Hi there! I’m Catherine the Founder & Creator of AlmostRawVegan.com!
Welcome and thanks so much for visiting.
Let me tell you a bit about my story and how I got here ~ ok, it’s a long one, so grab a green smoothie & pull up a chair 🙂
First off, let me say ~ I believe that the food we eat has a huge (HUGE) impact on our mental & physical well being, after all it is our ‘fuel’ and feeding our bodies the wrong ‘fuel’ will impact our entire being in ways far beyond what we see on the exterior.
Seems like a no-brainer, right?
Myself, I discovered I am super sensitive to the foods I eat. I suspect we all are, but some of us (like me) feel it much more intensely than others. But it wasn’t until my mid-40s (I know, I know, it took me a while 🙂 ) that I made the connection that the foods I eat can either make or break my day!
As far back as I can remember (ok, so maybe not as far back as this picture 🙂 ), I often felt sluggish, tired, or at times I would eat like a maniac and just couldn’t stop. The feelings were not consistent, sometimes they occurred when I ate something that seemed to trigger me, and at other sometimes the feeling was just there for not apparent reason!
Was it just me?
I asked around, family & friend, but noone seemed to have the same difficulties. Truth be known, they all thought I was a little odd! Ok, so maybe I am a bit odd 🙂 although at the time I felt very odd and very alone – but I must say since starting this blog I have met SO MANY of you who are kindred spirits and since learning this and knowing others are out there who are similar has inspired me so much! So a BIG thank you to you of all! 🙂
Oh and I did discuss this with my doctor, several doctors over the years in fact, but none of them had anything to offer and none of them inquired about my diet. Hmmm! So life continued and I learned to live with it, while all the while still knowing that something just wasn’t right.
THEN, in February 2007 ~ It was my birthday, celebrating with my family ~ I enjoyed a small, very small piece of homemade cake with some ice cream – yum!
Ok, but here’s the NOT SO FUN part!
Within a few minutes of eating the cake I felt this overwhelming drain of energy from my body. It was as if ALL energy was just sucked out of me. I had to excuse myself from the table. I was struggling to keep my eyes open, my entire body felt limp, heavy, like all the energy had been zapped out of me. I felt awful! Not only that but I felt this wave of emotional change – all of a sudden I was grumpy, edgy, and I just wanted to be left alone. Really, I just wanted to crawl into bed & curl up under my dyna at home!
Ok, so I had never experienced anything THAT SEVERE before! The reaction that day was extreme, really really extreme!
The good part – it was a major AH-HA moment for me! The connection between food and mood was undeniable!
From that day forward, I started to experiment with different foods to try to determine what did and didn’t work with my body.
For me, I had no choice but to trust my body – my very sensitive body would let me know pretty quickly what did/didn’t work. I needed to listen very closely and tap into the responses.
First I eliminated all the common allergens – Brendan Brazer’s The Thrive Diet – was a godsent for me! Not only did his book educated me and provide me with great insight, but his recipes were also fantastic and gave me some options for meals that were FREE of wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, refined sugar, etc.
I started experimenting with different types of “diets” in hopes of finding the right-combination-for-me. At times I still ate animal products, I tried vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, raw vegan and many other combinations, you name it I tried it – and I was amazed to learn just how sensitive my body was and how profoundly some foods affected me.
The one thing that helped to KICKSTART me into discovering what was the right-for-me health regime, was Green Smoothies. Very early in my experimentation I started to incorporate Green Smoothies into my day. I started with a ONE-A-DAY appraoch and enjoyed a BIG Green Smoothie for breakfast.
It wasn’t long before I felt the effects of infusing my body with the concentration of nutrients found in green smoothies. This SPARK is what kept me focused and motivated to add more goodness to my day!
My experience with Green Smoothies turned me into a HUGE believer that starting one-green-smoothie at a time is a GREAT way to kickstart your own health regime. That’s how I got started and in the end I felt transformed both inside & out AND I lost 20 lbs! Not only that, but since starting my blog, hundreds and thousands of others have also achieved their wellness goals by starting One Green Smoothie at a time!
While I was experiementing with various diets, I also moved to 100% vegan diet. Even though I rarely ate meat, I did enjoy chicken or fish once in a while, and I’d have eggs and/or baked good with eggs and butter occasionally. But during the course of my evolution, I made the personal choice to eliminate animal products from my diet. The main catalyst for this was movies like Get Vegucated, Food Inc and Forks Over Knives, and books like The China Study, Crazy Sexy Diet.
After lots of reading, learning ~ check out my Library & sources of wisdom 🙂 ~ experimenting and listening to my body, I discovered that I felt best when I followed a RAW VEGAN approach, my skin looked better, my eyes were clearer, my mind was clearer, not as foggy, my spirit was more positive AND the added BONUS was my 20 lbs weight-loss in the process!
And even though the effects are profound when I eat the wrong-food-for-me, I still struggled with maintaining a raw vegan diet all the time, which is why I landed on “Almost Raw” Vegan, where about 80-90% of my diet is raw, but I do also enjoy cooked foods.
Maintaining 100% is not really what I aspire to – after all, I am only human and life and social events, holidays, birthdays, and the gambet often add complexity.
My ARV approach to eating includes a foundation of dark leafy greens with lots of fresh vegetables, some fruits, topped with protein rich sprouts and legumes, a few nuts & seeds including nut butters & nut milks as well as herbs, microgreens, sea vegetables, wheatgrass and finally a dabble of healthy oils and nutritional yeast….. the ideal combination for improved health & wellness.
Check out my ARV Food Pyramid for more details on the foods you’ll want to include in your day as an Almost Raw Vegan.
We also don’t eat anything processed, if I buy something with a label I only select products with ingredients that I would add if I made it myself, i.e. ingredients that are REAL WHOLE food!
I don’t eat wheat (I have Wheat Belly syndrome, i.e. I become an additive lunatic when I eat wheat – although hubby isn’t so he does eat wheat).
I don’t eat refined sugars – but I love sweets and I have discovered that if I eat raw vegan sweets like my Cocoa Chews or Cashew Cranberry Chews or Chewy Brownie Balls (raw vegan desserts do not include refined sugar, flour, eggs/butter, milk, etc.), I can pretty much eat as much as I like with no adverse effects – how great is that?
In keeping with the “Almost Raw” Vegan approach ~ for us, generally speaking breakfast and lunch are raw and dinner includes something cooked together with some raw greens & veggies.
To learn more about what I eat today visit my Typical Recipes & Meal Plan post.
As a result of my experience, I am now a book-aholic, web-surfing-aholic, blog-aholic and creative-edibles-aholic for anything and everything related to Almost Raw Vegan eating!
I just love (LOVE) to create new easy peasy edibles that incorporate all that I’ve learned! Put it all together with my love for blogging, my love for photography and mostly my love for sharing my new found discoveries and that brings us to the cretion of my blog, AlmostRawVegan.com back in 2011!
To expand upon my self-learning, I attended Living Light Culinary Institute, the world’s premier organic raw vegan chef training school. They have a variety of amazing courses/certifications for raw food chef wannabes like me. I enjoyed their FUNdamentals training in 2012.
I also completed eCornell University’s Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition. You may have heard of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, he has a best selling book, The China Study. If you haven’t already read his book, I highly recommend it – it will give you a new perspective on the impacts of diet and nutrition that I’m sure will change your life. The Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition program at eCornell incorporates the best of Dr. Campbell’s work, as well as the latest information from leading experts in the field.
Today, I’m here for one reason, and one reason only – I hope my experiences, my journey will inspire you to adopt an easy-peasy approach to plant-based eating, and an Almost Raw Vegan approach, so you too can experience the same benefits I did ~ to look & feel your best! ♡♡
And that’s it!
That’s my story! (sorry, I know it was a long one 🙂 )
Thanks for listening 🙂 I can’t help but wonder, does my path resonates with you? I’d love to hear from you!
I look forward to Almost Raw Vegan-ing with you 🙂