my journey with raw foods started back in early 2009. i had been reading Dr. Mercola's newsletters for a year or two and had noticed how he frequently spoke about how important it was to incorporate raw foods into your diet. at the time i understood that as eating more fruit and salads and that's about it. one day while browsing through the local health food store's book section i came across a small book called The Raw Family by Victoria, Igor, Sergei and Valya Boutanko. i'm not sure what made me pick it up but i did and i started reading the introduction and was intrigued enough to buy it. i read it that day and got super excited about it all. i honestly was ready to go 100% raw right then and there! a few days later i was back at the market and picked up another book by Victoria titled Green For Life. again, i read it in a day and immediately started making daily green smoothies the next day. at time i was eating all raw except for dinner. i felt SO good and lost 15lbs. that i had been trying to loose for almost 10 years.
months later i started to relax and in crept more cooked food, fast food and increased portions. we were also in the process of moving and finding a new place to live which caused a lot of stress and therefore more eating. i gained back about 10 lbs. and then got pregnant with marianne. i tried to eat really good while i was pregnant but it was still a very hard and stressful time for us. i was making smoothies and started juicing but i still gained more weight than i wanted to. after i had her i gave myself a year to loose the weight. i figured that was very realistic and more than enough time. a year came and went and my weight wasn't budging (and i'm talking about ounces! at one point i thought something was wrong with the scale. i'm serious!). i also can't fail to mention that i had been suffering from bouts of depression for about the last 6 months of 2012. during december i had had enough! i knew the reasons for some of it but that lingering sadness that hung around me like fog was unexplainable. intuitively i knew that a change in my diet would alleviate it, plus i had read so many testimonials where people had switched to a raw diet and their depression was gone. i wanted that! i knew getting the mental and physical results i was looking for was going to take a more drastic step as my body had gotten use to any of the positive changes i had made in my diet. going all raw was the solution and one that i had been wanting try for a long time. i decided to wait for the holidays to be over and begin on january 1st.
thankfully over the years i had tried a lot of recipes so it wasn't completely new to me. the first week was REALLY HARD! especially dinner! i felt like i was starving and was in a pretty negative mood. i made several new recipes and ate a lot of salads, nori rolls and a variety of nut/date balls but had a hard timing feeling full like i was use to. once my stomach shrunk it took less and less to fill me up. i started to feel lighter, not my weight but more an internal feeling.
i have noticed many changes within myself. i think the thing that struck me the quickest was just how much i was eating before, way more than necessary. i was also indulging in junk food and fast food a lot more than i realized. i have also noticed how much of an emotional eater i am. when i'm bored, frustrated or angry i go for a handful of chips (my absolute favorite snack). it's hard to be conscience of these habits until you can't have your "fix" to temporarily alleviate them. and since i can't have my beloved chips i am left to face my feelings and try to either deal with them or do something else with my time until they pass.
some other changes i have noticed are a huge increase in vivid dreams, my face has cleared up, i have a much easier time getting up in the morning (no more groggy, half dead mornings), i feel more positive about things in general and i have lost about 15 lbs.
the next step for me might be giving up coffee. i have done it several times and know i feel better without it but boy do i love it! coffee and beer are not raw therefore i can't say i've gone 100% raw. and we all know the bad side effects of caffeine and alcohol but the thought of never drinking either of these was too much for me at this time. after the last two months i've decided to try and cut back big time on both. i know my results would have been even more dramatic if i had cut those out completely but i am only human and figured the food part was a good enough and hard enough place to start. we'll see how i do...
here are a few of my favorite recipes i have found online-
Chrissy's Goddess Chips- i've talked about these before, all i can say is that they are incredible! it's hard to not eat all of them the day they are done. also, the left over dressing tastes so much like blue cheese dressing when you put it on a salad. i made one with romaine, onion, yellow bell pepper, red cabbage and pine nuts with the dressing...it ruled!
Collard Green Wrap- yum!
The Raw Brownie- SO good! just trust me and make them right now!
Raw "Tapioca" Pudding- this recipe uses chia seeds and is delicious! i use raw honey instead of agave nectar.
Raw Energy Balls- boy do i love hemp seeds! too bad they are super expensive otherwise these would be in my freezer at all times ready for me to eat up!
and here is a recipe for the best dessert i have made so far-
Raw Blueberry Cobbler
3 cups dry pecans
3/4 t sea salt
1 T vanilla
1 t cinnamon
3/4 cup pitted dates
3/4 cups pitted dates
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 T vanilla
1/3 cup water (or less)
1 1/2 cups blueberries
process nuts into a fine powder with food processor. add the other ingredients and pulse until mixed. empty at least half the crust into a brownie/cake pan and press flat to form crust. save the remainder to use as topping.
using the food processor, toss in ingredients for syrup and pulse until combined. in a separate bowl add 1 1/2 cup blueberries and syrup and gently mix to coat blueberries. pour mixture onto the crust and top with reserved crust and gently press down. refrigerate and enjoy!
**i have substituted half the pecans for almonds and it was delicious. i also used a frozen berry blend last time i made it and that was good as well. not as fantastic as it is with fresh fruit but if frozen is all that's available it's still worth making.
this next recipe was sent to me by the lovely julie (cinnamon girl) and it is SO DARN GOOD!!!
Raw Kale Salad
4 inches of fresh ginger (about 1/4 cup firmly packed), peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, paper removed
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey + 2 teaspoons
2 1/2 cups cashews
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 bunch curly kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 heaping cup green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 heaping cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and grated
Puree ginger in a food processor or blender. Add garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, and all of the honey. Process until thoroughly combined. Add 2 cups of cashews. Process until a thick dressing is formed but small chunks of cashew remain.
In a large bowl combine remaining cashews, kale, cabbage, and carrots. Mix thoroughly. Add dressing and toss. Enjoy!
This recipe results in a heavily dressed salad, which I quite enjoy. If you prefer your salads lightly dressed, add half of the dressing and adjust as your preference dictates.
i also have a couple books that have some great tips and recipes in them- Ani's Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo and Living On Live Food by Alissa Cohen.
well, there you have it! overall the pluses outweigh any negatives and i am quite happy with the way things are going thus far. if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment :D