Have you heard of Freelee the Banana Girl? The fruitarian became an internet sensation after she created the Raw Till 4 Diet, a regime that encourages people to eat only raw food until 4pm each day. While her take on the raw food diet is a fairly extreme one - read eating up to a dozen bananas a day, there are elements of truth inside this diet trend that we can adopt and use in our own diets.
There are a great deal of benefits to sticking to a raw food diet: Eating only raw fruit and vegetables, seeds and nuts means that there is very little cooking to do, your complexion will reap the benefits of the vitamins and nutrients you are consuming, your energy levels will rocket and it will reduce any bloating from your stomach. It is a healthy way of slimming down fast and after ten days, you should see noticeable changes.
There are several variations of the raw diet plan. Yoga expert Siri Datta created The Delicious Raw Food Diet to sort out her own health problems. It then grew into a programme that has changed the lives - and the shape - of many others.
A fashion designer come yoga teacher, Siri was diagnosed with Candida, an overgrowth of yeast in her intestines. 'I was told it would take years to resolve my health problem and I was determined to experiment to see whether I could restore myself back to awesome good health with a raw diet that was at that time a bit of a fad in California.
The day after my diagnosis I began a 100% raw food lifestyle, too see if it was all it was cracked up to be. Within three weeks I recognised that I was onto something of extreme value. Weight was dropping off me, I needed less sleep, I'd wake up each morning with passion and my skin and eyes seemed to be shining from within. I was changing... there was something fresh about my body, a kind of luminescence about me.
I realised that I was ingesting the energy from these living fruits and vegetables - that my diet was feeding me energy, not depleting it. After six months my sugar cravings had vanished, the urge for coffee and bread didn't turn me crazy any more, and after eight months my candida had cleared.'
Breakfast should be the heaviest meal of the day, full of greens, salads, sprouts and vegetables. Try to eat between 7 and 9 am.
Start your day with two glasses of water with a hint of fresh lemon to cleanse your system. Sip slowly to aid absorption.
Blueberry porridge recipe
65g raw oat groats
15g ground almonds
Mix berries and oats with 150ml water. Soak in the fridge overnight. At breakfast add the almonds and a pinch of salt. Add a sprinkle of blanched whole almonds and a drizzle of raw honey.
'Fruitify to beautify' fruit salad recipe
2 ripe bananas, sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice
1 apple, sliced finely
1 orange, sectioned and deseeded
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
5 large strawberries, sliced
10 to 20 red grapes, with seeds
Mix and serve.
'Tangerine taster' fruit salad recipe
1 to 2 tangerines, peeled, sectioned, and seeds removed gently
1 banana, sliced thickly, with a splash of lemon juice
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 to 2 ripe plums in small chunks
sprinkle of sultanas
2tbs coconut chips
2tbs ground almonds or walnuts
Mix all together, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with ground nuts.
'Berry power' smoothie recipe
50g fresh cranberries
2tbs oats, soaked for 30 minutes
4tbs goji berries
1⁄2 vanilla pod, finely shredded
Blend cranberries, strawberries and 1⁄2 cup water. Add oats, goji berries and vanilla pod. Blend until smooth.
Eat lunch between 12 and 2pm.
This should really be the heaviest meal of the day, with lots of greens, salads, sprouts and vegetables.
Have supper between 6 and 8pm.
The golden rule is never eat after 8pm. Whatever you eat then just sits in your system fermenting, and in turn converts into fat and weight gain. This is when you should eat your good fats to repair while you sleep, and heal the system. Try to include avocado, salad dressings and nuts.
Drink at least two litres of natural water slowly through the day. Don't drink it all in the morning and none in the afternoon.
Snack on super snacks
Need some ideas? Here are Siri's easy snacks:
- A selection of raw vegetables - try a crunchy mix of carrot and white radish, plus creamy courgette.
- Handful of goji berries and cacao nibs. Goji's are sweet and cacao nibs are a chocolate treat!
- A piece of fruit - any kind, any time, from a banana to a handful of berries.
- Small bag of rocket to snack on.
Apricot truffles recipe
These are heavenly for a sweet hit. Pop one or two for an afternoon treat.
100g almonds, soaked for 12 to 48 hours and blanched
60g dried apricots
6 to 8 honey dates
1tbsp lemon zest
1tsp of vanilla essence
Process the almonds, apricots and dates in a food processor using the "s" blade. Add the lemon zest and vanilla, form the dough into small balls, and chill well before serving. Delicious.