I wanted to share with you something that has totally changed my life in the last six months and that is due to mainly changing my lifestyle and diet. By mostly eating Raw Food I am now more focused, much, much happier and I have way more energy. This is the best I have ever felt and since I have been inspired in changing my diet, I thought I’d share with you the story behind it all and how I lost weight unintentionally.
I always found that while travelling around the world, the backpacker hostels always seem to specialise in really standard crap food like burgers, chips, lasagna, pizza and so on. No matter what country I’ve been to it’s always rare to find a hostel that sells any healthy food to so this last year of travel meant me eating a lot of rubbish and not really thinking much more into it until recently.
I have loved trying different types of the local cuisine along the way such as a good old green curry in Thailand, quinoa soup in Bolivia, kebabs in Turkey, awesome flavours in India and ensima throughout many African countries but I always find that when I travel I end up eating out of convenience and there’s no other lazier place to eat than downstairs in the Hostel bar. With travelling comes alcohol and that means socialising a few times a week which means gorging on pizzas and burgers the next day. It was a bit of a rarity to find fruit or veg in a lot of the African countries I visited (apart from the markets in Zanzibar comes to mind) and Steve & I found ourselves craving them in the six months we travelled around. A brief note to mention that the food in South Africa was another level to this and they had some of the best seafood I’ve ever had and it was all so so cheap there.
When we returned to Australia I really wanted to start eating better and Aus has to be one of the best countries in the world for fresh local produce. With the climate and tropical temperatures on their side, Australia produces the most delicious fruit and vegetables out there.
I started to notice a friend of mine regularly posting the meals she was making on facebook and they looked amazing. My friend, Hannah has been a plant based Raw eater for the last few years. We used to live together in London and both went to India together in search of ways to better our lives. We both had our personal reasons and when I look back to that time, I don’t think either of us realised how much our lives would have changed three years on. Hannah has since gone on to become an incredible, inspiring health and well being coach who teaches people all around the world that by eating healthier can drastically change your life. She is also a teaches Spin Classes at her local gym in London and is always in contact with the world through social media by updating really interesting facts about food.
I started to look into Hannah’s lifestyle and her blog Raw Jam and her facebook page find out more about eating Raw. She looked incredible, really full of life and there was certainly light in her eyes. I thought to myself ‘hang on, not only is she looking amazing but she’s eating beautiful food. I have to jump on this band wagon’. And so, I emailed her about it all. At the time she was living in Thailand teaching spin and being the resident Nutritionist on an island. She got back to me straight away and before I knew it I started to eat more fruit. Now Hannah’s diet is mainly fruit and I started watching her youtube video’s of her at a market in Thailand saying how she’d eat 10 bananas for breakfast. I was thinking 10??? Who on earth eats 10???
It’s funny because when I lived in Aus in 2012, I ate a lot but I worked out a lot too. I never lost any weight and it was gutting. I felt hungry a lot of the time and tried to limit my food intake but then the weekend would come and I’d order pizza as a treat. I found myself reaching for the biscuit tin when I got home from work absolutely starving because I didn’t eat much during the day and then would eat a big meal at night. It didn’t work. Now I’m sat here thinking 10 bananas is a lot and how on earth is she eating that much when she is that thin? So I thought, let’s give it a go, my body is crying out for fruit & veg and it couldn’t be a better time to start this new diet. Yet it isn’t a diet at all, this is just the way I eat now. I think that’s where the confusion lies between diets and lifestyles. You will never last on a diet if you call it a diet because that word just spells out ‘short term’ to me. I always have that in the back of my mind if I think I’m going to go on a diet which falls down within the first day.
The first thing I did in an attempt to eat more and mainly just fruit and veg was to buy a blender. We bought a cheap $30 one from Kmart which last 4 days until it broke, so we started to look into investing in one. Very tempted to go for the top dog Vitamix at $1000, we knew it was just going to be way too much money to spend. We opted for the Omniblend after Stevo heavily researched the best one on the market down from the Vitamix at $330 from here. The good thing about this blender is it has a 5 year warranty meaning that if it brakes then we can just send back. It’s been six months now and it’s still going strong.
This blender has seriously changed our lives. We use it all the time and our favourite smoothies have to be a fruity one consisting of:
Frozen bananas, Watermelon, Rock melon, Mango, Apple, Pear, Cinnamon, Nutmeg
And a green smoothie: Spinach, Kale, Frozen bananas, Apples, Cucumber
Because Steve & I didn’t work for the first few months living in Sydney, this change of lifestyle was easy. We decided to eat mainly raw during the day and then have a clean, healthy hot dinner at night. With raw you can’t eat anything hot so we didn’t want to jump right into the deep end but build ourselves up to just eating well for the time being and we weren’t going to give up meat straight away.
We would wake up around 9ish, have a smoothie around 11am, a bit of fruit during the day and then steamed chicken and veg for dinner. My worry was what was going to happen when I went back to work. I find that when I work especially in Temping, I get really bored and comfort eat. I was worried that after losing weight and feeling great, I would end up gorging on sugar to make myself feel better. You see, if there is a cake there staring at me, I’ll want to eat the whole lot. It’s like with Pringles, once I start, I can’t stop! If I eat any sugar now, I’ll really feel the side affects. I usually start with the high which will mean I’ll want to eat more and more of it, then about ten minutes later I’ll start to feel really tired and moody and Steve & I will end up falling out over absolutely nothing.
Instead I now do the following and haven’t put any weight on since I started working in the last two months – As soon as I get into work I’ll drink 1 or 2 litres of water. I’ll then eat throughout the day 3-4 bananas, a handful of dates, 1 apple, 3 big oranges, a handful of grapes, a box of rockmelon and watermelon and a slice of a raw nutslice I make at home (mixed nuts, raw cacao, dates, raisins, rice puffs, desiccated coconut and coconut oil all blended up, put into the freezer for half an hour and then into the fridge afterwards). When I get home I’m not reaching for the biscuit jar anymore (this jar doesn’t even exist in our home now!) and I have so much energy from eating fruit and nuts during the day at work now. I find that eating 3 oranges at around 3pm when you would usually get that work lull is the best. It gives me so much energy that I’m no longer wanting to fall asleep on the train ride home anymore. I’ll then cook either steamed salmon, kale, broccoli and quinoa or something like a salad or a homemade soup now for dinner. I’ll probably eat meat but only chicken or fish a few times a week at the moment.
I rarely drink alcohol anymore which I think has a lot to me feeling amazing at the moment. I’ve never been good with alcohol. I would always feel fragile and vulnerable after drinking and now I feel so switched on and focused all of the time. Steve & I value our weekends so gone are the Friday nights out and wasted Saturday and Sunday’s to now walking into work on a Monday feeling like I’ve made the most of my weekends and no more guilt to be seen.
So, I’ve given up red meat (the smell actually makes me want to vom now), sugar, salt, processed foods, alcohol, dairy and I think that’s about it. I’ve switched my normal semi skimmed milk to soy and if we ever eat anything pasta or noodles based it’s always gluten free which doesn’t taste any different to the non gluten free versions. I have the odd treat from time to time like a Sunday Roast or something like eggs on toast so I am far from it but will go vegan at some point by cutting out meat and dairy altogether. A month or two into giving up these foods, I thought I’d treat myself with one of my favourites – Heinz Beans on toast, a good old British favourite. After two mouthfuls I had to throw it away as the salt intake was too much. It’s incredible how your tastebuds change. If I go to a restaurant that’s not specifically wholefoods or raw then I’ll usually ask for something simple like a chicken salad with no dressing.
As soon as I changed my diet the weight dropped off, so much so that I’ve gone from a size 14 to now an 8-10 with rarely any exercise. I am hoping to get back into the gym to go a few times a week but the best part is I am feeling happy and positive about life. I have had a lot of ups and down especially in the last few years and although travel temporarily took away those downs I am now feeling the best I have ever felt. It’s amazing really how eating most of your daily intake of fruit can do that to you. I am seeing things more clearly and it’s weird how so many things are making more sense now.
Originally I went to India to do an Introduction to Buddhism course and then I furthered that experience by doing an intensive 18 hour a day, 12 day meditation course called a Vipassana in Sydney. I did this to sort out my own demons and to come to terms with some of my past. This helped massively and certainly changed my life. By incorporating the Buddhist theories and a mostly raw diet has really helped me massively. I’m going to talk more about the Vispassana in another post as there is a lot to say about it to help people who need a bit of space and time alone from their current lives.
At the end of the day, I’ve realised more and more that I am the only one who can change my life through the decisions I make now and further more into the future.
Please check out Hannah’s work, she has inspired me so much that I preaching it from the roof tops that you can be more in control of your life too. Even my friends in Sydney are taking note and eating more fruit now. So what went from wanting to eat healthier has actually done more for me than I ever expected, I feel the most alive and focused I have ever felt in my life!