I bought two new cookbooks on Saturday, Brendan Brazier’s latest, Whole Foods to Thrive, and Ani Phyo’s Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen. So I thought this might be a good time to tell you the story of when I went raw.
It was 5 or 6 years ago, and I was living with someone (not my husband) who worked at a health food store, which not only gave me access to tons of organic produce, nuts and herbs, but also introduced me to the world of healthful eating. We attended vegan potlucks and I met a lot of other people who worked there who were vegan or even raw vegan, something I had never heard of before. We also did not have cable, so I spent some of my spare time on the computer discovering the world of blogs. I stumbled across Shazzie’s blog, which is a fabulous account of how dramatically life can change just by changing a diet. Without even realizing it, I was eating at least one salad a day, and I had almost completely cut dairy out of my diet by Christmas of that year (I had already been vegetarian for about 10 years). On New Years Eve, my resolution was to try eating only raw food for one month, and see how I felt after that.
Well I felt amazing. Yes, weight fell off me, but I wasn’t trying to lose weight, and more importantly, my energy levels were sky-high, I signed up for 3 months of unlimited yoga, and all of a sudden I had muscles! My eyes were so clear and I felt a calmness and clarity that I had never felt before.
I also realized that I was in a relationship that was not serving me, and I ended that relationship and moved out in March of that year, something that I attribute to the clarity I was feeling because of what I was eating.
Eating a primarily raw vegan diet (I ate quinoa or brown-rice pasta when I would have cooked food cravings) dramatically changed my life. But…it was hard to be social while eating that way. Once I was back on the dating scene, it was difficult to go out for dinner on a date, or to explain my diet to potential suitors. I’m pretty sure my friends thought I had an eating disorder (I had lost 30 pounds, but my weight was steady there, and I was not weighing myself constantly, or even that aware of the weight loss). It’s not easy being green! Life got busy, I met my future husband, and I started letting the raw food slip. In fact, I ended up slipping right back to eating dairy again, and I stopped thinking about (caring about?) what I was eating. Two years ago, six months before my wedding, I decided I needed to shed a few pounds, so I started looking at my diet again. I realized that somehow I was eating a store-bought muffin in the mornings, snacking on Timbits whenever they were in the office, and there seemed to always be a small container of ice cream in the freezer. Granted, my diet was still probably better than the average North American, but I could feel the effects of those “slips.” I finally started back towards the vegan side of the spectrum.
My feelings now about raw are mixed. I am awed and amazed by the effects of a raw food diet. What I experienced was almost magical. But I also know how hard it is to sustain such strict eating. Unfortunately, we live in a world that holds a microscope to diets, full of judgement and fear. It takes a lot of courage to eat differently than everyone else you know and love. Now, I like to think that I am working my way back there, more slowly than last time, allowing myself to be conscious of what I’m eating and how it affects my body. The most cooking fun I have is when I’m making a raw creation. I love blending over stewing, and I’m saving up for a Vita-Mix blender to bring my raw creations to a whole new level.
I cannot stress enough the benefits of eating a high-raw diet, and I encourage you to do some research, and check it out for yourself. Everyone is different, but I know it makes me feel wonderful.
I have wanted to check out Any Phyo’s books for awhile now, and my Saturday night shopping spree at Chapters found me sitting cross-legged in front of the “vegetarian” section. The book is outstanding, with some really simple and wonderful recipes, with symbols to let you know how many/few appliances you might need. After I returned from my shopping trip, I immediately found a recipe to try and got to work.
This was so tasty that I had to call our tenant Corey in to taste it. His comment was “you have to bring this to the next pot luck you go to” which I think was a good sign.
I’ve already reviewed some of the dessert recipes, and I’m hoping to start working on them soon too.
On Sunday, in a rare occurrence, I attended a hockey game. I must really love that husband of mine. I must admit, the game goes by a lot faster when you’re there, then when it’s on t.v.
Finally, for some reason I have volunteered to lead 108 sun salutations on December 10. I did 5 this morning, so I’m getting there, right? Come on out and give it a try with me, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it!