I’ve been interested in food all my life, and interested in raw foods since I went on a retreat over Christmas and New Year this last year – the chef at the retreat centre was very into raw foods, and I gleaned as much information as I could while I was there. It was a relatively new concept to me, but it seemed to make intuitive sense – good for my body as well as good for the planet – and I resolved to incorporate much more raw food into my diet both on dry land and on the ocean.

As luck would have it, my friend Ami turned out to be something of a raw foods guru. She and I met when she was an instructor with the Bay Area Boot Camp (now renamed AlaVie). I trained with BABC last year, enjoying the camaraderie of a bunch of women assembling at unearthly hours of the morning to train in a local park. Great for the weak of willpower! (And yes, that DOES include me!)

So I asked Ami to write a guest blog about raw foods. Here is what she has to say.

I love food! I love to talk about food, eat food, and for the first time in my life, I love making food. My newest passion is raw, or “live,” food — a radically simple and healthy way to eat. Over a year ago, I met Roz as one of her trainers in Northern California, and she recently became interested in raw food as well. Roz is incorporating it into her diet, so she’s asked me to write a little about my lifestyle and how to get started with raw foodism.

My introduction to raw food came several years ago, with the opening of Juliano’sRaw in Santa Monica. I was amazed at the potential of raw vegan food and the surge of energy and happiness that came with every meal. I was raised a meat-eater, but switched to vegetarianism 16 years ago, before becoming vegan last year. In the process of my own journey, I’ve read countless books, taken classes, and paid for nutritional advice — all to find what would give me loads of energy, lose body fat and increase lean muscle. But it wasn’t until earlier this year that I really dove into raw food.

Raw food is nutritious, available and easy. As a rule of thumb, stick to local, organic and in-season ingredients, with a staple diet of greens, green juice, green smoothies, salads, fruit, fruit smoothies, nuts, seeds and sprouts. Sprouts are very easy to grow, even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! During her row, Roz is growing her own fresh sprouts, providing instant access to a great source of protein and vitamins A, C, E, and B. Raw chef and instructor Kristin Suzanne writes>, “There is no doubt that sprouts are one of the healthiest foods you can consume because they’re considered a “pre-digested” food, making them more easily assimilated by your body.”

More and more, ready-made raw food products are being offered because of growing demand from raw-curious consumers. Larabar> and Lydia’sOrganics make it easy to not own a dehydrator for this aspiring raw foodist. Roz wrote about her supply of Larabars’ “yummy fruit and nut bars” on day 32, writing, “My favourite flavours are Apple Pie, Banana Cookie, Ginger Snap, Chocolate and Chocolate Coffee.” Lydia’s Organics makes delicious bars, cereals, crackers, breads and trail mix.

But where do you get your protein? Sprouts, seeds, nuts, goji berries, spirulina, quinoa, collards, coconuts and more. Carbohydrates come from vegetables, fruit, and nut butters. Healthy fats are available in flaxseed, hemp seed, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and more seeds. And I’m one of those people that believes a day without chocolate is like a day without sunshine. So yes, I eat chocolate every single day!

[Roz’s note:Roz is not vegetarian. She fully acknowledges that a vegetarian diet has a lower environmental impact, but has found that it just doesn’t suit her constitution or lifestyle. But she keeps her intake of animal protein to a low level, and uses organic, free-range meat and seafood from sustainable fish stocks whenever possible.]

The raw food community is also abundant. Lovely people at Gone Raw and We Like It Raw post recipes and inspiring stories from all points of view.

I’ve found eating this way has given me energy, quicker recovery from physical training, sleep improvements, and beautiful skin, which I’ve struggled with most of my life having some minor rosacea and acne.

Plus, less processed foods mean less waste in the trash can and around the waist!

Other stuff:

Position at 2130 6th August Pacific Time, 0430 7th August UTC: 23 26.983’N, 144 12.168’W.

Strong winds and large swells have made for interesting rowing conditions today. After recent record-breaking days the pace has slowed down slightly – although wind assistance is good, too much wind makes it difficult to row well, so the ideal is a balance between brisk wind and rowable conditions, and I wasn’t quite there today. This is the problem with oceans – always too much of something or not enough!

Have been making a deliberate effort to look around me a bit more. I noticed several small pieces of rubbish as I passed close to them. Some are on the surface of the water, some visible just beneath – it all depends on the density of the material. This is one of the problems with the pollution issue – so much of it is hidden beneath the surface that it’s only through the good work of the Algalita Foundation (of which JUNK is a project) that we have any idea at all of the true extent of the problem, as they take water samples from all depths and measure the quantities of pollution.

I also noticed some little fishes swimming to keep up with my boat. But then I got a crick in my neck from all my rubbernecking, so may need to keep my eyes in the boat tomorrow!

I didn’t receive my usual email from Mum yesterday with the comments from the website, so I can’t respond to them. I shall have words with the management.

Click here to view Day 74 of the Atlantic Crossing 12 February 2006: Happy Days are Here Again.

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