Hi! My name is Lauren and I’m a Raw Foods Chef and Certified Plant-Based Nutrition Wellness Coach. I love fruits and veggies, fitness, the outdoors, running, dancing, swimming and being active in general. I also have a passion for painting, photography and all things creative.
I founded Raw Is Sexy to help others transition into healthier high plant-based lifestyles. In my website I provide information, tips, recipes, and research to help others easily and simply incorporate more natural nutrition and plant-based foods into their daily lives. I also write honest accounts of my own personal journey and experiences in the hopes that others will benefit or find inspiration, encouragement, and the motivation they need to take more responsibility for their health. In addition, I founded Cancer Squad (www.cancersquad.com) to provide those looking to heal from illness or disease with an all-natural approach to recovery and (most importantly) prevention using natural plant based food as medicine.
So how did I get here?
I didn't always feel or look raw, sexy, and confident in my own skin.
I struggled with disordered eating and eating issues for years. I kept it hidden from everyone. In my teenage years I was encouraged to go into modeling. Unfortunately for me, I didn't have the thickest of skin. Negative comments, rejection, and overall not knowing my own worth and value led me to struggle constantly with the reflection looking back at me in the mirror. I would gaze at girls on the cover of Vogue and wonder why I wasn't 110 lbs. I'm just under 5'10" tall, so that weight for me would be pretty emaciated looking, but that's what I was aspiring to. After all, it was being featured on the cover of magazines! Who wouldn't want to look like that? Right?!?
I was an emotional-stress eater. I ate to feel better. I ate to feel comfort. I ate to feel love. Then I just felt awful. It was such a destructive cycle. I was killing myself on the inside to achieve a certain image on the outside. My weight continually went up and down.
I managed to diet myself into great shape the summer I was a lifeguard (photos below - circa 2003), I was active non-stop and popping those now illegal fat burner pills that had that fancy drug "ephedra" in it...and loving how I looked. My heart was racing out of my chest, but I didn't care. I just wanted to look "good" and book modeling jobs.
Unfortunately, quick fixes don't last, nor are they healthy. The weight came back on after I stopped taking the pills and stopped working out like a crazy insane person. I was eating fat-free this and that, and eating the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) of cereal for breakfast, sandwiches and baked chips for lunch, and pasta-chicken-veggie dinners. I thought I was eating healthy. I assumed my "metabolism was slowing down."
Determined to make a permanent, natural, and HEALTHY change and be the fit version of myself that I imagined, I contacted a Raw Foods and Fitness Guru named Jon-Michael Kerestes. He worked with me (and put up with my whining and complaining) as he re-educated me about food in general. It was one of the best learning experiences I've had. I basically had to unlearn everything I was ever taught about food. I had to learn about raw foods. Enzymes. Fruits and veggies. I worked with Jon-Michael daily via email food diary and phone calls and slowly discovered the power of raw foods. I was eating as much as I wanted, and the weight was disappearing. My energy levels skyrocketed. VROOOOOM! (Yes, that's what a rocket sounds like.) My seasonal sinus infections disappeared. I stopped getting sick. I didn't have to count calories. Sounds crazy, right? Well you don't have to! Not when you are eating all raw natural foods. One of the best parts about raw food is there is zero guilt. You don't have to feel "bad" about eating raw foods because they are all natural, full of amazing vitamins and minerals, and you can have your raw cake and eat it too!
Zero guilt is important, especially when you come from a background of disordered eating. I needed to mentally feel great about what I was eating, and with raw foods, feeling great is the only option! Even the most decadent choice (e.g. a raw chocolate cake) is pretty darn healthy! It's a win-win all around. After working with Jon-Michael, I began to read every book I could find on raw nutrition. I am particularly fond of Natalia Rose's books and Ani Phyo's books. They are great reads, easy to understand, and include many simple recipes that anyone can make, without the use of expensive tools. It's amazing to me that we have this beautiful, raw, all natural food just waiting for us...and instead we choose boxes of cookies or bags of chips. Everyone is out there looking for this magical pill or weight loss drug or special potion to suddenly "cure" them. No one thinks the answer is as simple as fruits and veggies. But it is. If all you ate were fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, (yes - PLANTS have calcium, iron and protein for those of you who are about to ask me where I get that from) if all you ate was a high raw diet of those things, you would look and feel great. If Ron Burgundy was here, he would say, "IT'S SCIENCE!" Seriously. It is. :-) I was 100% raw for a few months and now I am high raw. These photos were taken 6 months after I made the decision to overhaul my health and lifestyle and incorporate as many raw fruits and veggies into my diet as possible.
I still maintain a high raw lifestyle but I know what I need to include in my "diet" to keep myself on the raw wagon. Those things for me are the occasional steamed veggies (certain veggies I digest much better steamed than raw), dark chocolate, and red wine. I'm not a fan of labels - we don't live in jars, we don't need labels. Vegan, 100% Raw, Vegetarian - for me, I just say I am balanced. I am finally, happily, balanced. I am as healthy as I have ever been, I am in the best shape of my life, and I have fruits and veggies and all natural foods to thank for it, as well as all the amazing Raw Foodies and Wellness/Holistic Coaches I have had the privilege of working with along the way. Going raw definitely has helped me to feel sexy and confident in my own skin. There is something about being completely natural that just feels amazing! It’s my hope that everyone will quit the crazy fad diets and yo-yo diets and find peace within themselves. Find that balance where you just eat the things that are good for you. Get away from the processed foods, fast foods and junk foods. Choose whole, organic raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds! Your body will respond and you will get into the shape you desire! You don’t need to be 100% raw or even 75% raw to feel the amazing effects. Just begin by adding more raw fruits and veggies to your diet! Make one meal a day raw. If you do that, you will see just how easy it is to eventually make two meals a day raw. You will feel so amazing, you might even try for three! Give it a shot. What have you got to lose? It's the easiest non-diet diet you will ever try. It will become part of your lifestyle before you know it! The quick-fix society we live in might have you convinced that you need to pop diet pills or fat burners or eat just cabbage or eat only meats or drink lemonade for 20 days straight to get the body you want. People talk about liposuction and stomach stapling as though it were "normal" (but somehow think raw veggies is odd?!)
The truth is, there is no quick fix. There is no magic pill or potion. Some people don’t think it should be as simple as eating raw fruits and veggies, but it IS that simple. If you make the right food choices, if you are active, if you do things you enjoy and keep the stress level down in your life, you will look great, you will feel great and you will be hooked on raw too! It's all about finding a healthy balance. A healthy balance isn't just about food. It's about being happy. Being active. Lowering the stress level in your life. Having fun. Giving and receiving love. Forgiving. Laughing. Sharing. Loving yourself. Changing the way we look—physically—can be done with the right food choices, proper nutrition and fitness. We can absolutely change the way we look simply by cutting out the processed foods, and choosing whole, natural foods from the earth. Combine that with daily fitness and the results are undeniable! Changing the way we feel about ourselves can also happen by obtaining a new physique. We feel proud and AMAZING when we see ourselves in the mirror fitting into that new pair of jeans! But that feeling doesn't last forever. That new pair of jeans won't permanently silence the negative thoughts or feelings we might have about ourselves.
If you find yourself struggling to get rid of negative self-talk, there are two websites that I would like to share - Wonderfully Made and Operation Beautiful. There you will find inspirational and honest stories of women and young girls who are discovering what it means to know their worth and value, to love themselves, to rid their lives of negativity surrounding body image and instead, feel happy, healthy and fulfilled. I hope that Raw Is Sexy inspires you to make a healthy change in your life, and if you are already making changes, I hope it inspires you to keep going! I’ll be sharing my daily activities, natural nutrition, information on holistic healthy living and healing, recipes, tips, rants, raves and so on. Sexy is knowing who you are. Sexy is keeping yourself healthy on the inside. Sexy is being active. Sexy is being fit, athletic and strong. Sexy is loving yourself. Sexy is a smile. Sexy is reaching out to others. Sexy is choosing food that is good for you—natural foods that will provide you with energy, enzymes, and nutrients. Sexy is knowing that God loves you. Sexy is knowing your worth and your value. Sexy is being yourself and being the best YOU that you can be. Raw Is Sexy. Natural is Sexy. You - just the way you were created - are Sexy. Want to lose weight? Want to get fit? Want to feel better in your own skin? Want to heal yourself naturally? Want a lifestyle where you can eat whatever you want and not feel guilty about it? There IS a way. I am passionate about this lifestyle because I know it works. You can change your life. Want to get sexy, healthy and happy? Check out Lauren's website HERE
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