Ever Considered Going Raw?

Updated: Jul 16

✦ As this month’s Brilliant-Online theme focuses on ‘Friendship’, we wanted to shine the light on the question of just how friendly we are to our bodies in respect of what we put in them!


Consider what you are consuming on average and ask yourself honestly, are you being friendly to your body? Are you consuming and digesting sufficient levels of nutritious content to ensure a fit and healthy lifestyle where your body functions at its optimum? Or are you guilty of consuming foods that aren’t so healthy, that your body considers unfriendly?


Recipes


Toni Jessop founder of Rawlicious


The focus on nutrition and a healthy diet have come on leaps and bounds in recent years, synonymous with a positive change in attitude towards adopting a healthier lifestyle. Increasingly people are switching to healthier diets and becoming far more mindful of what they are putting into their bodies, something that will persist as we continue to be educated.


Vegetarianism has been on the rise for decades and, recently, vegan lifestyles and diets have increased considerably. A Sentient Media report states that, according to the Good Food Institute, the sales of plant-based foods grew three times faster than overall food sales in 2021. It also states that the Guardian estimates there are currently 79 million vegans around the world, a figure that continues its rapid ascent each year and that the worldwide vegan food market grew from US$14.44 billion in 2020 to $15.77 billion in 2021.


Taking things one step further is the concept of Raw Veganism. Excluding animal products such as meat and dairy, a raw vegan diet includes foods that are plant-based, raw, unprocessed and that don’t require cooking, as much of the nutrients are lost when foods are heated. Instead of firing up the stove or BBQ, a raw vegan-based diet will see foods juiced, blended, soaked, dehydrated, germinated or sprouted. Many choose the diet in an attempt to improve their health, to protect their heart or lose weight, while also identifying with the ethical and ecological principles of the diet.


However, just mention the term Raw Vegan to some and they instantly turn a whiter shade of pale, anxious at the thought of not being able to rely on their favourite foods, let alone heating them up!


Raw Food is a trend now
Raw Food is a trend now

Rawlicious!


That’s why we decided to check in with Toni Jessop from Rawlicious You, a Phuket-based Raw Vegan, fitness and mindset coach who is as good as anyone we know to get the honest low-down on a Raw Vegan lifestyle!


Toni has been fully vegan for the last decade and was a vegetarian for several years prior to that. As someone working in the fitness industry, she quickly became aware of how important it was to put the right types of fuel into her body to ensure it could perform at its peak. Naturally, this meant healthy, nutritious food which would provide her with the energy she needed. It also meant not needing to count calories on a daily basis, as per the instructions from so many fitness guides, which was ideal.



Get a Healthy Lifestyle with Healthy Food


Despite enjoying the benefits of a vegan diet for many years, after a while, Toni realised that relying on replacement meals wasn’t for her. “Sure, a vegan burger is a better alternative to a beef burger but it is still a replacement so why not do away with it altogether,” she commented when I asked her to outline the benefits of a Raw Vegan diet.


“We live in a society obsessed with instant gratification,” she continues. “We have been bombarded over the years with processed convenience foods being driven by big business which have now, sadly, become the norm and the foundation of bad diets the world over.”


Punch in the gut!


Familiar with the term gut microbiota? No, I wasn’t either, until I sat and talked with Toni. The gut microbiome is the collection of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in your bowels and that affect everything in your body, from inflammation to heart health. Research proves people who have a diet high in processed and animal-derived fatty foods develop greater levels of destructive bacteria.


“So much of society en masse, especially in developed countries, has become so used to this type of diet to the extent that we rarely stop to question it,” explains Toni. “Processed and fast foods offer very little if any nutritious content at all which has a terribly detrimental impact on the body by imbalancing the gut microbiome. It is why so many people are continually tired and prepared to accept chronic fatigue. It pretty much becomes a way of life and diet is rarely, if ever, identified as the cause. We seem to have lost focus of what is important in a healthy, balanced diet, the core basics.”