Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Making the Most of Raw Materials; A Raw Food Diet Might Not Sound Appetising for Winter, but Self-Confessed 'Raw Obsessive' Shazzie Thinks It's the Key to Her Health and Wellbeing - Whatever the Season. the Presenter and Author Tells Nel Staveley about the Benefits of Cutting out Cooking

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Making the Most of Raw Materials; A Raw Food Diet Might Not Sound Appetising for Winter, but Self-Confessed 'Raw Obsessive' Shazzie Thinks It's the Key to Her Health and Wellbeing - Whatever the Season. the Presenter and Author Tells Nel Staveley about the Benefits of Cutting out Cooking

Article excerpt

WHEN the clocks go back, and we shudder at autumn's first frost, it's tempting to reach for the comfort food; a nice warming pot of stew, perhaps, or a plate of Shepherd's Pie.

Most of us believe eating warm food will instantly warm up our mood, a default response engraved from childhood and the memories of your mum's home-cooked delights on dark, windswept Sunday evenings.

No But raw food expert Shazzie (no surname... like Cher) believes that if you really want to get through winter - and beyond - with a smile, you need to ditch cooked meals altogether.

their And don't The idea is as basic as it sounds; instead of cooking food, you only consume food that's raw. the we do It's principles started millennia ago, before cookers were invented, but the raw food diet has been gaining momentum in the modern world, partly thanks to the endorsement of celebrity followers like Demi Moore and Natalie Portman, and advocates like mother-of-one Shazzie.

"No animals cook their food," she explains simply. "And they don't get the illnesses we do. We are an over-weight starving culture, because nutrient-deficient foods dominate out lives. When food is raw, the nutrients are intact and the body gets what it needs without having to over-stuff itself."

Shazzie discovered the benefits of raw food back in 2000, after suffering increased weight, unhealthy skin, depression and lack of energy.

"I started researching food and realised I was deficient in a lot of stuff. I realised I was causing my body stress by feeding it food it just couldn't process."

After doing some research, she shifted to eating only raw food, and says "all her symptoms disappeared". She lost weight, her skin cleared up, her head felt less muddled and she "felt enthusiastic about life, for the first time ever".

animals food...

illnesses Having lifted her own "cooking fog", she became determined to help others, writing a blog and numerous books about her diet and personal transformation. She's travelled the world meeting other raw food gurus and, in 2012, began presenting her TV show, Raw Kitchen which was broadcast on The Active Channel (Sky 281 and Freesat 408).

Despite her obvious love of the diet - which she says is the reason she now never goes to the doctors, feels 'superhuman' and looks at least a decade younger than her 44 years - Shazzie does admit it's not always easily accepted by new recruits.

"Some people make it difficult, because there are many sub-groups of raw foodism," she says.

People also associate the diet with being pricey, because basic and cheap cupboard staples like pasta and bread are banned.

"But following a raw food diet is much less expensive than sick days and prescriptions due to eating food your body can't process," she points out.

Back on the offensive, Shazzie quickly extols another virtue of eating raw; you don't have to calorie count: "A calorie isn't always a calorie in the body. …

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