Hi all! Today I’m excited to bring to your attention a new e-book by my friend Anne, a raw vegan chef, plant-based diet enthusiast and creator of TheRawMama.com – a website and a YouTube channel that guide new parents through raising their children healthy and happy on a raw plant-based diet. Anne is a mom of the cutest 18 month-old boy named Axel who makes frequent appearances in her work. In an effort to document her own transformation from a hard-partying twentysomething with failing health and disordered eating habits to a thriving raw vegan parent, Anne penned Rawspiration – an e-book that turned out to be a memoir, a cookbook, a raw vegan lifestyle and parenting guide all in one package.
I met Anne and her son Axel at one of our local vegan potlucks on Whidbey Island a few months ago. I learned that Anne was following a mostly raw vegan diet, and that at the time of our meeting she was in the process of writing a cookbook. I’ve never personally met a vegan who was breastfeeding while eating a raw diet, so I became intrigued. While I don’t see myself ever going 100% raw, I decided to find out how this was working for Anne. Luckily, Rawspiration was recently finished, and I got a chance to read her story.
In the book, Anne proves that while we all may come from different paths of life, there’s never ‘a point of no return’ that could prevent us from reconsidering our abusive relationship with our health. Anne chose to become a raw vegan after a health scare brought on by years of on-and-off bulimia, eating mostly packaged foods, and smoking and drinking almost every night. She admits that while her transition to veganism wasn’t 100% perfect (hey, mine wasn’t either!), it was only after she learned to put her own health and the well-being of her son first, her decision to stick with the raw vegan lifestyle finally stuck.
Anne wrote Rawspiration to help anyone who may be struggling on their path to becoming healthier. Today, Anne graciously agreed to give away two copies of her e-book to the readers of Vegan Runner Eats! You can find the details at the bottom of this post. If you prefer to skip the giveaway and support the work of this stay-at-home vegan mama directly, you can buy Anne’s e-book on her site (not an affiliate link).
Interview With Anne Meinke From TheRawMama.com
I decided to ask Anne a few questions about going raw, her vegan parenthood experience, and why she decided to write a cookbook. Note: While Anne and I don’t see eye to eye on some aspects of vegan diets, I think we all can definitely learn a few things from the raw vegan approach. If more raw or minimally processed plant-based foods get on our plates, everybody wins!
Alina Zavatsky: Why did you decide to become a raw vegan?
Anne Meinke: My body started falling apart at the age of 23. I was smoking a pack a day, drinking almost every night, eating only from restaurants or packaged foods, and taking five medications to function normally. I started getting bladder infections weekly, having problems breathing, digesting food became so painful I was brought to tears. I was put on medication for severe indigestion that made me nauseous, and I couldn’t keep much food down. This was a big wake-up call that I needed to take better care of myself.
I started doing research and the more I learned, the more I eliminated from my life. Makeup, animal products, all beauty products, legumes, grains. All that was left was fruits and veggies. It just made sense to me, eat only the foods that mother nature provides in their natural state! Fresh and raw!
AZ: What inspired you to write a book about eating this way?
AM: I started experiencing incredible changes from eating raw that I had to share them on my personal Facebook page. Clear skin, healed thyroid and stabilized mood to name a few. I was posting pictures of my food as well, and the more I posted, the more people told me I should write a book. It took me two years, but I did it!
I went through hell and back, and I knew one day I would write a book and help others. I had no idea it would be centered around food because I didn’t have any kitchen skills until I went raw and couldn’t eat any of the packaged foods from the store. I found my passion in the kitchen and the book kind of wrote itself.
AZ: You mention in your book that going raw coincided for you with learning that you were pregnant. That must have been quite a learning curve! What did you do to make sure that you and your future baby stayed well-nourished and healthy on a raw diet?
AM: I was convinced that I was infertile for a few reasons. I had never been careful about birth control and never got pregnant, even when I was trying in the past. I also had wacky periods, and towards the end of my party girl lifestyle I was getting them twice a month. I had an ultrasound done to make sure I didn’t have any tumors or issues (none were found). I went raw for two weeks, and a couple weeks later I found out I was pregnant. I believe my body was too sick to carry a child before, and changing my lifestyle, going raw made me super fertile.
During my pregnancy, I had either a green juice or a green smoothie almost every day. I ate lots of avocados and greens and some fruit. I did have a lot of cravings for cheese and gave in to those but towards the end of my pregnancy animal products gave me horrible heartburn. That’s when I created my vegan Mac N Cheeze recipe that hit the spot for me.
AZ: Your son is such a cute little boy! Does he have any favorite raw treats?
AM: Thank you! I grew him from scratch 😉 Axel’s is 18 months old now, and currently, his favorite fresh foods are avocado, banana, dates, and tomatoes. When he was teething, he loved to chew on apples, carrots, and celery. Some of my creations that he likes are the green juice pulp crackers, Super Seed Bread, and my banana bread.
AZ: Do you have any tips for parents who wish to raise their kids on a raw vegan diet?
AM: Going against the norm is not easy. My best advice would be to follow your intuition, that gut feeling. And do lots of research. I hear a lot of raw vegan kiddos get rotten teeth, but Axel’s teeth are perfect. My theory is those kiddos are eating too many acidic fruits (oranges, pineapple, strawberries and fruit juices). As far as nutrition, since Axel was exclusively breastfed until almost one year and continues to breastfeed to this day sometimes, so I don’t worry about it. But if you wean earlier than me, do your research to make sure your kiddo is getting all the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive.
AZ: One of the common ideas about the raw vegan diet is that it can be high in fat due to nuts, and low in carbs due to the absence of grains, starches, etc. How do you make sure your diet stays balanced? Do you take any supplements?
AM: While transitioning from the SAD [Standard American Diet], I ate a lot of nuts. You will see in my book that most of the sauces are made from nuts. The nuts can easily be replaced with seeds, cauliflower or peeled zucchini. I don’t eat a lot of nuts these days because I have learned from my own experience that my body thrives on less fat. I eat mostly carbs (fruit) now and about 1 avocado a day with a giant salad. Occasionally I will eat something cooked like sweet potatoes, rice or quinoa. I feel like I am getting everything I need and more importantly, I feel the best I have ever felt in my life.
I do not take supplements. I believe I am getting everything I need from the way I take care of my body. Last blood draw, all my levels were great!
Raw vegan lasagna – find the recipe in The Raw Mama’s Rawspiration cookbook
AZ: Which recipe from your book do you make all the time? Which one is your absolute favorite?
AM: I have my green juice recipe almost every morning, followed by my green smoothie recipe the most. It’s a great way to sneak more greens in without tasting it. My absolute favorite (and everyone else’s) is my Butterfinger recipe. They taste just like the real thing and are so addicting!
AZ: I’ve noticed that a number of your recipes in the book call for a dehydrator. Can you recommend an alternative ‘un-cooking’ method?
AM: The oven set at the lowest temperature would be the next best option. Only one recipe requires a dehydrator (bacon), everything else can be made in the oven. I have found the food that comes out the dehydrator taste so much better!
AZ: What’s next for The Raw Mama? Is there a hard copy of your book in the works?
AM: Yes! The hard copy should be available in time for Christmas. It will make a great gift for loved ones.
I am also spending more time making YouTube videos and have a lot of great video ideas. I plan on documenting some friends transformations from the SAD to eating raw foods (lots of RawMama recipes). Check out my channel: YouTube.com/RawMama
Here’s a video of one of Anne’s raw vegan recipes – walnut-based Taco Meat:
Anne has agreed to send her Rawspiration e-book to two lucky readers of Vegan Runner Eats! Enter the giveaway here:
1. The giveaway starts today, September 20th, and will end next Thursday, September 29th, 2016, at 11:59 pm PST.
2. To participate, you must be at least 18 years old.
3. Once the giveaway is over, two participants will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter. The winners’ names will be announced on Vegan Runner Eats’ Facebook page. Each will receive an email from me notifying them of their win, followed by an email from Anne, the author of Rawspiration, with a copy of the e-book attached.
Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated to write this review and run the giveaway. I received a free copy of Rawspiration e-book for a review and personal use. All opinions expressed are my own.
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