Food

Going Raw

September 20, 2014

Raw chocolate brownies and cherries
When I first heard about the raw vegan diet I was 21 years old – and something clicked in my brain. No other lifestyle or diet had made as much sense to me. It’s been almost fifteen years since I was a 100% dedicated raw vegan. I sustained the diet 100% for about three months and then gradually played out the rest of that year on about an 80% raw food diet. During that time I lost 25lbs and I was in the best shape of my life physically – and probably mentally too! In that year I did not experience so much as a common cold, and I believe it was due to my food choices. The best way to describe my general mood was “even”. My skin glowed. My energy was incredible. I felt clean and healthy, confident and sexy. I’ve been on and off raw foods occasionally ever since then. Why did I fall off the path? Life, I guess… I tend to be all-in or all-out when it comes to certain things in life, and raw foods was one of those commitments. Still, I think about it every day. I think about going back to the diet all the time. So why haven’t I made the change? The list is long, but it’s all just a list of dumb excuses. I’ve run out of excuses now. And my motivations to returning to the diet are starting to push down my door. So, here goes!

WHAT IS RAW VEGANISM?

“A raw vegan diet consists of unprocessed, raw plant foods that have not been heated above 40–49 °C (104–120 °F). Raw vegans believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost much of their nutritional value and are less healthful or even harmful to the body. Advocates argue that raw or living foods have natural enzymes, which are critical in building proteins and rebuilding the body, and that heating these foods destroys the natural enzymes and can leave toxins behind. Typical foods included in raw food diets are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains and legumes.” – wikipedia.org

WHAT’S TO EAT?

Some people think that a raw vegan diet is painfully limited and you’ll suffer immense food deprivation. The truth is that you quickly become introduced to all kinds of interesting foods to eat and new, healthy ways to prepare foods that you already love. A little creativity and an open mind go a long way. When I was eating a mostly raw food diet I used to take photos of some of the things that I prepared and ate. See the gallery below and try not to salivate…

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MY MOTIVATIONS

MY SON
Making babies changes your entire reality. Things that once meant the world to you take a backseat to baby. Your definition of love completely morphs. There’s nothing you wouldn’t do for this new little life, now moving somehow in tandem with your own. At least, this has been my experience with Cohen, my amazing 13 month old boy wonder. He’s truly the love of my life. And as he grows (and his arms and legs… and hands and feet… get busier and busier) I want to be able to keep up with his pace. Raw foods will be part of my child chasing training regimen which will help me to lose excess weight, keep focussed, and have enough energy to keep up with this growing little man. I don’t want to miss a minute of the fun – so this switch is for both of us!

CLARITY AND CREATIVITY
This is a big one! I often (often!) feel this debilitating weight of life stress pushing at me from all angles, and my brain doesn’t properly know how to sift through the mess to actually get down to checking things off my to do list. My biggest weakness (and strength) is having many interests and talents which lead me down all kinds of rabbit holes. Music, design, writing, running my business, co-running a charity, art projects, raising a child, being a good wife, daily accounting and household chores… I have multiple to do lists going at any given time with about 10 – 20 bullet points on each list… but a terrible ability to prioritize and the doomed feeling of having no time to get to any of it. Often, my go to solution is to shelve it all and leave it for another day, sit on the couch and watch netflix, or drink lots of boozes. But the pile just gets bigger and stinkier the longer you leave it. My priority is Cohen first, my design business second, running the house third and music, volunteer work and down time coming in fourth. Taking care of my body through healthy eating and exercise often feels like a luxury that I just don’t have time to fit in. The truth is, without my physical health, all of the other important stuff is just a jumbled mess. I need time for my health and wellness in order to create the space and clarity to decipher what’s important, and to also have the psychic energy to tackle everything I want to get out of today, tomorrow and the rest of my life. Through my past experiences with raw foods, eating a raw vegan diet helps to slow the mind, give you energy, keeps you positive and helps to clear the fog. It might take some time before I start feeling these effects, but I know that after some detoxing so much will be revealed; even if it’s only subtle at first. The best thing I can do is to take a mental before picture of the way it was so I can appreciate how it can be – and will be. The best thing about eating raw foods is that it won’t require extra effort or thought or add stress. It will in fact make meal prep easy, cause I will just graze and eat what’s raw and fresh when I’m hungry.

ROSACEA
Rosacea is the stupid, dumb, jerk that’s taking over my face. 10 years ago this wasn’t a problem. I had no signs of rosacea at all. And then gradually on the right side of my face redness started to appear and my pores got a little out of control. I notice as I age that my rosacea is just spreading and getting worse – now moving to the right side of my face and to my jaw line and temples. I don’t know if going raw will entirely clear my rosacea – I don’t expect it to. But I do know that it will help me to avoid the foods that exacerbate the issue as I work to get to the bottom of it.

ANIMALS
In 2011 I co-founded a charity with my girlfriends called Ladybird Animal Sanctuary. We rescue animals from high-kill shelters to find them forever homes. To date, Ladybird has saved the lives of over 400 homeless animals. I’ve always been riddled by guilt that I’m not a vegan, considering that I run a charity with the goal of helping pets in need. This new lifestyle is my chance to really consider all living creatures and respect their chance to live a full and happy life and not just be put on this earth for human consumption and exploitation.

OTHER MOTIVATIONS…
I have many more motivations for eating raw foods, but these seem to be a great place to start. I will talk about more of my motivations in the coming weeks and months as I journey into this transformation…

RULES OF PLAY

– eat a 100% raw vegan diet – fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds
– write about it, keep track, spread the joy

*I will have additional goals and rules of play to add to this list as I go…

CHALLENGES
Removing a few ‘vices’ from my diet may prove challenging, but ditching alcohol and coffee are definitely at the top of the list. Replacing them with daily yoga and naps might be better way to approach that particular one then perceiving the loss as being crushing deprivation.

WHY BLOG ABOUT IT, ANYWAY?

If I were just accountable to my self, I’d probably just say ‘fuck it!’ and eat a whole chocolate cake on day #2. So I’ve decided to be accountable to you, reader! You’re going to help to keep me on track. Whether you’re rooting for me, or waiting for me to fail, or think this is the stupidest, most self-centered bullshit you’ve read – you will help to motivate me through this! Even if no one is actually reading this. Hmph…

And to those out there who are struggling, like me, to heal your body and love yourself, I hope that this helps you feel less alone and know that the impossible is possible. You are the most important thing in the entire world. It all starts and ends with you, so treat yourself awesome.

Wish me luck!

Going Raw was originally published on Janine Stoll

Author: janinestoll

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