Years ago I decided to do a long fast during the summer months. Having been so proud of myself for just finishing a 10-day water fast, I felt light, fresh, and wonderful. Upon completing my fast and thinking nothing of it, I returned to eating my Standard American Diet (SAD) of vegetarian food. Immediately my body took offense to cooked foods. I could not believe how bloated and all around sick I felt. Knowing foods shouldn’t make me feel this way, I recalled reading an article a few months prior about super model Carol Alt. She spoke of thriving on a living foods diet and how it changed her life. That night I started researching and discovered that when food is cooked it loses most of its nutrition, enzymes, and vitamins. AHA! I thought to myself, no wonder the SAD diet made me feel so bad. The following day I started my journey to an extremely high percentage raw lifestyle.
Fast forward almost four years, and I have seen many benefits of this dietary change, including little to no allergies. For a person that used to take at least one allergy pill daily just to survive, that was amazing. For the most part, my health problems have completely disappeared. I have wonderfully soft skin, unlike the bumpy skin I dealt with for most of my life. I rarely ever get sick and when I do it is usually only a day or two while others are sick for more than a week. However, one of the very best parts is that I have been able to release 30 pounds of unwanted weight.
If only I had a dollar for every time that someone has asked me how I get my protein. Out of curiosity, a few months ago I actually went and got my first blood test to see if I was indeed getting all the things that I needed. My numbers were perfect all around. I now carry a handy chart in my wallet to answer those questions about protein.
Although there are some challenges to remaining a raw vegan during the winter months, generally I no longer have any problems sticking to it. I tend to get excited for the seasonal produce that I can only get during the winter months at our local stores, such as oranges, mangos, plumellas, clementines, grapefruit, dates, and jicama. Creativity allows me to come up with new and fresh ways to eat these foods as well as fills up my original recipe book for the days when my creative juices are not flowing. Keeping such staples as raw Cacao, shredded coconut and flakes, coconut oil, agave, vanilla powder, lucuma powder, hemp protein powder, camu powder, chia, flax, sunflower and sesame seeds as well as many types of nuts, gogi berries, lentils, and Brazilian nut protein on hand allows for raw treats when I can’t make it to the produce section in my local store. On my counter are fresh growing alfalfa sprouts, mung beans, and sunflower seed sprouts which I throw on top of organic baby greens or make a salad of sprouts with a dressing. There is something so tasty about eating something fresh, alive, and full of nutrients started from seeds only a few days prior. It tastes almost as though the summer gardens have returned.
As a treat, occasionally I will make the trip over to my favorite fast food restaurant, The Raw Deal, in Menomonie, where they serve á la carte entrees and desserts that are uncooked. It is wonderful for a person like myself to be able to go out to eat every once in a while. It is also a great way for someone to be introduced to raw foods.
There is great support here now, unlike when I first began four years ago. Our raw vegan monthly potlucks have a fun social aspect to them while keeping the spirit of raw alive. These potlucks have become one of the highlights of each month and are growing in popularity as more people learn about the benefits of a raw vegan diet.
People ask me all the time about whether or not I actually like what I eat. I can’t get enough of the raw foods. Each and every experience is a taste explosion in my mouth. I no longer eat empty foods to fill me up. I no longer will eat something that doesn’t satisfy my taste buds. I absolutely LOVE the taste of living vegan foods.
Chocolate Tapioca Pudding
¼ cup chia seeds, soaked in filtered water overnight
½ cup maple syrup or agave
3 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
Do not drain water. Put soaking water and cashews into the blender. Add maple syrup or your sweetener of choice and blend until smooth. Add sweetener to your desired sweetness. Add raw cacao powder and blend. Taste. Add more maple syrup for a sweeter pudding or cacao for a more chocolaty taste. After reaching your desired taste, pour chia seeds into the blender and blend only long enough to mix. Blending the pudding longer will get rid of the tapioca texture.
This can be made without the cacao as well.
Enjoy. Keeps in the refrigerator for a week, however it won’t last that long without being eaten!