Nathalie Lussier, aka “the Raw Foods Witch,” helps people develop a holistic approach to healing their relationship to food. Nathalie believes raw foods can heal you on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.Â Her website, RawFoodsWitch.com, is full of recipes, videos and articles that will deepen your understanding of eating raw.
I caught up with Nathalie to speak with her about her philosophy on raw foods. Her approach is fun, magical and she has lots of great tips for making the transition to a raw diet.
Nathalie, how did you become “The Raw Foods Witch”?
Nathalie: I bought the domain Raw Food Switch, but then realized that people didn’t really want to “switch.” My boyfriend suggested that Raw Foods Witch would be cool. I’ve always had a thing for witches and realized that this was my website and I could call myself a witch if I wanted to. As soon as I did that, things really started to take off – probably because I was really enjoying myself and not trying to be too serious.
Your site is really fun. It is refreshing compared to the dogmatic approaches you often see around food issues.
Nathalie: Why do it if you’re not having fun? Keeping things light and entertaining is a great way to get people to try the recipes. They stick around once they discover how great it feels to eat raw. My work is all about bringing more health, optimism and freedom to the world in a fun way. Sharing my experience with raw foods encourages others to include more fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets. A lot of us are stuck in a strange power struggle with food, so I want to give everyone the freedom to make food choices from a place of balance again.
What got you started with raw foods?
Nathalie: I first came across the concept on the internet one day, and couldn’t get the idea out of my head. The idea of eating raw food brought me back to my childhood: I loved raw carrots out of the garden, but couldn’t eat the floppy cooked ones. I wasn’t really committed at that time, though. The wake-up call came when my aunt passed away of a cardiac-related condition, and I realized that I could either keep eating my junk-food diet or take a different approach. That’s when I did a 30-day raw trial and I felt amazing!
What motivates you to do this work?
Nathalie: When I first went raw, there was a lot of dogmatism and strict adherence to rules. Even though I felt better, I noticed that it didn’t work for most people. I knew that people could experience the benefits of eating more raw food without being so hard on themselves. That’s essentially how I came to create my philosophies and teachings. I want everyone to be able to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables without worrying about labels or about doing it “wrong.”
I agree. I think that if people were more relaxed with each other, it would be easier for people to change their habits. Many times, it is pressure from others that leads people to do the opposite. People often won’t change until they are forced to do so – for health reasons or a serious wake-up call.
Nathalie: Yes! Our choices are often influenced by those around us, making us either conform or rebel. If we stopped judging each other, we’d be able to experiment with new ideas and lifestyles without feeling like we’re doing something wrong. We’re here to find the path that calls to us and not to try to fit into someone else’s vision for us. Wake-up calls usually happen when people are living unconsciously or trying to avoid the hints our bodies are giving us (indigestion, headaches, etc.).
If I was starting a raw food diet, what sort of advice would you give me?
Nathalie: I recommend that you take it slow. Some people jump in 100 percent, but that’s not easy on the body or the mind. I recommend you start by making green smoothies with 60 percent fruit and 40 percent green leafy vegetables. If you start your day with a green smoothie, you’ll immediately start to feel lighter and more energetic. From there, you can start adding more salads and see how you feel.
What are the benefits of a raw food diet?
Nathalie: Raw foods improve digestion. When you’re eating foods in their natural state, they are easier to digest. Your body can use the excess energy usually spent digesting to eliminate toxins or to heal itself. Digestive enzymes are preserved when eating raw. These enzymes help your body absorb the nutrients in your food. Many people have compromised digestive systems. Eating raw is one of the easiest ways to get maximum nutrition from your food. Eating raw also improves elimination, helps you lose weight, clears your skin, clears your mind and gives you sustained energy. You don’t get the mid-afternoon slump when you eat raw, because it’s easier to digest raw foods.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in going raw?
Nathalie: People perceive this diet as extreme. Once I learned how to explain the diet in a way that didn’t make it seem too crazy, it was easier to interact with friends and family. Another challenge was detoxification. My detox was mild, but I did experience some symptoms of withdrawal.
What are the symptoms of detoxification and what do you recommend to deal with it?
Nathalie: Symptoms may include headaches, chills, cold-like symptoms, diarrhea or constipation, bloating, break outs, or low energy. This can happen after you change your diet. Detoxification is your body trying to expel old “stuff.” I recommend being gentle on yourself, get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. Don’t take cold medicine. Excess mucus is part of the process. It usually doesn’t last more than a few days.
How do you handle going to dinner with non-raw friends?
Nathalie: I used to stress about that. Now, I’m more easygoing. I suggest restaurants that have salads or cooked vegetarian and vegan meals. I’m the “raw food restaurant” tour guide. There are more and more raw restaurants opening up everywhere too, so that makes it easier.
Yes, we have one here in the Twin Cities called the Ecopolitan. It is really good. So, do you have any stories you would like to share with us about clients who you’ve worked with and how raw foods changed their lives?
Nathalie: One of my clients, Sarah, had great results after participating in my Cure Cravings Forever program. She lost about 20 pounds just by having a morning smoothie and a salad for lunch. Changing a few of her meals to raw had a domino effect. She started exercising again and her husband lost weight, too. Stories like theirs are very humbling and rewarding to me.
In addition to offering information at her website [RawFoodsWitch.com], Nathalie helps people deal with cravings for unhealthy food through her program Cure Cravings Forever. She provides raw menus of the week, as well as tons of recipes and videos in her ongoing program, “The Magick Menu.” To get a feel for her energy and see if this whole raw food thing might be right for you, get her free e-course called “Feel Light Take Flight” and sign up for her weekly newsletter at www.GetTheCue.com.