Lions don’t cook their buck before they eat it. Monkeys don’t like their banana fried. And we don’t see horses wanting their carrots well done. Animals are instinctive and know best. Food should be eaten RAW because cooking it destroys the very nutrients that we need.

But humans have become so spoilt, with our BAKED potato, GRILLED cheese, ROASTED red pepper hummus, that 90% of the food we consume is cooked. And then we complain about having vitamin deficiencies, picking up weight, and feeling tired all the time.

Have you ever eaten a HUGE (albeit delicious) brunch, and then wanted to do nothing but go horizontal? It happens to all of us, even those of us eating vegan food. It’s because our bodies have to now work 10 x harder to digest the food because we have destroyed the enzymes by cooking it. In addition, with most veggies, there is little nutritional value in cooked foods. BUT (there’s always a but) there are some foods, like carrots, butternut and beans that actually gain nutritional value when they are cooked. Therefore I am advocating a diet that incorporates more raw food, rather than a 100% raw diet. Also because I personally LOVE my roasted red pepper hummus! 😀

But since I am a research addict, I’ve come across a few important tips that I’d like to share if you are going to try eating more raw. I’m also on my second week long raw detox, so I can provide some useful inside info directly from the cupcake lovers mouth J

Fruit MUST be eaten on an empty stomach. If you eat fruit after a meal, you will experience digestive problems, because fruit doesn’t need to be broken down as much as other foods, and will pass through the system almost immediately. But not if you’ve eaten baked beans on toast beforehand. The fruit will get stuck behind the cooked food that gets held up being broken down a lot longer, resulting in sometimes painful indigestion.

If you are going to go completely raw for a detox, you will be hungry, all the time. Your body will be adapting to the healthier foods, and you will feel the need to eat a lot more than normal. Don’t be afraid. Give in to your rumbling belly. It’s OK to eat tons of raw fruit and veggies all day, but limit your intake of nuts and dried fruit. I eat about 8 portions a day on the raw detox.

Keep it interesting. If you eat the same thing every single day, you will get bored and not want to eat healthily. So change it up daily, and eat different things every day. I have my favorites – grapes, blueberries and apples, but I experiment with different smoothie flavors every day.

Invest in a blender. The blender will make being raw MUCH easier. I have 3. Yes 3. I use them to make yummy cashew cream cheese, smoothies and soups.

And obviously, stock up your pantry. Buy tons and tons of fruit and veggies. Be sure to buy your bananas a little un-ripened, because they spoil so quickly. Celery, carrots and cucumbers taste delicious with cashew cream as a dipper. Baby corn and mange-tout make for a crunchy midday snack. Spinach and banana combined with a cup of homemade almond milk result in an unbelievably yummy smoothie.

So after 5 days of the raw detox, I’ve lost 1.5 kgs (the belly bulk I was trying to get rid of); I’ve had excellent energy levels – I’ve been waking up at 5:30, going to a spinning class daily, working a full day and studying for a good 3 hours in the evenings. I haven’t felt this happy and energetic in a while. I have a little spring in my step too and feel more confident about my body.

And tonight, I am treating myself to what promises to be an amaaaazing raw vegan pizza.

Fresh spinach topped off with pesto, tomatoes, Earthshines’ homemade nut cheese, and finished off with delectable dehydrated olives, all set on a raw vegan gluten free seed base covered with a tomato purée is no doubt the best way to finish off a raw detox. The verdict on Vivo is in, and it is simply FANTASTIC! This, without a doubt, is better than your regular cheese pizza. The combination of flavors and the sweetness of the dried olives (by the way I usually do NOT eat olives, but I can’t get enough of these) results in a burst of yumminess in your mouth that you simply cannot describe.

They prove that raw food can be extremely satisfying and is far from boring as some would say. To the brilliant minds who created this pizza, my tummy salutes you.

If you live in Cape Town, you MUST try a Vivo Pizza. They deliver to many collection points around the city free of charge and have different and interesting toppings every week, but deliciousness is always guaranteed! Check them out here

I hope that you will all try eating more raw food, and please share your experiences and tips with me!

Check out these links for more info on raw eating.







The vegan soldier

When I became 100% intentionally vegan 9 months ago, it was like a whole new world had opened up to me. I was happier, I experimented with cooking and baking more than ever before, and I felt healthier, fitter and more energized. But my conscience benefitted too because I thought I was making a difference in the world.

I believed that my lack of consumption of dairy and eggs was helping at least one little calf out there to get the milk she so deserves. I saw a proud mommy cow nudging along her baby as she took her first steps. I pictured a happy little male chick running free and joining his siblings instead of being crushed to death at birth for his gender. I imagined an excited hen, whose eggs had just hatched, clucking to her new babies in excitement, telling them of the free and fun lives they were going to lead.

My mind, body and soul’s reaction to veganism was so enlightening and overwhelming that I felt the need to tell people about it, have them understand why I did it, how easy it was, and how amazing I felt. When asked, I usually said I did it to be healthier, because at the time, I didn’t feel I should preach to others about my beliefs in animal rights. Because vegans are such a small community, naturally, the first thing I did was join a Facebook page or two, sign up for a few blogs and read a couple of articles online. And that’s when the vegan soldier emerged.

Once being an extremely squeamish person, and so against looking at pictures of tortured animals, I now spend a lot of time doing just that. I realized the reason we feel squeamish and disgusted is because we know our actions are propagating this revolting treatment. Show a meat eater or vegetarian a photo of a pig caged in its own feces or an abused dairy cow and they will proclaim, “NO! Gross, I don’t want to see those kinds of pictures!”

So I started posting actively about veganism – pictures, information, articles, I even started this blog to promote it. I argued with friends and family over it. My loved ones were barraged with my vegan rants. I thought that if people who claimed to love animals could learn about the abuse and torture, they would INSTANTLY stop including animal products in their diet. Exactly the way I and many others have. But alas, I made the mistake of having too much faith in people. I received hateful comments. Condemnation of my lifestyle. Name calling. And worst of all, the response was that people were not going to give up meat, dairy or eggs, and didn’t care a damn about animal rights. They did not care that it was bad for them, the animals OR the environment. They are fuelled only by their need to satisfy their greed. Meat eaters became so defensive of their lifestyle, which further confirmed my belief that they feel concealed guilt for what they eat.

I became disillusioned. Depressed. Faithless. I watched movies about animal cruelty and cried alone in bed thinking it would never end. My posts about veganism dwindled. My thoughts of happy cows and free chickens disappeared. I believed I was not making a difference, and that vegans will always remain an ostracized group of people, who are taunted, laughed at, and called names. Even my cooking became boring, because I was no longer inspired by my lifestyle. I felt my contribution was not making any difference. And that no-one was listening.

Until today.

After seeing an avid abolitionist vegan friend rationally explaining how not being vegan negatively impacts the environment, us, and mostly animals, and on a daily basis promoting veganism through video blogs, tweets and posts, I was reminded that the only way for things to change is through education. After seeing my favorite cruelty free café’s pictures that made my mouth water and tummy rumble, I remembered how delicious and nutritious vegan food is. After seeing the beautiful cupcakes my sister makes to spread the vegan love, I believed we could win this battle one dairy free desert at a time. After seeing meat eating friends who have gone completely vegan overnight and not looked back once, I realized that change is possible. Somewhere out there someone is being inspired to make the change and for the animal kingdom, that’s a win.

We don’t choose this lifestyle for us, we choose it for the animals and we cannot let them down by wallowing in despair.
The new generation is becoming more and more aware of animal rights, environmental issues, and are obsessed with being healthy. They are moving away from the religious teachings that animals are put on earth for our consumption, and starting to see that animals feel just like we do. So we need to have faith in this awakening of the conscience, and trust that one day, some day, maybe even 100 generations from now, veganism will prevail.

We will have a world full of happy cows, pigs, sheep, fish and birds that will live the free lives they dream of, and die a natural death in the company of their loved ones. The way it should be.

I leave you with words from two wise and respected men, who also had ideas that were not considered mainstream, but who today are revered for their out of the box thinking.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” -Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake” – Martin Luther King