Take a peek in Anne Moore’s shopping cart, and you might swear she’d taken it down the aisles of a pick-your-own farm rather than her regular haunt, the Community Mercantile.
Cucumbers, limes, kale, lettuce, celery stalks and avocados burst through in a cornucopia of green yumminess. All are organic, raw and there’s not a processed bit in the bunch.
Moore, 27, is a raw foodist. Of all the food she eats, about 80 percent of it is raw, meaning it hasn’t been heated above a certain temperature — anywhere from 105 to 125 degrees, depending on who you ask.
Yes, that is all she eats.
And she doesn’t think she’s missing out on whatever you had for lunch.
“People think it’s boring, so that’s problematic,” she says of explaining her diet of the past few months. “I think people ... think that it’s not healthy, that they won’t get everything they need out of it. I just tell them that that’s not true and just explain what you need and how you’re getting it all from the raw food and how much better it is.”
The Lawrence resident is just one of the raw foodists and curious folks planning to attend a talk by Paul Nison, a raw food chef, author and guru. Nison will be speaking at 3 p.m. Sunday at D Tox Naturally, 841 N.H. The cost to attend is $10, and organizer Janice Heie is asking attendees to RSVP to 856-9600.
Heie, the owner of D Tox Naturally and a raw food chef, says that she knows raw may not be for everyone, but she says that learning about the benefits of whole, unprocessed foods is important for everyone.
“Basically, think about it: You are what you eat,” she says, adding that when she eats raw: “I feel more alive. I feel like I have more energy, better mental clarity. You just don’t need as much food because you’re getting the nutrition you need from that. It’s condensed, packed into the kale so you don’t have to eat a whole bag of Oreos to get that satiated feeling.”
Raw and health
Heie has been dabbling in raw foods since 1999, when she studied at the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla. Since then, she has crossed paths many times with Nison, who has been promoting the raw food lifestyle for more than 15 years.
At age 20, Nison was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel condition that causes ulcers in the intestines. Unhappy with doctors’ suggestions of the use of medications for the rest of his life, he found and tried a 100 percent raw, vegan diet.
“I did everything the doctors told me to do to get better, and I was just getting worse. When I moved to West Palm Beach, I ended up moving right next to Hippocrates without knowing what it was,” Nison says. “Somebody there told me about the raw foods, and I asked my doctor what she thought about it and she said it was very bad for my condition. But since everything she told me up to that point didn’t work, I figured I’d give it a try.”
Now, at age 38, he says he is cured of his disease and spends his days traveling around the country, punching out blogs and videos on the virtues of a living foods diet. He has written six books on the subject, including his newest, “The Daylight Diet,” which he will be promoting during Sunday’s talk.
Moore says she is inspired by Nison’s story of healing his health problems with a living diet. And with good reason: Moore was diagnosed with brain cancer a year and a half ago.
As part of her treatment, she became quite interested healthful eating, eventually turning raw this year. She says though her doctors were skeptical at first, she feels much better and her MRIs are looking good, despite her giving up chemotherapy.
“I had surgery, (and) at first went on chemotherapy, but then decided that was not the way I wanted to go, so I went off chemo and was just doing all nutritional and mental and emotional healing,” Moore says. “I really have, I feel a lot better. My doctors have noticed that I’m doing better. Everything has just been great since then.”
About the food
Steve Myers of Edgerton has been 100 percent raw for two years, and he has an admission: He really misses pizza.
“You can make raw pizzas, but they’re hard to make or time-consuming to make,” he says.
Myers didn’t really get to say “farewell” to his favorite dish, as he went raw on a whim. A friend had challenged him to try it for 30 days. Myers says he never felt better. These days, he makes raw “ice cream” out of bananas, brings green smoothies to work and can make salads that make your head spin.
In fact, it’s not the food that is the problem — all of them say they can find fresh, raw food anywhere. The problem is the social aspect surrounding the food.
Myers admits that his diet has made eating out difficult and holidays troubling.
“My family, they had challenges with it,” Myers says. “The first Christmas was a little tense. But it all worked out. I guess they’re used to it by now.”
Moore’s mother has joined her on the diet and even bought a dehydrator, an appliance that many raw foodists use to help them alter foods without “cooking” them above the desired temperature.
And that brings in another common query: Cost. Moore says that her grocery bills have gone down now that she’s not buying the organic processed foods that once made up the majority of her shopping cart. Meanwhile, Myers and Nison said that while their costs have gone up, the extra expense is more than worth it.
Also worth it, the preparation time and endless questions about a diet that is so natural, it’s unusual.
“I think it’s really, really important for people to learn more about it,” she says of raw foods. “I think that people have been raised by the idea that these are the food groups, this is what you need to eat, and then it’s like they’ve been so conditioned to think that way that it’s like ... It’s the same thing with medicine. When I told people I was going off chemotherapy they were terrified, but I’ve never felt better. I feel healthier now than I ever did before.”