Monday, August 24, 2009
Enjoy a Purely Delicious interview with publisher and managing editor Rebecca Carlson + Win a FREE annual subscription to Purely Delicious!
I'm devouring some buckwheat granola and fresh berries while posting this blog interview with publisher and managing editor Rebecca Carlson of Purely Delicious, the only raw foods print publication based in the US.
Because of my passion with raw foods and healing the mind, body, and spirit I reached out to Rebecca because not only of her courageous work in running a magazine publishing business that educates the mainstream about raw foods, but her personal story with raw foods because it validates my belief system and the belief system of so many others that food is truly our medicine.
Purely Delicious brings you fun and educational information and resources about the raw foods diet and lifestyle without the extremism that often goes along with the lifestyle. Its full of raw foods recipes, expert interviews, a teacher and restaurant guide, and of course the alluring and tantalizing photos of living and healing foods.
Enjoy Rebecca's story about healing multiple sclerosis and the challenges and rewards of doing such great work in spreading the message about our health!
NK: As someone who has had health challenges with MS, what has your journey to raw foods been like? How and why did you first start eating raw and what has your experience been like thus far?
RC: That is the number one question that I get asked; that is why I decided to just bite the bullet and write an article about it in the summer '09 issue of Purely Delicious. My journey pretty much started with my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in late 2005. Before my diagnosis, I was completely oblivious to the connection between diet and health. But I knew I didn’t want to inject medicine for the rest of my life, so I decided, against the wishes of my doctor, to explore more holistic and whole-body treatments. It wasn’t until July of 2007 when I was home sick on my couch flipping through channels that I even heard about the concept of raw foods. I found an episode of the Tyra Banks “Diet Wars” and tuned in because I noticed that Jillian from "The Biggest Loser" was on the show. But as I watched, it was Alissa Cohen who caught my attention with what she had to say about raw foods. As I was struggling with depression, fatigue, headaches, migraines, tingling in my legs, etc., I was excited to hear that raw foods might be able to provide me with more energy. That’s exactly what I needed. So I decided to start the 30-day raw challenge on the spot, and in less than a week all of my symptoms had vanished. I felt amazing! I couldn’t believe the changes in my mood, thought clarity, and energy levels. Although I did not experience the huge weight loss numbers that others were experiencing (only nine pounds lost in the first month), I didn’t focus on that because I felt like I had been given a second chance at life. However, when the holidays started to roll around, my enthusiasm was replaced with pangs of feeling like an outsider to all of the fun of social gatherings and traditional foods, etc. I wondered how on earth I was going to manage being raw long term with these feelings. At the same time, I noticed quite a few fairly ugly and judgmental posts by people who were taking a very hard-line approach to the diet basically belittling those who didn’t agree with their beliefs. It was all a bit unsettling to me and a bit of a turnoff. I was sad and frustrated that my friends and family for the most part just weren’t “getting it” and considered the raw diet to be extreme and even unhealthy. I even went back to my small Midwestern hometown to offer a class. Many came to sample the food but would quickly say, “I can’t do this because I can’t give up meat.” So I longed for something more mainstream that could be easily and quickly understood, a tool to help me explain why I was doing what I was doing. I wanted to say that even baby steps were a good thing, you didn’t have to go from one extreme to 100% raw as I had done. That is when my best friend gave me the idea of starting a raw magazine. Next I decided to play around with my 100% status to see if I could successfully add a few things back into my diet without harm. So I adopted more of a 90-100% diet, and to my surprise, everything just clicked. Gone were the cravings, and also gone were the longings for “normalcy.” It just works for our lifestyle.
NK:As a magazine publisher of a raw foods lifestyle publication, what is your vision and your mission for the magazine?
RC: I think I sort of covered this in my previous answer, but my vision is to reach out to the world. Not necessarily the raw, vegan, and vegetarian world -- that is sort of like preaching to the choir. What excites me is the possibility to really change public policy, what is being fed to schoolchildren, nursing-home residents, prisoners, etc. I want to look at the CDC Web site and see obesity and disease rates plummet and know I had a small part in making it happen. I want doctors to think of prescribing food before medicine. And I’d love to see Congress think about spending a few of those dollars on preventative health instead of signing everyone up for a health-care system that is broken before it is even out of the gate. And I want this information to be fun, accessible, and interesting. Ok, yikes, let’s face it -- I want to change the world one bite at a time. LOL.
NK: What are your favorite foods?
RC: The list is ever changing depending upon what is in season -- right now, watermelon, fresh corn, and tomatoes. In the fall, Honeycrisp apples can’t be beat. But, in general, I love spicy foods like tacos or Thai coleslaw. Also, there used to be a chef by the name of Vee in Palm Beach who made the best chocolate torte. Vee, I miss you!
NK: Where do you see the future of the raw foods movement? What type of future do you see for your publication?
RC: There seems to be a shift happening right now away from the 100% stance and towards levitational water, elixirs, wild foods, and superfoods. It’s been a beautiful thing to see. There seems to be a collective embrace of those who are interested. Newbies are encouraged to experiment and gradually make changes. Thankfully, many of the "my way or the highway" ideals are losing ground. I think people are finally realizing that what works for one person may not be a great fit for another, and that’s OK. The future for Purely Delicious will be to hopefully bring the raw message to a more mainstream audience. I am always thrilled when someone says that their husband, father, or co-worker picked it up and enjoyed it. I smile from ear to ear when I hear that.
NK: In the age of digital media, what has your experience been like with a print raw foods publication? What are the challenges and what are the rewards?
RC: Like it or not, digital is where it is at. One of the first things I did when I took over the magazine in 2008 was to conduct a survey. One of the questions I asked was, "Do you prefer digital, print, or both?" Many people said very emphatically that they preferred a print magazine. They like being able to hold it in their hands, at the beach, in the car, on the porch. They spend way too much inside tied to the computer. I have to agree in part. While I enjoy the interactive nature of some things, there is something about snuggling up with a good book or magazine on a rainy day that is quite unique and wonderful. That being said, the reality of it is that it is extremely expensive to produce and mail a magazine. And as advertisers go online bribed by clicks, many magazines just can’t afford to print. That being said, we are closer to the launch of our online version. The challenges are many as I write: design, handle editorial duties, conduct photo shoots, handle prepress and press checks, as well as advertising and fulfillment, etc. What many people don’t realize is, I don’t have a staff, don’t collect a salary, and come from a design rather than editorial background. Luckily, I have been blessed by a few angels in human form like Lisa Testa, Sheree Clark, Elissa Quist, Kari Helton, Scott Brown, Anna Tipps, Matthew Kenney, and Angela Stokes (the list goes on) who seem to just give and give. I love them and simply could not do it without their support. The rewards? Doing something that I believe in and helping people become the best versions of themselves -- what could be a better reward? Everyone deserves to hear this information. I had no idea what I was placing on the end of my fork was killing me.
NK: What do you find to be most challenging on the raw foods diet?
RC: I still find social gatherings, like weddings and Christmas, toughies. It has very little to do with the actual food temptations, but more about being accepted. My family would never knowingly make me feel like an outsider; the exact opposite is true. But there is an internal thing that still happens when the rest of the family sits down to spaghetti and meatballs -- I want to be a part of the circle and feel “normal.” Plus I dislike putting anyone out in order to go out of their way to accommodate me.
NK: What do you find to be the most rewarding on a raw foods diet?
RC: Wow, now that is a question!!! Let me count the ways ... Having beautiful skin (no more breakouts), clear eyes (instead of bloodshot), no symptoms for over two years (like vertigo, migraines, blurry vision, slurred speech, loss of feeling in my legs, weakness, depression, mood-swings, PMS, fatigue), losing excess weight, loving life, not having a cold in over two years, eating more sustainably, etc. etc. etc. Raw is a win-win-win-win-win situation any way you look at it.
NK: Do you find that raw foods brings spiritual awakening to people? If so, how and why?
RC: Yes. The best way to explain it is this: When I eat processed, fried, or sugary foods, my thoughts become cloudy and murky. I don’t sleep as well. I’m tired, moody, and just don’t feel as well mentally or physically. But when I began to eat raw foods, everything improved ... everything. I noticed joy bubbling up from inside and find myself almost giddy at times, like an 8-year old! Out of this joy comes a profound sense of love and gratitude to my Savior Jesus. But I have heard the same feelings expressed from those of other faiths. There is a deepened awareness of our purpose and how we can help or harm others by our actions, choices, and words. It’s like we become hyper aware of the ripple effects caused by our daily choices, such as eating non-organic food, pouring chemicals down the drain, or buying products from non-fairly traded regions. Each action is linked to those around us and, ultimately, our creator and Earth through our conscience. It’s an amazing and peace-giving thing to live what you believe. And it all starts with taking one small step.
NK: What were some of your challenges that you faced when you first started eating raw?
RC: Cravings for coffee and Mexican food. Also stepping foot in Whole Foods for the first shopping trip -- we felt like we had never been in a store before. We had no idea what to buy, what to look for -- we were lost. We were completely overwhelmed; I think it took us over two hours to shop. We didn’t know there was such a thing as raw honey and raw nuts, let alone wheatgrass! Another big learning curve was preparing food. So many of those early meals went right into the trash. One of the best tips for me was to make 1/4th of a recipe the first time. And then tweak to taste. Oh, and the eggplant bacon, yuck. Just skip that one.
NK: What’s on your plate today?
RC: Today I am finishing up the contracts with two magazine distributors, working on an ad and radio spot, contacting writers with fall assignments, working on this interview, shipping orders, writing a thank-you note to my printer, planning an upcoming road trip, finalizing the dates for two September radio interviews, and boxing up magazines to send to a women’s conference. And, of course, checking the Purely Delicious Facebook fan page. On my actual plate? Watermelon with a touch of sea salt. Mmmm.
Thank you Rebecca and thanks for Purely Delicious!
Purely Delicious has all sorts of wonderful articles for those who are new, and not so new to raw foods.
For more information about Purely Delicious, please visit www.purelydelicious.net
In my book, The Goddess of Raw Foods, I name ten (10) of the sexiest fruits. Whoever can name the most of what's in my book wins a FREE annual subscription to Purely Delicious. Contest ends Monday, August 31st. We will announce the winner Tuesday, September 1!
You don't have to have a copy of my book to name them, but of course if you do, that helps but here are some hints.
Think tropical, exotic, juicy, red, Brazil, pops in your mouth, a stem, begins with a "P". Hmmm.............. Have Fun!
Leave your answers on the blog page under comments.