From junk food to raw veganism
When I was asked if I wanted to try raw veganism I wasn't worried, until I thought about what I couldn't eat.
No more crisps, veggie sausage bagels or pasta; it was all about salad, fruit and nuts.
Organisers of vegan festival Vegfest set me the challenge after encouraging me to go vegan for a month last year. What’s the harm in stepping it up a bit?
I was put in touch with Gabriela Lerner, a raw vegan coach who would guide me through the challenge.
She told me how eating raw food had changed the lives of her and her husband, as well as boosting their health, and now she coaches others to do the same. I’d decided a week of raw veganism would be enough to feel the benefits, but I didn’t want to commit to any longer for fear of starving. How wrong I was.
The biggest surprise to me was the energy boost eating raw food gave me. I was expecting to be feeling weak and tired, but instead I felt compelled to go to the gym; usually I’m dragged there kicking and screaming.
I also found that I didn’t feel physical hunger pangs, as you can graze on fruit all day, although I did have some cravings. The three o’clock slump on a work day usually calls for a packet of crisps; but by the end of the week there was no slump at all.
Breakfast was a smoothie, and lunch and dinners included things like avocado salad with peppers, onions and pine nuts, or raw courgette spiralised into ribbons with a tomato sauce.
I was snacking on fruit, nuts and raw cocoa bars, and even tried my hand at making nut milk. A homemade raw chocolate hazelnut milk was a real treat.
The only thing I did find was after a long, hard day at work it was quite hard to summon up the enthusiasm to make something creative from raw vegetables. There were a couple of unsatisfying evenings where dinner was tomato and avocado on raw crackers.
By the end of my raw food week, although I was looking forward to eating warm food again, I was feeling great. I felt energised, lighter and like my body had been through a detox. It made me realise how lethargic stodgy food can make you feel and has definitely made me think about the way I eat.
After six days of raw food, I did fall at the final hurdle; but after cooking a delicious Mother’s Day roast, I wasn’t going to miss out!
Looking back at my week, I do believe there are benefits to eating food raw, and I’m definitely going to keep aspects of what I’ve learned in my diet.
To hear more about raw foodism, Gabriela Lerner will be talking at Vegfest Brighton at 4pm on Sunday. To find out more, visit: brighton.vegfest.co.uk/speakers/gabriela-lerner/