My 10 Day Raw Food Experiment

Byline: Seraphina Sharif.

10 Day Raw Food ExperimentIt’s spring time! And what a great opportunity for us all to take inspiration from the renewal in nature and explore new paradigms, grow into new life approaches and new foods.

For me, this shift started last year with a small raised garden a good friend built for me and a video clip of someone by the name of “Markus Rothkranz” posted by a Facebook friend late June of 2013. I had never heard of Markus R. before then. I watched the video clip and at first glance it reminded me of one of those gimmicky sales pitches that most of us dread. 

I was skeptical to say the least. The “Life Scientist” in me, however, kept nudging me along to learn more about this guy, his life story and Raw Food. I have a background in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine, and going completely raw goes against some of the key paradigms and principles of my practice, the foundations of which go back thousands of years.

Nevertheless, I was drawn to reading the e-book and leaped at the opportunity to experiment without any specific commitment to the new approach. The new approach, I decided, had my attention for 10 days, not one day more, not one day less!

And here I am, almost 10 months later and the “experiment” gradually became my way of life. I can’t see myself going back to the way things were before. Needless to say, the change came like a big whirlwind and rearranged one thing, then another and had a ripple effect in every aspect of my life. 

About 20 pounds lighter in weight, feeling energized, more than 1/3 of my closet donated, every room and drawer in my home uncluttered, car loads of stuff donated, list of Facebook friends cut by half and mentally clearer and lighter than I have ever felt in my entire life. Not to mention lower monthly gas bills, as cooking is no longer required. 

As well as, grocery bills that are cut by at least 1/3 if not more without all the packed and processed food.

I walk around my home asking myself: How can I SIMPLIFY more and optimize how I live to truly enjoy life?

Is there anything I have missed that I could donate and minimize? That’s all because getting lighter physically, mentally, and emotionally feels so good and natural. 

Simplicity: when LESS is truly MORE! As in our natural state, going back in time during the first 9 months of gestation, when from a tiny spec of human plasma we grow and we have everything we need.

And so the Journey of a Thousand Miles started with 10 simple steps…

10 Day Raw Food Experiment Must-Haves

I Invested in a Slow Juicer, a Blender (Must-Have) and a Food Dehydrator (Optional).

Before starting the Raw Food approach, I kicked off my body’s “self-clean” button with a 36 hour water-fast to allow the body to clear any prior build up. As I understand, our bodies when inefficient do not absorb nutrients well due to build up. We may get hungry more often and the new nutritious food may go more to waste instead of getting properly absorbed. Similar to pouring expensive Fuel and Oil in a rusted antique car!

Step by Step 10 Day Raw Food Experiment

  1. First thing in the morning every other day: Water enema to clean the “sewage pipes” (or a colonic done by a professional for those who may be new to enemas)
  2. Start the day off with a physical activity of Choice for 45 minutes: Stretch, Yoga, Dance, Boot-camp workout, Mini-trampoline Jumps, Shadow box, Swim, etc.

    A really good $3 Google app can helped me build variety called “You Are Your Own Gym”, which allows you to build your own workouts or follow pre-set workout variations.
    If nothing else, I challenged myself on the mini-trampoline jumping up and down to get the lymphatic system going with some awesome music blasting in the background!

  3. Squeeze lemon/lime juice in a glass of water and add few drops of Nascent Iodine twice a Day (morning and later afternoon) to help detoxify and increase digestive juices to optimize digestion and absorption and minimize waste.
  4. Remain in a relaxed state: Breathe Deeply and Walk in the Sunshine
  5. No TV, No News for the 10 Days – (I listen and read news since then, but during the 10 days, I focused internally as much as I could)
  6. Drink one Smoothie for breakfast (Half Fruits PLUS Half Greens in some kind of liquid or water).
  7. Drink Juice (Half Fruit/Veggies PLUS Half Greens). Between 12 pm and 6 pm, I drank as many juices as I liked.
  8. Eat one Big Super Salad before 6 pm. Cut off for eating and juices is 6 pm or 4 hours before going to bed by 10 pm.
  9. Green or white teas mornings and nights. Avoid caffeine.
  10. Warm bath with Epsom salt. I took Epsom salt baths every night during the 10 days but now only when I feel like I need one. And went to bed by 10 pm the latest to allow the organs, body and the mind to rebuild itself.

After the 10 days, I felt great and I decided to stay on this approach “just another week”, and then “another week” and then “another week”.

By late summer/fall of 2013 and winter of 2014, I experienced more changes: I lost about 10-15 lbs in first couple of months.

Total weight loss has now stabilized to around 20 lbs; clarity of mind, increased energy and better sleep; did not suffer ANY flu or cold symptoms since summer of 2013, while everyone else around me was sick with some kind of flu or cold over fall and winter; my Blood Pressure went from 120/90 which is in the normal range to 113/72 which is in the “ideal” range.

To my family doctor’s surprise, my Heart Rate dropped from 90 beats/min to 72 beats/min pointing to the cadio-vascular system working more efficiently; Sun and skin allergies which I suffered from since childhood ARE GONE!

I am pleased to say that I can now easily sit in sun for a long time, tan beautifully without eczema or rashes. Markus argues that it is not the sun that causes cancer. It is the sun that pulls the TOXINS in our body to the surface that causes cancer. I think he may have a point here.

In my last visit at the optometrist, I was told that my vision had in fact improved in BOTH eyes. So the optometrist was asking what I was doing differently?

At the end of this, I encourage YOU to NOT take my word or anyone’s word for it.

Be it 3 days, 10 days or a month; 90% Raw, 80% raw, 50% raw; Give this approach a try and listen to your body and see the changes that you will manifest in your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual lives.

SSS2 - CopySeraphina Sharif, MBA, RMT/CST
Seraphina has a an educational and professional background in Business and Finance, Energy Trading, Foreign Languages, Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Massage Therapy, Energy Healing and Information Technology. Her hobbies include classic shadow-boxing, body weight training, learning a new language, astrology, the tarot, dream interpretation and remote viewing/perception.

Home Made Coconut Ice Cream Recipes

Homemade coconut ice cream

I remember sitting in front of the screen while holding a bowl of ice cream in my lap, and feeling like the luckiest little girl in the world.

Then there were the outings to get an ice cream cone with my parents, and all the holidays in between.

Ice cream has a special place in this recovering sugar addict’s heart.

When I first discovered raw food, I was encouraged to find out that you can make healthy home made ice cream.

I played around with frozen bananas in the blender, and came up with a few varieties that tasted great… but the texture was never quite “ice cream-like” enough.

So that’s when I decided to invest in getting an ice cream maker.

Quick Ice Cream Maker Review

ice cream maker review

I did a lot of research and narrowed down my options based on Amazon’s list of ice cream maker reviews. I ended up going with this Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, which turned out to be a super choice.

This automatic Cuisinart Pure Indulgence makes 2 quarts of frozen dessert goodness in as little as 25 minutes. The way it works is that you blend up your favorite ingredients together, and place them in the double-insulated freezer bowl.

From there, you hit the on button and the automatic mixing paddle gets the ice cream churning and freezing. The whole process is quick and clean up is easy, too!

So far, I’ve made a variety of different home made ice cream recipes, and each one has been better than the last. The first time I used the ice cream maker, I hadn’t given the mixing bowl a long enough time to freeze so the mixture didn’t become hard ice cream. It was more like a milkshake instead.

I highly recommend investing in an ice cream maker if you’re a big ice cream fan. I was concerned about adding yet another machine to my counters, but it’s been a total treat and the quality of the healthy ice creams I’v been making is just beyond!

Click here to read all the amazon reviews and see if it’s time to invest in your own ice cream maker.

Home Made Coconut Ice Cream Recipes

Now that we’ve gotten the ice cream maker review out of the way, it’s time to talk about the real food that’s going into your ice cream!

A lot of the commercially available ice creams, even the “healthy” vegan ones, are full of fillers and other “non-food” items.

Coconut milk ice cream

Making your own ice cream means that you can fully control what does into your food, and how much sugar, soy, or gluten (if any!) you’ll allow in there.

In today’s post I’ll be sharing two of my favorite home made ice cream recipes, which are both made from a coconut milk base.

You can make your own coconut milk by buying a mature coconut, breaking it open, and blending the hard coconut meat with some water. Then you just squeeze the pulp, like you would when making almond milk – through a nut milk bag.

Alternatively, you can purchase a can of coconut milk from most asian supermarkets or online.

Both options are totally cool, it’s just up to you and how much work you want to do when making your ice cream.

Blueberry Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

Blend until smooth or chunky:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey

Then add to your ice cream maker and follow directions for yummy blueberry coconut ice cream!

Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

Blend in a blender until smooth:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons raw cashew or other nut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Run through your ice cream maker, and once it’s hardened, sprinkle with coconut flakes for added texture. Yum!

Experiment With More Coconut Ice Cream Recipes

Since making these two types of ice cream, I’ve also played around with a cacao / chocolate version, and a banana walnut one, too.

The basics tend to stay the same: start with some coconut milk, add your favorite fixings, blend, and turn into delicious ice cream!

Raw Food Gift Buying Guide for the Holidays

If you eat lots of raw food, or know of someone who does then this list will help you pick the perfect gift this holiday season. This easy to follow raw food gift buying guide will come in handy this Christmas season.

One thing to keep in mind though, is that people who eat more raw food or are into environmental causes prefer to tread lightly on the earth. So only buy them something if you know they will appreciate the gesture. :)

Raw Food Books & Stocking Stuffers

Great Raw Food Books that make great Gifts

sweet-gratitude-raw-food-books

Alright, so I’m a huge book worm. If you’ve watched any of my more recent videos you know what my bookcase looks like. I personally love looking through raw recipe books for inspiration and to spice up my kitchen routines.

That being said, always check to make sure the person you are buying a gift for doesn’t already have the book you’re getting them. :)

Here are a bunch of great raw themed books that will be a sure hit this Christmas!

Dry Skin Body Brush

dry-skin-brush

If you’ve read my post on the benefits of dry skin brushing then you’ll know that most raw food lovers will enjoy this gift.

Here’s the gist of it: dry skin brushing is great for removing toxins from the skin, allowing for lymph circulation, reversing cellulite, and getting smoother skin.

I recommend the Purest Palm Body Brush, it’s the one I use every day.

Salad On the Go Containers

chill-and-go

This makes a great gift for anyone, regardless of whether or not they have kids. It’s a great container that you can bring with you whenever you travel, or even if you’re out and about for the day.

The lid allows you to store a salad dressing, and you can pack a delicious salad in the main compartment. Never worry about leakage or soggy salads again! Get the Aladdin Chill & Go for yourself, or for the health conscious friend who is often on the go.

A Case of Larabars

cashew-cookie-larabars

When I asked what makes a good gift for fellow raw foodies on Twitter, @LuvSchweetHeart recommended a case of Larabars. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and with so many flavors to choose from you can’t go wrong.

My favorite type of Larabar is the Cashew Cookie. It’s just got the best balance of chewiness and the flavor isn’t too overpowering. You can buy a whole case of Cashew Cookie Larabars online and have them shipped before Christmas!

Handmade Raw Chocolate Treats

Gnosis Chocolate offers a variety of handmade raw chocolate bars. You can order online, and have mouth watering chocolate in time for the holidays!

Shazzie’s Chocolate bars are full of superfood goodness, and are perfect if you live in the UK. There’s a flavor for the goddess in you and for the goddess in your raw food friend or partner.

One lucky duck treats are great if you live in New York City, but they also offer shipping. Why not treat your raw foodie with some delectable desserts and hand made cookies.

Nut Milk Bags & Sprouting Bags

I’m a big fan of making your own nut milks, and sprouting your own sprouts. If the raw foodie in your life has yet to explore these new ways to “cooking” then getting them a nut milk bag is the way to go!

You can buy the kind of Nut Milk Bag that I buy here, they are handmade in Vermont. I met the lovely lady who makes them, and it really made my day to know I’m helping local people every time I make some nut milk or sprout some mung beans.

Raw Food Appliances Make Very Generous Gifts

When I surveyed Twitter, @NaomiNiles recommended kitchen appliances and tools, and I totally agree! Some of my kitchen appliances came as gifts and I couldn’t have been a happier little witch. :)

The Cadillac of Blenders: The Vitamix

Vitamix

The Vita-Mix or sometimes known as the Vitamixer is definitely a top of the line blender. I know several people who are asking for one from Santa, too.

I got my first brand new vitamix this year and I cannot see myself going back to my old blender.

Yes, it’s expensive. But if you’re spending money anyway, you might as well get something that will last. The vitamix comes with a crazy 7 year warranty, a 30 day no risk money back guarantee, and they’re even offering a 3 payment plan.

The best thing about my vitamix is that I can make green smoothies for skeptical people and they love them. The secret: no chunks!

The greens go down smooth, and I know I’m contributing to someone’s health without forcing them to gulp something down uncomfortably.

Also, I get this question a lot – the Blendtec and the Vitamix are very comparable blenders, and I definitely recommend you get whichever one you personally prefer. Either way, you’re getting a high end blender that’s going to last you for years to come.

Food Processors That Make Tasty Meals

I happen to have a Magic Bullet, but to be honest since I got my vitamix I haven’t used another type of food processor. It’s enough to handle my blending and processing needs.

That being said, after getting a blender, I think it’s a good investment to have a food processor. If you are shopping for a new raw foodie who doesn’t yet have a food processor, I recommend the Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus Food Processor.

Raw Food Dehydrator for Crunchy Treats

excalibur-dehydrator

This is the cadillac of food dehydrators, it’s the Excalibur 3900 Deluxe Series 9 Tray Food Dehydrator. I’ve had mine for a few years now and I love having it to make raw crackers, cookies, breads, kale chips, and other dehydrated snacks.

You can also buy them second hand, or opt for a cheaper smaller version. Most dehydrators don’t come with a temperature setting though, but the Excalibur does.

breville-juicer-gift

Fresh Juicer for The Juice Loving Raw Foodie

I picked up a Breville Juice Fountain about a year ago and I love how quickly it juices and how easy it is to clean. One of the benefits is that it’s a good quality juicer, for a pretty fair price.

It also has a wider opening, so you don’t need to cut fruits or vegetables as small to get them juiced. It’s also super quick, so you don’t need to spend 20 minutes a day juicing, and it’s also easy to clean and assemble.

omega-juicer-gift

The juicer I own is the Omega J8005 Nutrition Center Single-Gear Commercial Masticating Juicer. What I like about it is that you can use it to make green juice, and other treats like nut butters, raw fruit sorbets and ice creams, and baby food.

It’s got a heftier price tag, but because it uses a mastication system you’re actually getting more juice for your buck. Before I got this blender I always cringed when I saw how much juice was left in the pulp. Now the pulp is totally dry.

Pasta Making Spiralizer & Spiral Slicer

raw-spiral-slicer

One of the easy and delicious raw recipes that gets a lot of raw foodies excited is raw pasta! This type of pasta is usually made from spiral sliced vegetables like zucchinis or spaghetti squash.

After using a spiralizer, you get angel hair pasta! Or at least something that imitates the texture and look of pasta, but tastes light and delicious.

If the raw food lover in your circle doesn’t have a spiral slicer yet, you can go with a basic Saladacco Spiral Slicer or a more advanced Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer.

The Homemade Icecream Maker

raw-ice-cream-maker

Okay, so you can make raw ice cream using a vitamix, an omega juicer, and a food processor. Why do you need a specialized icecream maker you ask? Well apparently, we raw inclined folks like to collect kitchen gadgets… Just kidding!

With a specialized ice cream maker you can blend up the raw ingredients you like, then add them to the ice cream maker to get fluffed up. This is very different from soft serve ice creams you can make with the vitamix, the juicers, and the food processors.

I rest my case. This is the Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker.

(And no, this is in no way a hint to my boyfriend or family members. Ahem. Seriously, though.)

Raw Ingredients or Superfoods

organic-raw-maca-powder

Most raw folks love to create in the kitchen and these ingredients are so much fun to experiment with! If you’re not familiar with what types of raw ingredients or superfoods you should get the raw foodist in your family or friends circle, here’s a quick run down.

Gift Certificates to Raw Food Restaurants

If you live near a raw restaurant, or are planning to travel near one then gift certificates make a great gift! What better way then to try some fun new raw dishes than by eating out at a raw restaurant.

There are tons of other raw restaurants out there too, so do a google search or look at Happy Cow to find ones in your area!

Gifts for Raw Moms with Kids

Raw Recipe Book for Kids

Kid Friendly Raw Recipe Book

This is the perfect gift for busy moms who want to include more raw foods into their kids’ diet. It’s hard enough being a mom, let alone trying to come up with raw recipes your kids will love.

With this ebook you’ll get your kids to join in the raw fun, and get recipes like Chunky Monkey Ice Cream, Froggy Delight Green Smoothie, and Alien Slime Smoothie. Yum!

Give Monkey Mike’s Raw Food Kitchen a Whirl!

snack-catchers

Kid-Engineered Snack Containers

These little Munchkin Snack Catchers are great when you’re on the go with younger kids. You can easily feed your kids munchables like grapes, berries, nuts, and seeds, without making a mess!

Your children can take out as many of the small snacks as they want, and there isn’t as much of a chance of spilling grapes all over the floor.

Giving Goodwill by Adopting a Family in Need

Master J. Begin wrote this short piece about giving to someone in need this holiday season.

This Christmas is going to be a real Christmas for us! Our group has decided to adopt a couple of families that truly are in need and the entire team will pitch in by donating gifts and food so they can have a wonderful Christmas.

The concept is easy: get in touch with a local childcare agency or church and ask if they know of a family that could use help this Christmas. Find out the number of family members and their gender, and voila you have your adopted family.

This concept can be used in your workplace or in any group. It is making this Christmas so exciting and fun for us! Imagine a wave of giving taking place across the nation… And it becomes a blizzard of goodwill!

Green & Eco Friendly Gifts

When I asked about green and eco gifts, @DRumbold had some great suggestions! Here they are. If you’re planning on hosting or would like a lovely eco-friendly bouquet of flowers, then Harmony Hill Gardens is the place to go.

Dorinda also recommended Eco Friendly Apparel from Green Changes. They’ve got some nice t-shirts that I’m sure some raw foodies would enjoy.

And of course you should check out some of Dorinda’s recycled green handmade soap. It’s just gorgeous, and will keep even the most adventurous raw foodies squeaky clean.

Another great gift idea for raw foodies is to buy JoeyFiveCents’ repurposed vintage jewelry. There are also a slew of other great small handmade gifts available on Etsy. I personally need to restrain myself from visiting the Etsy site, since there’s so much goodness there.

Another great place to shop for green and eco products is Carla Rose’s Green & Chic online shop. She’s got a variety of beauty products and other environmentally friendly gifts for the raw foodie in your life.

What Do You Intend to Give This Holiday Season?

Even though this gift guide is all about the material gifts we can give each other, I want to remind us that giving and receiving can take place in other ways too.

Being there for someone through thick and thin, providing love and support, being a good friend or family member, these are all great gifts! These are gifts that cannot be replaced by material things.

So go ahead, let us know what you intend to give this holiday season… no matter what type of gift it is. And feel free to share this list with those who could use some inspiration.

Love, Nathalie

Originally published November 2009.

New to Raw Food? Top Five Blog Posts to Get You Started

If you’re new to raw food and don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place! Here are my top 5 blog posts to get you started.

Is It Necessary To Go 100% Raw?
In this post I go through the different options for incorporating a raw diet. Explore the best way to bring more a more vibrant raw diet into your life.

13 Witchy Ways Green Smoothies Help You Feel Great All In Less Than 13 Minutes
Green Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to incorporate more raw into your world. Find out how and why green smoothies are raw magic!

Go Raw or Die Trying?
Often we feel we need to go all or nothing when trying new things. Find out how to make lasting healthy changes that will keep you going on your raw food journey.

21 Ways to Sneak More Vegetables Into Your Diet
Whether you’re a long-time raw foodist or just starting to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle, this post give you creative ideas to beef-up your daily vegetables intake.

9 Ways Raw Food Changed My Life
More than helping you to look and feel better, incorporating more raw foods in your diet can have surprising other benefits.

As you step into your raw food journey you might find yourself drawn back to the dark side with those pesky cravings. Check out my online course I’ve put together to help Cure Cravings Forever! And for that love of sweets replace those unhealthy desserts with delicious 30 Healthy Desserts You Can Eat Every Day and rediscover the magic of eating healthy!

Dangers of eating raw meat

There has been a lot of debate whether raw meat is safe to eat. Raw meat might sound scary, but you have probably consumed some without realizing it: rare steak at a steakhouse, steak tartare at a fine French restaurant, or sashimi at your favorite sushi bar. However, extreme caution must be taken when consuming raw meat, as our bodies are not built to combat the bacteria that might be found in uncooked animal product.

This article was originally published by Sakai City Institute of Public Health in 2007. It details a case where 4 family members contracted acute gastroenteritis from consuming raw meat and raw liver.

Here is the published article from Sakai City Institute of Public Health

An Outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis Suspected to be Related to Contaminated Food

Of course, this case is an isolated incident, and it should not be taken as evidence that ALL raw meat will cause adverse health reactions. However, we highly recommend purchasing meat from quality sources, such as all grass-fed beef with no antibiotics/hormones. It is also a good idea to ask the butcher whether the meat can be eaten raw/rare.