The Raw Food Detox Diet
by Natalia Rose
4 stars plus one extra for entertainment
I've dabbled with this book (and others by Natalia Rose) for about three years.
Let me say right off that Natalia Rose is kind of a whack-a-do (albeit a wealthy one thanks to her clever marketing).
She's an extremist of high order when it comes to food and bodily functions. Much of her advice is not only peculiar, but even self contradictory (as in her rule about not eating fruit and vegetables together except, of course, for the recipes that contain both - huh). She is a devotee of colon cleansing as well as eating the majority of your food in the evening (not my thing since I almost never actually eat dinner and prefer to get my nourishment in decreasing doses throughout the day).
But the lure of a healthy diet full of raw, vegetarian food is strong for me. Despite the fact that I eat meat and dairy, it is not without remorse over the treatment of food animals and I try to limit my intake (I was a vegetarian for years, but after increasingly frequent dreams of eating chicken, I finally relented).
This is the least complex and time consuming of all her diet plans, but it is still a lot of work. The great thing about this book is that it provides a quiz to tell you what level you're at in regards to switching over to a raw diet. Then she outlines a seven day meal plan for you based on your level.
I confess that I have only ever managed three days in a row at any level before I am once again supplementing my meals with cooked foods and the always satisfying fat. But when I am eating her meal plans, I might yearn for more, but I am never hungry and I do feel better.
My approach is to look at what she outlines for the day, say "I am going to eat those foods today" and then consume them whenever I see fit (as opposed to eat fruit, but wait at least an hour before having a salad).
Those who know me know that I am not a fan of traditional salad. I scorn the salad bar with those skinny bitches picking out spinach leaves one at a time. Yuck. So much work. So much chewing and cutting.
So it was a happy discovery to find recipes for salads that are low on leafy stuff and yummy. Her salads usually call for chunky vegetables in bite sized pieces. Much better. I made the mistake of bypassing her homemade salad dressing recipes in the beginning. Bad decision. Her salad dressings are delish and more subtle and flavorful than anything I've had from the store.
Now comes the entertainment portion of our program. That being that some of the concoctions are downright vile. I have tried almost every recipe in this book and some of them have been crossed out with big letters declaring them "NASTY." In fact I just tried a blend of coconut, dates, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger and soy sauce which is billed as Thai Coconut Bliss. One sip and I was scrambling for a hunk of cheese to wash away that bit of bliss forever. In fact, pretty much anything that has coconut in it has turned out to be nasty (as have carrot juice based recipes).
Then of course there was the Power Soup. A blend of strawberries, beets, and juiced lettuce that I had the misfortune of showing off at work and then choked down with a smile on my face during snack time (note to self - a little beet goes a long way). But I have been pleasantly surprised by some things such as in the discovery that raw fennel is actually tasty when combined with the right companion root vegetables (meaning try stuff even if it looks scary at first).
The staple of the diet is something called Green Lemonade which is essentially kale juice. I can get that down (but not without grimacing) and I admit that my innards feel better for having consumed it, so I do "enjoy" that now and then.
If you decide to give it a try, I advise you to do it when you have a few days at home without a lot of appointments. As I said before, it is quite labor intensive until you get the hang of it. Also, don't buy more than one day's worth of food at a time if you can help it. That way, you can always bail or skip meals without the depressing sight of good intentions gone bad in the form of rotting vegetables (a sight with which I am sadly all too familiar).
Most US grocery stores have everything you'll need (thank you land of plenty). If nothing else, this book will give you pause to reconsider your eating habits and (if you are like me) introduce you to some yummy ways to up your intake of fruits and vegetables. So it's all good, right?