An Interview with Raw Food Expert Stephanie Jeffs
I've been following this wonderful woman on social media for a while now and she always inspires me with her artistically presented raw food pictures, you would never believe by looking at it that it hadn't been cooked. I contacted Stephanie while she was in Portugal on one of her famous Explore Raw Detox Retreats which she organises for people who want to explore raw, lose weight, feel more energised and get fit and healthy through a detox, I so need to book myself on one in the near future. She kindly agreed to answer a few questions on her return.
1. What made you decide to become a raw explorer?
I had been getting into juicing and loving the results it was giving me! I was enjoying losing weight and getting healthier, my skin was improving and I had more energy. previously I had been an unhealthy vegetarian and wanted to eat cleaner - a raw plant based diet made so much sense to me it seemed the obvious next step following periods of juicing. It was at an Anthony Robbins seminar that I decoded to commit to going full on 'Raw'! It was a moment of motivation that led me to committing to doing one whole year of living on a completely raw plant based programme. I had done spells of raw before for lent or just as a cleanse but not 100% for such a long period. I didn't follow any structures programme. i tried to learn one new recipe a day. It was a really big learning curve!
2. How long have you been a raw explorer?
I count my time sine I started getting serious about juicing - because juicing and raw go hand in hand for me - since 2009 - so for 5 years.
3. What are the benefits of eating raw?
The benefits are limitless! Clear mind, clear diet, clean body - lots of energy, weight loss, health improvement.... it's a very natural way to eat and to be a conscious consumer on this planet.
4. Does your partner/husband eat raw?
He isn't raw. He is a very healthy eater and loves juicing. He could juice and eat fruit all day but wants something cooked in the evening so I would say he is 'raw til 4'. He doesn't really eat any meat other than an occasional chicken which I am trying to move him away from! We love eating together and creating a massive table of salads, juices and potatoes. So I guess I am lucky that he's not a pie and chips kind of guy. That just wouldn't work lol!
5. Have you noticed any changes in health or appearance since you made this decision? And what were they?
Yes! I lost lots of weight, 9 stones in total but most importantly I allowed my body to balance itself. I used to have polycystic ovaries and suffered badly with this. Now I no longer have any symptoms from this incurable disease. My energy levels are higher and I think I generally tend to live life with a bit more clarity. I am more awake.
6. Is raw food all about eating salads and raw vegetables?
Not in the slightest! That would bore me to tears! Juicing alone gives you an amazing cocktail of juices and smoothies to choose from! It's a great way to eat for those who love to play with their food! Once you learn a few raw food preparation techniques you can made some amazing nutritious ad delicious meals such as spaghetti bolognese, cheesecakes, chocolate muffins, fudge... the list is endless.
7. How time consuming is raw food to prepare?
Depending on what you are making. Smoothie and juices a couple of minutes. Fruit is the fastest fast food on the planet. other receipes require you to soak nuts overnight and then dehydrate foods (making crckers for example). You don't really think of it as a chore though as once you have established a routine it's just how you do things. if you've never seen a kettle before and don't own tea bags or mugs then making a cup of tea is a challenge that most people wouldn't be bothered with. It's the same with raw foods. get the right kit in and learn a few techniques and you are flying! A great bonus is that you never have to face a pile of greasy difficult to clean dishes. Big fat bonus!
8. How did you cope with eating out with friends/family?
Easily! I either join them or I don't! I do eat some cooked foods from time to time I am not 100% raw anymore. My diet is about 90% raw. So if I decide that tonight I will join in with the pizza I just do it! I went to a family party some time ago and the buffet was an array of sausage rolls, sandwiches and crisps. It's times like that when I face an issue. But I just grabbed a plate and came back to the table with a huge plate of greens. Everyone looked puzzled and said - where did you come from? 'garnish' I said, I went around the room of plates and picked the garnish salad and tomatoes from the buffet plates. No one else was eating it. if you want to eat healthy there is always a way!
9. How did you overcome your cravings for cooked food?
I rarely have cooked food cravings. The less you have it the less you want it. But If I have a craving - I eat it. I have things like baked sliced potatoes from time to time. My dehydrator is on the top of my hob so I don't use pans anymore. All my pans are up in the loft. I only oven cook if I need to. To be honest my kitchen is so well stocked with raw gorgeousness this is not usually an issues. I never eat dairy, gluten, pasta, meat... never.
10. Do you need special equipment and can you use everyday kitchen appliances?
All you need to be raw is a knife and an imagination but loads of everyday appliances can be used. Blenders, food processors, juicers... the only 'raw' kit thats probably specific to a raw diet is a spiraliser for making spaghetti out of pretty much any vegetable, and a dehydrator for drying crackers but these really are optional because you can make 'pasta' ribbons with a vegetable peeler and use your oven for drying once you know how.
11. If someone was thinking of transitioning into eating raw, what advice would you give them?
Go for it! Try to think about all that gorgeous food you are adding to your diet - not the food that you think you are missing out on! There really is no healthier way to eat.
12. Is there anything you would like to add?
Whilst I was reading Stephanie's responses, I was really inspired by her remarkable recovery from PCOS (polycystics ovarisn syndrome) I'm sure it will inspirer anyone suffering from this horrible disease, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you can heal yourself through food then I am all for it. I myself stuffer from IBS & also have Fibriods so will be incorporating a raw plant based diet into my life.
A real big 'THANK YOU' to Stephanie for taking the time to answers these questions, she really made me come to terms with some of my worries about raw food and I hope after reading this you have been inspired to give raw a try.
Have you healed yourself through a change of diet? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
You can connect with Stephanie on Facebook and Twitter or you can visit her website here, to find out about her Raw Juice Camp / Detox Retreats and various other amazing things she has on offer.
Thanks for reading.
Live Long, Stay healthy.
* Photo Credits: Explore Raw