Wow, it’s almost a month to the day since my last post. Where’s the time gone?
Well let me tell you, most of it has been spent (when I’m not working, natch) hanging out at Raw Living and Kate’s Magic Bubble. I’ve got the raw food bug baby, and it’s one of the most exciting times of my entire life!
I’m dizzy in a haze of research and reading and talking to raw foodists and more reading and more research and more talking. Kate Magic herself (hellooo, big ol’ non-sexual girl-crush here, the woman’s a genius) answered a pretty big question I asked her about a medical problem I’ve lived with for years, which was brilliant. Unfortunately I can’t share a link because it’s behind a paywall at Kate’s Magic Bubble: membership costs £7.50 a month but for that you get access to dozens of amazing raw recipes, interviews, videos, articles and of course the chance to ask Kate a question and have it answered. And if that wasn’t enough, you also get 10% off every order at Raw Living once you’re a member of Kate’s Magic Bubble, so membership is worth every penny as far as I’m concerned. Well, having placed several large orders at Raw Living in recent weeks, I’m already seeing the benefits!
So, raw living, raw food – where’d that come from?
While nobody could ever accuse me of being a health nut, I have always preferred healthy foods to unhealthy ones. I did the GI diet for years and loved it; if I ate something processed (for example if I had dinner at someone else’s house) I’d feel sluggish and weird afterwards. Didn’t miss sugar at all because I was using Splenda instead, which did the job. But in recent years I’d drifted away from GI and started eating forbidden foods again; the worst of which, probably, was sugar (although it was generally unrefined demerera, it’s still a poison); as you’ll remember from this post about my tea drinking habits, I was getting through shocking amounts of the stuff; truly, shocking. At the beginning of this year, before I gave myself a good slap, I was getting through my working days on a combination of fags, tea, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and cheesy poofs (similar to Wotsits, but fatter and cheaper). I regularly skipped breakfast, and lunch, and rarely managed to hit my five a day.
Then Heather, my lovely homeopath, told me about raw chocolate. How you can eat it without feeling guilty. How it’s actually GOOD for you. So I started buying it, and then making it (recipes to follow – I’ve invented a couple of nice ones over the past few weeks).
But the more I looked at all these healthy raw ingredients and superfoods – mystical sounding substances like maca, shatavari, he shou wu, lucuma, ashwagandha and other bizarrely named stuff – the more fascinated I became. It’s like alchemy, sometimes; but even so it’s all very scientific, and makes a huge amount of sense once you start paying attention.
The idea of living on cold food 100% of the time, and giving up Sunday roasts, Thai curry and my other favourite dinners, doesn’t appeal, to be honest. But the beautiful thing about raw living is that you can do it gradually. Just replace as much crap as possible with as much fresh, organic produce and superfoods as you can manage, and you’re on the journey. Once your body starts to notice all these super-healthy treats you’re giving it, it asks for more, and stops wanting cooked food. Clever things, bodies. As Shazzie – another big raw food guru – says, you can gain two hours of energy per day just by being 50% raw. I find that pretty amazing and it’s something I’ve spent the past few weeks getting my head round, in preparation for starting my raw journey.
So, this week I’ve started properly. Having spent a small fortune on all manner of superfoods and raw and/or organic ingredients (the majority I’ve had to buy online, but I’ve also been making regular visits to our nearest decent health food shop, Dimensions in Upper Bangor), on Monday morning I went 50% raw. So my breakfast for the past couple of days has been this gorgeous rasperry-jelly-like dish of Kate’s called “chia up love” (pictured above), which is made of soaked chia seeds, superfoods and raspberries; I’ve been quaffing down pints of green smoothies; I’ve been snacking on home made trail mixes, and stuffing my face with salad (well the salad bit, to be fair, I’ve been doing for about two months; I tend to have a large salad with seeds for lunch most days). And so far, I feel fabulous!
Having slipped off the wagon with the smoking a couple of weeks ago (sorry to all those who cheered me on: I’m crap) at least I’m doing this one amazing thing for my body, and even two days in I feel more alive than I have in a very long time. I had an appointment with Heather this morning and she reckoned I look loads healthier, and I’ve alreadly lost 3lbs, having failed to lose anything at all while I wasn’t smoking and wasn’t eating raw.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m still enjoying the same old lovely evening meals, with a couple of slight changes that are barely noticeable. For cooked food, if I need to use oil, I’ll now generally use virgin coconut oil because of the amazing health benefits (there is a post half-written in my head about why everyone should switch to virgin coconut oil, so I will have to tempt it out onto the screen and finish it off). If we have basmati rice – which is a big favourite of mine, so we tend to eat it at least 2-3 nights a week – I have smaller portions than I used to. The sauces are reasonably healthy anyway: coconut oil actually helps speed up the metabolism so it’s worth eating a tablespoon a day if possible. I love veg so having more veg than anything else on my plate, where appropriate (i.e. not with a chicken madras!) is no effort at all. And so I feel happy and balanced, getting the best of both worlds: raw during the day, cooked at night. My super-sugary Earl Grey consumption is at an all-time low (in an average week I’ll have maybe 5-6 cups, instead of drinking that much every single day like I used to) – my new favourite drink, which I can’t get enough of, is Clipper nettle tea, which is just gorgeous. And yes, I do drink water every day too!
So, that’s where I’ve been hiding: it’s been the funnest fact-finding mission ever, I have cupboards full of super-healthy ingredients, and a bunch more of them winging their way through the post as I type. My fridge is full of my raw creations and loads of fruit and veg. I’ve more or less ditched dairy completely; I don’t really eat bread so there’s no need for butter (there’s vegan olive spread in the fridge for Dewi and if I need to I’ll use that), I literally can’t remember the last time I ate cheese, and I’m only using a pint of organic skimmed milk a week. No cream, no yoghurt; almost dairy-free, and not missing it at all. Next week for lunch I’m going to try sea spaghetti (a special type of nutrient-packed seaweed) with a sauce made of pureed brazil nuts, from Kate’s free e-book which you can download at the Raw Living website in exchange for your email address, which Kate and co will not abuse! I’m also on the verge of splashing out on a dehydrator so I can make my own kale chips, flax crackers, onion bread and other raw delights – I’m really serious about this!
I’m going to have to stop rambling now before this post degenerates into total nonsense. I’ll have a think about how I can write about my raw journey in a more structured way, so that it’s a bit more useful to readers and easier to find what you’re looking for. I plan to write about the huge cost involved in buying some of the equipment, about some of the fantastic people I’ve encountered (big hello at this point to the amazing Emma Couttie at Raw Food Scotland, who is delightfully bonkers and a massive help and inspiration – I have a couple of her books to review, and let me tell you they are FAB), and I’ll also share my amazing paranoid conspiracy theory about why the government doesn’t do more to promote healthy eating (it’s all tied up with Big Pharma – google it – and eugenics… see, I *told* you it was paranoid!)
This is the beginning of something so amazing, so exciting, and writing about it is going to be a real blast Can you feel my excitement? Can you? CAN you? Mwahaha!