Summer Personal Update + Contest

Important: Please read to the end of this post for a special summer wrap up contest! It’s super easy to enter, so read on!

It’s been awhile since I wrote a personal update about what’s going on in my life. A lot has changed in these past few months, and I wanted to give you a little glimpse into my summer.

I Traveled, and I Met Mother Nature


In June I went to Miami with Robin, where we went scuba diving for the first time. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life! It shifted both our opinions on fish and sea creatures.

Even though I’ve always had a fear of sharks from watching Jaws too many times as a kid… I remained calm when we met a shark underwater. It was kind of peaceful, go figure!


In August we went camping in the Algonquin park of Northern Ontario. We didn’t see any bears, but we did hear the loons. Let me tell you that it’s really beautiful to hear with your own ears, as opposed to watching it on TV.


I Got Media Attention

The publishing world moves a little slower than the online world I’m used to. Even though I’ve known for awhile that I was going to be published in magazines like Viva, Tonic, and The Edge, the issues are just coming out now.


I’ve become a regular contributor for Tonic, and I run the Inspired Living column in Viva magazine. I’m also featured as one of 25 passionate women entrepreneurs in the book “The T-shirt to Prove It”.


Oh, and I recently got nominated in the Best of Canada Natural Health Awards. Life is good.

(That’s what I call bragging, thanks for indulging me!)

I Adopted a Dog


Millie is our little bundle of rescue-dog joy. She’s adapted really well to our apartment and the nearby parks. She loves to chase the geese, even though they’re bigger than she is.


I also got a taste of what having a kid is like between bath time, feeding, and bathroom breaks. Millie isn’t too keen on getting bathed, just look at that pouty face!


With the new dog we also took the opportunity to re-arrange the apartment. It feels a lot more FengShui now. Even though Robin isn’t into that kind of thing, he likes the new arrangements too. ;)

I Programmed My Witchy Butt Off

2006 Programming

Even though I thought programming was behind me, I put on my software engineer hat and programmed my butt off. This is me in 2006 during my undergraduate degree in software engineering.

This summer I programmed something that’s really near and dear to my heart. It’s designed to make eating healthy super easy, and although it’s currently in beta I can’t wait to wave my programmer flag and show the world.

I MCed, and Hung Out with Raw Superstars

Bif Naked Raw Food

In June, I helped out at the Simply Raw Festival in Ottawa, where I MCed on the main stage. I had to improvise for an hour because one of the speakers was stuck in traffic. Luckily, I also took Improv classes this summer… so I was able to keep the crowd entertained.

I met one of my childhood music heroines, Bif Naked. She spoke at the festival about her journey with raw food, and we laughed about her dog’s bowel movements together.


In August, Robin and I learned from the superfood champion himself, David Wolfe. He showed us how to identify different edible mushrooms, as well as mushrooms used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

David walked barefoot in the woods, and we wore our Vibram FiveFingers. I swam in the nearby lake and munched on superfood chocolate. Yum yum.

Something Big is Brewing…

So while I was out there living my life, I realized that something had changed. All of these life experiences have led me to a realization. This is something that really revolutionizes the way that people will think about diet, raw food, and health.

It has nothing to do with juicing, fasting, supplements, superfoods, or will power (gimme a break!).

I’ll explain my big epiphany in the next post, so stay tuned!

Summer Wrap Up Contest!

Raw Food Made Easy
Ani's Raw Food Kitchen

Now that I’ve told you what I’ve been up to this summer… it’s time for you to let me know what you’ve been up to!

To sweeten up the pot a little, I’m giving away a raw food book to one lucky winner! And since I’m feeling extra generous, if we get over 75 comments, I’ll give away two.

So to increase your chances of winning a raw food book with super fun recipes, tell your friends and family about this site. Tweet it out on twitter. Post about it on Facebook.

The contest is over and the winners have been announced! Click here to see who they are!

Love, Nathalie

Everything is Relative, Including Food

If you’ve been following my journey on the Master Cleanse, then you know I’ve been fasting for 9 days so far. Today I decided to end my fast and eat something that didn’t taste like lemons.

Before I get into it, I wanted to share a little story about my “food relativity” theory.

It all Started with Climbing The Great Wall of China…

Nathalie at the Great Wall of China

In October of 2008, my boyfriend and I visited China. My boyfriend being from China, happened to know the cure for jetlag.

No sleeping during daytime.

Hmm, works in theory, but if you’re trying to switch over your internal clock from 3am to 3pm, you’re going to want a nap.

No problem! My boyfriend decided to do one of the most exciting things that does not allow time for naps.

Climbing the great wall of China, of course!

So here we are, climbing this massive and might I add very steep wall… and getting hungrier by the minute.

We ate some fruits before we started the climb, but by the time we reached the top we were completely famished. (The top is also a relative concept. The Great Wall keeps going and going, much like a certain bunny.)

Luckily, this story ends well. With a little forethought and planning, we were armed with two ginormous peaches.

When I sat down to take a bite of that peach, it was pure heaven.

I’d wager it was one of the most delicious peaches I’ve ever had, if not one of the most satisfying meals.

Actually, the peach was so big and satisfying that I could only eat half.

The First Thing you eat after you Break a Fast

Today I experienced a very similar feeling when I ate some solid food for the first time in days.

I’m pretty sure it’s not that I picked the best cucumber, or the best banana in the world.

It’s that I hadn’t eaten, and I was really looking forward to these fruits and veggies. Coincidentally, I felt great chewing and eating that banana and those cucumber slices.

My Food Relativity Theory

After looking over these two experiences and many more similar ones, I’ve come up with a theory.

“The work out and anticipation before you eat determine how good your food tastes.”

If you’ve just swam 30 laps, that post workout smoothie is really going to hit the spot.

After a fast, those few bites of food are going to feel like the food of the heavens.

This can work both ways though. If you just ate a nice full meal, but really want something else… that extra snack might not be as satisfying, or tasty.

I’ve also had the experience of devouring food that I didn’t really like (read: health-nut food) because I was so famished. That was before learning about raw food, now all my “healthy food” tastes pretty darned good.

I truly believe that our body is great at sending us signals, and this whole “food taste/experience” relativity is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce!

Have You Ever Experienced This Before?

I’m curious to know if you’ve ever had a similar experience. Whether you were amazed at how satisfying something was, or you just didn’t like that 6th chocolate chip cookie, let me know!

Love, Nathalie

From Cookie Monster to Glowing Raw Power

Mini Monster Cookie

Growing up my mom called me the cookie monster. I ate chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, sugary granola bars for snacks, and candy every chance I got.

Somehow despite all my bad eating habits I retained my skinny body. I was so skinny I was often teased at school.

Acne and Skin Problems

But it didn’t stop there; I had severe acne very early on. I kept seeing dermatologist after doctor, and every time I would ask if my eating habits had anything to do with my bad skin. Each time the answer was no.

All of these so-called experts were telling me that my skin problems and my low energy had nothing to do with what I ate. So I kept drinking soft drinks, eating cookies, peanut butter sandwiches, hamburgers, and ignoring the vegetable and fruit groups almost entirely.

I went on the birth control pill and for a time my skin improved. I wasn’t blemish free, but it was at least livable. After starting on the pill, my usual too-skinny body bulked up. In one summer I gained 20 pounds.

Everyone thought I looked healthier, because I was “too thin” before. I just ignored all of these changes, choosing to focus on my studies instead.

The College Freshman 15

My weight increased sharply during my first year away from home at college. I didn’t like the food at the cafeteria, and was forced into a meal plan. Not wanting to waste my meal plan I ate a combination of fried chicken, pizza, and pastas.

The “freshman 15” didn’t look good on me. I covered up in big sweatshirts and baggy pants, a departure from my tight fitting jeans and trendy shirts.

I just didn’t feel good anymore. I was focusing so much on my studies, and my health really wasn’t something I really thought about. I tried a few things to bring my chubby tummy back to size: I joined yoga, went for runs, and ate more salads.

Unfortunately nothing really changed, since I was accompanying my salads with chips, chicken, and fried cheese sticks.

I was into witches early on
I was my Witchy self pretty young.

My journey to health really began during my first summer internship. One morning I woke up and fainted in the bathroom. I came to and looked up at the ceiling, and I was lying next to the toilet. I didn’t know what was wrong with me.

“I knew something had to change.”

I took the morning off from work and went to see the doctor. He wasn’t able to tell me anything and asked what I had eaten the night before. Hamburger and macaroni. He sent me home saying that maybe I needed to get air conditioning in my apartment. (I was living in Montreal, Canada and I can assure you the temperature had nothing to do with it.)

That same summer I started getting extreme rashes on my stomach. No doctor could tell me anything about this mysterious rash. My mom and I thought maybe I was allergic to a slightly itchy shirt. Later I would find out that taking birth control pills can destroy intestinal flora and cause candida, and feeding the yeast with sugar (or stuff that turns to sugar like carbs) might show up as a rash.

By the end of the summer I had done some research about nutrition and had increased my intake of fruits. I also started running every morning, and was feeling better.

You mean, vegetables can taste good?!

That fall I met my boyfriend, and coming from a Chinese background he confessed to absolutely loving vegetables. I thought he was crazy to talk so well of vegetables, but I started to eat more of them when we ate together.

That year I stumbled upon the concept of raw and living foods, but I didn’t have much of a reason to go “all raw.” I started drinking green smoothies the following fall. I drank a green smoothie (or brown, as they sometimes turn out) every day for 6-7 months.

Then something happened that shocked me into change. One of my aunts suddenly passed away. I still remember hearing the news, clutching the phone, and nodding solemnly as my parents explained what happened. She had been overweight and struggling with heart conditions, and she suffered a shortness of breath, and wasn’t able to get enough air and fell into a coma. She didn’t make it.

I need to mention that this aunt of mine was not the first of my relatives who passed away through degenerative disease. In the years of my childhood and young adulthood I attended more funerals than I care to recall.

My father’s twin brother died of a heart attack when I was 5 years old. Every few years one of my father’s siblings seemed to pass away due to heart conditions. Looking into my father’s eyes, I knew I didn’t want the same to happen to him.

Happy Raw Nathalie

I vowed to find something that I could do to prevent or reverse all of these heart conditions. And no, Coumadin and drugs weren’t cutting it, thank you very much.

How I Chose to Go Raw

That’s when I decided to go 100% raw, just to try it out for 30 days. What I discovered was incredible: I felt better, my skin cleared up, I lost all of the excess weight I was holding, and my moods improved considerably.

My parents thought I had gone off the deep end. But eventually my dad decided to increase his raw food intake, and he went “raw until dinner.” He lost 12 pounds in the first 2-3 weeks, his skin looked younger, and he had more energy.

His constant acid reflux, indigestion, and heart burn vanished. He used to have a pinching pain in his heart several times per day, but after eating more raw food the pain just went away.

I knew I was onto something. I keep going with raw food, but decided I needed a way to share it with other people without scaring them off. There is no need to see the raw food diet as an extreme and limiting way of eating.

Quite the contrary, raw food has really helped me to discover new types of fruits and vegetables that I had never even heard of before. I have a much more varied diet now than I did before. Thinking back I know that my main food groups were: chicken, wheat, potato, and sugar. Not exactly as balanced as we make it out to be.

Thank you for reading my story.

Love, Nathalie

Go Raw or Die Trying?

The other day I came across a Facebook group called “Go Raw or Die Trying”. Since when did going raw become such a do or die situation?

Go Raw or Die Trying
Photo by Bram Cymet

I believe we should be nice to ourselves and our bodies. That means not killing yourself trying to reach the idealized concept of being a 100% raw foodist.

Be Gentle With Yourself

A lot of people when they first learn about raw foods, decide to commit to it completely. That’s exactly what I did when I first learned about raw food.

I chose to be 100% raw or nothing at all. And while I think it’s important to give yourself a 30 day trial on raw foods, I don’t think you should kill yourself trying to be perfect.

After all, we are only human. We have moments of weakness, and we all have things to work through. We all have issues with food that we probably didn’t know we had, which tend to surface when we start eating raw.

Eating raw foods really brings up all these old emotional patterns, whether they have anything to do with food or not.

There’s No Raw Food Police

That’s why I always say there’s no raw food police. I think that raw food is great as an ideal to work toward, but being at 100% raw and killing yourself is much worse than the alternative.

If you can eat 75% to 90% raw, without the guilt trips, without pulling your hair out, and without causing too much trouble in your household, isn’t it much better?

Raw Food Police
Photo by Nik Worthley

Whenever we choose to make changes in our life, we should understand where we’re coming from. If you’ve been eating a highly processed or standard American diet for the last 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years, how can you expect to go raw overnight?

You have to give your body and your emotions, time to catch up with your newly adjusted mental model.

Oh, and by the way food definitely has an impact on our emotions. So you’ll want to make sure that you’re not so hard on yourself.

All Or Nothing vs. A Commitment

Sometimes it’s better to transition into raw foods slowly. Just like you wouldn’t try to run a marathon after years of inactivity without practicing first.

You wouldn’t want to overburden your body with the task of taking out the trash (all the toxins you’ve been gathering over the years) overnight.

When you go raw, there are so many different things that take place.

You’ve got to make different choices in your everyday life, and that’s going to bring up some resistance for yourself and for the rest of the people in your life.

You’ll also experience different physical changes. You might start losing weight, you might be bloated or gassy, you might sleep better or wake up in the middle of the night. You might have cravings, feel hunger pains, or lack energy.

All of these things are perfectly normal, but if you’re taking the stance of needing to be in this 100% raw, you might decide that it’s all too much at once and give up.

Going Raw At Your Own Pace

You have to understand that you’ll still be here in a year from now. So any small changes that you make right now will benefit you in the long term.

So even if you can just cut out coffee, and replace it with a green smoothie or green juice in the morning, you’re doing yourself a great service.

Building up small changes over the long term is a great way to include more raw foods into your diet, without causing you too much emotional stress.

Not to mention that taking it easy, is better for the people in your life. You don’t want to scare them or make them think that you’re going all crazy extremist on them, when they still enjoy eating steak.

What you want is to come up with an action plan that you will follow. You can do a 30 day raw trial, because that will give you motivation and results right away.

Your skin will get clear, your eyes will be brighter, you’ll lose weight if you have to, or gain weight if you need it, you’ll have more energy and you’ll sleep better.

But if you decide that after 30 days it’s going to be tough to keep going, then ease back to maybe 90% raw or 80% raw if that makes you more comfortable.

Because aren’t we all doing this raw food thing for a few simple reasons? We want to be healthier, and we want to live in a safe and healthy environment. So don’t make your environment more toxic by trying to go raw or die trying.

Raw Food Transition Carnival #1: General Feel Good Raw Food Edition

Raw Food Transition Blog Carnival #1
Photo by Sarah

Welcome to the March, 2009 edition of the Raw Food Transition Carnival.

This is the very first edition of this ongoing carnival. If you’re new to blog carnivals, the concept is essentially like an online magazine composed of individual blog posts, and published monthly at a blog!

I really hope you will enjoy discovering new raw food blogs, and maybe reading one of the blog author’s favorite blog posts! I think we got some awesome resources here for people at all different stages in their raw food journey.

Going Raw

Raw Girl Too presents My Journey posted at Raw Girl too!.

Sabrina Susen presents Ego Getting In Way of Healing posted at Raw Foods and Stuff.

Debbie Took presents RawforLife Blog: Are some foods ‘better for us’ cooked? posted at RawforLife Blog.

Lenette Nakauchi presents How To Save More Time and Money on the Raw Food Diet posted at Go Raw Have Fun!.

Emma Deangela presents All You Need To Know About Lemonade Master Cleanse posted at Lemonade Master Cleanse.

Raw Psychology

Amanda Taylor-Snelson presents Commitment
posted at Raw Living Arts.

Pamela Reilly, Naturopath & Living Food Life Coach, CNHP, CPH presents Taming the Roaring Lion of Food Temptation posted at Rawvolutionary Healing, saying, “Information about what causes those nasty cravings with tips for successfully combating them.”

Tiffany Washko presents The Live Food Factor posted at Goddess of the Garden – A Raw Food Blog.


Raw Recipes

Susan Powers presents Raw Strawberry Banana Crepes! posted at Rawmazing, saying, “Love these on Sunday mornings!”

[email protected] presents Eurasian Spring Roll Salad posted at SimplyForties.

Raw Vegan Foodie presents Vanilla Pudding posted at Raw Vegan Foodie.

John Duke presents Acai Berry – Common Questions Answered posted at Pure Acai – Acai Berry Info Blog, saying, “The acai berry is a small berry about the size of a grape.”

Participate In The Next Carnival

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Raw Food Transition Carnival using our
carnival submission form. The next carnival will be all about smoothies, so let’s get some awesome smoothie-related blog posts together!

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Link To The Carnival

If you would like to link to the blog carnival, to get more people involved, just place one of these banners in your blog’s sidebar! Thanks, I really appreciate it. :)




Copy the code shown above, and you will automatically link to the Raw Food Switch Transition Carnival page! Thank you, and I hope to read your articles at the next raw food blog carnival right here at Raw Food Switch.