Meat eater Tori Attwood joins a course in Manchester and wonders what to do when you can’t cook anything
My mouth goes dry. Perhaps out of awkwardness. Or perhaps it’s the bacon sarnie I gobbled earlier this morning that’s clinging to my taste-buds. It was time to confess:
“My name’s Tori and I’m a meat-eater.”
In a room full of vegans, veggies and everything in between, the response was understandably silence. “But I want to change," I rambled apologetically. "I want to learn how to eat raw food.”
There were nods of approval from my course mates; I was in.
A vegan raw food course might seem an odd place for a meat-eater to attend, but I was curious. Often criticised by health professionals but embraced by influencers, the extreme diet trend has caught the media’s eye thanks to endorsements from celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Megan Fox.
“The UK is usually very trend-lead in its approach to food, which is why raw food has only recently come about here,” explains Kate Magic, the raw food guru who is leading today’s course, “but raw food is already popular in Scandinavia and many countries with health-focused lifestyles.”
Admittedly, it is the likes of internet health gurus and social media celebs that had first introduced me to the concept of only eating raw food. But the restrictiveness of the lifestyle had made me question its capabilities – what can you eat if you can’t cook anything above 40 degrees celsius?
Whilst sceptics may scoff at 24/7 veggies, the raw food diet is a whole lot more than just nibbling on lettuce leaves
The enchanting surroundings of Shudehill’s The Wonder Inn made for the perfect venue. Whitewashed walls, stripped back floorboards and ornate Chinese lanterns created a pleasant overall effect: a place of calm amidst city centre chaos. I was ready to learn.
Though I would never call myself spiritual, it was impossible not to be engulfed by Kate Magic’s positive ambience. A silver pixie cut, sparkling lip piercing and impressive tattoo sleeves gave her an eclectic look, but her tone was soothing
Softly spoken with an infectious smile, Kate sang the benefits of raw food: “All food has enzymes in it but these are destroyed by heat when cooked.” Or to quote the blunter raw food mantra, cooked food is ‘dead’ and raw food is ‘alive’.
Whilst sceptics may scoff at 24/7 veggies, the raw food diet is a whole lot more than just nibbling on lettuce leaves. Yes, our menu featured a salad, but Sauer Kraut, dried seaweed and coconut flakes made for an exciting change to the mounds of drab iceburg lettuce I so often struggle with. The addition of a superfood berry smoothie and a surprisingly delightful blueberry ‘cheesecake’ made from soaked cashew nuts demonstrated the creativity that can be enjoyed with uncooked food. Though the raw menu wasn’t quite as filling as my usual carb-loaded meal plan, it was certainly delicious.
The body will heal itself and the more you interfere, the more you damage it
Portobello Burger in Onion Bread w ketchup mayo sprouts & kraut. No nuts involved! U don't need nuts 2 make raw food filling & satisfying. 🍔
A post shared by Kate Magic 🦄✨💫 (@katemagic) on
The course was no-doubt brimming with culinary inspiration, from using tahini and frozen banana to make ice-cream to the party-goer’s secret of swapping alcohol for He Shou Wu, an ecstasy-provoking Chinese herb. However, amidst the alternative sources for nutrients was some more unusual concepts - sticky inspirational labels that infuse your water with messages like ‘believe’ were a little hard for the sceptic in me to digest.
Whilst some health experts warn of the risks of eating raw, Kate – who didn’t immunise her children before trips to India and instead travelled with homoeopathy, active silver and citracidal – believes that the body has the power to overcome.
“The body will heal itself and the more you interfere, the more you damage it.”
There’s no denying that eating extra greens will do wonders for your health. But some of the more spiritual elements of the course may need to be swallowed with a pinch of salt, or perhaps, He Shou Wu.
Most people who eat a sustainable raw food diet are only 70-80% raw.
Kate Magic’s tips for trying the raw food diet:
1. Get some basic raw food equipment
A high street blender, good knife, spiraliser and a milk cloth bag should do the trick. “You can get a pretty basic raw food package for under £100,” explains Kate. Whilst many raw food recipes recommend dehydrating foods, Kate explained that an expensive dehydrator isn’t necessary. “I was eating raw food for 10 years before I bought a dehydrator.”
2. Start out slow
Much like taking up a new exercise regime, the raw food diet is best approached with the ‘little and often’ mindset. Kate suggests that the 50/50 approach, where you complement each meal with a raw food side, or eating ‘Raw before 4’ (a raw breakfast and lunch) are more sustainable ways to adopt the lifestyle. “Most people who eat a sustainable raw food diet are only 70-80% raw.”
3. Hydration is key
Kate claims that the RDA of two litres of water is a bare minimum and suggests trying ¾ litres of water a day to properly hydrate. “We are water.”
Find out more about the raw food diet at katemagic.com