So, Nichole (Pure and Simple Home), who's also doing the Green Smoothie Challenge, just asked me how I got into the whole raw food thing, and I figured I'd share here for everyone to read.
I grew up eating a very standard american diet. My mom cooked, not usually totally from scratch, we ate a lot of pasta with ground beef and tomato sauce from the jar, baked potatoes, iceberg lettuce salads with ranch dressing, pillsbury rolls from the can, and there were always ice cream and cookies in the house. We were all generally healthy and thin too though.
Around age 17, having never given a thought to my weight, I started realizing my (already skin tight teeny bopper) clothes were becoming too tight for me. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't exercise, ate s'mores pop tarts for breakfast, and little debbie nutty bars for lunch.
I started paying attention to calories and diet foods and how much I ate. I remember nibbling on little bags of special K cereal to keep me full in high school.
College came and I still didn't know much about "real" foods. I ate from the dorm cafeteria and lots of pre-packaged foods in my room, and of course, drank a lot of alcohol. I gained who knows how much, maybe 15 pounds over the next couple years, but lost it my junior year when I studied abroad in Budapest.
There, I remember eating lots of apples, bread, and frozen veggies. I didn't know how to cook and they didn't have much pre-packaged, and also I walked constantly.
By the time I graduated after 5 1/2 years of college, I was back to about 20 lbs. heavier than my comfortable weight. My final semester I lived in a co-op with 17 people where we rotated dinner duty for the weeknights - there was a strict budget and mandatory vegetarian option and I crushed a garlic bulb for the first time in my life.
After college I started learning how to cook more, I'd never had a strong taste for meat but thought it was especially repulsive to handle raw so never bought it. When I met Nathan 3 years ago we started cooking more together and since then I've just gradually become more aware about how crappy processed food is for your body and how horribly animals are usually treated in the meat and dairy industries. Eventually all my extra weight came off, helped by the fact that I joined a gym and started doing some yoga, which I didn't in college.
I'm not strictly vegan but just naturally avoid most animal products. I love fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, nuts, whole grains, etc. I do still eat eggs about once a week, mostly as an after bar alcohol absorbing snack, but try to ease my conscience by buying organic cage free, as unregulated as those claims might be.
A good friend of mine started telling me about raw foods about a year ago, and as I started reading more I was really intrigued - people claimed to have amazing health benefits. Last Feb., feeling very in need of a detox from a rough winter, plus being stuck in a rut and bored, Nathan and I decided to do a 1 month raw experiment. We weren't incredibly strict about it and didn't feel any crazy bursts of energy as others have described, but we also were pretty uneducated as to how to go about it…. Nathan did lose 15 pounds though, which he was pretty happy about!
Since then I've continued reading a lot of raw/vegan blogs and trying new recipes, and also giving a lot of thought to how screwed up our food industry is. It makes me sad to think so many people are stuck back where I was in college, spending money on overpriced "reduced fat" cookies, "light" yogurt (with artificial sweeteners), cereals, breads, and frozen dinners that claim to be nutritious but are loaded with chemicals…. All while passing through the produce section clueless about how to prepare a lot of those amazing veggies. So I keep up this blog in hopes to spread the love of good healthy food, even if it's to only a few people. And because I'm bored at work and it's a great way to log recipes =).