I have been vegan since 2003. (Which means I don’t eat animals or animal products like milk, eggs or cheese.)
My mother had triple heart bypass surgery in 2002 which was a scary wake-up call for all my family and really made us think long and hard about what we were eating. I read the book “The Word of Wisdom Food Plan, a Medical Review of the Mormon Doctrine” by Kenneth E. Johnson, M.D. that had lots of quotes and stories about early church leaders who felt it was better to eat mostly vegetables and fruits. I was immediately convinced that was the right thing for us to do and Chuck and I became vegetarians. Chuck is such a good sport!
I had vaguely heard for a long time about the powerful health and healing benefits of a raw diet. I got started on Raw Foods by loading some health themed podcasts from itunes onto my ipod to listen while I was exercising. Some of them were talking about raw eating, like “Celebrating Your Potential with Raw Foods” and “Raw Vegan Radio”, and every time I heard them it just rang true to me. A raw food diet consists of fresh raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouts. Nothing is heated or cooked above 115 degrees F to retain as many vitamins and enzymes as possible. I am really scared of getting some kind of cancer. The devastating effects, painful sickening treatment, debilitating symptoms and especially the heartbreaking thought of leaving my children and husband. I always thought to myself, “If I am ever diagnosed with cancer the first thing I will do is go on a raw diet!” Then I started to think, “How stupid is that to wait until I am deep in the throes of cancer to try to get better? Why not feed my body pure nutrition now so that it can have the strength and power to fight any diseases that I might be developing already and take care of it before it gets out of hand?” I also had a strong prompting while praying that I was being guided to all of this information (vegetarian, then vegan, then raw progressively) because even though I wasn’t feeling any immediate health problems Heavenly Father knew what was going on inside my body and what was developing already or what was to come and I’d better pay attention to the knowledge that he was blessing me to find.
So – I jumped in with both feet, 100% committed, excited and grateful to my Heavenly Father! I try not to let anyone discourage me who might be pessimistic about raw and living foods, want to prove me wrong or tell me it’s just too inconvenient for me to always need special food. I do think it’s special and I’m worth it! Every single one of us is worth the special effort! I needed more information so I went to the websites of the people who were being interviewed on those podcasts and started learning more, I got some raw books at the library and read all I could. I bought a few books that I thought had some good recipes and didn’t require a lot of equipment I didn’t have. I mostly use my food processor, just a Black & Decker from Walmart but it works great. I’d love to have a Vitamix blender, but I’m still saving for that. A regular blender will just leave a few bits unchopped and will wear out faster. I recently got a food dehydrator, it is nice but you can make plenty of meals without it. I have also got a few little gadget things that are fun like a Spiralizer that cuts veggies such as zucchini into spaghetti shaped noodles.
As I learned more I realized that almost every raw person does it a little differently. They each have different levels of commitment and standards of what is really raw. This was confusing but when you think about it that is the way life is. You just have to find out all the information you can, and then decide for yourself how strict you can be and what feels right to you. The closer you can follow 100% raw eating, the more health benefits you will gain. But everyone isn’t ready for that, so figure out where you are and START.