The following was written for a raw food magazine that promised some freebies in return. After sending the article and repeatedly asking for them to make good on their promise, my emails were ignored. Therefore, I am posting the article here on our website. Incidentally, the Raw Vegan Network, mentioned in the article, is not to blame but sent out a request as a favour for one of their members.
Since this was written in September 2010, I have since come across other raw seniors in our area of Vancouver, Canada, and I hope to find more here as well as elsewhere!
After receiving an email from the Raw Vegan Network with some suggestions for articles, this one caught my attention: “Rockin’ Raw at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70”. I thought, “Why stop there?” My husband is 80. I am approaching 70. We have been vegans for about 15 years, and raw for only the last few.
If we can do it, anyone can! Here’s how.
First, you have to want to or hit rock bottom and be willing to try anything to recover. Unfortunately, it is into the latter category where most of us fit.
As a registered nursing director, my health deteriorated because of stress and poor food choices. Add all that to the prescriptions that were supposed to make me better. Instead, I steadily got worse to where I had to crawl away from my job because the medical system could do no more for me.
Through the encouragement of my husband of 46 years, I started looking at alternatives. He quietly and stoically ate whatever I wanted to try and mumbled something about trusting me whenever I placed a handful of supplements in front of him.
Through all this experimentation, we both started feeling better, especially after going vegan while living for a few years in Mexico. However, watching how they handled meat in the markets made that decision much easier. Becoming a vegan is very hard in this tempting world of food choices. Although, calling most items out there “food” is a stretch at best.
Later, after moving back to Canada into an area where organically grown food is readily available, we started buying only organic and feeling even better. At first, facing the cost was a little disconcerting; but we found that we were eating less, so we were actually saving money as well as our health.
Trying raw for a period of time left us with even more energy and mental clarity. It took a bit of time for our digestive systems to adjust to the change, which is why it is necessary to go slowly. If you do not, the body rebels and you become discouraged.
We have tried to encourage our “younger” but sicker friends to try at least one smoothie a day. Naturally, we hear all the usual complaints tastes bad (how do you know that?); can’t afford it (you can’t afford not to); organic foods and supplements are not covered by my insurance (if you used them, you wouldn’t need insurance); and so on and so on.
Our arguments went over like lead balloons with the older folks; but then, it was not much different with some of the younger crowd either, so we took no offence. We just keep walking tall while they became slower, stooped, and more wrinkled.
I still work part-time as a vitamin consultant in an organic store, helping people take their medications or eliminating them safely. I also encourage them to change their diets, little bit by little bit. I explain just how many toxic chemicals are used to grow most fruits and vegetables, and just washing them off does little good. We also neglect to read the labels of products which we put on our skin. More toxic chemicals, but that is a topic for another time.
For the last five years, we have started our day with a raw smoothie of my own concoction. That holds us until early afternoon when we will have a large salad or a raw soup with a raw seed bread topped with a no-bean hummus, for instance. Later, we might snack on a trail mix or some vegetable recipe I decided to try. However, everything is easy and quick to make, leaving us time to walk the trails of a nearby forest, write our books, and add to our websites.
The best part of all is that for the last 15 years, we have not taken any medications of any kind for any reason. Any problems that come up are quickly solved through simple alternative means.
Being raw at 60, 70, 80, and beyond gives us the quality of life that everyone deserves!