Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jazmyn's Plea

Hi Beautifuls!
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a fabulous young lady who is desiring to go raw. (YAY!!BALLOONS & CONFETTI) Her dilemma is that she doesn't know how to go about it on a college student budget. So I wanted to put her questions on the blog in hopes that you wonderful raw foodists out there would give her some helpful advice and tips. Thanks in advance!

Jazmyn here! I prefer Jai.

I have recently been moved and inspired to GO RAW. I come from a middle class african american family, that carries high risk of disease and consumes cooked food. I want to be an example and break the cycle.

I am fully aware of my addiction to cooked food, however, I'm ready to go cold turkey.

My problem: I have motivation. I have no support.

I came across your blog and was so inspired. I don't know what exactly I'd like from you, its just really nice to see that its possible.

Can I do this on a college students budget?
Can I do this in a city like Nashville or New Orleans?

I'm on summer break from college (I'm a junior now pre-med at xula) and I'm just realllllllly interested in cleansing and changing my life.

My father died at 46-cancer
His mom at 52-cancer
His dad at 27- cancer

And suicide is prevalent as well. Depression and a polluted lifestyle is killing my family.

I have to do this. Can you help me?

Thank You for your time!
-J. Lee

Hi Jai!

First, let me congratulate you on your decision to take care of you and to give yourself the healthy attention you need. So many people never value themselves enough to make beneficial changes for their own bodies. You gotta do right by your self. Next, I want to commend you on your choice to go cold turkey. Some people can do that. I honestly, am not one of them. Lol. It's definitely a process for me.

As far as support, I would recommend you visiting and searching "raw foods" or "living foods" on there. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. If not, look at online support groups like There are also some groups on facebook (if you're on there). Through them you can connect w/others seeking to do the same as you or already walking in it. Oh, and don't forget to lurk and visit the raw food sites I have posted in my blog rolls. Not only are they helpful, but they can also lead you to some other helpful and informative sites.

Yes, I believe it can be done on a college budget. Btw, congrats on your pre-med status! Work it out, Jai! =) You can find a great article on Julie's Raw Ambition about raw foods and money at JuliesRawAmbition. Remember, organic and in-season is not as costly. If you can, you may want to try growing your own organic herbs and veggies. Some people use small planters that you can place on a windowsill or patio. That can definitely save you some dollars. If you already have a blender, crank it up and make you some smoothies (w/some greens in them, of course). Pop what you don't drink up in the freezer for later in the day or the next.

I can totally relate w/you on family illnesses. Diabetes runs strong in my family. I have no intentions of developing that disease. This is my main motivator. And I'm sorry to hear that cancer, depression, & suicide run prevalent in your fam. I recently met a young woman at the last raw foods meetup I attended. In her introduction of herself, she talked about how she suffered from depression before going raw. She read and followed the 21-day program in Natalia Rose's book "Raw Food Life Force Energy". She lost weight and regained her joy. No more depression or mood swings for her. Just thought I'd mention that.

Jai, I really hope this is of some help to you. If you don't mind, I'd like to post it on my blog on this Wednesday and get some raw foodists I respect/admire to offer their advice. Let me know if this is okay with you. And if it is, whether or not you're okay with your name being mentioned. I can leave it out. It's no problem either way.

Take Care.
Peace and blessings,

I am opening this letter up to the blogosphere for any raw/living foodists to answer Jai’s question. I’m sure there are some great answers, tips and points out there that could benefit this young, aspiring healthnut diva.


  1. Can I do this on a college student's budget?
    Can I do this in a city like Nashville or New Orleans?
    With the current state of our economy, everyone's on a "college budget" these days, Jai.

    Short Answer: YES, absolutely!

    In my opinion, you'd be doubly blessed, living in either Nashville or New Orleans. Both locales have looooong growing seasons, so eating local isn't as challenging. And, eating local not only helps our environment and supports your community farmers, but it also saves you lots of $$$.

    Check out Local Harvest to find a farm stand, farmer's market, CSA, or Co-op near you.

    You can also get some good tips from Raw Food Lifestyle: 22 Ways to Save Money.

    To your health – cheers!

  2. Hello Jai,
    First off, please know that you are not alone. So many people now have cancer, stroke, diabetes, etc. lurking somewhere in the family tree. Unfortunately it is becoming the norm. The good news is you are not waiting for a diagnosis but are taking proactive steps to change your destiny! (YAY!)

    There are many gurus and different approaches to the raw diet, and 100% is one of them. However, I feel like you may be a little hesitant to do that. So I want to reassure you that even small steps can make a big impact on your health. So I'd suggest starting today, right where you are at by simply adding good things to your diet such as a green smoothie in place of your usual breakfast and a large green salad with sprouts to replace either dinner or lunch. And then when that feels comfortable start cutting back (with the ultimate goal of eliminating) foods such as meat, dairy products, white sugar, caffeine, etc.

    The 100% diet is great, but some people find it too restrictive and they tend to yo-yo, between 100% and bingeing, which is not a healthy place to be. This diet is not about deprivation, but it does have a learning curve. I can't tell you how many times my meals went straight into the trash. It was very discouraging. Think long term and start taking steps to get there.

    Chat sites are a great source of information. But I would suggest a quick search on (search for raw food or vegan) you might be surprised to find a potluck meeting in your area. Also think "swap" trade up for the next best thing. You don't have to be perfect to be making serious progress. I think we would all agree that a non-organic pineapple is better than a fried burger. Check out the farmer's markets in your area, many times the produce is cheaper, lasts longer and tastes better because it is picked ripe, not shipped half way around the world, etc. Sprouting is another really inexpensive way to add amazingly healthy food to your diet.

    Please email Chocolate Orchid your address. I would like to send your choice of magazines - either the spring 09 (diet & diabetes article) or the winter 09 (diet & depression article) to help you on your journey. You are on the right track!

    Wishing you all health and peace.

    Rebecca Carlson
    Purely Delicious Magazine

  3. Hi Jazmyn,

    There is so much support for raw foodist, at least from my perspective, just reach out, as you are doing, and people will reach back to support and help. As Cheris pointed out, Give It To Me Raw is a wonderful community and network of like-minded individuals and there is a wealth of information all free of charge. Sing up, if you haven’t already, and look around. Post a question or concern and I guarantee you’ll get responses and helpful advice.

    As far as budget is concerned, a raw food diet can be maintained on most budgets. Cheris and Earthmother both offered excellent suggestions and links to great resources to help you along the way. Also, shopping at the larger super markets is getting better and better. Most have organic sections now, so take advantage of that.

    Another way to keep the price of fresh produce down is to shop for local in season produce. If you have questions about what is in season and what isn’t, ask the produce people and they’ll be glad to help.

    Here are three articles I wrote that might help:

    A Healthy and Fresh New Year [this information applies all year round]

    Affordable Organic Food and Products – Ten Money Saving Tips and Ideas4 Tips To Succeed on a Raw Food DietYou’re on your summer break? Perfect! This is an ideal time to cleanse. Drink lots of water, make fresh vegetable juices, drink herbal tea, and eat light cleansing salads, soups, snack of fresh fruits and veggies. Just remember to be gentle with yourself and listen to your body. Don’t forget to get in some exercise.

    Congratulations on taking responsibility for your health and well-being and for being a bright beautiful example for others to follow. Wishing you the best, you can do it, and remember you have support all around you.

  4. jennifer cornbleet's "raw food made easy for 1 or 2 people" has easy, simple, but delicious recipes w/o the need for investing in fancy (and expensive)equipment. also, never underestimate what you can find at yard sales. i found my juicer at a yard sale for $10. starting the day w/ fresh veggie juice is a great way to start your day on the right foot!


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