Interview with Wanakhavi: The Man With a One Year Raw Plan

May 26, 2010

Committing to raw foods is tough for many people. Most of us need to ease into it, break long-term addictions, and may slowly but surely find our way into committing to eating raw for longer and longer periods of time. Now, Wanakhavi Wakhisi, a self-described photographer, editor, and healthy eater, decided at the beginning of 2010 to live on a raw food diet for an entire year. Pretty ballsy if you ask me, but he seems calm about it. Now in his fifth month, he has already become inspired enough to host a Raw Food Festival.

The festival will be on Sunday, June 6th, in Hyattsville, Maryland, and is free and open to the public. Check out the flyer below for more information. Besides getting to see some awesome raw food preparations, and hear about the benefits of raw foods, you will be able to taste test some yummy organic raw creations, including my world-famous (in my house) raw carrot cake. Come one, come all (skeptics especially), and bring your appetite! -XoXo Raw Girl

What made you decide to commit to one year raw and why one year?  For the past few years, I have tried to take a full year to let go of something, and to learn how to not be so attached to things in my life. This year I wanted to see if I could go a year cutting out cooked food.  I told myself if I could go 6 months I would be happy. On June 1st, I will have reached that 6 month mark, but now I know for sure I can finish out the entire year. Another reason for taking on the challenge was that I wanted to get serious about being healthy. In the past I’ve tried so many diets and programs and each time I never really committed because it’s so easy to be tempted to not eat the right thing. With RAW foods, my reasoning was that temptation would be lessened because all I would have in my kitchen is raw food.

Did you have any fears or concerns before you started? I had no fears at all, my only real concern was “Can I actually do this?”  But now being in it almost 6 months i see that there really is a shift that takes place on all levels (physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally).

What was your diet prior to going raw? Did you ease into it/detox or just jump in? I was a pescatarian (vegetarian that eats fish) for about 8 years–and no, I did not detox prior, figuring that the raw food diet would be one big detox in itself. So what was funny is that the week before I went raw I ate the most junk in a week’s time, it was my way of saying good-bye. I probably gained a few pounds that week.
What were some immediate physical, mental, spiritual benefits you felt after changing your diet? Anything unexpected? I always tell people that adopting a raw diet expands one’s “raw potentional”–do you feel that way and if so what has opened up for you? I started loosing weight immediately because i was also exercising and drinking lots of water, but the majority of the weight fell off during the second month,  guessing my body started to realize it wasnt going to get some of its favorite foods (carbs) and started to let go of the stored fat. In terms of spiritual benefits I was able to meditate better and also I felt clearer in terms of practicing Reiki. My dreams became a bit more vivid at the beginning as well.
What are some challenges you have faced thus far? Have you found it easy or difficult to maintain a raw diet while dealing with your normal work load, traveling on-the-go, and also in interaction with peers?
Well, what’s funny is that as you change your diet you change your life, so that was new to me, we never realize how much of our lives are really shaped around the food we eat. My morning routine has changed because I have to prep for lunch (which I bring to work each day). My weekends have changed a bit because I have to figure out what fancy dish I want to work on next, and lastly my overall work week is much more consistent which allows me to be more present.  I will say that I have more interactions with my friends in my house rather than going out to a lounge or a restaurant, but when I do go out I try to  eat a raw meal or some heavy raw snacks before I leave. So far I have not been tempted to eat anything cooked while out, sometimes I get a salad.
Are you taking any supplements, if so what? And are you incorporating any sort of regular detoxing/colon cleansing? I noticed a lot of men have an issue with the idea of cleaning their colons…I’m a huge proponent of getting colonics, and luckily I know a few hydrotherapists.  I am taking two multi-vitamins a day and at times I may take a B-vitamin and sometimes some fish oil (for the brain). I also take flax seed pills at times. There’s probably more I could do but for now I am keeping it simple. Sometimes when we start something  a diet or lifestyle change…we can get overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to really be optimal, however, since this is just really a “challenge” I am not trying to make it too harsh on myself.
What advice or perhaps resources would you suggest to someone looking to dive into the raw lifestyle? Wow, well here you go…
1. Have some clear reasons why you want to go raw
2. Dont beat yourself up if you slip up (there’s no raw food police)
3. Many raw meals take a lot of time to prepare so if you are trying to make a fancy meal each day you will find your whole life is in the kitchen, so perhaps use the weekends to make the fancier meals and the week to eat simple salads, smoothies, etc.
4. Make sure you get some fats in your diet and nuts but not too much, if so you will find yourself gaining weight
5. Utilize the web before investing in too many raw food books, pretty much any recipe you want to try can be found online or even a demonstration on you tube
6. If you can do it with a partner it will make things cheaper: you will find yourself at the beginning buying all of the tools and spices which can get expensive, if you can split the costs that would be better for both your pockets.
7. Figure out if you want to be 100%  raw, mostly raw, or seasonally raw, the main point to going raw is to live a healthier life overall.
8.  Make sure you invest in a GOOD BLENDER, GOOD KNIFE (ceramic ones), and a DEHYDRATOR. These three things will save you!
You haven’t even finished out that whole year and already you are organizing a raw food festival–what motivated you to organize the festival and what do you hope people will take away from the experience? Well I’ve actually been organizing fairs, festivals, meetings, etc. since my college days. I’ve always loved bringing people together for a good cause, something my mother used to do all the time. Also, the DC area is really starting to catch up to other cities in terms of the Raw food movement with a few cafe’s offering raw items on their menus. This festival I hope can be the first of many that will really bring the DMV raw food community together as well as expose the beauty and the benefits of eating raw to people who normally don’t indulge.

What are your favorite raw meals to prepare?
Raw Tacos and Smoothies!
Last but not least, you gotta give me one of your little sayings full of wisdom… Each day we put things in our bodies of which come from our mother earth. She spent years even decades preparing our foods, nurturing the soil, watering it, growing it, and making it accessible to us. By eating foods in their raw state you are sending her a message that you really appreciate all her hard work. 

Love it! Hope there will be a nice turn out at the festival, and wishing you the best with your one year raw journey.


One comment

  1. This is a fantastic article, full of encouragement and with no fancy persuasion Just the raw truth!!! Thanks son for sharing! I have seen the tremendous changes in your life, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually since you went on this natural diet! Keep it up.

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