To help keep all of you inspired, we’ve asked some
remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!
I grew up as a typical meat eating child, and thought at the time that eating lots of animal products was necessary for good health. With time though, my health complaints started to multiply. By age 12, I had severe heartburn which kept getting getting worse until I was forced to take antacids 6 times a day to manage the symptoms. I was already very skinny, but eating became more and more of a nightmare. Also, at age 15, I got a very painful ovarian cyst which required surgery and, for as long as I could remember, I had persistent acne which caused me much distress.
Really, what teenager wants to suffer with such problems and feel that there is no way to get better? I did not understand why I was feeling so sick. After all, I slept 8 hours a day, ate ingredients from every food group, and exercised. When I left my family to study Law in France, things only got worse. I was not gaining any weight, and my heartburn became so debilitating I had trouble even sitting at my desk to study. My acne became so bad that a friend once asked me if I was having allergies. I wasn’t 14 anymore and couldn’t understand why I still had breakouts. It never occurred to me that maybe the food I ate was to blame!
Fortunately, I met my husband to be, Matthew, at the age of 19. He was a vegetarian, and to get closer to him (before we started dating) I quit eating meat. I wasn’t comfortable eating animals anyway, and seeing him so healthy convinced me that I could still get all the nutrition I needed without having to eat flesh. As soon as I went vegetarian, my heartburn went away. It was wonderful, but I really couldn’t believe it at first. I kept taking my medications “just in case” and soon realized that they didn’t make much of a difference anymore. It was great! But I still had acne, and my stress had led me to have painful stomach cramps all the time. I went to see a doctor thinking that I had an ulcer, and he agreed that it could be the cause. I had to undergo a painful procedure where a tube is inserted down my digestive tract to check for problems, but the doctor couldn’t find anything, and told me I was simply too stressed out. He gave me anti anxiety drugs which I accepted to take since I couldn’t take the pain anymore.
Shortly after this, we moved to the US where I realized that taking anxiety medications would prevent me from driving, and therefore go to school, to the supermarket etc. I started doing lots of research to see what was wrong with me, so that I could be medication free. IBS? Gluten intolerance? Candida? Deficiencies? Nothing I tried seemed to work.
To manage my stress, I enrolled in yoga classes at the local YMCA, and thought I might as well start weight lifting a few times a week. This led me to join the website bodybuilding.com, where many interviews of vegan and vegetarian athletes are posted. One day, as I was browsing through them, I came upon Tonya Kay’s interview. She did not eat meat, she did not eat dairy, and she did not even cook her food! I was intrigued. She looked so great, and mentioned that eating raw helped her get rid of her acne and go off medications for her manic depression. I really hoped that her diet would work for me, as I felt I had tried everything and was at the end of my rope. I started drinking more green smoothies, and created Facebook’s first Green Smoothie group for support. I started eating more salads, and a lot more fruit. Slowly, I also got rid of soy products, cut way back on gluten, and drastically reduced my intake of dairy and eggs.
The results were quick to notice, and within days my acne had disappeared, except for a few pimples when I didn’t eat all raw. Even better, my anxiety and mild depression completely lifted. I started gaining a little bit of healthy weight (I was really underweight) and my stomach cramps were a thing of the past. I couldn’t believe it but was very grateful to have come upon such a wonderful diet. I even joined with Tonya Kay to write a series of eBooks (shown at left) on the raw diet and its nutritional value to inspire others as she had inspired me. Yes, we can get 100% of everything we need on raw!
I now eat a high raw diet with lots of green juices, green smoothies, hemp seed shakes, salads, and some nuts and seeds. And with the help of the Raw Freedom Community, I learned to make delicious and beautiful raw cakes that my husband and friends love!
Going raw has helped me more than I ever could have imagined, and has led me to meet some amazing and very kind hearted people who make the journey so easy and enjoyable. My only regret is not having discovered raw foods earlier!
You can find out more about Joanna by visiting the following links:
- Blog: www.joannasteven.blogspot.com
- Store: www.sirova.com
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jlsteven
- Kayos Market: www.kayosmarket.com
- Green Smoothie Group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2386608573
Do YOU have a “My Raw Story” to share? We’d love to publish it here. Read our submittal guidelines!