Ok so Niamh is not technically Scottish (she’s Irish with a beautiful Irish accent) but her husband is Scottish and they’ve been a regular part of raw food goings on in Glasgow. Anyway, it’s my blog I can do what I like 🙂 Niamh is absolutely gorgeous and I bloody LOVE her! Here are her words of wisdom for y’all…why have I started saying that?
1. How long have you been in to raw foods?
That’s a tricky one…I’ve been 100% raw for 2 years. However I have known of the benefits of raw foods for 17 years (since I was 24) from reading various books, trying out different health plans and doing a three year nutrition diploma. The book ‘’ fit for life’’ was a real eye-opener for me 16 years ago. However all the way until 2 years ago my idea of raw foods were salads and fruits (smoothies etc) only, which I had on a daily basis when I was eating healthily. I had NO idea of the scope of raw food cuisine.
2. How did you discover raw foods?
As mentioned above, two years ago I went on a business conference (nothing to do with health) which was residential. A raw food enthusiast new friend/colleague was there (Stephen Nulty) and he made rawgout and courgetti. I checked that everything was vegan, wheat-free and sugar-free as I had totally followed that way of eating for 8 years prior to that as I was/am a recovered compulsive over-eater, and wheat, dairy and sugar were (and still are) my abstinence foods (being vegan was an additional choice but not part of my recovery). Anyway I really enjoyed the food and when I asked Stephen afterwards what the ‘pasta’ was made of he said ‘’courgette’’ and I said ’’yeah but what else?’’…he kept saying just courgette and I kept pressing him in disbelief for the other ingredients…thinking ’yeah right!!…here we go again…another person who has no clue of ingredients lists on the back of packets!’…When I realized that he really meant it, I was totally gob smacked, I couldn’t take it in. Here was me considering myself quite knowledgeable in health and nutrition and this guy (new to it all) was presenting me with a whole new world I couldn’t quite comprehend!! I could feel the wheels in my mind literally and almost painfully trying to crank up a notch and into gear with this incredible new info!! He showed me Any Phyos raw food kitchen book, which I was amazed at. That was beginning of May ’08 and I kept thinking about it afterwards. Then July 10th I started very high raw and a week later, July 17th I just went for it 100% and haven’t looked back since. I am very grateful to Stephen.
3. What were some of the first benefits you noticed?
Well I launched into it with fruit fasting so naturally had some detox symptoms which didn’t faze me as I understood them, but instantly I had bags more energy. In the first few days of going totally raw I had friends coming to stay and though I was fruit fasting I was zipping around hoovering, shopping, washing etc all day long in preparation, in a way I would never have before that.
4. Were there any drawbacks? If so, what and how did you handle?
I can’t think of any drawbacks really. Ok there wasn’t much choice eating out (apart from a plain salad) but y’know I was sooo excited and passionate about it all that I didn’t view it as a drawback. I just felt that I had found something magical, exciting and so self-empowering!
5. How did your family and friends react?
My husband was fine and very supportive. However that was to be expected as we met in Nutrition College and we both had been through recovery from food addiction together. The only thing he didn’t like was bits that I was reading to him, from quite a hard hitting raw food book that was so ’anti’ any cooked food and to him a bit fascist sounding!!. My parents and siblings were already used to my ‘unusual’ way of eating for years so it didn’t make much of a difference to them. One old friend quizzed me, quoting questions/concerns from someone else (locally) she had spoken to, who had said to her that what I was doing was all wrong and detrimental to my health. Funny thing is, she wouldn’t name the other person…..she must’ve thought I’d go around and stab her or something!!….I promise I’m not that way inclined at all (each to their own is my motto!)
6. How did you handle reactions? any tips?
I definitely focused on what I wanted to do for myself (and I still do). I didn’t preach to others or comment on what they were having. In fact I fully supported their choices. I will still buy/make junk food for family members/friends because it is none of my business what they choose to eat. I answer their questions and I am a living example of an alternative path…but that’s where it ends. I am happy to help. I think my recovery programme (12 steps) is what helped me practice this. In 2001 in the early stages of recovery when I had achieved 6 months abstinence, my husband lost his abstinence and over the period of a couple of months he totally hit rock bottom. I did not try to ‘fix’ him. I was just there for him. This was the right experience for him. As a result of that he recovered and has a very strong recovery. If I had tried to interfere/enable he may not have achieved that.
7. What advice would you give people who are interested in raw foods on how to get started?
Focus on the great things you will include in your diet…not what you ‘’should’’ omit. Have smoothies, juices and other delicious raw foods (and deserts). Read a lot on the subject/watch ’you tube’ inspirational videos etc. Keep positive (even if you don’t hit the mark all the time). Negative emotions about foods are more detrimental than the actual so called ‘harmful’ foods themselves. If you decide to have something that is not your ideal….make sure you thoroughly enjoy and savour it and say to yourself: ‘’I am going to have this and enjoy it and I am free to still keep eating healthily around it. I am free to make my own choices’’. Beating yourself up about something you have is always harmful…..but if you DO beat yourself up, don’t beat yourself up about beating yourself up!
8. What is your number 1 raw tip? (this can be anything at all)
Have fun with it and incorporate plenty of greens. Know that your taste buds will effortlessly change all by themselves with time….easy peasy!
9. What is your favourite raw food and why?
Green juices because they make me radiant (in my own opinion anyway!!:-))
10. If you could be any raw food what would you be and why?
Luscious green organic leafy veg because they vibrate at an incredibly high level and they are brimming with sun energy…..and the translation of my irish name (in english) is SHINE!
11. How do you see the raw movement in Scotland in five years time?
I would hope to see AT LEAST two raw cafes in Scotland – one to make up for the one lost from Edinburgh and another one for growth!! The meetup groups to have at least 500 members each! Weekly potlucks occurring, organized by growing numbers of groups.
Thank you Niamh you big goddess you, this one 4 u xxx
This blog was written by Raw Food Scotland's previous owner, Emma Calvert. You can reach her at her new website, https://missmanifestation.com/