The 28-Day Raw Food Healing Challenge

Today begins a new series of posts on The Copycat Cook about raw food and healing. For the next month, I’ll be exploring raw food recipes and sharing them with you. Why raw? Why now? Read on to find out!

How I got here

More than 12 years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and, being 18, wasn’t particularly troubled with the whole affair. I popped a few pills each day and bounced back quickly. Dietary changes were never suggested as a treatment plan – it was drugs all the way.

I didn’t know there was another choice.

Over the years, I’ve been on a few different medications, like 5-ASAs and steroids (including prednisone). My current medication, the immunosuppressant azathioprine, is a known human carcinogen. Though the risk of developing lymphoma is low (about 2%), I’m concerned about the possible effects of taking this drug for the rest of my life.

I want to make a different choice.

Problem is, the medical system has conditioned me to believe if I’m not on meds, I’ll get sick. And the alternative health care world has shown me if I stay on meds, I may also get sick.

Diets, diets everywhere

In the last 12 years, I’ve tried many nutritional routes to heal my Crohn’s disease. I’ve done the liquid diet, the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet, the gluten-free, yeast-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, alcohol-free diet.

Certainly, nutrition has an enormous impact on the way I feel, especially since I eliminated gluten and dairy. But I believe if I go off my meds tomorrow, I won’t be successful.

My diet is fairly clean, but it’s far from perfect. I eat too many baked goods and natural sugars. And there’s a lot of good foods out there that I’m not eating, simply because I’ve never heard of them, are intimidated by them or don’t know how to use them.

I really need to step up my game.

So. What do I do?

Holistic nutritionist to the rescue

Enter Jennifer Trecartin, holistic nutritionist at My Edible Advice. I began seeing Jen last summer, shortly after I developed IBS from a bout of the stomach flu.

Jen believes that a raw food healing cleanse might work for me, along with adding a wide array of nutritionally dense superfoods and immune boosters I’ve never heard of before.

As I’ve mentioned previously, raw food is my final frontier. I’ve never tried it to heal my Crohn’s – partially because Crohn’s patients are advised to avoid raw food, but mostly because raw food intimidates me. It’s like a foreign language.

And, as you’ve often heard me say, I don’t like salads.

Raw food is scary, like the boogeyman

When I think of raw food, my mind leaps to lettuce leaves with oil and vinegar dressing. I’m a foodie, and this blog is about food experiments that taste good. So if I’m going to go raw, the food has to taste lip-smacking delicious, in such an exciting way that I have to share it with you.

That’s where Jen comes in. In addition to being awesome, she’s a certified raw food chef. She’ll be putting together a meal plan and recipes for me, along with providing information about why the foods she’s choosing can heal me.

The 28-Day Raw Food Healing Challenge

Over the next 28 days, I’ll be challenging myself to eat at least 80-85% raw. As I explore new recipes, I’ll share them with you, along with weekly check-ins about how I’m feeling.

I’ll also be investigating larger issues that accompany going raw, such as how to have a social life, how to avoid going broke, what tools you need to eat raw and how to manage your time so you’re not spending all day in the kitchen.

Of course, I’m entering this challenge with my eyes wide open. Raw food doesn’t heal every Crohn’s patient, and it may not work for me. Or, it may not work after only four weeks. But I’m going to give it my all and at the end of the challenge, assess how I feel and whether I feel strong enough to start eliminating medication.

I get by with a little help from my friends

Along the way, I’d appreciate your help. Do you have a delicious raw food recipe? Read a wonderful live food blog? Know someone who healed their IBD eating raw? Want me to address a specific aspect of raw food? Please share your stories and suggestions in the comments as I embark along this journey.

The question is, can this devout baker forsake her beloved oven for a month to heal her tummy woes?

Stay tuned to find out.

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20 Responses to The 28-Day Raw Food Healing Challenge

  1. Stephanie June 1, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Gena at Choosing Raw eats a high raw diet if you want to check her out. Daradubinet on YouTube has a bunch of clean, raw recipes too.

    • Sondi Bruner June 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

      I’ve been to Gena’s blog and it’s great, but I’ve never heard of Daradubinet – will have to check that out on Youtube.

  2. czechvegan June 1, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    Hi! Good luck with this challenge! It wouldn´t be easy, but you have some good support behind you:) Have you heard of this blog : http://kristensraw.com/blog/ ? It is really good, full of advice! And Choosing Raw, as Stephanie mentioned, is also awesome!

    • Sondi Bruner June 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

      One of my classmates recommended Kristen’s Raw and it’s in my google reader!

  3. Julie June 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Good luck Sondi! I’m still drooling over the raw falafel’s you made. I’m looking for a copy of The Raw Gourmet by Nomi Shannon to give to you.

  4. Julie June 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    I can’t believe I wrote falafel’s. How embarrassing. falafels

  5. Julie Cameron June 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Hey babe,

    I’m keen to follow you on this and hear what you are “cooking up” on a daily basis as I have IBS and am broke…lol. Can you let me know what your daily menu is?

    Love Jules.

    • Sondi Bruner June 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

      Hey Jules – I’ll be posting recipes regularly, so you can see what I’m up to. My meal plan was catered specifically to me and my Crohn’s, with the goal of dropping meds. I’ve done IBS diets before and though there are similarities, they’re not quite the same. However, in the coming months it looks like I’ll be doing some case studies for school, so if you are interesting in volunteering to be my guinea pig then drop me a line!

  6. Martine June 2, 2011 at 4:35 am #

    Hi Sondi, I’ve considered taking up a raw diet but it seems like such a daunting task, I admire your venture! I’m all for pursuing alternative, holistic treatments so I’ll be keeping up with your blog, I hope it all goes well.
    Good luck!

  7. Nadia June 2, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    Here is a list of my most favorite raw foodists, I hope their recipes will be helpful:

    http://www.rawmazing.com/
    http://www.therawchef.com/
    http://g0lubka.blogspot.com/
    http://www.sweetlyraw.com/
    and you can see some ideas on my blog too.

    Good luck!

    • Sondi Bruner June 3, 2011 at 8:04 am #

      Thanks for these great resources, Nadia. I follow your blog, too – you take amazing photos.

  8. ashley June 4, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Hi Pretty lady :)

    I came across this site of a restaurant in Toronto that does raw vegan http://www.raw-aura.com/ . Hope the menu ideas help with your creative process of making raw food :) Hugs :) ~Ash

    • Sondi Bruner June 4, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      Thanks Ashley. Some great stuff on this menu. I’m coming to town in August during my summer break, so I may actually go there!

  9. Vicki Heidke June 4, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Hey Sondi

    I have a great book called ‘Raw Energy’ by Leslie & Susannah Kenton. Although written 20+ years ago, it contains loads of great research and details their path to ultimate health. It also has some fantastic recipes.

    Your blog has inspired me to pick it up and read it again, plus to make some sweet treats of theirs this afternoon :-)

    Good luck with it all!

    • Sondi Bruner June 4, 2011 at 9:41 am #

      Thanks Vicki! I’ll have to check that book out.

  10. Lisa February 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Great website!

    While looking for treatment with digestive issues, I discovered this website:
    http://crohnsboy.com/crimson98_033.htm

    He has some great insight to Crohn’s and has been able to get off meds.

    Wish you all the best!

    Now to go and read more of your recipes!

  11. Elizabeth May 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    Ok, I just found this blog… I also have Crohn’s disease (am 19 now, was diagnosed at 15). I’m not a huge fan of taking Asacol daily, even though I know it’s one of the basic maintenance drugs… I’m REALLY excited to continue reading your 28 day challenge and to see what I can do for me!

    • Sondi Bruner May 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

      I hope you find some useful content here, Elizabeth.

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