I came across the raw food lifestyle at a time when I was struggling with my weight so that I could be thin enough to please producers for a recording contract (working with music producers was not nearly as much fun as it sounds).
I found a raw food recipe book in a juice bar in California, and when I read that you could control your weight while eating delicious food, I figured it was worth a try.
The book explained that you use fresh fruit, nuts, sprouts, seeds, grains and vegetables. You can dehydrate, marinate, chop, blend and heat (gently) your food, and the result will still be ‘raw’ as long as the food hasn’t been heated to more than 48 degrees centigrade (117 degrees Fahrenheit), because it retains more of its enzymes and nutrients.I felt amazing after eating one meal of #rawfood that was 'alive'. Guest #blog by @rockingrawchef! Click To Tweet
Well, I made my first meal from the book (Fettucine Alfredo, delicious!) and I never looked back. I felt so amazing after eating one meal of food that was ‘alive’ (see definition of raw food below), that I wanted to eat that way all the time! I got very excited. But then…
The challenges of a raw food lifestyle
I discovered that most recipes took a LONG time to prepare. It was crazy! The fast recipes tasted like blended mush (you had to be pretty ‘hard core’ for that), and the tasty ones took ages. I had two young children, I had minutes, not hours. I needed fast recipes that tasted good enough to share with my family. My kids wanted curries and puddings, not green goo.
I wound up having to teach myself (feeding my compost heap a LOT in the early days). Over time I created a collection of my own recipes that my family would eat. Hence my Sweet Thai Chili Soup, my Nachos, my Korma ‘Curry’ with Cauliflower ‘Rice’ and many other dishes.
My family doesn’t eat 100% raw, so I got very good at combining foods that they wanted, eg meat, with the raw food that I wanted. I can make a raw curry and put shrimp in their portions and keep mine raw. That way everybody wins – especially me, as it’s much easier to make ONE meal for everyone than 3 or 4!People asked me to open a restaurant, so I figured I should teach! Guest #blog by @rockingrawchef. Click To Tweet
When people asked me to open a restaurant, that’s when I figured I needed to teach others what I know…and my business was born.
My top tips
Many people say, ‘This sounds good, but where do I start?’
I always say, ‘Eat more raw food than you did before.’ That’s it. Just increase the amount of fresh food by a little bit at a time. This can be one raw food meal a week for some people, or just adding something raw to each meal, it depends on you.
The other important thing is to make sure you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients.
You need fruit, you need dark green leafy veg (great for protein), some kind of sea vegetables like spirulina or chlorella, you need seeds, nuts, grains etc. A complete list of foods that are considered raw are here.
In terms of supplements, the only one that I take – and this is very much from time to time because the body stores it for months – is a good B12 supplement. (Note: nutritional yeast, which I use in some of my cheezy recipes, also contains B12 vitamins). If you want B12 supplements, aVivoPur has several.
Anything else that’s good to know?
I take a relaxed approach to how I eat. Yes I enjoy a raw food lifestyle, but I don’t want to be labeled as ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ or a ‘raw foodist’. I’m a person who loves healthy food, but I’m also lots of other things: I’m an entrepreneur, a mother, a singer, a linguist (I speak French and Spanish)…we are SO much more than what we eat!I don't want to be labeled, we are SO much more than what we eat! Guest #blog by @rockingrawchef. Click To Tweet
Food is such a sensitive issue for so many people however, so I would encourage you to be tolerant with yourself AND with other people in their choices. Everyone is different, and I would never presume to say that my way of eating is for everyone on the planet (it sure is darn good for a lot of people, though!)
How can I find out more?
The best way to get started is to pick a simple recipe that’s easy to share. I’ve created a special page on my site for you with some hand-picked resources right here.
Barbara Fernandez, known as The Rocking Raw Chef, teaches people how to make ‘raw food that ROCKs’, so that they can choose health without sacrificing their tastebuds. She speaks at various events (such as RawFest UK and VegFest London), publishes online recipe ebooks and programs, runs retreats, a blog, and even sings about raw food. A professional rock singer with two records, Barbara belts out on SoundCloud her spoof versions of Katy Perry and Pink songs. Barbara holds David Wolfe’s Ultimate Raw Nutrition certification, is a graduate of Anthony Robbins’ Leadership Academy, and is trained in Voice Movement Therapy. She lives in Cambridge, UK. Her free starter program is available at rockingrawchef.com