My love affair with raw food started about two years ago when I had my first dinner at the upscale restaurant Elizabeth’s Gone Raw. I had no idea what I was about to experience. I had never eaten an entire raw vegan dinner before. Unless—did salads count? I am the queen of salads, but I still couldn’t imagine a raw vegan five-course tasting menu that would satisfy my foodie desires AND my appetite.

When the first course was served, it was a tiny little tease (titled “amuse”). As each new course was served, I was amazed. One dish was more delicious than the one before, and each one complemented the next, each one exquisite to see and to taste…so much so that they took my breath away. By the time dessert was served, I was so sated that I was unable to have more than just a few bites, and even then, I only had those nibbles because I couldn’t resist—and because it was simply so good!

Elizabeth’s Gone Raw is an amazing experience and has become my favorite special occasion restaurant in DC. (While I am focusing on the food in this blog, it would be sinful not to tell you that the ambiance of this gorgeous venue matches the elegance of the food. But, I digress…) I have been there over a dozen times since those first five courses and have never had the same thing twice—with the exception of the best kale chips in town.

Here are a few things that I noticed when I started integrating raw:

  1. For one, I always sleep like a baby at night when I’ve had a raw food meal.
  2. While I do feel full, I never feel stuffed, bloated or uncomfortable like I sometimes do with other foods.
  3. The next morning, I feel fabulous, light and energized. And no matter how much I eat, I always feel that way—no hangover and no discomfort.

As an integrative nutrition coach and a foodie, this got me thinking. I had studied raw diets at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, but this was different. Now I was on a quest. I started reading everything I could about raw food and its healing effects. Imagine eating something this delicious and actually healing your body with every bite, too?!! I had to know more.

I enrolled in a boot camp with the Raw Food Institute, only two weeks after my own major surgery. Even I wasn’t sure that I would be able to complete the three-day intensive program.

What I found was quite amazing to me. Aside from the classroom learning about this way of eating and how it can be used as a healing method, I found myself learning more about what integrating raw did for my own body. I was gaining energy every (10-hour long) day during the boot camp, despite being in recovery mode from my hip replacement surgery. I discovered more ways to prepare raw vegan food, and even as I ate and drank all day long, I felt better and better every night.

At the end of the three days, the physical difference in my fresh wound was astounding. I showed my husband, a surgeon, and he was speechless. I had my own proof. I decided to stay on the program for the next week at home, making my own dishes, experimenting every day. I truly felt amazing. The 5 pounds that I gained around the time of my surgery fell off (along with a few more), but it was my increased energy, brightened skin tone and physical flexibility that were most exciting to me.

There are many miraculous stories that I have heard and read about the healing associated with a raw food diet, including that of my now good friend, Elizabeth, the owner of Elizabeth’s Gone Raw! This kind of eating is a game changer, and I would love to share more about it with you.

Since the boot camp, I have gone on to complete the full program and to achieve my own Raw Food Educator certification. I have also been working on new programs to offer my own clients and students on how to integrate raw food into their diets. You, too, can learn to enjoy the outstanding benefits of incorporating raw food into your diet, such as increased energy, improved weight loss, and remarkable healing.

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