The beginnings of The Raw Food Girl…
Hi.. everyone! I’m Tamara Brown, the Founder and Creator of The Raw Food Girl. I started this business because I have developed an absolute LOVE for raw and whole foods. It’s become my passion to educate others about it too, because I wasn’t always this way! This is my story.
As a young girl, I was fortunate to be raised by two parents who were very interested in health. Fruits, vegetables, meat, grains and dairy were staple parts of our diet, and my mother being a Health and Physical Education teacher, the importance of regular exercise was ingrained into me. In lieu of popular marketing of the 1990’s, our “healthy” meals looked alot like this:
Breakfast: Weet Bix with Muesli, with full cream cows milk and yoghurt
Lunch: Vegemite and Cheese, Peanut Butter or Nutella sandwiches,
Dinner: Cooked vegetables and meat on pasta or rice.
Snacks: Fresh fruit and muesli bars.
When I got married to my amazing husband Stewart in 2007, I cooked what I then believed were healthy meals. With the modest budget we had, this included lots of bread, white rice and pasta, cheap meats, powdered milk, packaged frozen vegetables, canned beans and non-organic fresh fruits. I figured that since we rarely ate fast foods and only limited amounts of ‘junk’ foods like icecream and chocolate, our diet was healthy. These meal plans continued through the birth of our first two children.
As a full-time, stay-at-home mother, I assumed it was normal for me to feel tired all the time. I took it upon myself to nap whenever my kids were sleeping, compensating for my lack of energy with an increase in foods such as commercial dark chocolate and Diet Coke (both of which I thought were “healthy” options… woah!!!) My social life dwindled, basically because I could no longer be bothered going out and late nights were well and truely out of the question.
It was not until the birth of our third child, in October 2012, that I started to have a serious look at the diet I was feeding my family. Stewart had started working FIFO (fly in fly out), and so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to rely on him for help during those first few months after labour, while caring for three kids on minimal sleep is about as fun as eating spirilina straight from the jar (not AT ALL fun, in other words). I hadn’t coped very well after my first two labours, suffering from sleep deprivation and post baby blues. I knew that if I was going to cope this time, something needed to change.
During my pregnancy I had attended several Wellness Events, put on by a company called Juice Plus+. I started to look forward to these evenings, not only because I was finally starting to learn that good health meant consuming a wide variety of good quality raw fruits and vegetables, but also because the community of people I met there. This crowd absolutely oozed health and vitality, seeming to have an endless source of energy that I so deeply desired for myself. I wanted it bad!
So it was that 6 days after my son was born, I made a decision that has changed my health forever. It wasn’t difficult and it certainly wasn’t time consuming! All that happened was that I added Juice Plus+ Orchard and Vineyard Blends to my diet. All of a sudden, I was getting the raw nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes of an additional 15 different fruits and vegetables and two healthy grains into my body every single day.
It was only two weeks later that I started to notice a visible difference. I was up all day with my two energetic toddlers, and up at least twice during the night to feed the baby. History told me that I should be feeling exhausted, run down and borderline depressed. But I wasn’t feeling any of those things. I was happy and content, and, instead of spending my evenings feeling lonely now that Stew wasn’t around, I threw myself into research about food and nutrition.
If I had experienced a notable difference by increasing my intake of fruit and vegetables in a capsuled form, what would happen if I also increased my intake of fresh produce also? What then? The possibilities excited and fascinated me. And so it was that I started to learn about the power of raw food.
Raw food, or ‘live food’ as it’s also called, is any fruit, vegetable, nut, seed or grain that is in its natural form. That means it hasn’t genetically modified in any way, or cooked above 37.5 degrees Celsius, to retain all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes needed for optimum health. Through my research, I started to realise that these essential nutrients are at the very core of preventative health. Not only that, but artificial foods such as refined sugar, processed food such as fast foods, and high doses of animal proteins such as meat and dairy, are toxic to our health and the very cause of disease in Western Society.
So with new eyes, I started eliminating some of the staple foods from my family’s diet and replacing them with fresh, raw produce. This meant reducing my intake of wheat-based foods and replacing them with whole food options like spelt (I found eating too much wheat make me feel bloated, gassy and tired – though I still do eat some good quality bread, just not the kind with preservatives and additives!), and I basically stopped buying anything that was processed or artificial. Weet Bix and cows’ milk for breakfast became a Green Smoothie, salad wraps replaced sandwiches for lunch and dinners became a variety of beans, brown rice and spelt pastas accompanied by a large salad of brightly coloured vegetables. Our meat intake dramatically decreased, and since January 2014, Stewart and I adopted a mostly vegan diet. Healthy desserts even became possible – I discovered I could make my old staple favorites out of fresh, whole foods, and they actually tasted delicious! Things such as icecream, chocolate and cheesecake I was now making using entirely raw ingredients.
The more foods I replaced with raw and whole foods, the better I felt. My children were now eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, without complaint. It didn’t happen overnight, but they more I talked to them about what ‘Power Fruit’ and ‘Super Veges’ would do for them (i.e. help them to play longer, run faster, etc), the more they gobbled them right up! When you teach your children about the why of good nutrition, they listen. And they eventually start to take it on board.
The more I continued to use raw ingredients to make delicious meals, the more I realized just how easy it was and how much I loved doing it! This was something fun I could do with my kids, letting them help me with the mixing and stirring to get them involved. So I decided to venture out and start creating my own raw food recipes, using healthy and affordable whole food ingredients. And then one day I woke up and realized I had more than enough recipes to fill a recipe book! The rest I would collate on a website, free recipes that anyone could create and enjoy.
This is how The Raw Food Girl was born. Since 2013 it has become my passion to educate as many people as possible about the amazing power of whole foods. I do this by running Raw Food Workshops, in which I teach others how they too can include more raw foods into their diet. It gives me the biggest high when I see people ‘get it’, when they decide to make the health of their family a priority just like I did. I can promise you if you do this, the benefits you can experience will be amazing!
To date, I have self published four raw food recipe books. The Raw Food Girl’s Sweets & Treats was my very first book, a collection of my most favorite raw slices and desserts. I have since published three others – The Raw Food Girl’s Smoothies, which was inspired by my desire to create smoothies with a high vegetable content that are dairy free and totally delicious! The Raw Food Girl’s Chocolate and The Raw Food Girl’s Desserts are my other two decadent treat recipe books. I am now working on The Raw Food Girl’s Savoury Dishes, which will be a collection of my raw mains and snacks.
I hope I may have inspired you in some way to take the next step in looking after your health and wellbeing. Just remember, you don’t have to change everything at once! Start by making one small change, and then once you have mastered that, make another. Pretty soon you will look back on where you are right now and be so grateful you made the change!
Hearing about how others have improved their health inspires me so much. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I would love you hear your story!
I wish you the very best in health, in wealth, and most importantly – in happiness 🙂