By: Pippa Galea of the ADVENTURES IN RECOVERY BLOG
I would like to write my testimonial to tell people about my raw food journey. I got turned onto raw foods 9 years ago as I was suffering from chronic fatigue and depression. To start with the diet was amazing. I lost weight, my acne cleared up, my energy increased and I felt a billion dollars. My mum was very proud of me because my eyes shined like a star and she would brag to her friends about her super healthy daughter. I was 27 years old and as I had been sick for 2 years prior to this I felt like I had been given a 2nd chance at life.
I became a key figure in the English raw foods scene, started my own catering business and was at one point Woody Harrelson’s personal chef. I then went to Hawaii and started up the raw foods kitchen at Mana foods on Maui 4 years ago. After a few years on the diet, various cleanses and a fair few water fasts, my health started to decline. I couldn’t really put my finger on it at the time, but I remember my mother telling me something like I had lost my glow plus I was very dark around my eyes.
I changed my diet from being mainly fruit based to eating more fats and green juices and cutting right back on sugars. At first it appeared that I felt better, but after 6 months again I started to feel tired and depressed. Over the next 6 years I continued to struggle with my raw foods diet and health issues. These included my periods stopping at one point for 2 years. I was told this was normal and just a part of the process! My hair started to fall out, my muscles vanished and my digestion got to the point that I could hardly eat anything without getting chronic gas and pain. I tended to want to binge a lot, but kept this under tight control. I was horribly depressed, became overwhelmed very easily, couldn’t hold a relationship together, and was exhausted after exercise. It was all I could do to muster up the energy to work and feed myself. I got into huge debt.
I consulted a number of experts in this area and was told, “it’s detox, you need to exercise more, you should fast, do an Ejuva cleanse…” You name it I heard it. I was put on various different versions of the raw foods diet, and all of them failed me.
Then 3 years ago I had a urine analysis done and was told I was protein deficient. I started to eat some eggs and fish, but I was scared because of all the propaganda that I had heard on the raw food scene about how toxic and acidic animal products were. So although I saw some small improvement in my health, I did not eat enough fats and protein in order to see any significant benefits.
Four months ago I was looking like I had aged 5 years in a few months, I broke out in Eczema and my hair was looking dry, brittle and falling out fast. I consulted a great guy based in L.A who put me on a no sugar diet. Things started to improve. He told me not to be scared of fats, I need them to make hormones. He told me to eat fish once a day.
Then I started to read up on all the Weston A Price stuff and over the past three months have increased my raw fats and animal protein to make up most of my meal with some veggies on the side. The results have been amazing. My hair looks full and shiny. My skin doesn’t have a black head or a blemish on it. In fact I have the best looking skin of anyone I know – raw or cooked. My sex drive has increased to a new and quite lovely high. I feel sexy again. But most of all I feel incredibly calm, stable, happy and almost blissful most of the time. I don’t fall apart or cry when someone criticizes me, my muscle tone is coming back nicely, I never overeat. I think about food three times a day rather than all day long. I am a happy positive person. The yellow colour of my skin has gone. I get no liver pains, and rarely get gas or bloating unless I have eaten something like raw veggies or nuts. My teeth problems have cleared up – no more pain. Yesterday I went out hiking with a dear friend for three hours, running around the forest playing like a small child again.
My life feels hopeful and new. I have hopes, dreams, and ambitions that I had forgotten even existed. I feel happy and balanced, and know I have found the food my body was designed to eat. I am slightly sad that I read too much raw propaganda – that I was so caught up in dogma that I couldn’t see what I was doing to myself – that I believed the low fat doctorates like Joel Fuhrman and Doug Graham. I am happy that I finally get my second chance.
Unfortunately others of my friends on the raw scene in England were not quite as lucky as I was. One of my friends had his gallbladder removed because he was eating too many avocadoes in order to satiate his fat cravings. Too late that he finally found raw dairy.
Other friends ended up with serious nerve damage, or mental issues due to lack of B12 in the diet. I saw a few raw kids have all their teeth turn black from too much fruit and others having growth issues.
I hope others might look inside and see if and where raw veganism might be failing them. It’s true. Amazing health is our birthright, but not fueled by heaps of supplements or superfoods that wouldn’t have been available centuries ago. Only by going back to our hunter gatherer roots can we achieve true vitality. I think I have finally found heaven on earth and wow it’s profound. I wonder where I’ll be at in a year from now :)
A day in my diet:
3 raw eggs yolks mixed with 1 tablespoon of raw coconut oil, pinch of celtic sea salt and a spoon of sauerkraut.
Raw tuna mixed with steamed veggies, extra virgin olive oil, pinch of celtic sea salt and sauerkraut
Raw fish/ seared beef or Liver, steamed veggies, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, celtic sea salt.
Pippa Galea is a nutritional consultant, massage therapist, chef, and certified facilitator of the work of Byron Katie living in Maui. She can be contacted at [email protected]