At the beginning of the year I became a raw vegan, and over the past six months I have received tons of emails from people interested in learning more about my raw vegan life. I have to say, I get the same questions over and over!
Why on earth would you want to be a raw vegan?
I decided to go vegan because of ethical and health reasons. All I have to do is watch one minute of one of those documentaries about animal abuse and I know why I am vegan and probably will be for the rest of my life. I decided to go raw with the main goal of improving my health (as well as my spirituality). The theory behind eating raw is that raising a food's temperature above 118 degrees can destroy valuable enzymes that aid in your body's absorption of nutrients. I believe that eating a diet that is chiefly comprised of live plant foods will allow your body to operate at optimal health.
Where do you get your protein?
I believe that the whole protein thing is overblown! Yes, we need protein but not the amounts we have been led to believe. Have you ever known anyone with a protein deficiency? It is my belief that we can get the amount of protein our body needs from plants. I also believe nearly all vegetables, nuts and seeds contain some -- and often, enough -- protein.
What do you feed your family?
Going into this experience, I did not expect my family to be raw, vegan or even vegetarian. I respect each person as an individual and I have the belief that we are each on our own life path. I do, however, hope that I can inspire others to eat more plants.
At dinnertime, I make my family dinner and I make my own dinner. Many nights, my dinner looks so alive and beautiful that my kids (ages 5 and 7) will ask me if they can try something off my plate. My 5- year-old son -- a very picky eater!-- now loves romaine lettuce with balsamic dressing, a major step. My daughter now loves my raw nori rolls. They contain turnip rice -- how would she ever be exposed to raw turnips otherwise? All I hope for are these little steps and little seeds of inspiration!
What do you eat on a typical day?
I usually keep it light in the morning -- some fruit and a green juice is pretty standard. I do get hungry around 11:00 a.m. and I will sometimes have a small salad. At lunchtime, I usually have some raw veggies or another salad. In the afternoon I usually crave something sweet. I might have some raw macaroons, or one of my new favorite raw treats, called a Hail Merry Miracle Tart. I swear, they are better than any non-raw dessert! Then for dinner I usually eat one of the following: nori rolls, a big salad, sunflower seed pate, lettuce wraps, guacamole with raw chips, or zucchini pasta. During the day if I am hungry and want a snack I might grab some nuts or fruit.
Where do you find support, inspiration and other raw friends?
Social media has had a profound effect on our ability to connect with like-minded people. I can't get enough of the raw world online. I watch lots of videos. I also have a whole group of online raw and vegan friends. This has been one of the big contributors to my success.
What do you eat when you go out?
Going out is not that bad since I always order a salad. I will ask the waitress to have the chef throw on any raw veggies he may have in the kitchen. I also absolutely love going to raw restaurants. I am very fortunate that there is an amazing one not too far away from me: Catch a Healthy Habit, in Fairfield, Conn. They have some of the best burgers and spring rolls I have ever had! There are also some amazing raw food restaurants in N.Y.C. Going to one is such a fun experience! I highly recommend it, as you can learn a tremendous amount about the raw food life from a visit to a raw food restaurant.
What changes have you noticed in yourself since you became a raw vegan?
There are many changes: my blood pressure is the lowest it has been in 15 years, I am 45 pounds lighter, my skin looks better than it did when I was in my 20s, and most importantly, I don't fret about my health anymore. I feel completely and utterly healthy. I feel as though I am peeling away the layers, not just of fat, but emotional layers as well. I also have noticed a big change in my taste buds. I now crave live, colorful food and I can actually feel the energetic vibration of food now. The thought of a big pot of overcooked, lifeless soup is completely unappealing to me.
How have you been able to stick to this?
I do have to say that the ability to drink a glass of wine once in a while, enjoy raw chocolate, and eat guacamole and (raw) chips is what makes it doable for me. These are three things I probably could not have done it without! But overall, being raw just works for me. I'm not sure if I will be 99% raw forever, but it resonates with me right now, and I am quite certain I will be a vegan for the rest of my life. My new life mission: Do the least harm! Live the longest!
Follow Sandy Henson Corso on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sandycorso