Two weeks ago Jack and Sally went from eating foods like a typical English fry up and steak and chips, to eating nothing but a diet made up of raw vegan foods. This meant no meat, fish, dairy, eggs, soy, cooked grains and pulses, sugar, coffee, black tea – and nothing heated above 45°c. The phrase ‘life’s not worth living’ may spring to mind, but it is…honest! Instead of their usual diet of meat and two veg coated in cream, they ate a tonne of raw fruit, vegetables, nuts, sprouted seeds and grains, olives, seaweeds, healthy fats from avocados, coconut butters and various cold pressed oils in an effort to turn their eating habits around and give their bodies a long awaited surge of enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
As this was such a dramatic dietary change for them, I was their personal raw food chef and coach for the entire two weeks. I was able to create scrumptious and exciting raw dishes that would keep them interested and enable them to see that eating healthily doesn’t have to be boring. At all. Jack and Sally were not looking to become 100% raw, and that is not what I was advocating, but they were ready for a big change. They wanted first hand experience of what eating raw foods feels like, to see if it would make them more conscious of the foods they put into their body, and to find out for themselves if this could actually make a difference to their lives. So did it?! I’ll leave it to the ‘Get RaWcous!-Two Weeks on Raw’ stars themselves to tell you….
If you would have asked me a couple of weeks ago if I thought eating only Raw food was an easy change to make, I would have said, hell no! Luckily it’s all about who you know. So when we got the chance to have Elaine as a live in chef to take us through it we jumped at the opportunity. Going into this I was more excited than nervous. I knew Elaine is a great chef so I was looking forward to being her guinea pig and tasting all of her amazing meals that she blogs about. I knew it would be hard, but having Elaine put in so much effort for us means that would have extra pressure to make sure we don’t let her down. So we had a huge pressure to stick to it, and a live in chef to prepare all of our meals. This is sounding real easy! So was it? Yes and no. Everyone who knows me will know that I am a big meat eater. Don’t get me wrong I love vegetables… I just love them more cooked in cream & bacon, next to a nice lump of roast lamb, with a nice full glass of merlot next to the plate. My lifestyle is far from that of the stereotypical raw foodist and it did make it hard for me to make the transition. After the initial honeymoon period of the first week any time I got tired, fed up or bored all I wanted was my old diet. Luckily I had my new staff member on call to make me some amazing nut and chocolate snacks to get me through. After a couple of days of sitting on my backside ungratefully accepting delicious labour intensive foods I realised what an arse I was being… Sorry Elaine! Because I’m used to having a heavy carb meal late at night, sleeping on it, then having a big bowl of porridge for breakfast I’m not very good at actually knowing when I’m hungry. I normally eat through routine so adjusting to a low carb vegan diet meant that I really knew when I needed something. My energy levels were very up and down and a few hours after eating I would tend to have a lull, which meant I needed raw snack foods and juices on standby. Other than that it was actually pretty easy, and it becomes easier the longer you do it.
So do I still think it’s hard to go raw? Not at all. The food is remarkably easy, but you do need some knowledge and preparation. If you are doing the 2 weeks without the luxury of a live in chef you will have to be up for spending extra time in the kitchen every day. You will need to get fresh foods every couple of days and get used to a new set of skills. I’ve never heard a blender used so much, but if you want a creamy cashew sauce, or a delicious raw chocolate mousse you will get used to it quickly. All I would recommend is that you get some guidance, pick some exciting recipes and that you make sure you have a varied diet so you are exited and well nourished. Although I think that 100% raw is not for me, I do think that the last two weeks were invaluable and it’s been potentially life changing. It has changed the way I look at food. After buying sweet chilli peppers that were full of sweeteners and some sun dried tomatoes that were coated in preservatives I learned to look at the label and see what’s in there. I want to know what goes into my body. I’ve also got used to juicing old veg before it turns and giving my body a real boost of nutrition… and spirulina, the most nutritious substance on earth. Why aren’t we taught about spirulina at school? The stuff is amazing, gives you an instant energy boost with no crash and is packed full of goodness. I’m going to take away some great recipes and knowledge, so who knows? Maybe the next time I do a raw detox my lifestyle won’t have to change as much!
So my two weeks of eating nothing but raw foods has reached an end. I have not woken up this morning and gone running for the nearest cafe for a fry up but instead feel saddened by going into the kitchen and not finding Elaine whizzing up some fruitful power juice for me to start my day with, so instead I grab the manual juicer and squeeze four oranges to make some fresh OJ, delicious. The kitchen seems strangely cold, surprising really considering the oven has not been on for the past fortnight and I’m finding I am missing the strange smells of some vegetable pulp dehydrating in the corner and an array of nuts and seeds in various guises around the place (sunflower seeds soaking in a bowl, brazil nuts in the blender, almonds whipped into a paste). Does this mean I will be straight out to by a dehydrator, well no, not yet but i will be getting a juicer! and have re-evaluated what foods i put into my body every day. I have had no desire to return to eating meat and will also avoid cow’s milk, replacing it with soya or nut milk, as far as egg’s go, well I still really fancy an egg! There was no raw food I disliked and everything was packed full of flavour, for me its all about lazinesss and if I could have a pemanat live in Elaine, I would!
Jack has done the first supermarket shop since Elaine has gone and the kitchen is packed full of fruit, veg, nuts and seeds, in the fridge there is goats cheese, fresh olives, a carton of eggs and hiding behind all of that, a premium steak. That’s Jack’s treat, he has really missed eating meat, considering his usual diet would consist of two meat meals a day, and I don’t blame him for wanting the steak, the boy did good over the two weeks and is looking noticeably brighter, we both are. My skin feels great and my eyes are white. Jack has a new found energy and I, not being an excersisor or one described as a high energy person (Sal, yeah she’s too much, high energy that one) have not noticed a shift in my energy but do feel generally healthier in spirit and an feeling of inner smugness that this experience has brought me. I will continue to eat Raw and combine it with a diet of regular cooked food, if I replace one meal a day with purely raw foods then long may this smugness continue.
Sally Clark – Get Rawcous convert and supporter, March 2012