Let’s get a few things out of the way: I don’t have dreadlocks, I don’t have a clue how to roll a spliff, and you’re more likely to find me playing drums along to Coldplay than in a tribal drumming circle.
But I do eat raw food – and I’ve made it my mission in life to make raw food part of 10 million people’s everyday lives worldwide.
I’ll admit that I’ve got a closet spiritual side (and I “ohm” along with the best of them in yoga class), but raw food isn’t part of some hippy-dippy quest for me.
I do it because raw food has massively improved my life, and I want to show you that it’s easier than you think to get those benefits for yourself. (Also, it tastes great.)
Before I got into raw food, I felt rubbish and I most definitely looked rubbish
Even though I was eating “good” food (meat, chicken, veg and fruit), I had very little energy, I always looked a bit ill, and I couldn’t shake off an acne problem I’d developed while working in a fast food restaurant.
Britain’s most eligible bachelor I was not.
I was up for trying anything to look and feel better, so back in 2004 I went to Koh Samui in Thailand for a 7-day fast.
On day 5, I started reading a raw food recipe book I’d found in their library. The recipes looked amazing – but then I hadn’t eaten for quite some time and even my flip-flops had begun to look delicious.
Even so, the book’s explanation of the benefits of raw food made so much sense that I had what I guess you’d call an epiphany.
An expensive, trial-and-error-prone epiphany, as it happened: doing the raw food thing back in London – where the wrong blender will set you back a fortune and an out-of-season mango can make your face pucker – was tougher than I’d expected.
But I persevered, because I felt incredible – and if I say so myself, I didn’t look half bad either. My skin had cleared up, and suddenly I had boundless energy and motivation.
I soon realised that raw food was my passion
I spent all my spare time reading up on raw food, finding the best places to buy ingredients, and experimenting with delicious, practical recipes – which I shared on my blog.
I’d not been trained as a chef at all, but off the back of my blog I had people from all over the world flying in to take classes with me.
Now, after a year in the US writing and teaching at culinary academies, I’ve set up Raw Chef HQ in London, and I’m sharing my recipes and ideas with 40,000 people from over 50 countries in my Raw Chef community.
My students and blog readers aren’t what I’d call “hardcore raw”
They eat raw about 80–90% of the time, and that makes total sense to me. In fact, it’s what I do too – and you’ll see that some of my recipes involve some light cooking.
I’m not saying this to make you feel better about the odd “slip up”.
As I see it, “going raw” will make a huge difference to your body and mind, and the odd bit of light cooking won’t change that – as long as you’re using plant-based, seasonal ingredients and you cook them in a way that retains the maximum amount of nutrition.
Because let’s be honest: preparing raw food meals does take a bit more thought and preparation
But it doesn’t mean moving into a commune or living on salads for the rest of your life. My recipes help you make pizzas, ravioli, nut cheeses, chocolate tortes…it’s about giving you more options in your life, not fewer.
My “Weekday Raw” course shows you how to incorporate some delicious, simple raw meals into your week – no need for special equipment.
I’ve even shown how you can modify meals for family members who don’t want to go raw, so you’re not stuck making different dinners for everyone.
Then, if you want to dive further into raw food and make it a bigger part of your life, my “Home Study” courses will show you more advanced techniques and recipes.
You’ll be amazed by what you can do with such simple ingredients.
Don’t buy anything now though – join 45,000 others by claiming your FREE Raw Chef membership
Just enter your name and email address at the top of this page, and you’ll get access to 10 of my most popular recipes for free – and I’ll add extra free bits and bobs into your membership as we go along.
Oh, and if your friends and colleagues think you’re insane…
I’ve been there. I used to eat lunch in my car because of the jibes from my beer-bellied co-workers. Here’s my advice: feel smug inside, smile and ignore.
Or shovel down my carrot cake when you’re with them, and watch how they drool…