preserved foods such as the convenience vegan foods I "enjoyed" abroad, and not eating enough fresh vegetables, prevented me from replenishing the lutein my eyes badly needed. The salt from chips, french fries, and the typical Filipino diet exacerbated my dry eyes. 

Zeaxanthin is also found in our retinas, but they are found in a variety of vegetables and fruit as well. 

Thanks to naturally-produced lutein and zeaxanthin in raw fruits and veggies, and lessened artificial salt intake, I am nearing my first anniversary without dry eyes! All these without supplements too!

*I am not a doctor. I am not a food nutritionist. I don't claim to have all the answers to everyone's ailments. I simply have found raw foods to be helpful to me in improving my health and well-being. If you do try raw foods, consult a doctor and/or nutritionist. 

**Some raw foodists find that they have so much energy after adopting a raw food lifestyle, they don't need much sleep anymore. I believe that this is different from insomnia. Insomnia sufferers want to sleep, but can't, even if they want to. As a result, they are irritable the following morning, and tend to overeat, since their bodies tell them they need to compensate for the lack of rest. Raw foodists who have an abundance of energy are able to survive on less hours of sleep and still perform well, and are less prone to overeat. Not all raw foodists have completely defeated insomnia though! Not everything raw is healthy, just like not everything vegan/vegetarian is healthy. But that is a different post altogether :D


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