Raw, adjective: 1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.

One of my favorite things about spring is the increasing availability of fresh local fruits. Gone are the days of heavy winter root vegetables; suddenly the local markets are full of berries and melons and other soft fruits. The fridge is stocked with red grapes and blueberries and strawberries again, and I'm reminded how central good fruit is to being healthy.

Shortly after moving to SF about five years ago, I lost a few good hours in an antiquarian bookstore down Polk St. breathing in dust and reading an old book by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond called Fit for Life. I came up for air with a new outlook on things like juicing, food combining and other hippie granola crap. Only later as I did more research into raw foods did I realize that the Diamond book was a pioneer in the whole natural living movement.

Fit for Life recommends eating only fruit before noon. Fruit, you see, is very cleansing, and easy for your body to digest, because it's so high in water content, and generally made of simple (albeit good-for-you) sugars. It's also full of fiber and antioxidants, especially those rich in color like red grapes and berries. Anyway, your body doesn't use a lot of energy to digest it, so it generally just whooshes through your system, hydrating you and giving your digestive system a break as it recovers from what was probably a heavy dinner the night before, if you, like most Americans, eat your heaviest meal at night.

I tried the fruit-before-noon thing and have never looked back since. Can't recommend it highly enough. It's a good easy way to introduce more fruits into your diet, along with a thoughtless means of better hydration that doesn't involve lugging around a huge bottle of water all day. Give it a try as a first step toward eating better. You'll be hungry quickly because fruits digest so easily; I usually eat, for instance, a bunch of grapes circa 7:30, a half-pint of blueberries at like 9:30 or 10, and a handful of strawberries again at 11:30 or 12. After that, have your Big Mac for lunch and your Domino's for dinner. But at least you'll have started the day in a hydrated, healthy way. You'll see a difference, for sure, in your complexion, your hydration, and your general health. Plus: fiber!

I used to be so attached to my morning bagel with my coffee, and at first I missed it, but now I can't even imagine eating something that dense and sugary and heavy in the morning and trying to get up and run afterwards or not feeling that refined-sugar crash afterward. You'll get used to the fruit thing easily - try melon for a sweet treat, too - and after that, it's all gravy. Not literally.


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