Raw Food Repair: How did you find out about the raw food lifestyle? Was it gradual, or did you have some sort of an "aha" moment?
Rachel Raw: I found about the Raw Foods Movement from a raw food chef I met while traveling in northern Arizona. He showed me his spin on salad dressings in a blender, “green” smoothies and raw chocolates. His food was an absolute culinary delight. About the same time I heard about Dr. Gabriel Cousens and his raw food healing center, The Tree of Life located in Patagonia, AZ. Raw living foods was a concept that I embodied a lot of already, having been a vegetarian & vegan for most of my life since I was 12. On a whim, I decided to move there and started working in the cafe and preparing green juice for the spiritual juice fasts. It was a wonderful living community both spiritual and nutritionally inclined. The staff and guests were educated on raw foods and committed to their health. This was definitely the next step for me in nutritional education.
Raw Food Repair: How long have you been eating this way?
Rachel Raw: My father had triple bi-pass surgery when I was 12. This marked an important lifestyle change for my entire family. We followed a strict Pritikin diet for years, which I recall being very simple, boring and bland. By the time I was in 8th grade I decided to become a vegetarian. Since then I have always been intrigued with the body, diet and nutrition, exploring optimal ways to eat and satisfy my body and soul needs.
RFR: What are some of your favorite raw foods?
RR: I love sprouts, avocados mixed with some cold pressed pumpkin seed oil. I also love green juice and of course, Elaina Love's zero glycemic raw cheesecakes. Following a raw, low to no sugar and gluten free diet make me feel amazing! Oh yeah, and if I could only choose 1 delicious "raw food" it would be Green Juice. My green juice is usually very simple with cucumber, celery and some spinach or mixed lettuce greens. I believe in the power of green juice so much, that I wrote a book on it called, Juice Fueling - the 30 day green juice challenge for vibrant health. For those of you unfamiliar with the green juice programs, there are three: Juice Fasting is basically a detox program whereby you refrain from eating any foods while you are drinking green juice for about 7-14 days. Juice Feasting is a term to drink more than a gallon of green juice for a prolonged time up to 90days. Juice fueling is a term used when we supplement our daily meals with 1 green juice a day. In my book I simply give you some guidelines and tips on green juicing. After you go through the 30 day challenge I recommend continuing to juice fuel on a daily basis for as long as you want!
RFR: Do you ever eat cooked foods, or non-vegan foods? If so, on what occasion(s)?
RR: Currently, I have been combining raw and vegan cooked foods. Occasionally I will eat some dairy, though I rarely feel good after eating cheese. Food has always been one of my greatest passions and pleasures in life. My relationship with food has definitely evolved over the years. I have experimented as a fish eater, a Vegan eater, a Vegetarian, an Ovatarian, a Raw foody, a Tofutti, and a Gluten Freebie. I finally feel like I have a suitable understanding of what foods work for my body and quite simply which ones don’t. As I write in my Juice Fueling book, I love what I eat, and I eat what I love. This type of healthy relationship with food works for me and makes me happy at a soul level. When I am happy I feel great and know my diet is serving me. How can it be any better than this?!
RFR: How long have you been in the business of promoting a healthy way of life?
RR: My father was a doctor and I always wanted to be a doctor. However, I would say my path into wellness really began after a Tony Robbins seminar in 2003 where I pledged to do something that would change my life forever. At the seminar I chose to pledge to become a yoga teacher so I didn’t have to wait tables or cater as supplemental income any more. Several months later I became certified yoga instructor and ended up quitting my non-profit job and starting an online yoga business that would help people start practicing yoga for free. (OmPassyoga.com). In 2006 I quit teaching because of back pain and began a journey to heal myself holistically, without medication or surgery. 3 years later I ended up at the Tree of Life. In retrospect, the pain was my biggest teacher because I would not have pursued all the education and healing modalities without it. I think God knew pain was a good motivator... Today, I understand pain prevention in my body to be caused by one of certain factors environmental toxins or bacteria. I am as cognizant of my external body as much as I am my internal body, organs and blood. I continue to enjoy teaching and learning about all types of healing modalities that can help deliver optimal performance and quite simply, happiness.
RFR: I understand you have a strong interest in athletic performance. Did you participate in sports growing up? Are there athletes in your family?
RR: My father is extremely athletic and supported both me and my sister in our athletics. I think he wanted sons.... In high school I was a three season athlete and competitive soccer player. When I quit soccer due to injuries, I took up yoga. I have been studying yoga 15 years and I have been teaching for almost ten years now. Both my parents are educators too, so teaching for me seems pretty natural and enjoyable. The single most important message I relay about athletics concerns the yogic principle of Ahimsa, non-violence. For myself, this type of mindfulness has helped me understand my own boundaries, prevent injury, as well as violence to myself and others.
RFR: You are making a documentary movie on raw food as it relates to athletic performance. Can you tell us a little about it?
RR: I have always been an athlete and enjoy sports, however, I was always getting injured. When I started practicing yoga seriously, I realized that there was no one else on the mat but me to hold responsible for my injuries. It was then I understood I didn’t have the Understanding of what it meant to treat my body mindfully in competitive sports or non competitive sports. Coaches and parents never taught us, so it was now up to me to learn from scratch how not to hurt my body. Practicing yoga and eating raw have been the two most quintessential aspects for how I can optimize my performance naturally, recover faster, and prevent injury or violence upon others with my mindless actions. After 3 days meditation in a temple with Gabriel Cousens, the message came to me to document a film about how athletes are enhancing their performance naturally, and with raw foods. I found a brand new professional camera on craigslist a few days later and started filming almost immediately. One of my first interviews was with a 13 yr old football athlete who spoke about the mindfulness that came to him after going raw. It was then I felt I was really on to something....
About the film: Athletes have always found ways to deliver Peak Performance - naturally or not. My documentary film explores Living Foods as a performance enhancer from the perspective of Raw Food Athletes and Experts, like David Wolfe, Gabriel Cousens, Juliano, Dr Emoto, David Wolfe, Elaina Love, Tim VanOrden, Sherif Kamal and more. Today's Raw Food Enthusiasts are living examples of the untapped human potential that comes from eating an all-star, mostly Living Foods, diet.
RFR: Do you have friends who are raw food athletes?
RR: Sure, I have a few friends that exhibit extraordinary athletic skills or recovery time from living foods diet. They feel great and look great. Most interesting during the filming of this documentary, were all the people I discovered along the way who are athletes eating raw and finding great success. Many have gone on to start their own raw food cheffing business or coaching businesses.
RFR: Where can readers go to learn more about your movie, and view the trailer?
RFR: Besides your movie, what other services do you currently provide for people looking to change their lives for the better?
RR: Therawnaturalmovie.com - Raw food as an athletic enhancer. Juicefueling.com (website supports those wanting to green juice, juice fueling ebook is online until printed version is released.) I also work with Elaina Love and help manage her online raw/vegan store at purejoyplanet.com. We just opened her retail shop in Patagonia where she also offers a raw food chef certification program. Elaina's raw chocolates and low glycemic raw cheesecake RAWK!! They can also go to my yoga website, OmPassyoga.com (free yoga class passes)