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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Interesting. Looks like I have some experimenting to do and some changes to make.
Sounds to me like you need to eat sum skillet CORNBREAD cooked in bacon fat! It makes a mighty fine crust you know…
I love your blog..
And I too have some interesting information to share with you.
Its called “THE OMEGA SHIFT”
and its a step on from “THE SECRET”
here is the lovely link to it…
May all the greatness of your hearts desires come true and they will.
MORE BLISS TO YOU x x x
Perhaps you could have also restored your health by adding cooked plant foods back to your diet, like beans and lentils, which are high in protein. This article helps to describe some of the problems with a raw food diet: http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/healthy-food-the-cold-truth-about-raw-food-diets.html
I would also like to state that some people do not digest plant proteins very well, and they should supplement their diet with some animal products, but for the rest of us, a vegan diet which includes cooked foods is sufficient. Please don’t write it off just yet! :)
Yes, I’m sure adding beans and lentils would’ve had miraculous effects on Pip’s digestive problems. They have a fabulous reputation for their ease of digestibility. Uhhh, not so much.
Some people probably can get by on a vegan diet. Why anyone would attempt something so daring (no healthy humans ever documented in the history of the world ate a vegan diet from birth to death) is the question.
If and when I “meat” a vegan who is truly thriving by all accounts and not in denial, I will perhaps be more open. In my 31 years on earth so far though, it hasn’t happened.
My homeopath is vegetarian since adolescence and for last years is a vegan. Last years she follows dr Fuhrman advice. Her family including children ( now adult ) are vegetarian too. They are healthy.
It is possible to be a vegan with supplements.
thanks for this post. very interesting. i tried being raw vegan for a yr and it was the hardest diet i've ever tried to follow. was hungry and obsessed with food. my hair fell out for awhile when i tried doing doug graham's high fruit greens low fat plan. i also became so hungry i'd gorge on fruit til i felt like vomiting. i am not sure how anyone can stay on that diet long term. now eating high fat lower but not low carb i feel satiated.
have you seen alicia silverstone just put out a new book called the kind diet. she's got all kinds of vegan foods made from fake dairy products made of soy. why anyone would think any kind of fake food ie highly processed is good for you i just don't understand?? and to call it the kind diet. please!!! we are omnivores. that is just a fact of nature. i 'd love it if i could be healthy eating vegan but as a vegetarian for yrs and then vegan for 1, my health failed. i'm now trying to get it back. WAP had it right.
Pip here, Interesting to read this post two years on and how my diet has changed in that time. Thanks Matt because I wasn't eating any carbs when I wrote that and thanks to you I am now eating fruits, sweet potatoes and yams.. Anonymous. Sorry but I have to disagree, A Vegan diets is not a natural diet for a human being and I have to say I would always spea out against it. I have never seen a healthy long term Vegan, even ones that state they are, look emaciated and have a strange pallor about them. Life is so much easier now I don't worry too much about food, I think Daniel Vitalis was right when he said veganism is for angry people… It certainly made me pretty angry..
Yes, a half-vegan diet is the way to go. I'm on a half low-carb diet at as well. Put the two together and I eat lots of everything! Whoopee!
Pippa, I wonder if you're right about the angry thing. Susan Powter, the low-fat eat-tons-of-soy vegan fitness queen is really angry. I thought it was her staunch feminism making her seem so vehement all the time. Now I wonder about her diet and its connection to her constant rage…and her inability to form complete sentences in her vlogs and tweets. It makes me sad because I believed in her way of eating for so long. Her book on Sobriety makes the connection between food and addiction. Her book FOOD exposed the lies and underhanded practice of the FDA and railed against factory feed lot foods. But the constant anger makes me think there might be something physical going on.
There is actually a very solid connection between irrational anger and veganism. i think it has something to do with a certain B-vitamin (B12?). Sally Fallon talked about this in an UndergroundWellness podcast, don't remember the exact details though.
While I'm sure veganism causes serious imbalances in the body that lead to irrational behavior/anger issues, I'm also sure that SUGAR is an even worse culprit. I am nowhere close to vegan. I am a WAPF person who has recently had my fears of carbs allayed by Matt. However, I'm still working on getting rid of the sugar cravings. I got down to raw honey and grade B maple syrup, but I'm trying to give that up too. I'm PMSing right now so the chocolate cravings are ridiculous, but so far I've been doing so much better adding carbs back in and eating tons more butter and coconut oil. The sugar makes me angry though, and depressed and low-energy and… :)
you say back in hunter gatherer days… way back when meat wasnt consumed everyday was it? my great grandma told me they ate it ounce a week because thats all they could get.. im not trying to say your wrong or anything im just confused.
i eat my veggies raw, and am currently taking b complex because i dont eat meat. i havent been eating eggs because the farmer down the road doesnt have any right now. i pretty much listen to what my body tels me i need and go with that.
o yeah… has anyone checked out eating for blood type? i bet u were a type o! they need meat protein! esp red meats! listen to your body it will tell you what you need. glad i found your site!
(anonymous from previous post above^) :)
As a vegetarian (near vegan) I wasn't that angry, but I was an emotional basketcase for sure. Every other day was the best day of my life, interspersed with the worst day of my life. Rationality was a rare commodity on such fare.
The blood type diet is kind of dumb. You're right that humans, in general, don't need that much meat, and many ancient cultures only feasted on it once weekly – but without any animal foods at all, fuhgeddaboudit. Over 90% of humans will degenerate on such fare, some faster than others.
If you are eating "fruit-based" how could you be "cutting back on sugars"?
Also, I am quite certain you were not making an effort to eat the proper foods to get an adequate amount of proteins as a raw foodist. If ultramarathoner and 3 time spartatholan winner Scott Jurek can do it all as a vegan, shouldn't a chef be able to?