Raw Transcendence— My personal journey
Simon S.C. Chau
Chair, LifeFlow and Founder, GreenWoods Raw Café
Some 90% of the brave ones who try switching to a totally raw diet fail within months if not years. This account of mine might serve as some guidance and assurance for new comers.
Stage 1— Doom and Gloom Misery
(Months 1 to 3)
When I went completely raw vegan almost three years ago, I was kind of sentencing myself to a life of bland, deprived and monotonous diet for my remaining years on this planet. Fruits and salad greens day in and day out? Misery without end. I had little idea of what and how to eat, and where to get “food” I would permit myself to devour. Fortunately my friends Sam and Tina launched this greatest experiment and venture in life a few months ahead of me, and they became my mentor in the raw wonderland venture. The blind leading the blind.
Stage 2— Replacement Comfort
(Months 4 to 24)
To survive physically and psychologically (not to mention socially), I devised a new dining scheme within weeks. It was a replacement tactics imitation of my former eating habit: each meal ideally with a starter, a soup, a salad with dressing of the day, and a main course, complete with tea/coffee, all homemade whenever I could spare the time and effort. All those were almost totally raw (exceptions—seasonings such as miso, vinegar and curry). I taught myself to invent local versions of rice (made of sago) and noodles (made of dried radish or seaweed). (See rice, noodle, and coffee recipes below.)
Fortune struck again as my raw soul mate Tina, with next to none culinary experience, managed to create raw delicacies such as cheese and yoghurt (based on water kefir), cakes and crackers. Ice cream I have been demonstrating on road shows for over 20 years.
It was, perhaps, only as a result of such gastronomic gratification provided by such replacements that enabled me to battle with the agonies of the detoxification process as well as the inside urge for cooked temptations, both inevitable and understandable.
Stage 3-- Return to Natural Simplicity
(Third year and after)
Surprise came before my second anniversary when I discovered that my enthusiasm for such ’formal traditional’ dining experience subsided. Good news: the dependence on starch (rice and noodles with all their seasoning) and fake caffeine (tea and coffee) quietly left me. Almost suddenly I could eat leafy greens with no dressing, and enjoyed munching mangoes, avocadoes, dragon fruits and the lot nakedly far more than those complicated imitation treats (i.e. all the recipes provided below). Life became unprecedentedly simple and natural.
At the same time, green smoothies became the daily staple and ritual. I carry 1 litre plus in 500ml bottles around town every day away from home.
My typical meal these days consists of 1,000-1,700 ml of green smoothies (usually with 3-4 bananas), 2-3 kinds of seasonally fruits (such as papayas, tangerines, coconuts, avocadoes, mangoes or dragon fruits). For tea time, the treats could be pumpkin seeds, almond, durian or dates.
Stage 4-- The Ultimate Enlightenment in Mono-dietism
(Sometime in the future)
I have no doubt that eating a minimal types of food per meal or even per day is the ideal. Our bodies are designed for that, like all our animal siblings. I can envision that in a few years, or less, I manage to finally settle down on 1-3 (e.g. 8 bananas and 32 papayas, that counts as 2 types) per meal. At this moment, I am approaching that goal, slowly but happily.
Now at the age of 66, I would need perhaps 66 months to complete the transition and body-mind re-engineering. Now it is 33 months done. You will hear about the ending of my adventure.
Ingredients: Sago, and optional mixed veggies (pineapple, currants, nuts…)
Seasoning: coconut oil, chili pepper, turmeric, or sesame butter.
Method: Soak sago 3-6 hours, mix all other ingredients and serve.
Ingredients: Chinese zucchini orzucchini and optional veggies (leafy greens, bell pepper …)
Seasoning: sesame oil, vinegar, miso, and/or liquid amino.
Method: Cut zucchini with splicer, mix all other ingredients and serve.
Ingredients: walnuts or cashew nuts, cocoa powder, agave nectar or other sweetener, coffee extract.
Method: Put all into blender and liquefy.