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I live on raw food
WHEN Caroline Eveleigh jets off around the world as cabin crew, there’s one item in her luggage she never forgets.
While for most women their can’t-live-without travelling essentials include a bikini, hair straighteners or sandals, for Caroline it’s her hand blender.
That’s because Caroline doesn’t eat cooked food. Her diet contains nothing but raw fruit, vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts.
So next week when thousands of families will be tucking into their roast turkey, steaming spuds and piping hot sprouts, she’ll be treating herself to something that has never seen a cooker.
And when she wakes up anywhere in the world from New York and Hong Kong to Dubai and Delhi, Caroline heads straight for the market in search of fresh produce for her favourite daily breakfast fix – a green smoothie.
“I don’t eat the aeroplane food. I often take my own food away with me for the flight – a salad, a vegetable chilli or a raw Pad Thai. I have to make sure it’s not liquid as we can’t take liquids through security,” laughs Caroline.
“I don’t go anywhere without my mini blender so I can always whizz up a smoothie.”
The slim 49-year-old eats dozens of portions of fruit and vegetables every day and has even created recipes to make meals more interesting.
She makes crackers out of the pulp from juices, flax seeds and chilli to dip into raw houmous with zucchini, raw tahini, lemon juice and garlic and even makes her own almond milk to make banana milkshakes.
And she says thanks to her raw food diet, she feels healthier than ever.
“Travelling internationally can impact on your mindset and your body.
“You cross many time zones, many times a month.
“By eating a raw diet, I have a lot more energy than having cooked food. It’s easier to digest, it’s lighter and the enzymes are all intact so they help with your digestive process,” says Caroline, who keeps six chickens in her Milford-on-Sea home.
Caroline, who was a vegetarian for years and last ate meat when she was in her twenties, transformed her diet when she was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2010.
She read up about the raw food diet and decided to give it a go.
“Hearing the news I had a Macmillan nurse was like a sledge hammer coming down on me.
“I’d had a plant-based diet for many years. I always thought I ate healthily, I exercised often, but I decided I’d like to look into things and do as much as possible to support my skin.
“What you are putting into your body is the building blocks for you so you have to eat the best food available to you!”
Today the mumof- two who is married to Garry, a forager for Lime Wood and The Pig hotel in Brockenhurst, often gets double takes from passengers when she reveals she has worked for the airline for 30 years.
In fact, Caroline is so glowing, she has been selected over hundreds of women to represent Linwoods Super Food after winning their Fab Over 40 competition.
Caroline had submitted an entry after using the health foods for years to improve her skin and since becoming a finalist she has won two personal shopping sessions, £1,000 to spend and a year’s supply of super foods.
While most people who discover she eats raw food expect her to be pale and emaciated, she’s anything but.
The former competitive swimmer runs and works out regularly.
“Our nearest relative is the Bonobo Ape and they eat lots of green things and they might eat a few bugs, and what do cows eat? They eat grass which turns into protein and they are big!
“If you’re eating something raw, that’s fibre and that fills you up.”
Caroline, who loves ethnic food including Thai and Indian, has now turned her passion for raw food into a business called The Raw Zone and is planning to host workshops in the Hampshire area in the new year, where participants will be taught to introduce the raw food diet into their own lives.
Tough though the regime might sound, Caroline says she has to prepare all her meals, but she never suffers from cravings from fatty and sugary foods. And if she occasionally fancies cooked vegetables she will succumb to temptation.
“People say ‘is it easy to do?’, I think 100 per cent raw is very difficult to do because in our climate when it’s cold, I think you might want something warm, I do like a bowl of soup, but then with raw food you can eat food up to 118F.
“People think it sounds a really boring diet but it’s not. There is so much variety.
“Travelling can be hard so I might be in a hotel where I can’t eat just raw food, so I have to be lenient with myself, but then if I fall off the wagon and want a hot curry, I’ll have one because I’m not obsessed with it.
“For me it’s not a diet because diets aren’t sustainable and so it has got to be a lifestyle. If you start putting rigid rules around it, that’s when you run into problems.”
And even Caroline’s meat-eating teenage children, Piers, a hockey player, and Gigi, a ballet dancer, have tried her dishes.
“I’ve built up quite a repertoire of things. I’ve got no problems cooking the family meat, macaroni cheese, burgers, but I don’t buy cakes, crisps, chocolate or processed food.
“My kids think I’m absolutely crazy!”
For further information about Caroline’s raw food classes email firstname.lastname@example.org
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