JENNIFER: My journey to a primarily raw plant based diet was long and winding. During the decade of my 30’s, “Two steps forward, one step back” would be an accurate description of my lifestyle and eating habits! I tried eating only whole and organic foods, I was vegan for a year, and I did a several month stint on the Hallelujah Diet (yes, I turned slightly orange from all the carrot juice!). Thrown in for good measure were a few weeks of the South Beach Diet and the Mediterranean Diet.
I did feel better when I avoided dairy and meat, but I was often fatigued, needing a shot of caffeine to make it through the afternoon and evening. I was plagued by food cravings, especially for sweets. I had aches that I assumed were a natural part of getting older, and a chronic stabbing pain in my shoulder. My thinking was sometimes foggy, and occasionally defeatist. In short, I’d lost my zip. As my 42nd birthday approached, I realized I wasn’t ready to accept that middle age equalled the blahs, and I could and should feel much better.
The answer presented itself with an accidental visit to a very special restaurant, Grezzo in Boston, sparking a paradigm shift in the way I regard food. The owner of the restaurant, Raw & Living Foods pioneer Alissa Cohen, author of Raw Food for Everyone: Essential Techniques and 300 Simple-to-Sophisticated Recipes, offered training programs in raw food preparation and instruction. After reading several books on the philosophy of raw foods, I was ready to not only change my diet, but pack my bags for Boston and train with Alissa. Seven weeks into eating almost 100% raw vegan foods, I’d lost 18 pounds, had more energy than I’d had in years, and the chronic pain in my shoulder disappeared. I realized that the standard model of “calories in, calories out” was not complete, and that the quality of the food I ate was just as important as the quantity.
I completed the Raw & Living Foods Teacher certification with Alissa Cohen, and began teaching the basics of preparing raw foods, as well as more complicated techniques. More than six years later, I’m still at it and feeling great! I am not 100% raw vegan, but have found the best ratio of cooked-to-raw-foods for me. I continue to test, reassess, change, and tweak as needed.
Additionally, I earned my certification in Holistic Health Counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and now coach clients to discover their path to optimal wellness. That path may or may not include a strict raw, vegan diet.
I firmly believe the best way to safeguard your health is through an optimal diet and healthy lifestyle. Peace & Raw!