Love Your Body with Raw Foods — Here’s How!
Today I’m excited to announce I’m the first stop on Karen Knowler’s virtual book tour.
Karen has been an amazing mentor of mine, and over the years we’ve become good friends, eagerly and enthusiastically sharing each other’s journeys.
I’ve always admired Karen’s relentless search for what REALLY works for people, not just with the food, but also what brings out the best in a person in all areas of their life.
It’s no surprise to me that she’s produced a new, incredibly detailed, grounded and pragmatic book titled Raw Food Made Simple.
It’s always fascinated me how raw food has the ability to change someone’s life so profoundly, mine included. My story is featured in the book, along with those of others who have seen huge positive changes in their lives.
It’s my great pleasure to share this interview with you that Karen did especially for my blog, and this first stop in her virtual book tour …
Can you explain “raw food” and what that means?
On a technical level, raw food is generally regarded as food that hasn’t been cooked/heated above 48 degrees Centigrade/117 degrees Fahrenheit. On a more energetic level, it’s essentially pure, fresh, vibrant, enzyme-rich, oxygen-rich, unadulterated, whole organic living food. As such, if you replanted it, it would reproduce successfully.
Contrary to common belief, raw food isn’t somehow less than cooked food. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Cooking doesn’t just break down food and chemically alter it, but it also destroys nutrients and renders it enzymatically dead. In fact, we can lose up to 70% of the vitamins, some of the minerals, all of the enzymes, all of the oxygen, the important plant feel-good hormones and a high percentage of the water via cooking — all of which we need to reward us with truly vibrant health. And this is just what we know about.
Raw food by contrast is replete with everything that enabled it to sprout and grow in the first place — life force, enzymes, water, oxygen, hormones, vitamins and minerals, and so much more. Untouched and untainted, raw food is quite literally honest food – what you see is what you get. No hidden ingredients, nothing messed around with … just pure delicious fresh live food that we are designed to eat — living food for living bodies. But it’s the feeling of Raw Energy that really brings the difference home. You can literally taste and feel the life force in it as it imparts that to your cells and your body. You will never experience that with cooked food.
What does a day-in-the-life of eating raw look like?
It can actually look very different for different people. I am always keen to point out that you don’t have to eat 100% raw to feel the benefit, but the more raw you eat, the better you usually will feel, especially if you consider yourself to be in good health. Because I get asked this question a lot and people just didn’t know where to start, I created a free eBook called Go Raw For a Day! so people could see firsthand what a typical day could look like and how to make that happen. In fact I created two different menu plans within that eBook so people could follow one plan or mix them up, depending on their preference, and all of the recipes are super quick and easy to make. Readers are invited to get their free copy at GoRawForADay.com. There’s even a special discount code in the back to save 20% off my new book Raw Food Made Simple. People are loving both of these publications. They are perfect for beginners who don’t know what to eat or where to start.
Tell us why you went raw all those many years ago.
Believe it or not, I grew up in a meat-and-potatoes family — literally. My stepfather was a butcher by trade, so meat was a big part of my life. I ate some form of meat or fish three times a day some days, and I worked in the family butcher’s shop from the age of 13 – 15, which was when I first started to question eating meat for myself.
By the time I was 19, I had left home and gave up meat the moment I left, in January 1992. In August the same year I gave up fish as well and went fully vegetarian. That was where it all started in terms of making the dietary shift. But it was something that changed inside me a year prior to that that really set the wheels in motion.
I had been to the US for the first time, aged 18, and gained eight pounds in three weeks because I just ate so much. When I returned home to the UK I was in tears when I saw how out of shape and old my body looked as I stood naked in front of the mirror. I call this my mirror moment. I vowed in that moment to find a way of eating that was delicious, nutritious and healthy and that would help me find the slim body I felt sure must be somewhere inside of me.
Fast forward to the spring of 1993, a few months after I went vegetarian, and I was browsing through the healthy eating section of a bookstore in London when a copy of Raw Energy by Leslie Kenton caught my eye. That book was the first book that I ever read that made the distinction between food being live (raw) and dead (cooked). I had never looked at food that way before, and I found the concept fascinating and intriguing. As I started reading even just the back cover, I knew something really important had clicked for me that would change my approach to food and eating forever.
Isn’t eating raw a lot of work?
No, not at all. At least, not the way that I do it. There are many things I love about raw food, but one that’s top of the list has to be how quick and easy it can be. Trust me, I am one of the laziest people you’ll ever find when it comes to spending time in the kitchen. Generally, I just like to grab my lunch and go! I also had no cooking experience when I first started experimenting with raw food, and I was just 20 years old. In fact, I had no clue what I was doing, and yet still I managed to find a way of eating raw that didn’t just make me look and feel great within a matter of a few short weeks, it was also way more delicious and quicker to prepare than any other way of eating I had previously known.
In fact I’ve found that I’ve gained time by eating raw. Firstly because I don’t have to spend much time in the kitchen waiting for something to cook, and secondly, I gain more energy through eating raw so I don’t need to sleep as much. All told I have gained 2 – 4 hours per day as a result of eating raw. Who couldn’t do with that?! The recipes I’ve developed and use are quick — and EASY! Eating raw can actually be a lot easier than eating cooked when you know how.
Is eating raw all just about losing weight and being healthy?
There are lots of different reasons why people decide to eat more raw, ranging from the obvious weight loss and health benefits to wanting a deeper connection with nature or simply to feel confident and happy about the food that they’re eating. And while most people have their own initial reasons for going raw, they often come to enjoy more diverse and deeper reasons as time goes by.
The people I work with tend to find that the physical benefits reveal themselves very quickly. People can see and feel noticeable physical changes in as little as 24 hours. After that comes the emotional, mental and spiritual changes as the body starts to clean itself out and detoxify, affecting all levels of our selves. This phenomenon, which is not so widely known about outside of raw food circles. is generally referred to as “raw transformation”. which goes way beyond the obvious physical changes.
Can you say more about the transformation that comes with eating raw?
As I just touched on, the most profound thing about eating raw and “living” food is that when you start to clean out and energise yourself at a cellular level, the powerful and positive effects of bringing living foods and juices into your body start to permeate through your emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies, shining and cleaning them up also. When we detoxify on all those other levels, it is literally like being reborn, as if we have a second chance at life. I liken it to having the energy and enthusiasm of a child, but the wisdom, freedom and power of an adult. This combination gives us a whole new take on life and opens up a whole new world of opportunities. It’s very exciting.
That’s why many people, myself included, refer to eating raw as being a journey. It’s not just about eating raw food; it’s about meeting and giving life to what I refer to as your Raw Superhero Self, who is symbolic of who you could be if you cleaned up the way you eat, powered your body on raw and living foods, and reached a new level of vibrancy, vitality and energy in your life.
When you look and feel this way in body, mind, heart and soul, you really do feel as if anything is possible. But you have to get your diet right first and power yourself on the best possible nutrition packed with life force. This is where raw food comes in.
You just published Raw Food Made Simple, your first book in ten years. What was writing that like?
It was great. I felt very privileged, actually, to be the person to write the book that I always felt should have been written. I kept waiting for such a book to come on to the market that I could refer people to, especially as my own work had got increasingly deep and bigger picture, but it didn’t happen, So I thought, Ok then. I guess it’s my job to make this book happen, and I just sat down and wrote the most basic yet helpful information that I could. It came together very easily, and the designers did a fantastic job with it to capture the energy of raw food and what I was trying to convey. It’s been very rewarding, and my hope is that it will change millions of lives.
Who is Raw Food Made Simple for?
It’s actually for everyone, although it was written specifically for those who are brand new to raw food or those who have just started dabbling and have a lot of questions that need answering. But I’ve been hearing that even those who have been eating raw for years have been picking up some useful tips and ideas from it, which is just as exciting for me.
It’s been designed to be a perfect gift book or pass-along book as it’s a cute pocket-sized book, smaller than a typical paperback. I didn’t want it to appear intense or intimidating in any way, and I feel confident that I’ve accomplished that, which was equally important.
So, anyone can eat raw?
Absolutely, although now and again I come across someone who is convinced that their body doesn’t fare well on raw foods. Invariably it usually comes to light that they’re simply trying to eat a lot of high-fibre raw vegetables that some people with compromised health can find challenging on occasion, but raw food is so much broader than that. The right raw diet can actually heal someone of whatever situation has made them intolerant to raw veggies in the first place. You just need to work with the body and find the foods that support its healing and recovery, rather than the ones that hinder it.
For those who are healthy, eating more raw can only ever be a good thing — although it’s about finding the right amount of raw and the right balance for each person. There are many factors that an individual needs to take into account and some will be lifestyle-related, so it’s good to know that you can decide when and where you eat raw and why it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
With all that said, I’ve never met someone who didn’t feel better eating more salads and drinking fresh juice. Think about it: if you’re putting food into your body that is as perfect and alive as it can be, why wouldn’t you feel like a new more alive, happy and energetic person?
Does that mean that someone can’t ever eat cooked food or chocolate or drink wine ever?
As I just hinted, it is for each person to determine his or her own raw food journey. Some people eat all-raw without exception. Many eat high raw, meaning 75 – 80% raw, which is easy to do and still affords flexibility. This is usually achieved by eating raw for breakfast and lunch and eating whatever they want at dinner time. Still others do a raw food cleanse every so often and then try to incorporate raw as much as possible in their daily eating.
Eating raw doesn’t mean deprivation. In fact, if anything it means more choice and more possibilities. It’s like having a new set of paints to create with that you can add to your existing palette. However, to be perfectly clear, there’s no question that the results will be more brilliant and beautiful if you start afresh with a blank canvas, which is why doing some kind of cleanse is always a good idea.
What’s the last thing you want to leave us with?
That whatever diet you are eating right now, it tells a story. If you’re not happy with the way you’re eating at the moment, know that on some level it’s serving you or you wouldn’t be doing it. The fact that you’re feeling unhappy, however, means that your behavior is incongruent with your truest desires or values. Therefore, if you want to find your bliss around food, the way to do so is to reconnect and get on your own side and chart your map to a way of eating that fulfills you on every level. You just have to want that enough and feel ready for that, then get the right and best support to help you create that for yourself.
I think the most profound thing I could share at this juncture in relation to raw food specifically, is that the degree to which you’re prepared to go au naturel and alive with your diet is a direct reflection of how prepared you are to connect and tap into your own innate power, life force and possibility. When you try raw, if you haven’t already, you’ll soon come to understand just how true this is.
The bottom line is that all this is an experience. It’s impossible to convey in words what eating raw feels like. You have to actually EAT the raw food to feel the magic. Pure, natural, living food can be the most amazing catalyst for personal and global transformation. And part of my purpose on this planet is to make sure that everyone knows about it.
For more information on Raw Food Made Simple and Karen Knowler, please visit www.RawFoodMadeSimpleBook.com.
Next stop on the book tour? Check out The Raw Foods Witch tomorrow (Feb 15).
For more information, take a look at the my Raw Food Recipes.