A few weeks back I did a 7 day raw food cleanse. It was amazing in so many ways. I felt clear, energized, in control and way better physically, mentally and emotionally. The cleanse ended when I did some traveling and spent some time with family. It was a lot harder to maintain the diet at that time and before I knew it I was back on “regular” food and feeling like crap Thus, the 30 day Raw-Food-Challenge was born. July 2-31 I will be posting daily (videos, pics, status updates, blogs etc.) about my journey to keep you all informed. To get started, I wanted to share an interview with the beautiful, talented, and knowledgeable self-proclaimed nutrition nerd: Lauren Eyton-Jones.
Jenny: Ok Lauren, so you like nutrition. Tell us a little about yourself and your food cred.
Lauren: I am 30 years old. I am a fitness instructor, Yoga instructor and nutrition nerd. I am certified with EYT200, FIS (Fitness Instructor Specialist) OAS (Older Adult Fitness Specialist) and NWS (Nutrition and Wellness Specialist).
I discovered raw food last July when I was once again researching what could possibly be wrong with me and my elimination; many days it just felt incomplete and uncomfortable. I started eating more raw foods, and since then I have felt a great improvement in my digestion, elimination, not to mention other areas of my health like my menstrual cycle which is now painless, and my skin which has cleared up dramatically. My cellulite has completely disappeared, the dark circles under my eyes are gone, and my pores are much smaller. I think this also has to do with me cleansing my liver specifically. Now that I have discovered such amazing health benefits to a problem that seemed to have no solution, I want to share it with anyone willing to listen so they can also improve their health.
Jenny: Awesome. I’m excited to hear about all the benefits you have reaped from raw eating! For the new readers, what does eating raw really mean?
Lauren: It means that you are eating foods (some people include dairy and meat products as well as fruits and veg) that have not been heated above 118 degrees farenheit so that the enzymes are still alive.
Jenny: Ok, 118 degrees. Why is that important?
Lauren: When fruits and vegetables are heated to temperatures above 118 degrees farenhiet, the cells die. Eating live cells, as you can imagine, brings more energy to your cells than eating dead ones. The enzymes in raw foods are the most easily absorbable amino acids aka proteins that we can ingest. Because they are absorbed easily, our body can then turn its attention to tasks other than digestion, like healing itself. It is inevitable that in switching to a high raw diet, people health problems start to disappear. Also, eating raw fruits and vegetables provides us with incredibly clean water because the plant has filtered it for us.
Jenny: Wow, I never considered the clean water we get from plants. That’s awesome and incredibly impressive. Thank you mother nature! So there are some great benefits to eating raw, what are some of the challenges?
Lauren:There are some extra challenges living in a northern climate, but it’s really all in your approach. If you choose to eat only raw food, there are options through all seasons at the grocery store, health food stores, and even some convenience stores. If you decide to eat all raw through all seasons in Canada, it is possible, you will not starve, but you might find it more economical and warming to add some cooked food to your diet in the colder months. Eating a vegetable soup and brown rice or baked squash is still going to be a nutrient dense meal.
Eating at restaurants may be challenging depending on where you go. In theory you should be able to get a giant bowl of vegetables from most kitchens. Raw restaurants can be fantastic, and I love them, but they can be pricey. Personally, when I am at a restaurant I tend to go with the flow. To me raw is my first choice, vegan is my next choice, and other times you find yourself at a French restaurant where there is nothing you can do but consume mushroom soup and duck.
There is the challenge of getting enough calories if you chose to eat only raw foods. One may end up overcompensating by eating an abundance of nuts and (raw) oils in order to feel full. Fruit seems to be the most ideal source of carbohydrate for the human body, along with starchy vegetables, many of which can be eaten raw. Then grains and legumes, which can be sprouted.
A great way to up your caloric intake is with fresh juices and smoothies. Removing the fiber in juices make them very therapeutic in their ability to flush the body and provide us with an instant energy boost. Smoothies will still have their fiber, but it has been shown that by blending food and breaking down their fibers, we are able to consume more of them.
This being said, high carbohydrate, low fat, low protein diet seems to be the diet that most protects the human body from dysfunction and allows it to operate in good health. Although it is not necessarily the most ideal for peak health, eating cooked foods in these proportions are great options when finances are low or fruits and other produce are unavailable. You must give your body food, you must consume enough calories so that your body can carry out the functions of health.
Jenny: I really appreciate that you make raw eating so accessible – eat raw when and where you can and make healthy choices when you can’t…..and occasionally enjoy a rich french meal! I find it really difficult yo stick to something for the time if takes for become a habit when I have to be so strict about it. Thank you for this advice! I feel more ready than ever to start this challenge on Monday!
Lauren will be joining us again in the near future for part 2 of her interview where she shares the low down on what living a raw lifestyle is really like.