When raw food first became a deep part of my life it was akin to the Sumerian goddess, Astarte, transfusing my blood with silver starlight
I recall the first time I was made aware you could eat a lifestyle primarily raw. Even though I had always had a sturdy green foot in the worlds of juicing, sprouting and had been a vegetarian since the age of 14, my initial, rather clinical reaction upon reading Shazzie’s Detox Your World was ‘surely not that much raw!” I then put the book down and stared into the universe beyond the wooden table I was sitting at. In the next few seconds, a tidal wave of deep-seated knowing spurred me to give it try for three days and my DNA danced with anticipation. That was it.
The world as I knew it shot out of its orbit and I was catapulted into rawbit.
This is the soaring that comes with eating vibrant, living food. Eat a plate of crisp, fresh vegetables and then compare that buoyant sensation with the heaviness that ploughs away at your energy levels when you eat the same vegetables discoloured and fried.
The main thrust of raw foods is that you eat fruits, vegetables, plants, sprouts, nuts and seeds as ‘living’ as possible and any heat applied is 48 degrees C (118 F) or under. Otherwise, you sizzle away all those vital enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients.
When people talk about the ‘nutritional benefits’ of raw food, I want to replace those words with ‘the magic of raw food’ . When I read about how been pollen is a complete food that can protect you from radiation, or when I see a formerly rock-hard chickpea begin to stir with white-tailed life, that to me is unadulterated magic. And when one feels the soaring effects of fresh food, that is splendidly miraculous.
Feeding yourself on rainbows: that’s what consuming uncooked fruits, greens, vegetables and sprouts feels like. Nature’s dazzling palette remains radiant for you. When I stated at the beginning of this book that eating raw food felt like I had been given a starlight infusion, I was not exaggerating. Fresh, living food is a dynamo of direct sunlight – in fact, you could say the sun cooks the food for you.
When I had my first child, I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to prepare food exclusively raw, clutching only the frayed ends of my shredded time. All this was further compounded with birth of my second child shortly after. Having two beautiful boys was Life’s richest, most rapturous blessing but I didn’t expect to find myself wandering in a nutritional wilderness (where the Wild Things are). The excess weight wouldn’t budge, even half a year post partum, and being only 158cm, (5 foot and 2 curly inches), my body resembled an over-puffed pastry whipped up in a yeast frenzy. Some women give birth and the weight slides off as smoothly as a silk negligee. For me, the only sliding was the food from the spoon into my mouth.
On some days, such was my sleep and energy deprivation, I would have kebabed and wolfed down my husband if you’d rolled him in enough pitta and tahini. Other days, the only things wild and sprouting were the blasted bristles on my chin.
And so, with two toddlers hanging from the ceilings, banisters or my breasts and Shakespeare essays barking for marking, the days of crafting elaborate raw meals and dehydrating for hours on end vanished with the winds of Aeolos. I knew I had to revise my whole approach towards raw food if I was going to stop this languishing in spaghetti swamps.
Three words served as my appetiser:
These are the recipes and tips I reveal in my book, SOAR ON RAW, so you too can make quick and delightful healthy food. I also outline how to avoid some of the common pitfalls found in the raw food lifestyle that makes people give up because it is my firm belief you do not need to be 100% raw vegan to enjoy this lifestyle.
It is still a diet primarily consisting of living food that that has given me endless energy to raise two children back to back, breastfeed for nearly four years, hold down a demanding full time teaching job, run a raw food business and write this book. And it is these Raw Food Mythology Recipes, forming 80% of my diet, that has ensured I have re-gained my vitality and parted ways with my initially disobedient weight – whilst still keeping my 36 AphroDDs.