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Best of Raw

***2014 BEST OF RAW AWARDS

Voted Best of Raw - Favorite Raw Vegan Gourmet Chef (0-5 yrs) + Favorite Raw Vegan Blog.

Thank you for your votes!!!

6th Annual Best of Raw Award

6th Annual Best of Raw Award

Why Raw?

Why did I make a decision to transition into the Raw Foods lifestyle? It was never my plan to do this.  It evolved over time, but more quickly than I'd imagined. And most times, I zig-zag in and out of it.

To clarify, a "raw lifestyle" consists of eating about 80 - 100% raw plant-based products. It sounds, and can be very radical, but it can be done. I've done it...and there are many reasons for doing it. I may nt choose to adhere to a "fully raw" lifestyle 100% of the time, but I believe we can all benefit from at least adding more living food to our everyday routine. There are many benefits to choosing this way of eating and often people, just like myself, start out sampling raw foods. A little try here, a little try there, and over time, they find themselves feeling more energetic, sleeping better and they begin craving more raw foods. Gradually, we move away from pre-packaged, processed foods and incorporate more raw into our lifestyle more consistently.The enthusiasm you hear is REAL. Most of us came from a place where we consumed mostly SAD (Standard American Diet) foods, junk foods, processed foods. Most of us did not intentionally set out to go RAW. Whether or not I adopt a 100% fully raw lifestyle, or not, is irrelevant. What matters is that doing so, has changed me forever...in a good way.  There are foods I used to consume that I would NEVER touch now.

So, what is so great about it? Well, aside from the fact that I experienced a TON more energy, it all just began to make made sense. ENZYMES. Enzymes are the life-force of food. Once you cook food above 118 degrees, you destroy the enzymes and virtually obliterate the life of the food. There may be a small trace of nutrients and vitamins, but the food is dead. Seriously - dead! And I started eating more and more ALIVE food, I noticed that I felt more and more ALIVE.

When we come into this world, our bodies include a LIMITED supply of enzymes. When we eat cooked food, our bodies have to work very hard and steal from  that limited supply of enzymes that we have over an entire lifetime. Raw food, as it comes to us from nature is a sweet little package that includes it's own enzymes. Eating raw foods, gives the body a break. It doesn't have to work so hard to digest.

When we steal enzymes from our own enzyme "bank", these enzymes are not a perfect match for most cooked foods, and while our bodies try to compensate and digest this food, often, it's often not digested properly or completely. This begins to ferment in our gut and as a result, we develop acid reflux or indigestion, not to mention other illnesses that result from a prolonged period of mal-nutrition. And yes, when you are not giving the body the nutrients it needs, it is indeed a form of mal-nutrition.

Many of us take these ailments for granted and think they are “normal.” Indigestion? Pop an antacid and we are good to go! Constipated? Take a laxative and everything is fine! We have become so out of tune with what our bodies really need. These ailments are not normal, and the pills we pop and over the counter remedies we choose to take, all have side effects that could be deleterious to our health in the long run.

When we started to include bits of raw meals into our daily routine, we immediately felt more energy. My gut was always hard, bloated and distended. After dinner, I always felt lethargic and ready to wind down for the night.  After a full raw meal, I did not feel bloated, sleepy, or lethargic. It was amazing to get up from the table after dinner, and not feel like I needed a nap. In fact, I felt energized and wanted to take a walk. I no longer felt like azombie camped on the couch in the evening. And at the same time, after years of suffering from insomnia, I am sleeping at least 6 -7 hours a night, sometimes more. For me, that is amazing!

Prior to these changes, I was bothered by acid reflux and other digestive problems. I slept sitting up in bed, propped on pillows for the past couple of years. These symptoms stopped almost immediately. The bloating, spasms and swelling in my belly disappeared. My skin has begun to clear up. Blemishes and skin tags are disappearing. There is a glow about me. I am losing weight...about 24 pounds so far. My weight loss is always slow, and continues to be so, but at least I am losing, which I was not doing before.

I continue working on autoimmune health issues, and look for noted improvement.  I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis over fifteen years ago and as I continue to nourish myself with raw, living foods, chock full of nutrients and enzymes, I see huge improvement. With the changing seasons, I tend to change my diet too. Warmer months are much easier to maintain for me and I enjoy hot soup, not warm in the colder months. I'm okay with this. We each have to choose what works, but for me adapting a more flexible and loving approach works. I'm not the Raw Police. Nor am I here to judge anyone's choices. I simply want to share what I've learned and maybe inspire you to explore some healthier options.

As I delved into this more deeply, I developed a passion for food. I wanted to present loved ones with meals that they would truly enjoy. This was my challenge. It became a project. It has been fun. The meals have been fabulous and  sometimes quite gourmet! Other times, simple and easy.

I've gotten quite adept at creating my own recipes and some are seriously decadent! But as with SAD (Standard American Diet) desserts, while they are much lower on the glycemic index, many of them do contain lots of nuts and seeds, and may be high in fat, (even though they are healthy fats). Balance is the key. But it's sure nice to know that  if I want to, I can make an exquisite decadent gourmet dessert that everyone can indulge, enjoy, and not feel guilty about it!

There are ways to prepare raw meals that are absolutely satisfying and enjoyable!!! Some meals are quick and easy, while others do require a little more planning ahead. It's all about choices. Being healthy, treating my body like the sacred vehicle it is, and nourishing that vehicle is important to me. The quick rush that I get from eating a cooked or sugary treat is nothing compared to the overall sense of wellness I feel when eating raw. It was a much easier transition than I ever thought possible.

Creating and writing my website was the last thing I ever thought I'd be doing, but after experiencing the benefits of eating this way, I had to share this information with others. Preparing and eating raw cuisine is not a diet, it’s truly a lifestyle, and while it takes some planning, it is much easier to do than you would think.

How should I begin? To start, add one raw meal a day to your regimen. It can be a green smoothie or a big salad. Eat something you've never tried before. I attempted to add one new thing every day until I found enough things I liked to repeat. I now have an entire cookbook worth of recipes that are outrageously divine!

Raw food has changed me in many ways. We are living beings made of energy that lives and vibrates. Plants, nuts and seeds are made of energy too and also vibrate. The higher the frequency, the more full of life something is. Many people believe that by ingesting foods that are LIVING, we can regenerate our body on a cellular level. In doing so, we promote healing, slow down or reverse aging and support LIFE.

The frequency of living foods when compared with cooked foods is a no brainer. Cooked food = dead food. If you put dead food into your body, you are adding  nothing to your LIFE-FORCE. Your body had to WORK really hard to digest it and while it's trying to do that, the food is fermenting in your
gut, wreaking havoc on your body. When you consume raw food, you FEEL it, you live it, and you instinctively want to continue it. It's like finding the fountain of youth. You want more or it, because it feels so good and so right!

Russell James - Weekday RAW Mini Course

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