When Kaliyoga challenged me with the task of eating nothing but raw food for a week, I was sceptical. First came fears of hunger, nights spent in agony thanks to an empty, grumbling stomach. Then came the worries about fatigue and energy loss. How would I be able to complete 3.5 hours of yoga a day without any proper meals? And what about my poor old tastebuds? “Raw” is synonymous with “tasteless,” right?
How times have changed. One week at Kaliyoga and I’m a new woman. On the outside, I have a flatter tummy and clearer skin. I can’t see what’s happening inside, but my stomach feels squeaky clean and happy. A week of “going raw” has me completely re-examining my outlook on food.
Think of your body like a car. If you fuel it with cheap and low quality gasoline, it won’t run as fast, as far or as long. If you fuel it with high quality, premium gasoline, it will stray stronger and go further. Now imagine the digestive system. It’s a muscle, so if you don’t use it properly it will become weak. If it’s used to dealing with processed and refined foods, it needs to work very hard to do its job. If you feed it with nutrient-rich raw and living foods, the foods do much of the work themselves.
Kaliyoga’s resident nutritionist Veronica sums it up: “Trans fatty acids, found in processed foods, don’t do anything positive for your diet. When we process food, it not only looses nutrition and vitamins, but it also takes nutrients and vitamins from your body to digest it. Raw foods are healing foods. They are life-giving and cleansing of toxins.”
Often excess weight gain isn’t caused by stress or addiction – it’s the body searching for nutrients, therefore triggering hunger. Plus, because raw foods are living, they have the ability to tell the brain when your body is full. Switching to a raw diet also causes your taste buds to change, meaning you will stop craving sugary and processed treats.
The raw recipes we were served were absolutely delicious: avocado “cheesecake,” walnut tart with vegetables, raw granola, fresh fruit salads, banana porridge, raw lasagna, “spaghetti” (zucchini) and plenty of decadent salads.
All this being said, a radical shift in diet isn’t necessarily the way to go. Instead of trying to change your diet in a day, Veronica advises adding raw foods slowly to your meal plans. “If you’re constantly putting toxins in your body, it never has a chance to rest,” she says. “A detox is a great way to kick-start change in the body.”
I’m not preaching that 100 per cent raw is the way to go – we need a bit of everything in moderation. (And let’s be honest: if I had to completely give up chocolate cake forevermore, I would die a little inside). But by integrating more raw foods into my diet, I have certainly noticed an increase in energy and decrease in appetite. Now back at home, I’m eating raw breakfast and lunch, followed by a cooked dinner. Have I treated myself to the odd slice of bread? Absolutely. But my breakfast spinach smoothie is also growing on me, too.
Text: Lydia Parafianowicz