Nomi Shannon shares on strategies and tips for starting a raw food lifestyle. Nomi Shannon is a raw food chef and author of The Raw Gourmet and a new book, Raw Food Celebrations.
Kevin: Let’s talk about raw and let’s talk about percentages here, because there’s a few questions about percentages. What’s the difference between 70-90% raw and 100% raw?
Nomi: OK, yeah. There’s actually a big difference between 70, 80% and 100%. Not to say that…I am a very middle-of-the-road raw-food person. Because I really believe, I’ve seen people go all just gung-ho, all raw and three weeks later, for whatever reason, they feel like a failure. Whether they just jumped into it too fast or can’t handle the detoxification they think is there or whatever, really not good in the kitchen. So, they’re almost like a rubber band, they bounce back and in three weeks or six weeks or two months they’re back at whatever, McDonald’s.
I’d honestly rather see someone just have 50% raw for the rest of their life than be a 100% raw for three weeks because that is going to make a profound difference. Now, I personally decided that 50% was like the tipping point. But, honestly, if there are people out there and they’re eating 100% cooked food and they start eating 25% raw, that’s better than 0% raw. I do think though that, and I think we all understand the phrase the tipping point, now, I do think that tipping point where you truly notice a difference in your health is going to be at 50%. I really think it’s quite a rare person that’s 100% for a really long period of time. And that’s another thing, people beat themselves up. They go, “Oh, I was 100% for a year and then I ate a Rice Krispie and I felt like such a failure and so I stopped completely.” I mean, that is really undesirable thinking.
So, if you want to be raw and you were trying to decide on a percentage, it’s a really great idea for anyone who can to work their way up to 100% and stay at 100% for as long as they can. So, say three months, let’s say six months, because that’s going to give your maximum amount of sort of self-cleansing, especially if you include juicing, all right? And then settle somewhere where you’re comfortable and where you’re happy. It’s not like philosophy or like religion. It’s not like you’re converting and you have to buy the whole package and the way you celebrate this religion in order to be accepted, this is really just the food you’re eating. And once you allow yourself to get over the hump, there’s even the question of people saying, “I hate the way greens taste.” Or, “I don’t like this or I don’t like that. Literally your palate changes.
Most of us who are eating the standard American diet are addicted to the stuff they put in the food. It just tastes delicious. It takes a while for your palate to get used to simple greens, simple salad, plain almonds, that kind of thing. So you have to give yourself the chance to do that. If you are never a 100%, so what. But it would be good to be a 100% in the beginning, work up to it for as long as you can, because that is the ultimate, wonderful thing to do for yourself. If you are ill, again, if there are people listening that have a serious illness, whether it’s obesity or blood pressure issues, or cholesterol issues or cancer, you would be very well advised to get yourself to a 100% level as soon as you can and stay there for as long as you can.
I personally know literally hundreds of people who feel that they’ve cured themselves of the incurable simply by eating raw food or taking wheat grass juice and that kind of thing.
Kevin: And you have seen it at Hippocrates.
Nomi: Yeah, that’s one of the beauties of working in a place like that. You see it over and over and over and over.
Kevin: I think that’s what makes what you say a little… it weighs it more than someone else who talks about this or that or this type of program or that type of program. Whereas you’ve been literally in the trenches seeing this happen, which is a lot different than reading the book and then talking about it.
Nomi: I’ve seen it happen a thousand different ways with a thousand different issues and I’ve experienced it myself. I wasn’t looking at it when I was there as anything but a really profound experience for myself. But looking back I realized I have engaged in a lot of conversation. This was a wonderful program, really, really. First of all, the food is delicious and they really, really show you how to make your food when you get home. And literally every person, as they were walking out the door, was going, “Oh my god, what am I going to do when I get home?” And I’m sitting there going, “Are you kidding? They’ve just shown you everything.” But some people are better in the kitchen than others. So I followed through with a lot of people.
And that is also where I learned what people want to know, and what then I based “The Raw Gourmet” on. I really knew what people wanted to know.
Kevin: Let’s talk about some of “The Raw Gourmet” tips and information that you give in that book, because there are a lot of questions about prep. Let’s start first with washing your vegetables. Let’s talk about it. Not only washing them, where do you store them, how do you store them to keep them fresh for the longest and what’s the best way to do that?
Nomi: Wow! I think there are a gazillion different ways to wash your veggies, there is no one right way. I used to use a product called Botanic Gold and I’m going to actually start to carry it. It’s now called Enviro One. It’s just made out of plant stuff, it’s like soap. You dilute it very highly to soak your veggies in or to brush your teeth with, or clean the house there are different dilutions. And I really loved it and I actually haven’t used it in a while and I miss it terribly. It’s hard to say, other than to say it’s a good idea to wash off your produce. You can’t wash everything off non-organic produce. But you just have to do the best you can with that.
Storing it, the big thing about storing it is don’t overbuy. Have a good refrigerator, if you have a 15 year old refrigerator you might want to start saving up for a new one, because the newer ones are more efficient. I go to many people’s houses and they often don’t utilize the drawers in their refrigerators well enough. But if you can’t fit it all in the refrigerator from one shopping then you’re buying more than you can eat before the food starts to go bad. It’s unrealistic to think you are only going to shop one time a week for all your produce. You need to go out at least twice a week.