The reason I first got into raw food?
Acne — or where I’m from, what we call, “spots.”
When I was 16 I got a big-time job at Burger King, (I know you’re impressed) and worked my way up to the heady heights of Area Supervisor.
People at school thought that meant I was the head of a whole region of the country. Sadly it meant I was in charge of an area of the restaurant; kitchen or dining area.
Perks of the job?
Two things that go hand in hand: free fast food, and a big ol' case of acne.
I thought it was going to be temporary, but eventually I just began to see myself as a person with acne.
After several years of the confidence draining out of me and not being able to live the way I wanted to – having no confidence socially meant I regularly turned down social invites.
How bad was it?
We’re not talking about a few pimples (spots).
Camera phones weren’t around then (thank goodness), so I don’t have any photos. But it was bad enough that I took medication for it.
At one of my doctor visits he said, “oh yeah it’s bad, isn’t it.”
I took Accutane (nasty), antibiotics (multiple courses one after the other…why??), off-the-shelf remedies, pharmaceutical topical skin creams that made my skin red and itchy, plus I did skin peels — anything that I thought could work.
I visited a newly opened Chinese Medicine clinic in town and came out clutching a bag of what looked like forest floor scrapings to be made into ‘tea’.
Tasted like tree bark.
Side note: I think very highly of Chinese herbs these days, but in a more refined way.
Let's just say my skin was a real issue for me.
Then something happened…
I saw a program on TV where people were sent out to detox on an island, and one thing they talked about was better skin.
“I’ve gotta do this...”
I went online and found the place these guys went to. It was in Koh Samui, Thailand.
By that time I’d graduated to working for a supermarket. Plus, I was studying music production. So it took me two years to get the money together.
But I finally got there. I was booked for a week of no eating on Koh Samui.
The protocol was a seven day fast with multiple enemas — 16 litre coffee enemas two times a day. The ‘reverse latte’… I have to admit I started looking forward to those.
It was more coffee than I’d drunk in a lifetime – being British, we’re brought up on tea.
And of course it was going in the other end. No drinking involved.
And then we were doing detox shakes.
The word ‘shake’ is a wild misrepresentation.
It was psyllium husks mixed with clay, and you have to drink it quickly before it turns into a sponge.
Sounds delicious doesn’t it?
It cleared up my skin.
Within seven days.
I started to notice within 3 or 4 days and thought, wow this is crazy.
That’s when I realised the power of food, and our power to take control of our health and even our looks through what we eat.
It was a really exciting, empowering experience.
They had some raw food at the spa restaurant which looked incredible but I couldn’t eat it because I was fasting.
On day 5 of my fast, I picked up a raw food cookbook and started reading.
I’d heard of raw food before but dismissed it as extreme.
But browsing through this cookbook, it seemed more appealing. I remember reading the introduction of that cookbook.
It explained why raw food was good for us. It made perfect sense to me.
I was excited by the fact that you could combine mango and avocado to make pudding.
After my fast I tried some of the raw food they had on offer. It was incredible!
For the first time in my life I realised that I had the power to change this skin issue.
I realised I was not at the fate of my circumstance.
I came back to the UK and took a raw food class. That was where I ate my first raw pizza. That sealed the deal.
I got seriously involved. I couldn’t wait to get my own dehydrator and start making this food regularly.
What felt like the biggest problem in my life turned into the wildest and most exciting ride and journey of discovery for me.
I didn’t expect the dramatic change eating raw food would have in every area of my life.
I get excited about other people exploring raw food, because it’s always more than just about the food.
For some reason, I found raw food has the ability to inspire shifts in all aspects of life.
I think it’s as much about what you leave out as what you start to put into your body.
But it’s not about being strict with yourself or forcing yourself to stop eating what you love.
It's not even about being 100% raw; something lots of people feel they need to do, but end up feeling deprived.
It’s about having an open mind to explore different ingredients, textures and flavours.
It’s your opportunity to experiment, play and create food that makes your heart sing and your body healthy.
It’s not about dietary dogma either. There are no black and white answers here.
It’s really about moving towards something you want, not away from something you don’t want.
That means more options, not less.
For now, I’d love to get you started, so you can experience what it feels like.
You can choose your own adventure here...
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PS. If you're curious about raw food click here for my 6-part 'Raw Curious' series.